WD launches dual SSD/HD drive and 4-bay My Cloud storage

Western Digital has announced a $299 hybrid drive that combines a 120GB SSD and a 1TB HD in a single drive slot, plus My Cloud NAS storage systems with one or four drives

Western Digital's new Black² dual drive puts a 120GB solid state drive (SSD) and a 1TB hard disk drive (HDD) into a simple package that can be used to upgrade notebook PCs, all-in-one systems and small desktops that only have one drive bay. The WD Black² dual drive fits a standard 9.5mm 2.5in bay and connects through a single cable.

WD Black2

In conventional systems, users have a choice between the high speed of SSD and the large storage capacities of hard drives. Having both usually means using two drive bays.

WD says in a press statement: "Utilizing the benefits of both flash and magnetic disks, WD Black² dual drives offload data usage from the SSD to the HDD, which increases endurance and life of the SSD. Users maintain greater data control, which can eliminate the need and expense of cloud-based storage."

Earlier WD hybrids used the hard drive for storage and the SSD for frequently used data. The Black² allows users to choose where they store things.

The SSD has 120GB of accessible storage rather than 128GB because some is reserved for memory management and other internal functions.

However, WD warns that "some notebook chassis may not have sufficient room to install the dual drive due to interference near the connector". Also, "some notebook systems may not provide sufficient power to the attached drive".

The US suggested price for the drive (WD1001X06XDTL) is $299. It works with Windows PCs, but not with Apple Macintoshes.

My Cloud storage

wdfMyCloudc (200 x 200)
WD My Cloud

Separately, WD has announced a four-bay version of My Cloud, its personal cloud storage system, and that the one-bay My Cloud -- launched in ther US last month -- is now available in the UK.

My Cloud is a small NAS (Network Attached Storage) device that resembles My Book and My Book Live external hard drives. Although there are many NAS devices, WD appeals for speed and ease of use. It is aimed at home users and "creative professionals" but may also be suitable for home-based workers and small offices.

Once a My Cloud drive is plugged into the network, it can be accessed locally or remotely by iOS and Android apps on mobile devices, as well as by PCs. It also remains private and under the user's control. When unencrypted data is stored online, it may be scanned and its contents reported to government agencies. (In a recent case, a US citizen was raided and arrested after storing two pornographic images of children in Google's Picasa. While this can be applauded, there are no guarantees about whatever else might be found and reported.)

My Cloud is available in 2TB, 3TB, and 4TB versions. Storage can be expanded by plugging an external hard drive into its USB3 port.

The My Cloud EX4 version (below) has four drive bays and is available with 0TB to 16TB of storage for creative professionals, workgroups and small businesses. It also has an USB3 expansion port, includes redundant power supplies and Ethernet ports, and supports RAID. WD says it can run applications such as aMule, Icecast, Joomla, phpBB, phpMyAdmin and SqueezeCenter.

The suggested retail price ranges from $379.99 with 0TB of storage to $1,149.99 with 16TB.

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WD My Cloud EX4. All photos courtesy of Western Digital