WD My Passport Edge

Back in 2011 we reviewed the WD My Passport Essential 500GB USB 3.0 portable hard drive and found it to be an amazing product that worked as advertised. Western Digital introduced its newest version of the My Passport line of portable hard drives with the debut of My Passport Edge in September 2012. The My Passport Edge still features 500 GB of storage and a USB 3.0 interface for fast read/write speeds, but it uses a faster hard drive and the enclosure has been updated. Let's dive right in!

WD My Passport Edge Portable Hard Drive

Western Digital currently offers the My Passport Edge portable hard drive in just one capacity, 500GB. The My Passport Edge comes in a model for PCs and another for Mac. Both drives are virtually identical other than the formatting and software that comes on them(NTFS for PC and HFS+ for Mac), but there is also a price $10 difference. The WD My Passport Edge for PC runs $89.00 shipped and the My Passport Edge for Mac is $99.00 shipped.  The drive that we are looking at today is a WD My Passport Edge for PC and it has model number WDBK6Z5000ATTNESN. WD only offers this drive in one color, so picking one out is pretty easy.

WD My Passport Edge  Portable Hard Drive Bundle

Inside the retail box you'll find the portable hard drive, 1.5-foot USB 3.0 cable, warranty card and the Quick Install Guide. WD lists that the WD SmartWare software, WD Security and WD Drive Utilities are included in the box, but don't freak out when you can't find the software disk as the software is already on the portable hard drive.

WD My Passport Edge Portable Hard Drive Bundle

Flipping the My Passport Edge over we see that Western Digital placed four rubber pads on the bottom to keep the portable hard drive from sliding around the surface that you place it on. The designers of this enclosure obviously know that, and made indentations in the housing for the feet to sit down into. The back also lists the part number, serial number, where it was produced (Thailand) and a whole bunch of logos that don't mean much to the general public.

 

WD My Passport 2TB Portable Hard Drive Bundle

Western Digital went with a grey plastic casing on the My Passport Edge that is adorned with a circular pattern and the WD logo and product name. The My Passport is quite small and measures in at just 110mm x 81.6mm x 12.8mm or 4.34" x 3.21" x 0.50" with a weight of 4.8 ounces. The finish on the My Passport appears to be semi-gloss and it does not show finger prints and smudges.

WD My Passport Edge Portable Hard Drive Bundle

Rotating the drive to the other side we can see the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port and just to the right of that there is a hidden white LED activity indicator light. Even if you don't have USB 3.0 today you can use this drive and then down the road when you invest in a PC that has USB 3.0 it will work and actually be faster. Western Digital says that the transfer rates will be up to 3x faster with USB 3.0 over USB 2.0 on the My Passport. Since the WD My Passport uses a derivative of a notebook hard drive it gets it power from the USB port, so no power adapter needs to be plugged into the wall. This means the only cable that you need to bring with you when traveling is the USB 3.0 cable that comes with the drive. 

As you can see the WD My Passport Edge has a sleek, ultra-slim design that makes transport easy and convenient. Let's fire this drive up and take a look at the backup software as that is the main reason you are likely looking into buying this drive.

The My Passport Backup Software

The first time you install the WD My Passport Edge 500GB drive into a USB port it will be automatically detected by your PC just like a traditional flash drive and you can open it up and look at the contents.

WD My Passport Drive Contents

On the drive WD already has five folders and an application that you can run to setup the supplied WD software. The folder titled 'User Manuals' has PDF files in numerous languages that have a 77 page user manual that goes into great detail on how to use the My Passport. If you don't want to use any of the WD software you can delete the 176MB worth of files and use the drive how you see fit.

WD My Passport Essential

If you run the WD Apps Setup executable, you'll begin installing all the WD Software.

WD My Passport Essential

You have to accept the EULA.

WD My Passport Essential

After you accept the license agreement you get to select which of the three software features that you wish to install.  By default WD has them all set to install. The WD Drive Utilities is a program that allows you do erase, perform diagnostics and also a registration page to register your device. WD security allows you to place passwords and to encrypt your files. WD SmartWare is needed for automatic and continuous backup of all your files.

We've installed all of these utilities before, but for this review we will focus on just the WD SmartWare utility.  You might only need this as well if you never plan on taking the My Passport out of the house, so no passwords are needed.  Sure, someone could break in and steal it and gain access to our data, but that risk might be worth it to some. Some people buy a small portable drive like this to easily fit inside a wall safe or a special hiding spot.

WD My Passport Essential

The installer will then install the selected software to the primary drive on the system you are using.

WD My Passport Essential

After that the setup wizard is complete, but don't think you are having your data backed up as you just installed the application and didn't actually setup the backup software.

WD My Passport Essential

Now that the WD SmartWare application is installed you can open it and when you do you'll see the GUI above pop open. You must click on the My Passport drive in order to get to the backup menu.

WD My Passport Essential

Once you highlight the My Passport Edge, you can then click the backup tab and do a category backup. It will automatically backup your key files or you can click on advanced view you can enable and disable the six categories if you don't want to back them all up for some reason.  The software program places your files with certain extensions into one of six general categories when backed up. They are documents, mail, music, movies, pictures and other.

WD My Passport Essential

It is important to note that the WD My Passport Essential doesn't backup your operating system or installed software/games and you can't select specific folders to backup.  If you wanted to do a complete file structure backup or be able to select what folders you wanted to backup you'd have to purchase a 3rd party solution for that. The included WD SmartWare utility is aimed at backing up your general day to day items.

WD My Passport Essential

The screen you don't want to ever find yourself on is the the retrieve screen, which is where you go when you need to get files from a backup.

WD My Passport Essential

You can change the retrieve folder by going under the settings tab. You can also change the number of backup versions to keep for each file under file history (default is 5) and the preferences. Our drive came with WD SmartWare version 1.6.2 and we were able to automatically update to version 1.6.4 by allowing the utility to check for updates.

WD My Passport Essential

The final tab is 'help' and there you can find the answers to most of your basic questions on how the utility works. Now that we know what the software looks like we can get to testing.

Test System and Drive Info

Before we look at the numbers, here is a brief glance at the test system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. All benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running.

Intel Z77 Test Platform

Bottom 140mm cooling fan

The Intel Z77 platform that we used to test the WD My Passport Edge portable hard drive was running the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe motherboard with BIOS 408 that came out on 4/12/2012. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 1866MHz memory kit was set to 1866MHz with 1.5v and 9-10-9-27 1T memory timings. This mainboard uses both an Intel and ASMedia USB 3.0 controller for the USB 3.0 headers. We ran driver version v1.0.4.220 (4/16/2012) on the Intel controller and ASMeda driver v1.14.3.0.  We tested on both controllers, but found that the performance results were the same as the performance bottleneck was the hard drive and not the USB 3.0 interface.  

Intel Z68 Test Settings


Intel Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

Intel Core i7-3770K

Motherboard

ASUS P8Z77-I
Click Here

Memory

16GB Corsair Vengeance
Click Here

Video Card

Intel HD 4000

Click Here

Hard Drive

Kingston HyperX 480GB

Click Here

Cooling

CoolIt Eco II 140mm

Click Here

Power Supply

Corsair AX650 Gold

Click Here

Operating System

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit

Click Here

Detailed Information with HD Tune Pro 5.00:

HD Tune Pro 5.00 Info

I fired up HD Tune Pro to take a look at the health of the drive and to see the drive attributes. I noticed that the drive features a 1MB alignment out of the box on a NTFS file system. I also noticed that WD is using a 5400 RPM 2.5" SATA notebook hard drive inside with 8 MB of cache and firmware version 01.01A01.

Detailed Information with CrystalDiskInfo 5.0.5:

CrystalDiskInfo

I also fired up CrystalDiskInfo and it showed basically the same information, but I know some readers prefer one over the other, so both were included.

Performance w/ CrystalDiskMark and ATTO

CrystalDiskMark v3.0.2c

CrystalDiskMark is a small HDD benchmark utility for your hard drive that enables you to rapidly measure sequential and random read/write speeds.

1000MB Files Test Benchmark on the My Passport Edge 500GB:

CrystalDiskMark v3.0 Benchmark

With the latest USB 3.0 drivers installed on our test system we were seeing the WD My Passport Edge 500GB USB 3.0 portable drive reached 122.9 MB/s read and 121.1 MB/s write in the sequential test. Not bad performance numbers from a 5400 RPM notebook hard drive, but we are clearly limited by the hard drive and not the USB 3.0 interface.

ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.47

ATTO is one of the oldest hard drive benchmarks that is still used today. ATTO measures transfers across a specific volume length. It measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes and places the data into graphs that you can easily interpret. The benchmark was run with file sizes from 0.5kb through 8192kb with the total length being 256mb.

ATTO Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The WD My Passport Edge 500GB USB 3.0 drive hit 123 MB/s read and 120 MB/s write, which are solid performance numbers once again.

HD Tune Pro 5.00 Benchmarking

HD Tune Pro 5.00 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

Read Performance Testing

HD Tune File Benchmark

Benchmark Results: The WD My Passport Edge 500GB portable drive had an average read speed of 92.2MB/s with a burst speed of 165.0MB/s and an access time of 16.74ms. The read performance is fairly linear and started out at 120.2MB/s on the outer edges of the platters before slowing to 54.4MB/s on the inner sectors.

Write Performance Testing

HD Tune File Benchmark

Benchmark Results: The WD My Passport Edge had an average write speed of 87.9MB/s with a burst speed of 149.9MB/s and an access time of 14.9ms. These are great write performance numbers!

File Testing

HD Tune File Benchmark

Benchmark Results: The file benchmark results look good with ~110 MB/s writes for most file sizes over 16KB. Our real world testing and file backups bounced around a bit, but for the most part were between 75-100MB/s. The drive also felt warm to the touch during use, but never got much hotter than 32-34C during use.

Free Space and Final Thoughts

WD My Passport 2TB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Actual Capacity

Taking a look at the capacity of the WD My Passport Edge 500GB USB 3.0 portable hard drive we see that in Windows, there is 465GB available to the user as reported by Windows. This is with the applications and folders that WD shipped with on the drive. The WD software and users guides take up about 176 MB of space.

WD My Passport 2TB Portable Hard Drive

The Western Digital My Passport Edge is an easy to use portable hard drive that also happens to look good and is affordable. Backing up your data is a must in this day and age and the the WD My Passport Edge for PC makes what can be a painful task very easy!  Having a ready-to-go pocket hard drive is nice for backing up files!

When it comes to performance the WD My Passport Edge is quicker than the WD My Passport Essential that we reviewed in 2011.  The My Passport Essential 500GB drive had 71MB/s read and 49MB/s write speed averages in HD Tune. The new My Passport Edge 500GB drive has 92MB/s read and 88MB/s write speeds thanks to the updated notebook hard drive being used inside the plastic housing.  This is a significant performance increase and a welcomed one as we all like things to get done quickly!

When it comes to pricing the WD My Passport Edge 500GB USB 3.0 portable external drive can be found for  $89.00 shipped. This breaks down to about 18 cents per GB for those that like to factor in cost per GB. Not a bad price for a 500GB drive, external USB 3.0 housing, a USB 3.0 cable and the backup software. A Western Digital 500GB Scorpio Blue 2.5" notebook hard drive runs $69.99 shipped, so you are getting quite a bit more for an additional $19. The WD My Passport Edge comes backed by a 2-year warranty that covers both parts and labor.

The Western Digital My Passport Edge is a great portable drive and we found no flaws with it. The My Passport Edge, like pretty much every new product, was found to be faster and thinner than the product it replaces. You usually can't go wrong with that model and we can easily recommend this product for any user that wants to backup their files.


Legit Reviews Recommended Award

Legit Bottom Line: The WD My Passport Edge is a great portable hard drive that quickly backs up files and is small enough to fit in your pocket!