Western Digital is known for its hard drives. It’s been around for over forty years, and in that time it’s built a reputation for quality and gained a tremendous amount of brand loyalty with its users. When it comes to hard drives, quality is absolutely important. This is one reason why I decided to pick up a Western Digital My Book Studio LX for use with my video editing machine.
At first glance, the WD Studio LX looks like it was designed to do nothing more than sit next to a Mac Pro and pretend to be its little brother. Stainless steel construction and a visually appealing LCD on the front indicating the drive’s name and available space makes it less of a bulky storage drive and more of a welcome accessory to the desk.
The back of the drive includes two FireWire 800, USB 2.0, power, and a cable lock port to prevent theft. The included cables are all white, except for the power cord, which is a more traditional black. Two rubber strips are mounted on the bottom that allow the drive to stand upright and absorb some of the vibrations caused by the drive’s spinning.
The drive itself is rather heavy, especially when compared to plastic enclosures.
Setup and Software
When connecting the My Book Studio LX to the Mac, two new icons appear on the desktop. The first is the drive itself, appearing as any other drive attached via USB or FireWire would. The second is a virtual CD drive that includes the installation software for WD SmartWare. This software allows you to manage the drive, set the name that appears on the LCD, and manage backup frequency and source folders. While the software itself isn’t necessary to run the drive, it does help a great deal with coordinating backups should you not be interested in using Time Machine to manage this process, instead.
Almost immediately after setup, the My Book Studio LX was ready to go. I immediately started it off with three simultaneous file transfers including roughly 400 GB of data. The drive hardly made a sound as it completed the tasks very quickly. During the file transfer process, I initiated some single-file transfers to see if the performance would have been thrown off by yet another process. To my surprise, it detected the smaller task and dispensed with it at full speed before returning to the larger transfers already initiated.
File transfers were blazingly fast using the FireWire 800 connection. A 250 MB file took what felt like just a few seconds to transfer from the Mac.
While the My Book Studio LX includes cooling fans and plenty of venting, the unit ran very quietly — even during an intense and large file transfer. To the touch, the unit itself didn’t appear to heat up at all.
Here’s the big downside I had to my overall experience with the WD My Book Studio LX. The review I’m writing now is being written after the first drive failed immediately after purchase. The drive fired up fine, installed the software, and then the head crashed and began grinding against the platter. Whether this was caused by a manufacturer defect or a clumsy stocker at the store is hard to determine, but that experience has left me wondering whether or not the My Book Studio LX currently sitting in my home office is trustworthy. Needless to say, any non-RAID solution should be accompanied by a backup method of some kind.