back to article WD drops 4TB whopper

Like Burger King, Western Digital believes in whoppers; it's just announced a 4TB capacity My Book external drive. Inside this My Book Studio Edition II is a pair of 2TB SATA drives with four interfaces to a host PC: eSATA and FireWire 800 for maximum performance, with FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 for more pedestrian and wide- …


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  1. Chris McFaul


    a 4 Slot drobo with 4 x 2TB drives can only store 6TB since it HAS to use 2TB of capacity for parity information.

  2. Wolf Clostermann
    Thumb Down

    Raid 0? Really?

    I think having what is essentially a backup device configured as Raid 0 is highly inadvisable, considering that if one disk fails, then all the data is gone, beyond any reasonable attempts at recovery. It's especially worrying considering that they then spefically make reference to the possibilty of the drives failing.

  3. Martin
    Thumb Down

    RAID 1??

    Surely this would be better for the professionals listed?? If you have 4GB of data on this thing, you either need another 1 to back this data up onto, otherwise you will be up the creek if (when) one drive breaks

  4. James

    @ Wolf

    A WD fail - what are you on about....

  5. TheManCalledStan
    Thumb Down

    Splendid! Sacrifice reliability for speed on a back up device

    One drive fail = the whole shabang in the bin...

  6. Anonymous Coward

    "home video enthusiasts"...

    sounds like a euphemism.

    And why do these big drive manufacturers always target "video editors" and graphic designers, and forget to mention the pirates! Yarrrrr....

  7. Mark

    Why o Why..

    Don't Western Digital do a mirrored drive that includes the TwonkyMedia server?

    They do a non-mirroed edition of MyBook that does, but no mirrored version.

    I have to make a choice between functionality of the MyBook, or security of all my media I want to serve up.

  8. Chris Harris
    Thumb Up

    Format to Windows?

    Also, can't we just reformat the drives for Windows? I am also a creative video editor type, Windows does all that too...

    Words cannot discribe how much I hated having to hold the apple button and click when in windows I can right click.

    Anyway, Macs are good for people who don't know to use things because it's simple and it's their way or the highway. I want choice. /rant

    Apple Licensing effectively killed firewire, eSata will do fine.

    So can it be formatted for Windows like I think it should?

  9. Danny


    No fan in a backup device on raid 0.

    What can possibly go wrong?

  10. Richard Boyce

    2TB limit in XP

    Though aimed at Mac users, the fanless Studio II drives appeal to discerning PC users too (I guess Mac users are deemed more up-market), and they're supplied with Windows drivers. You can select RAID 1 (mirroring), if you wish.

    I was hoping that WD could produce drivers that would work around XP's inability to handle the type of partition table required for more than 2TB, but their web site would indicate otherwise. :( Of course, MS won't supply an upgrade for XP.

    This is one reason why I expect drive manufacturers to wait as long as possible before releasing drives larger than 2TB that are aimed at ordinary PC users connecting with USB. They won't want to deal with large numbers of support calls from people who are still using XP.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Format to Windows? Chris Harris

    This drive probably comes formatted to FAT32 to be compatible between Windows and OS X. However if you're only using it on one system, you may as well format it to the respective native FS as FAT32 is pretty naff.

    "Words cannot discribe how much I hated having to hold the apple button and click when in windows I can right click."

    I hate this too, and I use a Mac. This is why I use a two button mouse (novel idea, huh?) and I have the two-finger-tap enabled on my track pad.

    I personally find that the trackpad in my early 2008 MacBook Pro to be the best trackpad I've ever used (not given the new glass ones a good testing so can't comment on those). Two finger scrolling is miles better than a 'scroll zone' on your average PC trackpad.

    "I want choice. /rant"

    You have choice, you made it. That doesn't mean you need to rubbish Macs because you chose a PC.

    There are plenty of good reasons to favour a PC over a Mac, but the mouse is not one of them.

  12. E


    Some company sticks 2 disks in a box. WOW! OMFG! STOP THE PRESSES!

    This is utterly pointless news.

    @Chris Harris: ah yes, the Apple-button/click combo - it is a graceful act of worship that helps perpetuate the Cult of Mac.

  13. Daniel

    @Chris Harris

    "Words cannot discribe how much I hated having to hold the apple button and click..."

    Words cannot describe my incomprehension at such apopleptic and inarticulate rage, being generated by so small a thing. Calm down and get a two button mouse: in fact, plug a Microsoft one in, if it'll make you feel better. And try and get a sense of proportion. What effects do rush hour traffic, difficult personal relationships, people not folding their towels right on the radiator, or adverse weather conditions, bring about, in you, prey?

    Where do these people, who go on about holding a key down and click, live? Is it the same place as the ones who claim that Linux users spend their whole lives manually editing config files, or who still claim to see blue screens of death all the time on Windows machines? Jesus! What febrile and thwarted lives, you must live!

    Anyway, back to this drive thingie... I wouldn't want to entrust the amount of data this thing can hold, to the thing that was being asked to hold it (for all of the reasons mentioned by the other posters). The dangers of storing everything in one fragile repository have been apparent since about the time the Library of Alexandria burnt down.

  14. Joey
    Jobs Halo

    @Chris Harris

    I don't understand this misinformed attitude about buttons on Apple mice. You are obviously criticising something you have never used! The Apple Mighty Mouse has been out for many years and ships with all Mac desktop computers. There is also a wireless option.

    They have right-click, left-click, center-click, a center scroll nipple that works left and right and up and down plus two side buttons. The buttons are all totaly configurable in the System Preferences.

    It doesn't have one button, it doesn't have a roller ball, it needs no special drivers, it works equally well for right and left handed people.

  15. David Halko

    RAID 0, Backup, Mice, Choice, etc.

    Wolf Clostermann- "I think having what is essentially a backup device configured as Raid 0 is highly inadvisable, considering that if one disk fails, then all the data is gone, beyond any reasonable attempts at recovery."

    This is the point about using such a device as a "backup" device - if the backup device goes bad, all the production data still exists. What happens to the critical data when a backup tape goes bad? - nothing, since the original data still exists.

    Martin posts, "If you have 4GB of data on this thing, you either need another 1 to back this data up onto, otherwise you will be up the creek if (when) one drive breaks"

    If you are doing video editing or graphic design, the need is for significant storage with fast access for current projects. Some people decide that RAID 0, for double read speed and double write throughput meets their business requirements.

    If the storage is only temporary (original content they are aggregating is still on DVD or Tape and the eventual output will be on DVD, BlueRay, or Tape) - the hours of time saved over the life expectancy of the drive may more than make up for the time lost on a part of a single project if a drive fails in a few years. It is up to the consumer to make the cost-benefit analysis.

    Chris Harris posts, "I hated having to hold the apple button and click when in windows I can right click"

    That is why sane people buy 5 button Bluetooth mice for their Mac's! LOL!

    Just pull a 5 button Bluetooth mouse out of the box and it works - no drivers to configure, no dongles, no crashing kernels!

    I have experienced the weekly blue-screen-of-death due to (XP compatible) wireless mouse drivers crashing my XP laptop. The productivity loss to some warrants buying a system (Apple) with reasonable stable OS mouse drivers (to use the high-tech mouse) while I had to buy a simpler 3 button mouse with scroll wheel for the XP laptop (to keep XP from crashing).

    Chris Harris posts, "Macs are good for people who don't know to use things because it's simple and it's their way or the highway. I want choice. /rant"

    Your "rant" is somewhat simplistic. The Mac is a fine example of a "choice", just as is a PC, UNIX workstation, thin-client, Linux desktop, etc. If your concern was really about "choice" - you would not have ranted.

    Some people make the "choice" to invest their time improving their skill (to make more money), or invest their time on producing a product (to make more money), rather than waste their time in tangentially related areas (that do not make them money.)

    We make similar "choices" all the time - are you too ignorant to create your own CPU chips, write your own operating system, write your own web browser, create your own car, dig your own well, create your own septic system, cut down & mill your own trees, build your own house, grow your own produce, butcher your own animals, and deploy your own solar generation to supply power?

    Unfortunately, the human is limited in time - people make intelligent decisions on how to use time since time is limited. Just because someone decides to use a Mac does not mean they "don't know how to use things" (i.e. they are using their Mac, obviously!) - just like the modern person teams to do a small portion of what is required in society to be more productive.

    Anonymous Coward posts, "This drive probably comes formatted to FAT32 to be compatible between Windows and OS X."

    Chris Mellor wrote in the original article, "The product is formatted for Mac computers and compatible with Apple's Time Machine backup utility."

  16. Charles

    Re: Re: Format to Windows? Chris Harris

    FAT32 is impractical for large hard drives due to the huge allocation block sizes and has a limit of about 2TB. Big drives are almost always formatted with a more modern filesystem--either HFS+ for MacOS or NTFS for Windows. NTFS support is not as widespread as that for FAT, so NTFS is not as well suited as a universal format. As for the 2TB limit, that's a limitation of the Master Boot Record system, not XP. If you switch to a GPT-based system, the limit is lifted.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    "home video enthusiasts"...

    Yes, she knows all about it.....

  18. Chris Harris

    Should have explained myself better...


    Sorry for that, I thought you guys would have been to able to read my post well enough to realise I was speaking past tense, live and learn.

    I was using power PC macs back in 1999 to edit TV shows and although I suppose I could have used a two button mouse, it wasn't really our place to connect one because back then the suites cost $200,000 plus so they didn't even want to chance people touching the back of the thing.

    My rant was simplistic because Macs are simplistic and that's why I wanted to make it readable by Mac users, if I had really wanted to bitch I would have. I could spend hours coming up with reason after reason on why the cult of mac is full people with more money than sense (and ability), but at the end of the day I think Mac will eventually become a gadget maker and stop with computers altogether because Windows will catch up and no one will care or remember.

    Im an optimist...

  19. Mad Hacker
    Thumb Down

    @ Chris Harris


    My rant was simplistic because Macs are simplistic

    Yeah, unix is so simplistic. Command line bash shell is so simplistic. Pipes through automator are so simplistic.

    Stick with your Visual Basic on your Windows machine Chris. You'll be fine.

  20. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    2TB limits...

    "If you switch to a GPT-based system, the limit is lifted."

    No it's not. Per Microsoft's own information, XP has GPT support (which surprised me) but is still limited to 2TB, as was Windows 2003 server.. Windows server 2003 SP1 and Windows XP x64 are the earliest to support >2TB disks with GPT (the only Windows version that supports *booting* from GPT was the Windows for Itanium though, which is discontinued... so have fun booting from a >2TB disk.)

    Anyway... *shrug*. No worries for me. A) I don't have the cash for one of these. B) Ubuntu supports HFS+ out-of-the-box, so I don't even have to reformat it if I don't feel like it. Pwned.

    With the mess of XP not having >2TB support added, GPT, and so on, I think it makes sense to just ship this out as a Mac drive, and make getting it work on your PC the buyer's problem.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Speed is important

    That Apple format thing is a bit disappointing - reformatting a 4TB drive takes a lot of time. I usually buy one of these things in a hurry, and want it up and running quickly. My main usage for these things is transporting a lot of data rather than backup, so ymmv. I wouldn't backup my system to one of these too.

    Uncompressed HD or 2K frames (or simulation caches) can eat space like you wouldn't believe (especially if they have a lot of channels and/or layers). It's nice to be able to copy them quickly off the main drives, to send to off-site color correction etc. We wait for renders enough as it is.

  22. Mark y

    Drive format

    AC wrote "That Apple format thing is a bit disappointing - reformatting a 4TB drive takes a lot of time"

    At the end of the day someone will need to reformat the bastard. Perhaps, just perhaps, this drive is being targeted at Mac users in particular or that they buy most of these particular WD drives and therefore deserve the attention?

    Makes sense given XP's limitations and poor Vista take-up.

  23. Chris Harris

    Special Olympics

    @ Mad Hacker

    Did I say anything about the languages used on the platforms? No. We are talking about the end user here, and apart from the know what I'm going to stop myself there.

    Macs suck. That's my argument summed up in cave-speak.

    Ooh-oh! Ah-AHHH!

    I won't be coming back to read this article either - I swear.


  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Chris Harris

    Professional video editing on a Pee C?

    It sounds like you are one of those people who enjoys being tied up and...

  25. Des
    Paris Hilton

    4TB Backup device

    I prefer to use RAID 5 in my NAS (and my PC come to that); 5 x 750GB may only give me about 3TB, but I can hot-swap out failed drives and replace without data loss, and should I choose to replace the 750GB drives with something bigger the NAS can grow my RAID to fill all the available capacity. Sure this comes at a cost, but then peace of mind is priceless!

    Paris? Because for it to work it should be simple.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    @ Chris Harris

    I'll bet you are a flat-Earth creationist too.

    They're the other group that insist old, outdated "facts" are still 100% true and relevant to this day.

    My question to you is - what exactly can a PC do that a Mac cannot, especially with the Boot Camp ability. Or were you talking about the operating system, OS X? or were you talking about the mouse from years ago? Or are you talking about how simple Macs are, despite their obvious complexity "under the hood"?

    Make up your mind, or your other mind - since you're talking out of both sides of that mouth.

  27. N

    @ Des

    Agreed, raid 5 much safer solution,

    I suspect they offer raid 0 so it looks good spec wise, but I cant imagine anyone who values their data to use this alone.

    Drobo has a 'proprietary algorithm' (shudder) for its raid & if you loose the raid, theres a fair chance your data will too.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    RAID 0 with two drives = double the fun of losing all your data

    Two drives in a RAID 0 configuration will increase two-fold your chances of data loss, compared to using a single drive.

    If they had configured this box as a RAID 1 mirror it would have been much safer, as it would have reduced your chances of data loss two-fold compared to using a single drive.

    But salesmen market this product, instead of engineers, and so you have a 4TB "lose all your data" product instead of a 2TB "doubly safe" product.

    I'll stick with this "RAID 6" solution I think:

  29. Karim Bourouba
    Paris Hilton

    poor old Chris Harris

    he made the classic mistake of saying that Apple Mac's are not as perfect as the sales guff makes them out to be. Bet he wont do that again in a hurry, eh?

    However, I think your question still needs answering - if the device is just a HDD that shows up as an HDD when you plug it into Windows, then yeah, you probably can format it to NTFS.

    Someone did point out that NTFS is only really suited to a Windows environment, which is true. But this shouldnt be a problem so much as the device doesnt appear to be a NAS etc. So, should you decide to brave this article again and dodge the Apple zealots, i hope this helps you out.

    Paris, well, because

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Format time

    @Mark y: You'd be right if it was only offered NTFS formatted, I didn't phrase it correctly.

    Should have said it'd be better if it was available as HFS Plus as well as NTFS/NTFS2 versions on the shelves.

  31. E 2

    re: Format time

    There is a program called fat32format.exe available on the InterWeb that can put a FAT32 format on large partitions, saving the space wasted on the NTFS metadata file(s), and Windows (XP at least) can deal with really big FAT32 partitions.

    I think the biggest FAT32 partition I've made was about 384 GB, but I think FAT32 can do 8TB.

    NTFS has some advantages over FAT32: security and ACLs at least.


  32. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Duh, dribble, mac user, duh, answers....

    Someone called us Mac users simple and unable to grasp complex ideas....well I'll just go back to dribbiling and drooling onto my keyboard in my simple way, while I use my shiny, usable, no crashing 64bit O/S, with a shiny pre-compiz, pre-aero GUI, multi-filesystem supported hardware and O/S, major industry supported application aware, multi-button mouse, Unix based O/S, free developer kit on standard O/S release DVD, only $29 upgrade path to next release, Cider emu Windows game running, Intel CPU, GPL/FOSS/GNU software capable compiling, crap, simple, braindead O/S, while you...oh yeah wait for 2 files to take 6 hours to copy under Vista, crash just at 99% of any job, BSOD, SOB MS O/S on your self-built unsupported, knock-up bargain basement PC!

    GO icon, 'cos, ermmm, I got confused as am a bit simple apparently......oh no got confused between red and green now....

  33. Another Anonymous Coward 1
    Thumb Down

    Would rather have this in RAID 1

    These big bulky boxes don't really need the speed of RAID 0, especially if they're stuck with a USB 2.0 cable to run it through.

    I'd much rather have the security of 2 TB of data, fully backed up without having to get an expensive 4-bay NAS or drobo solution.

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