Western Digital Demonstrates Its First Thunderbolt Drive

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Western Digital is showing their first Thunderbolt drive at this week’s Macworld Expo. Julie Wiesen, Product Line Manager, told us more about the drive, and gave us an impressive demonstration of its performance.

The My Book Thunderbolt Duo accepts two standard 3.5-inch SATA hard drives, with the unit we were shown having two 3 TB drives. It can be configured as either RAID 0 (striping) which makes the two drives appear as a single 6 TB drive, or RAID 1 (mirroring) which writes content to both drives, providing protection if a drive fails, but resulting in 3 TB of storage. Each enclosure comes with two Thunderbolt ports, which allows them to be daisy chained to provide better performance than a single device.

Western Digital My Book Thunderbolt Duo Daisy Chain

We were told that a single unit could achieve throughput of about 250 MB/sec. To put this in perspective, transferring 6 TB of data via USB 2.0 would take about 6 days, whereas transferring the same about of data via Thunderbolt would take about 6 hours. We were then shown the demonstration system, which consisted of four My Book Thunderbolt Duo units connected via daisy chain, and using RAID so they appeared as a single drive to the Mac. Using Black Magic Design Disk Speed Test, we observed a maximum write speed of 643 MB/sec, and a maximum read speed of 771 MB/sec.

The My Book Thunderbolt Duo will be available in Q1 2012.  Pricing has yet to be determined.