WD makes portable backups better with Thunderbolt RAID

Need secure backups on the go, or maybe just the faster portable drive you can find? WD has you covered with a world first Thunderbolt dual-drive, making RAID possible in the field.

Launched this week, the WD My Passport Pro is an industry first, resulting in a 2.5 inch portable external hard drive that features two drives inside, and relies on the Thunderbolt technology commonly seen on the Apple iMac, Macbook Pro, and even the big daddy, the Mac Pro.

“Thunderbolt technology makes new approaches possible for high-performance workflows,” said Jason Ziller, Intel’s Director of Thunderbolt Marketing.

“By combining dual storage drives on a portable, bus-powered device, the My Passport Pro from WD is a uniquely powerful storage solution with high capacity for today’s demanding users.”

But it’s not just two drives in a box. There’s more to it than just two drives in a box, with some silicon, a fan, and some special sauce WD has developed to make this work well for people who demand performance and security in their devices.

“One thing WD is looking at is not just producing a drive and throwing it in a box,” said Simon Whitford, WD’s Senior Regional Marketing Manager for the Asia Pacific region.

“It’s designed for the creative professional that has an expensive camera and needs extra storage for backup, and also wants to save time.

“This is an engineered solution,” added Whitford, telling GadgetGuy that “it’s been fairly stringently developed to meet Apple and Intel’s demands in regard to quality.”

To cement this degree of quality, the drives are encased in aluminium and include diagnostics software, as well as easy to use hard drive setup for designating the drives as RAID.

Now, it’s not the sort of “RAID” that you’ll be using as fly spray, though, so don’t expect this gadget to crush some bugs.

Rather, WD’s portable drive utilises the technology known as “RAID” to let you use two hard drives at once. The term actually comes from “Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks,” but everyone in the industry just calls it “RAID” since the paper the idea comes from is from the 80s, and acronyms are so much easier to recall.

That said, the WD external solution uses two drives in the external solution, and you can either make use of both for more storage with your files split up across both at the same time resulting in faster transfer speeds, or let the hard drive mirror the files in real time, backing up your media to two hard drives at once.

The regular Passport drive is one of these silver strips, but there are two on this unit. Two strips, two drives. Easy.

Whether you need the fastest transfer rates across lots of space or prefer the security of a second copy of your data backed up, the WD My Passport Pro seems to be built for either, but you will need a Mac to make it work.

Currently, the WD dual-drive solution is more or less for Apple Macs, and only those with a Thunderbolt port, as the portable drive has the cable built into the unit.

“We see it more in the creative professional space, [and] that’s why we’ve gone down this track,” said Whitford to GadgetGuy.

It’s not just about creative types relying on Macs more than their PC counterparts, though, because Thunderbolt isn’t as commonly seen on PCs. To date, we’ve only heard of a few models sporting the Intel developed connection, and we’re not even sure if any have ever landed in Australia.

Still, it’s possible the drive could work on these, but with PCs relying far more on USB 3.0, that’s something this drive technology just isn’t compatible with, and Whitford told us that this has to do with USB’s power requirements which are different from Thunderbolt’s.

So that means only Mac users can make use of the WD My Passport Pro, but given how many Macs are in use by photographers, videographers, animators, and anyone else who needs their data backed up on the go, we’re sure there are plenty of these out there.

WD’s My Passport Pro is hitting stores across Australia now, with a recommended retail price for $499 for the 2TB version (two 1TB drives in the one case) and $649 for the 4TB version (two 2TB drives in the one case).