External Storage: Terabyte Drives Compared

Read/Write Throughput

All the external hard drives we tested deliver USB 2.0 throughput of up to 32 MB/s for reads and up to 40 MB/s with FireWire 1394a. The b-standard of FireWire offers twice the bandwidth on paper (800 Mbits/s rather than 400 Mbits/s), but we haven’t been able to come close to that in the real world.

The eSATA results prove that the hard drives aren’t the bottleneck when trying to get more FireWire 1394b performance, and eSATA performance also is the interface where the competitors differ most. Seagate reaches the throughput offered by its 1 TB Barracuda 7200.11 drive, which is 107 MB/s. Western Digital seems to use its Green Power drive in the My Book Home—this becomes clear when we compare throughput of the My Book Home with the results of our WD Caviar Green Power review.