While we were testing the WD My Book VelociRaptor Duo, a funny thing happened. At one point, we reflected on our first external hard drive--a 40GB unit salvaged from a laptop--and remarked at how quaint it seems in comparison to WD's powerful, spacious storage beast. Indeed, external storage has come a long way in a relatively short time. Hampered in the past by relatively slow interfaces such as USB and FireWire, Intel’s Thunderbolt
interface promises comparatively blazing fast speeds, and available storage capacities are now in the multi-terabyte range.
Thunderbolt, originally dubbed “Light Peak
”, is a dual-protocol interface that combines PCI-Express
into one metaprotocol with bi-directional speeds of up to 10Gbps. The technology makes even the relatively speedy USB 3.0 interface (5Gbps) look downright pokey by comparison.
The technology supports 8 channels of HD audio, daisy-chaining, and hot-plugging and was co-developed by Intel and Apple. Although Apple got first dibs on implementing the new speedy interface on its products, plenty of other manufacturers were involved early on as well, including Western Digital.
What would you do if you were a storage company and had this next-gen I/O technology in hand? Probably more or less what Western Digital has done, which is to make an external storage device that teams Thunderbolt’s impressive interface bandwidth with a pair of the company's fastest 1TB VelociRaptor 10,000RPM HDDs. WD calls it the My Book VelociRaptor Duo.
WD My Book VelociRaptor Duo
|Western Digital My Book VelociRaptor Duo
|Specifications & Features
Primary OS Support:
Data Transfer Rate:
Mac OS X 10.6.8 or higher
RAID 0 (pre-configured), RAID 1, JBOD
6.5 x 6.2 x 3.9 (HxDxW)
These days, 2TB of external storage capacity in a single unit isn’t mind-blowing, but it’s certainly spacious enough for most users. Capacity is only a small part of the story here, however. WD focused on performance, with the Thunderbolt interface (including a second port for daisy-chaining) and the two 10,000RPM VelociRaptor drives spinning inside.
Although you can format the My Book VelociRaptor Duo for use on a Windows machine, the unit ships ready for Mac OS X with the HFS + Journaled file system, and it can be used as a boot drive with Mac OS X’s Recovery feature. The drives come pre-configured in a RAID 0 for optimal performance, although the VelociRaptor Duo also supports RAID 1 and JBOD configurations. (Note that there is not yet RAID support for this product in Windows. More on that later.) The VelociRaptor Duo also ships with WD Utilities installed, so users have a handy tool for configuration options.
One of the convenient features of the VelociRaptor Duo is that it’s user-serviceable, so you can easily open up the unit and swap drives in or out--not that you’re going to want to replace those snappy 10,000RPM drives anytime soon.
There’s not much in the box, which is to be expected with an external unit such as this one; it contains a three-foot Thunderbolt cable, AC adapter, and a little installation guide.