Computers / Hands-on Review

The Thunderbolt-Equipped WD My Passport Pro Portable RAID Storage Device


WD has a long history and solid reputation for crafting unique, convenient, and innovative portable external hard drives for both Mac and PC operating systems. WD is also known for its variety of available internal hard drive options and external multi-drive RAID enclosures. For years, the company’s portable hard drives have helped creative professionals like me safely back up files in the field. I’ve also used previous incarnations of WD’s My Passport portable hard drives to quickly transfer high-definition video footage, high-resolution photos, and large audio files from my laptop to my main workstation.

"...provides hobbyists, students, and creative professionals the protection, storage, portability, and ease of use..."

WD’s cleverly designed My Passport Pro Portable RAID Storage Device provides hobbyists, students, and creative professionals the protection, storage, portability, and ease of use that consumers have come to expect from a WD portable multi-hard-drive enclosure. Formatted HFS+J for Mavericks or Mountain Lion OSX, this WD storage device will integrate seamlessly into your Thunderbolt-equipped Mac computer workstation. I found the WD My Passport Pro Portable RAID Storage Devices exceptionally suited for both the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air laptops.

Available in either a 2TB or 4TB option, both of the My Passport Pro Portable RAID Storage models are equipped with two hard drives that are housed in a durable aluminum enclosure designed to keep your data safe during transport and storage. These WD My Passport Pro models support Mac’s Thunderbolt interface for seamless connectivity between the storage device and your compatible Mac computer. Thunderbolt connectivity in the My Passport Pro allows you to transfer your HD video, high-res photos, large audio files, and other data at rates as high as 233MB/s. More specifically, the 2TB My Passport Pro model supports up to 233 MB/s transfer speeds, while the 4TB model provides transfer rates of up to 230MB/s.

For added convenience, WD’s innovative 2TB and 4TB My Passport Pro Portable RAID Storage Devices feature a clever tethered cable design with an integrated Thunderbolt cable built right into the drive’s exterior shell. Besides saving consumers money by not requiring an optional Thunderbolt cable, this design means that you’ll never have to search for your Thunderbolt cable every time you want to connect the storage device to your Mac for transferring or backing up your files.

"...the portable storage device pulls all its required power directly from your Mac computer’s Thunderbolt port."

Another advantage to the My Passport Pro’s Thunderbolt interface is its bus-power capability, which means that the portable storage device pulls all its required power directly from your Mac computer’s Thunderbolt port. This allows you to power the drive without any other cables. Bus power is always on my checklist when I’m shopping for a portable storage device. With a bus-powered portable drive or multi-drive enclosure, I never have to remember to grab any clunky AC power cords when I head out into the field for a photo shoot. Not needing an AC power cord also keeps the overall weight of my laptop bag down. This also means I have one less thing to worry about as I am packing up before or after a job.

To give you a more tangible idea of how compact the dual drive’s aluminum exterior enclosure really is, I decided to include a brief description of the exterior dimensions and weight of both the 2TB and 4TB My Passport Pro models. The more compact 2TB My Passport Pro Portable RAID Storage Device weighs just a hair over one pound. It is only 1.13 inches thick, only 3.5 inches wide, and a mere 5.6 inches long. Just five years ago, packing this much capacity into an exterior multi-drive storage device would have required a shoebox-sized enclosure that supported at least four drives. Now you can slip 2TB of storage neatly into your laptop bag’s accessory pocket and barely notice that it’s there. Even more impressive is the My Passport Pro’s 4TB model. Although it is slightly heavier, weighing approximately 1.6 pounds, it’s still compact enough to slip into a typical MacBook Air case exterior accessory pocket. The 4TB model is also slightly thicker, at a depth of 1.7 inches. However, the 4TB portable storage device’s width and length are exactly the same as that of WD’s 2TB My Passport Pro model.

I found both My Passport Pro incarnations slid effortlessly into the rather thin interior pocket of the Timbuk2 messenger bag I use to transport my MacBook Pro and accessories. Plus, once all my equipment was tucked away and I threw the bag over my shoulder, I barely noticed the added weight of even the heavier My Passport Pro model. The added bonus of not having to worry about packing an AC power cord or a separate Thunderbolt cable, as indicated above, also made the WD My Passport Pro a truly convenient portable storage option.

WD’s dual drive design in the My Passport Pro allows creative professionals to take advantage of various RAID configurations. This is yet another benefit of the My Passport Pro storage system. Although each My Passport Pro unit ships from WD configured for RAID 0 applications, they all support RAID 1 mirroring, as well. Since RAID 0 allows you to squeeze the most capacity and speed from the dual-drive system, creative professionals can quickly back up files by using the power and speed of both drives simultaneously. Using a RAID 0 setup means you’ll be able to take full advantage of the entire 2TB or 4TB storage capacity of either My Passport Pro model you choose. However, you can also configure the two drives in WD’s My Passport Pro storage device to function for RAID 1 applications as well. Backing up files in RAID 1 will let you mirror whatever you’re backing up on the first drive onto the My Passport Pro’s second drive, as well. Although a RAID 1 configuration will cut the device’s storage capacity in half, it does mean that you’ll be able to create a duplicate file of your work while simultaneously backing up your work files. If one drive crashes, your data remains safe on the other.

"...hobbyists accustomed to working with Apple’s Time Machine system won’t have to change their system-backup habits."

The intuitively designed WD My Passport Pro Portable RAID Storage Device is also compatible with Time Machine, which is Apple’s proprietary backup software application. This ensures that creative professionals and hobbyists accustomed to working with Apple’s Time Machine system won’t have to change their system-backup habits. Plus, each My Passport Pro unit can be used as a speedy boot drive option. This allows you to store your system files on the My Passport Pro’s drives and use the My Passport Pro to start your Mac computer more quickly.

As an added bonus, each My Passport Pro model comes with the security of integrated WD Diagnostics. This feature ensures that your WD My Passport Pro Portable PAID Storage Device performs a S.M.A.R.T. status check on its dual drives before your next job. This gives you the peace of mind to start your file backup or file transfer at each job confidently, knowing the device’s dual drives are ready to go. WD backs each My Passport Pro unit with a three-year limited warranty as well. For more information on either the 2TB or 4TB My Passport Pro model, please stop by the B&H SuperStore in Manhattan or visit us on the web. You can also direct any questions over the phone at 1-800-606-6969 or via Live Chat.

Capacity 2TB or 4TB
Transfer Rate Up to 230MB/s (4TB) / Up to 233MB/s (2TB)
Interface Thunderbolt
Dimensions (2TB model) 3.48 x 5.65 x 1.13" (89 x 143 x 29mm)
Dimensions (4TB model) 3.48 x 5.65 x 1.74" (89 x 143 x 44mm)
Weight (2TB model) 1.01 lb (0.46 kg)
Weight (4TB model) 1.59 lb (0.72 kg)

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My problem is, both my macbook pro and imac cant detect My Passport Pro 4tb. Can someone please provide a hint. I know it is working because it has been detected in other three separate machines. 

Only problem is, for me, that I hate Apple. And without Apple equipment, from what I read here, this device is essentially useless. Yes, there is one thing slightly worse than Apple: Windows 8. I don't use that either. Wouldn't help me in this case even if I did. But the utter silliness of the Windows 8 user interface is the only reason why MACs are having the success right now that they are. You can still buy an Apple Notebook computer that does try to pretend to be a cell phone. In any case, I feel very slighted here by WD. From now on I buy external hard drives and the like from other manufacturers. 

Doesn't try, I meant. Problem with this site is that if you preview, you can't then make corrections and than post.