Computers / Hands-on Review

My Book Thunderbolt Duo Can Help Generate Greater Profits


Time is money, as the saying goes. Any technique or tool that can help you work faster can also help you get more work done in a given space of time, thus leading to greater profits. At the very least you’ll be able to carve out more time to spend with your family, friends, hobbies or just a nice comfy chair. 

One of the most tedious things you can do is transfer large files to or from an external hard drive, either for safekeeping or during post production. And your job can’t begin or end until all files are transferred. Western Digital’s My Book Thunderbolt Duo external RAID array can cut file transfer times to a minimum, effectively squeezing money out of thin air.

Anyone involved in the production of high-definition video or music, high-end digital photography, 3D animation and similar fields must create, edit and save large files. When you’re using external storage, the interface between your computer and the external storage effectively causes a bottleneck, and the slower the interface, the tighter the bottleneck becomes. Thunderbolt is a hot new interface with a 10Gb/s two-way transfer speed. This is tremendously faster than FireWire 800 (800Mb/s), and twice as fast as USB 3.0 (5Gb/s).

Owners of new Mac computers are a lucky crowd. Most new Macintosh computers, including the tiny Mac mini desktop and the ultra-portable MacBook Air, feature at least one Thunderbolt port—and the My Book Thunderbolt Duo is fully compatible with Apple Time Machine. Windows users will have to wait until later in the year when PC manufacturers are scheduled to ship the first Windows systems equipped with Thunderbolt ports.

The My Book Thunderbolt Duo external RAID array is equipped with two hard drives, and they can be configured as RAID 0, RAID 1 or JBOD. RAID 0 offers the best performance, and you get the full storage space of the two hard drives combined. RAID 1 creates a mirror image of one drive on the other, thus protecting your data in the event that one drive fails. Unfortunately, you get only half the total storage space of the two drives. JBOD lets you use the two hard drives individually, which is handy for users that run the Windows operating system on Mac computers. The drives are user serviceable; you can replace one simply by opening the case, with no tools required.

The My Book Thunderbolt Duo also features two Thunderbolt ports, allowing you to daisy-chain up to six Thunderbolt Duo drives, or a combination of any six Thunderbolt peripherals, to a single Thunderbolt port. This allows you to use multiple Thunderbolt peripherals even if your system has only one Thunderbolt port.

The My Book Thunderbolt Duo is available in 4TB and 6TB capacities. Keep in mind that if you opt for RAID 1 protection, you wind up with only half of the total capacity. So with RAID 1 protection, the 4TB unit becomes 2TB and the 6TB unit becomes 3TB. Also keep in mind that neither unit comes with a Thunderbolt cable, so you’ll have to purchase one separately.

The My Book Thunderbolt Duo is compatible with Mac OS X 10.6.8 or higher, and of course your system also has to have a Thunderbolt port. The drive includes Western Digital’s Drive Utilities Software, which lets you register your drive, run diagnostics, manage RAID levels and more. With the compact dimensions of 3.9 inches wide by 6.5 inches high by 6.2 inches deep, the drive won’t take up much of your valuable desktop space.

It is unfortunate that the My Book Thunderbolt Duo doesn’t have any interfaces other than Thunderbolt, which would allow you to start using the drive today even if you don’t have a computer equipped with Thunderbolt ports. But perhaps now is the time to upgrade your computer if you’ve been putting it off because your computer is still “good enough.” Thunderbolt technology might just make the investment worthwhile, especially when time is money.

Capacity 4TB 6TB
Interface Thunderbolt Ports x 2 Thunderbolt Ports x 2
Data Transfer Rate 10 Gb/s 10 Gb/s
System Requirements Mac OS X 10.6.8 or higher
Computer with Thunderbolt connector 
Mac OS X 10.6.8 or higher
Computer with Thunderbolt connector 
RAID Levels 0, 1, JBOD 0, 1, JBOD
Power Requirements AC 100 - 240V (47 - 63 Hz) AC 100 - 240V (47 - 63 Hz)
Operating Temperature 41 to 95°F (5 to 35°C) 41 to 95°F (5 to 35°C)
Storage Temperature -4 to 149°F (-20 to 65°C) -4 to 149°F (-20 to 65°C)
Dimensions (WxHxD) 3.9 x 6.5 x 6.2" (9.9 x 16.5 x
15.7 cm)
3.9 x 6.5 x 6.2" (9.9 x 16.5 x
15.7 cm)
Weight 4.73 lb (2.15 kg) 4.98 lb (2.26 kg)