For each one, we ran HD Tune Pro, a benchmarking program that tests transfer speeds and access time across the entire disk. The drives come with a two-year warranty and have been formatted to NTFS. On an Xbox One, the drive was recognized immediately once plugged and once formatted by the game console, I could use it to store games, apps and content for playback. WD Elements. To spot any widespread reliability issues, we read through Amazon reviews for each of the drives we tested, and we counted the number of reported drive failures. Just backing up to one or the other isn’t enough; having both on-site and cloud backups ensures that your data stays safe from localized threats such as fire, theft, or natural disaster, as well as Internet outages or disruptions to the cloud backup provider. If the 4 TB My Book is unavailable, or if its price goes up, WD’s 4 TB Elements desktop drive is a great second choice. You can read a more in-depth explanation of the program at the HD Tune website. If your drive dies and you have a cloud backup, you won’t lose data, but restoring from the cloud will take a very long time. High capacity in a compact design. The Elements drives are focused on portability, stripping away the bulky enclosures and power supplies of desktop hard drives in favor of a slim form factor. When your internal drive is almost full your PC slows down. However, it's fairly safe to say that WD Elements is a more popular external hard drive, based on its 80,000+ reviews… The 4 TB My Book is the most cost-effective drive we found at the time of our research and writing. WD Elements 4TB USB 3.0 Desktop Hard Drive Black - Newegg.com In HD Tune tests, the Elements had a slightly slower write speed compared with our top pick, but the two models’ read speeds were even. Since it … Because all of the drives we tested are good, though, we recommend you buy the cheapest option available if prices change. It’s cheaper per terabyte than the other My Book models, but it still costs around $170 at this writing, so we recommend it only if you know you need that much space. Customers like WD Elements Desktop noticeably more WD Elements Desktop, the pricier option, tends to get more favorable reviews than Seagate Expansion Desktop Portable [ 4.6 vs 4.5 ]. About 5 percent of drives fail in the first 18 months of use, with the failure rate dipping to about 1.5 percent for another 18 months. It also has a shorter, one-year warranty and lacks backup software. The drive did not get hot during our testing, and although this My Book occasionally made a low humming noise while we moved files around, we don’t think that’s cause for concern; all of the drives we tested make some noise. You should consider replacing your backup drives between the third and sixth year of use. But curiously, another choice comes from another line at Western Digital, the Elements Desktop Drive. Justin Krajeski is a staff writer reporting on everyday carry at Wirecutter. It’s also less expensive than the other 8 TB drives we tested, and it has the longest warranty. Using the included WD Discovery app, you can import your data from a cloud storage or social media account to your drive. Since the Element houses a low-power internal drive, I didn't expect it to blow me away with its performance, but the drive did quite well in testing nonetheless. Here are our favorite new and old iPad games to play this year. Ultimately, this is a fast, easy-to-use and versatile portable drive that can effortlessly add a lot more storage, not just to computers but also game consoles and other types of USB-enabled hosts. Improve PC performance. It’s a rather bizarre design with half of the … From desktop hard drives to NAS to portable solid-state drives, we’ve spent hundreds of hours finding the best external drives for most people. Let's round up some of its best gems. We don’t think the jump in speed is worth spending that much more money for most people, because it didn’t offer a noticeable improvement. But if you frequently move between locations, a portable external drive is the better choice. After 20 hours of new research and testing, we found that the best external desktop hard drive for most people is Western Digital’s 4 TB My Book. Western Digital’s 4 TB Elements is about as fast as our top pick, but its warranty doesn’t last as long. Wirecutter staffers have used the WD My Book in varying capacities over the years. 5.0 out of 5 stars Had a WD White Label drive in it. It has the same software as our top pick too, but its warranty is only two years—one year less than the My Book’s coverage. Because the two drives appeared to be the same otherwise, we dismissed them. It performed well in Blu-ray testing against our other 8 TB options and did fine in Time Machine tests, but it was notably slow during the HD Tune test. The Elements' lack of features can be a good thing. Seagate’s 4 TB Backup Plus Hub fell behind our top pick in HD Tune testing by 15.8 MB/s on reads and 7 MB/s on writes. In our testing, the Elements was about as quick as the 4 TB My Book, falling behind in our Blu-ray transfer test by only 5 seconds. But all of the desktop drives we tested this year were good. Here are some of the best Netflix has to offer. The 8 TB My Book performed well in our HD Tune read and write tests, with results of 134 MB/s and 139.9 MB/s, respectively. If you want more space—say, you have a ton of large photos or videos or an existing media library and need room to expand in the future—Western Digital’s 8 TB My Book is the best option. A step-by-step guide to formatting your external hard drive, and what file systems are best for Windows File History and macOS Time Machine. We haven’t found any new desktop hard drives worth testing in late 2019, but we did collect another round of long-term test notes from our staff for the WD My Book and the WD Elements. *At the time of publishing, the price was $101. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. AVERAGE USER SCORE. For anyone who still needs an optical drive, the Asus ZenDrive U9M is the best DVD-only option, and the LG BP60NB10 is the best choice for Blu-ray discs. It outperformed the WD My Book in most of our tests, but it costs nearly $20 more as of this writing. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. So WD Elements Desktop, while being a pricier option, tends to get more favorable ⭐ reviews than the $45 WD Elements, as seen on the chart below. We recently bought into a number of these WD Elements 8TB External USB 3.0 HDD’s for various benchmarks and … Many suffered from limited availability, too. Wirecutter has researched and recommended hard drives since early 2012, and our PC team has over eight years of combined experience testing hard drives and solid-state drives—as your guide, I’ve spent the past two years reviewing hard drives and portable SSDs, too. But overall, these were average speeds for USB 3.0 portable drives, fast enough for all applications that require external storage, including movie playback, backup and app storage. An external hard drive is an excellent way to keep your priceless data safe, and Western Digital (WD) has been in the business of making top-tier external storage devices since 2006. He previously wrote about tech at Wirecutter. Although no hard drive is immune from failure, the WD My Book has proven reliable. The difference in transfer time wasn’t substantial in any of our tests, though, and it costs about the same as the My Book per terabyte. The 4 TB My Book is reliable, fast, and cheaper than the competition. User Reviews (42) 82. The Elements is about as fast as our top pick: In our tests, its average write speed was 7.7 MB/s slower, and it took about 5 seconds longer to transfer a Blu-ray film, but those differences were within the margin of error. And when we backed up to the Elements with Time Machine, it was the second-fastest drive we tested, falling just behind our top pick. But this approach is the best we have for now. The 8 TB Seagate Backup Plus Hub faced problems similar to those of the 4 TB model. WD Elements 6TB USB 3.0 Desktop Hard Drive Black - Newegg.com If you see the price on the Easystore come down, though, it’s worth buying. I was able to shuck the drive from the enclosure and find a White label WD80EMAZ drive which is nearly identical to the RED labeled drive that is sought … There are a wide range … Because they perform so similarly, we recommend getting the cheapest desktop hard drive you can find from a trustworthy maker. I don't bother it and it doesn't bother me, and my computer is backed up, so that seems good.”. Currently the 8 TB My Book costs about $70 more than our top pick, though, so we recommend it only if you want the extra storage. If you want us to review it drop us a line and we might just bump it to the front of our reviews queue. At four years, the failure rate is 20 percent. At the time of our research, the Seagate Backup Plus Hub for Mac was around $30 more expensive than the regular Seagate Backup Plus Hub we tested (and $40 more than our top pick). Every hard drive we tested is adequate for the task of backing up your computer; only minor differences in speed, price, warranty, and included software differentiate them. If you spend most of your time working at one desk, you should get a desktop external drive. If you’re not backing up the important documents and photos on your computer, you should start. Right now, that means the 4 TB WD My Book. The My Book is reliable, fast, and less expensive than the other desktop drives we tested, plus it has enough space for your future storage needs and a long, three-year warranty. The Element also worked well with routers and media network media players. The Element doesn't require anything from the host at all, other than a USB port. This model lacks backup software, though, and it has a shorter, two-year warranty. These are the features you should look for in a desktop hard drive, in rough order of importance: We also made note of drive noise and extra USB ports as we tested the external desktop hard drives. The WD 10TB Elements Desktop Hard Drive, about $225 (order code WDBWLG0100HBK-NESN), is a USB 3.0 (backward USB 2.0 compatibility) that delivers on transfer … The 8 TB My Book is just as reliable as our top pick, and it was about as fast in our Blu-ray and HD Tune tests, but about 4 minutes slower in our Time Machine testing. (In addition, you can use it to permanently erase all the data on your drive.) © 2021 CNET, A RED VENTURES COMPANY. Also, in my opinion, the Elements is slightly better-looking. Although prices on hard drives fluctuate frequently, our pick was the least expensive in its competitive field: At the time, it cost around $96, or $24 per terabyte, while the majority of the drives we tested cost more than $100. (That drive, however, costs considerably more.). Other drives from G-Tech, LaCie, OWC, and Transcend were too expensive, ranging from $140 to $420 for 4 TB models—1.4 to 4.2 times as much as our top pick. The WD Elements Portable drive is an excellent alternative to the Seagate Expansion. This method has shortcomings: For one, people are more likely to post a review when they have a problem. These factors aren’t dealbreakers, but they are good to keep in mind. If this is an issue you’re facing, too, check out our instructions on how to do this. Western Digital Elements Portable Hard Drive is a great, budget-friendly option for both users who need more storage space & users whose laggy computers are driving them crazy. Fortunately, backing up your data is easy, and getting started takes only a few minutes: Read our advice and set up a system that will back up your files automatically both to an external hard drive and the cloud. While the two drives are very similar in most aspects, the Expansion is faster but the Element is cheaper. WD Black has launched a 6TB version (as well as a 5TB model) of the performance-driven family of consumer-grade hard disk drives, which is a 2TB increase in storage compared to the … The WD My Book Desktop Hard Drive. So WD Elements Desktop, while being a cheaper option, tends to get more favorable ⭐ reviews than the $149 WD My Book, as seen on the chart below. Although other external hard drives we tested (such as our runner-up pick) were similarly slow when writing files, none of them were as slow as the Seagate at reading them. This is advertised as a durable desktop hard drive but with no specific details. The My Book also landed in the middle of the pack when backing up via Time Machine, storing 37.8 GB in 25 minutes, 49 seconds. My Passport. It also comes with a longer warranty than the other 8 TB options we tested, three years of coverage. We found just 21 reported failures out of 358 Amazon reviews of the 4 TB model, or 6 percent. Via USB 3.0, it registered a sustained real-world copy speed of more than 95MBps for writing and more than 100MBps for reading. He carries things every day. According to statistics from cloud backup service Backblaze, hard drives are most likely to fail either within the first 18 months of use or after three years. After a new round of testing hard drives in 2020, we found that the 2 TB Seagate Backup Plus Slim is still the best portable hard drive for most people. Most of the drives performed similarly in these tests, except for the 4 TB Seagate Backup Plus Hub, which was notably slower. Another fantastic storage solution coming from Western Digital (WD). If you don't plan on using it to store sensitive data, this is an excellent drive to choose. If the 4 TB My Book is unavailable, or if its price goes up, WD’s 4 TB Elements desktop drive is a great second choice. That’s a lower failure rate than our top pick has, but the Elements has roughly half as many reviews at this writing, so the reported failure rate may not be comparable. Compared with our 8 TB pick, it was 17.4 MB/s slower in the HD Tune read test, and 31.2 MB/s slower in the write test. It’s a reliable drive, although it isn’t quite as fast as our top pick. In our Blu-ray transfer test, all of the 4 TB drives we tested were within the margin of error of one another, but the 5 TB Toshiba Canvio was about 30 seconds faster than the competition. Your computer’s internal drive will stop working someday, and unless your data is backed up, it’ll be gone forever. Backup servers are a very different environment than a box on your desk: Bare drives in servers are accessed more often and are subject to more vibrations and more heat, whereas drives in desktop enclosures have more potential points of failure between the power connector, the USB connector, and the USB-to-SATA logic board. We found the speed differences between them to be small: All but one of our finalists performed within about 20 seconds of one another when transferring a Blu-ray movie, and all completed a Time Machine backup within 4 minutes of one another. Not sure what to watch on Amazon tonight? It was significantly faster than the Seagate model in this test, but a little slower than the WD Easystore, falling short by 12.3 MB/s on reads and 5 MB/s on writes. The WD Elements has a two-year warranty, one year less than our top pick, and it doesn’t come with any backup software. The Seagate Expansion Desktop was significantly slower than our top picks when we tested it in late 2016. It’s a modern-looking hard drive in matte black with rounded edges. This type of bare-bones design means the drive can work anywhere. Because the Easystore is usually more expensive, we think the My Book is the better 8 TB choice for most people’s needs.). The WD Elements range provides reliable high capacity storage with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 compatibility. After narrowing our list of finalists by price and capacity, we tested four 4 TB desktop hard drives and three 8 TB models. They’re also designed to withstand a little more abuse (although one bump can still lead to failure). He’s very well versed in carrying. You can also use WD Drive Utilities to check for potential drive failures, major performance problems, and bad sectors on the My Book. A desktop external hard drive is a great local backup for a computer that mostly stays parked on a desk. The 8 TB My Book includes the same backup software as our top pick. If you need more storage, we recommend the Western Digital 8 TB My Book. (We recommend the similarly performing WD 8 TB Easystore if it’s the same price as—or cheaper than—the 8 TB My Book. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our … Finally, we timed how long each external hard drive took to back up with Time Machine on a 2016 MacBook Pro. We’ve collectively put in hundreds of hours researching and testing hard drives over the past few years. In our Blu-ray transfer tests, the 8 TB WD My Book was quick—it read a large Blu-ray video file in 4 minutes, 28 seconds and wrote that file in 4 minutes, 27 seconds. At three years of service, the failure rate jumps to almost 12 percent. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for WD 14TB Elements Desktop External Hard Drive - USB 3.0 at Amazon.com. The WD Elements Portable drive is an excellent alternative to the Seagate Expansion. Brian Beach, How long do disk drives last?, Backblaze, November 12, 2013, Andy Klein, Backblaze Hard Drive Stats for 2017, Backblaze, February 1, 2018, Lyle Smith, WD My Book Review, StorageReview.com, October 11, 2016, Dong Ngo, WD My Book (Fall 2016) review, CNET, October 11, 2016. The 8 TB version of the Western Digital My Book offers reliability, fast transfer speeds, and more storage than our other picks. This has been designed … In our … A password-protected drive, for example, will need its host to run software to enable you to type in the password before it can get connected. “When I’m done with video projects that aren’t that important to me—but I want to keep the original videos so I can eventually add them to my reel—it’s a great tool to free up some space on my Thunderbolt-editing drives.”, Wirecutter senior editor Nathan Edwards has owned the 6 TB version of the drive for more than a year, and he says: “It's quieter than my old backup drive and relatively good-looking. While reading through 326 Amazon reviews of the 8 TB My Book, we found only 20 reviews—or 6 percent—that mentioned drive failure. It’s a reliable drive, although it isn’t quite as fast as our top pick. Wirecutter lead software engineer Justin Yost told us that his wife has the 4 TB version of our top pick; she uses it as a back-up drive, and it’s been fine for the past year or so. One Wirecutter staffer wasn’t able to figure out how to format their drive. The fastest desktop mechanical hard drive currently available. Most of the drives we tested performed similarly, with the 4 TB WD My Book having a slight edge in most of our tests. They’re more expensive per terabyte than bigger desktop models, and they’re a bit slower, but portable hard drives are smaller and lighter than desktop drives and don’t need an additional power adapter. If the 4 TB My Book is out of stock or the price goes up, Western Digital’s 4 TB Elements is a great and dependable alternative. In HD Tune testing, the 4 TB WD My Book had a read speed of 143.8 megabytes per second and a write speed of 138.4 MB/s, operating a little faster than most of the competition. And it had the fastest Time Machine backup score of all the 4 TB drives we tested. Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. The 8 TB Easystore had a mere 1.25 percent reported failure rate on Best Buy’s site—34 noted failures out of 2,708 reviews—but these results aren’t directly comparable because they’re from different retailers with different demographics and customer review systems. Here's CNET's... Don't know what to watch tonight? Preformatted NTFS for systems running Windows 10, 8.1, or 7, the 10TB Elements Desktop USB 3.0 External Hard Drive from WD provides users with up to 10TB of add-on storage for their photos, … On the other hand, if keeping your data safe from prying eyes in case of loss or theft is a big concern, another drive, such as the Seagate Backup Plus Slim or the WD My Passport Slim will fit your needs better. Neither of these research methods is a perfect indicator of the My Book’s reliability, but they are the best we have. If you can find it for less than our current 8 TB pick, we encourage you to buy it; this model was the fastest 8 TB external hard drive in our HD Tune tests and Time Machine testing. The 8 TB My Book is cheaper, as of this writing, and available at more retailers than the 8 TB WD Easystore. The WD Elements Desktop Hard Drive. Western Digital’s 4 TB My Book is the best desktop hard drive for most people because it’s reliable and it offers the best balance of speed and price. Note that the WD Elements also works with USB 2.0 but at much slower speeds; in the neighborhood of 30MBps for both writing and reading. Although it was technically the slowest of the three 8 TB models we tested in this regard, all three performed within 15 seconds of one another in this test. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for WD Elements Desktop Hard Drive at Amazon.com. At this writing, it costs only 46¢ more per terabyte, but prices fluctuate; if you find the Elements for less than the My Book, it’s a better buy. However, these were some 20MBps slower than those of the Seagate Expansion. Wirecutter video producer Hunter Boone owns the 4 TB My Book; he says that it’s been very reliable for sync and back-up, too. Transparent OLED: See-through TV comes to tomorrow's beds, restaurants, subways, The all-digital CES continues on Tuesday, here's how you can watch it all on CNET, CNET Labs' USB 3.0 external drive performance, Twitter permanently suspends Trump's account, Why now is the worst time to buy the Samsung Galaxy S20, Discuss: WD Elements Portable drive review: Large, affordable and versatile, Windows XP or later; Mac OS 10.4 or later. Backblaze’s 2017 report notes that WD’s 4 TB drives had a low, 2.2 percent annualized failure rate. 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