Western Digital My Passport Elite

A fast and cheap 500GB external drive.

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Western Digital My Passport Elite
  • Western Digital My Passport Elite
  • Western Digital My Passport Elite
  • Western Digital My Passport Elite

Pros

  • Fast read/write speeds, cost-effective, runs cool and quiet

Cons

  • Design is slightly dull, Google bloatware, the MioNet suite included is only a trial version

Bottom Line

The Western Digital My Passport Elite is fast, cost-effective and easy to use. If you're happy with the design, then this is a drive you should check out.

Would you buy this?

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Western Digital's My Passport Elite is a 500GB external hard drive that's faster and cheaper than the 500GB Seagate FreeAgent Go, but it doesn't look as stylish.

With a formatted capacity of 465GB and a cost per gigabyte of 68.6 cents, this latest edition of the Passport is better value than both the Seagate FreeAgent Go and the previous generation My Passport Elite 320GB.

Performance hasn't been sacrificed for pricing. The unit is a Scorpio Blue (WD5000BEVT) in a case with a USB 2.0 mini-USB output for connecting the drive to a PC. The Elite has two internal 250GB platters and an 8MB cache. The 2.5in drive spins at 5400rpm and is a strong all-round performer.

We tested the Passport Elite by transferring 5GB worth of files between the hard drive and a test PC equipped with a 7200rpm Seagate Barracuda ES2.

The Passport Elite achieved read and write speeds of 30.61 megabytes per second and 25.37MBps, respectively. Copying files from one location on the drive to another was completed at an average speed of 14.45MBps. All of these speeds are faster than the FreeAgent Go by at least 1MBps in all cases. Throughout all of our testing the My Passport Elite remained cool and relatively quiet.

The Seagate drive managed to make half a terabyte of storage fit into a design that was slim, sleek and sexy, Western Digital has decided to use exactly the same design as last time, and at 126.15(L)x79.5(W)x15(H)mm it is harder to fit into you pocket than the FreeAgent Go.

The Passport Elite has a series of lights that show the user when the drive is active and roughly how much storage space is being used.

The software that comes bundled with the Passport Elite comprises a backup manager (WDBackup), a file synchronisation manager (WDSync), MioNet (which allows remote data retrieval when Internet access is available) and a collection of Google applications. While the first two are useful and easy to install, the Google apps aren't much better than bloatware. Although the MioNet suite is very useful, the program is just a 30-day trial.

In the end, it's difficult to fault the WD Passport Elite. Not only is it faster than the FreeAgent Go, it is also better value. If you don't mind the design, then this is one external hard drive that is definitely worth checking out.

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