Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
One of the most essential tools in a Mac user’s arsenal is an external drive for backing up all that irreplaceable data, and the space wars are hard-fought battles, with manufacturers trying to deliver the best drives with the most features for the lowest price. Western Digital’s My Passport Studio and Iomega’s Helium are both worthy contenders, but in this battle for speedy data transfers there can only be one winner.
Right off the bat, it’s easy to see which product is geared specifically for Mac users. While both drives come Mac-formatted out of the box, the My Passport Studio offers both USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 connections. The Helium connects only via USB 2.0 and uses up two USB ports-- one for data and one to power it up-- which is inconvenient, especially for laptop users. And clearly, if you’re using a MacBook Air andneed external storage, there’s no way you’d even be able to connect the Helium drive-- the included cord isn’t long enough to reach the Air’s two USB ports.
Both hard drives match the Mac’s aluminum aesthetic.
Iomega’s Helium also fell a bit short in our benchmarks. We tested both via a USB 2.0 connection to keep a level playing field. Both are 2.5-inch, (probably) 5400-rpm drives-- Western Digital would not confirm the speed-- and the Iomega clocked in at a write and read speed of 26MB/s and 34MB/s, respectively, while the My Passport Studio hit 30MB/s and 34MB/s write and read speeds.
Both do well for back up. The My Passport Studio comes with hardware encryption-- it lets you set up a password to access the drive individually-- and because of its FireWire port, it’s a better fit for backups, especially on a Mac with limited ports. The Helium has 256-bit AES software encryption, and you can use it as a Time Machine drive and back up 2GB of data for free with the MozyHome online backup service.
The bottom line. While both the Western Digital My Passport Studio and Iomega Helium are affordable storage solutions, the only way to truly avoid the waiting game is to go with the former’s included FireWire 800 connection and faster write and read speeds.
My Passport Studio
Price: $139.99, 500GB; $159.99, 750GB; $199.99, 1TB
Requirements: USB 2.0 or FireWire 800 port
Pros: FireWire or USB 2.0 connectivity. Ability to daisy chain additional drives. Great read and write speeds.
Cons: Gets hot because of its aluminum chassis.
Price: $99.99, 500GB; $149.99, 1TB
Requirements: 2 USB ports
Pros: Affordable large capacity.
Cons: Uses 2 USB ports. No FireWire connectivity.