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New drives are on the way from WD, the company that many of us grew up to that used to be called “Western Digital” and are now simply referred to by that two letter moniker.

Things have certainly changed over the years that WD has been making hard drives, and not just the name of the company, as developments have been made in capacity sizes and speed of access, all the while reducing the physical sizes of the hard drives themselves.

Colourful hard drives make the desk a happier place. In theory.

Colourful hard drives make the desk a happier place. In theory.

This year, WD is spinning up its hardware team again for some more changes to one of its more popular lines, the My Passport Ultra, a series of drives that allows people to take storage with them without needing to plug themselves into a wall, which is what the larger My Book drives require.

Most of what people know about the Passport drives hasn’t changed, that said, and they’re still a fairly small external solution with a USB 3.0 port to provide speedy transfers up to 625MB per second (or 5 gigabits per second) provided you’re connected to a USB 3.0 port on the computer.

We’re told, however, that WD has increased the size up to 3TB in the notebook drives, something that is new, and will even be including support for encryption this year, relying on a password that will work on Mac or Windows.

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“With more photos being taken than ever before, it’s critical to have a high capacity, reliable external storage solution that you can carry everywhere,” said Tony Tate, General Manager and Vice President of Content Storage Solutions at WD.

“The latest generation My Passport drives deliver an easier automatic back-up experience, hardware-based encryption for security and higher capacities than ever before.”

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As per usual, WD will be making two sets of the drive, with one formatted for Mac available in the “My Passport for Mac” and one formatted for everything else in the “My Passport Ultra”. That said, we suspect the two will technically be the same, with the only differences being what is printed on the casing and what operating system the drives have been formatted to work with out of the box.

That being said, the prices are exactly the same, with a 1TB model fetching $110, a 2TB version for $170, and a 3TB notebook drive grabbing $300. Availability for these drives is now, but the 3TB variant won’t make its way to stores until sometime in June, so if you have a lot of files to backup, it might be worth looking at these when they hit store shelves in a few weeks.

The difference between the PC drive on the left and the Mac drive on the right is that the one on the right is formatted out of the box to work on a Mac. And it has "for Mac" written underneath the model name. Because differences matter.

The difference between the PC drive on the left and the Mac drive on the right is that the one on the right is formatted out of the box to work on a Mac. And it has “for Mac” written underneath the model name. Because differences matter.