12.01.2007

Gave up waiting for Western Digital’s 320GB drive – went external instead

Why settle for 320GB sometime in the indeterminate future, when you can have 450GB right now?

Western Digital has repeatedly pushed back shipment of its 320GB 2.5-inch notebook hard drive. When the company announced the WD3200BEVT drive a month ago, they said it was shipping immediately. Then it would be shipping in a week, and then by the end of November. It is still not shipping.

Could I keep waiting? Well, yes – but the 200GB hard drive in my MacBook Pro is full. I’ve had to move "everyday" data onto a desktop external drive, and December and January are heavy travel months for me. That gave the upgrade some urgency.

To make a long story short, I’ve abandoned my plan to buy and install the new Western Digital internal 320GB drive, at least for now. I had been looking forward not only to increasing the capacity, but also improving battery life (the new drive draws less current than my current one) and increasing I/O performance (the new drive spins faster too).

Instead, I’ll try a two-spindle solution, with an external USB-powered Western Digital 250GB Passport drive.

The pros: Total capacity will be a raw 450GB, instead of 320GB, so I can carry even more “stuff.” Plus, I can use it not only to store important data, but also to backup data while I’m traveling. Also, by not swapping the internal hard drive, I'm not potentially harming my MacBook Pro's warranty.

The cons: External drives are a nuisance. If I use it while running on batteries, run time will be reduced. Throughput on USB external drives is significantly slower than those connected to internal SATA buses.

Will I regret this decision? Possibly. Who knows, I might still upgrade to the 320GB internal drive in the future. Since the Passport only costs $149, it’s not a huge gamble either way.

1 comment:

Khat said...

That's exactly my setup except for sizes. I have 100GBs in my MBP and use a 180GB WD Passport drive.

I kept the FAT32 format so I can use the drive with my other OSs and the 2GB file limit hasn't been a problem.

VMs are why I need more space (and I suspect the same for many OSX users) and fortunately VMware Fusion has an option to breakup virtual hard disk files in 2GB chunks so I can store the ones I don't use often on the USB drive. Don't remember if Parallels has that feature.

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Co-founder and editorial director of BZ Media, which publishes SD Times, the leading magazine for the software development industry. Founder of SPTechCon: The SharePoint Technology Conference, AnDevCon: The Android Developer Conference, and Big Data TechCon. Also president and principal analyst of Camden Associates, an IT consulting and analyst firm.