Jun 22, 2010
Western Digital Product Warning!
DO NOT USE THE FOLLOWING PRODUCTS FROM WESTERN DIGITAL:
MY BOOK ELITE
DO TO THE CONTINUING AND WIDESPREAD FAILURES OF THESE PRODUCTS I HAVE DECIDED TO POST A GLOBAL WARNING TO ALL ABOUT THE CAVEATS OF USING THEM.
If you’re looking at any of the above-mentioned products that means you are in need of an external drive either for storage/backup or as a working drive for your main system.
Unfortunately none of the WD products listed above should be considered for the task as they will all be less than reliable and worse, have a greater than 90% chance of failure.
At issue is the on-board back-plane data controller (I/O chipset) and internal power supply used by these enclosures. The I/O controller often causes data collisions between the host computer and the internal HDD inside the WD enclosure, which in turn causes data corruption on the HDD and in extreme cases the on-board cache on the HDD actually “burns” and becomes unusable.
Since 2006 I have had more than 100 reported cases from clients, colleagues and friends who have had one of the many versions of these drives which have all failed, either completely by having total corruption on the entire disk (TOC or boot sectors completely unusable) or the controllers were causing cross-talk issues that even made the host system’s main-drive directory unstable.
These problems have been exacerbated by those who attempt to use them in professional editing environments (NLE) where the back-plane I/O controller on the WD enclosure actually causes the host application to crash and or cause data corruption on the actual project file the user was working on. NOTE TO PRO VIDEO/AUDIO/PHOTO EDITORS:
Regardless if your Mac or PC based you DO NOT want to use any type of external enclosure that has “intelligent” background processes running in it’s onboard controller, such as data-backup, I/O speed-boosting (a marketing term for allowing direct-access to on-board HDD cache) or any other drive or I/O communications parameters. What you want - and need - is an enclosure that simply holds your drives and allows the host computer to communicate with it either directly through Firewire (preferred over USB), or an eSATA or Fiber HBA (host controller card). That’s all, nothing more.
Enclosures such as the My Book/My Passport series - and others by other manufacturers - were originally designed for the general computing market to provide a “theoretically” simple and single-point for the user to not only store data but have automated backups. They were never intended for professional use but because of their price-point and stand-alone design many editors have attempted to use them for an external working drive. To date I have *never* heard of any pro application of any of these products that did not eventually cause a serious problem or failure in less than 3 months.
The best setups are where the HDD enclosure, often a hot-swappable RAID system, provides drive “sleds” allowing the user to have easy access to each individual drive for quick change-out/upgrade and uses a standard Oxford Firewire controller (for FW 800) or industry standard eSATA or Fiber backplane controllers.
NEVER USE - FAIL
IF YOU PURCHASE ONE OF THESE UNITS YOU HAVE A GREATER THAN 90% CHANCE IT WILL FAIL OR CAUSE DATA CORRUPTION.
The Western Digital My Book/My Passport products were designed for those who only have a budget for either Firewire or USB connectivity (eSATA, Fiber and SCSI are significantly more costly) and thankfully you have many options for using Firewire.
My recommendation is to check out all the external enclosures available from OWC - Other World Computing. They have bare enclosures allowing you to insert your own drives or, pre-configured drives from single, stand-alone HDD’s to multi-drive RAID in various configurations and sizes to fit any budget.
While they specialize in Mac productsAll their hard-drive products they sell will also work in Windows systems so don’t let the name, www.macsales.com, fool you.
The best part, none of the Aluminum Pro series from OWC has any of the backplane or power-supply issues of Western Digital.
I’ve been using OWC Firewire externals for more than 5 years without so much as a hiccup and their reliability and customer service is far beyond competitors, even LaCie or G-Technology.