updated 10:15 am EDT, Thu September 10, 2009
WD's new drives include Mac models, more
Hard drive maker Western Digital has launched five new external hard drives, all incorporating automatic backup software, password protection and 256-bit hardware encryption along with a physical redesign. The additions include three portable My Passport drives, including the My Passport Essential, My Passport Essential SE, and My Passport for Mac, along with two new desktop My Book models, the My Book Essential and My Book for Mac. All will include WD's new backup software, SmartWare, which is compatible with both Macs and PCs and is meant to be simpler, thanks to an easily understood visual interface. There is also a search function and real-time backup status information.
Through WD's Drive Lock, users can set a password, without which the contained data cannot be accessed thanks to the 256-bit AES encryption. There is also no way to retrieve a lost or forgotten password.
All of the portable My Passport models, which are said to be 20 percent smaller than their predecessors, will connect to computers and get powered by their USB 2.0 interface. A docking station for the three is also available. The My Passport Essential and My Passport Essential SE will ship preformatted for the NTFS File system for PCs, while the My Passport for Mac will be compatible with Apple's Time Machine and will ship readied for the HFS+ file system for Macs.
The new My Passport Essential will be available in 320GB, 500GB and 640GB capacities, as well as black, white, blue, silver and red colors. Prices will range from $99 to $149. The Essential SE can only be had in black, and 750GB or 1TB capacities. Pricing will be fixed at either $179 or $249. The Essential for Mac will come in matte charcoal in either 320GB or 500GB sizes, priced at $99 or $139, respectively.
The new desktop-oriented My Books need to be plugged in to a wall outlet and have the familiar live capacity gauge. The My Book Essential for PCs has the NTFS file system, and is available in 500GB, 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB capacities. It connects via USB 2.0, uses a fanless design and carries WD's eco-friendly GreenPower label. Prices will range from $99 to $249. The My Book for Mac differs only in that its sole 1TB capacity is pre-formatted for Apple systems. It will cost $139.
WD has not released ship dates for any of the new external hard drives.
New MyPassport drives
New MyBook drives