WD announces USB 3.0 external hard drives

— 4:52 PM on January 5, 2010

We said earlier that USB 3.0 devices were few and far between. That's still true, but the situation is showing signs of improvement. WD has announced two My Book 3.0 external hard drives that make use of the new interface.

The My Book 3.0 is launching with a 1TB capacity both as a standalone product (for $179.99) and in a bundle with a PCI Express Gen2 USB 3.0 adapter ($199.99 total). WD says a 2TB model will follow later this week, too; the WD store listing quotes a $279.99 price tag for it.

According to WD, you can order My Book 3.0 external hard drives right now from either the company's store or "select retailers." All My Book 3.0 drives come with two years of warranty coverage.

Incidentally, thanks to the backward-compatible properties of the USB 3.0 interface, these drives should work happily in USB 2.0 ports—just at regular USB 2.0 speeds. We recently compared the performance of a hard drive connected via USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and a conventional Serial ATA interface. The USB 3.0 connection proved over three times faster than USB 2.0 and generally even with Serial ATA, although it did fall behind SATA in our read burst speed test. Still, that's nothing to sneeze at.

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