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Windows 7: Western Digital Drives: Elite vs Essential vs Element

25 Jul 2010   #1

Western Digital Drives: Elite vs Essential vs Element

Dear guys,

new thread.

I just returned from Best Buy, looking for a simple 2 TB drive.

I gave up.

Looked at Western Digital, SeaGate, Iomega and a few others.

Boiled it down to one manufacturer, to keep comparisons possible.

So i looked at Western Digital Drives , 2 TB. This is what they had stocked:

WD 2 TB "Elite" : $ 199

WD 2 TB "Essential" : $ 179

WD 2 TB "Element": $ 169

I stood there for 20 minutes, with two other customers, and a clerk (who actually appeared to have a clue) and based on the micro-small-font on the box, accompanied by the micro-small font on the Best Buy shelf label, it was not obvious what the differences were / are.

I discovered a 4th flavor of hard drives , WD 1 TB "Passport" and was eventually able to figure out that "Passport" means that the USB cable between the laptop and the external drive does dual duty as the data link *and* the power , where as the "Element", the "Elite" and the "Essential" all have separate power lines that you plug into your wall. OK, that's good, i get it.

But as for figuring out the differences between the "Element", the "Elite" and the "Essential", all WD 2 TB external drives, we all (all 3 customers) gave up and decided to go home and buy it on Amazon (which i plan to do next, after i conclude this rant !!! - ps why is the g** d*** font so small and why can't the manufacturers make the KEY PRODUCT PARAMETERS OBVIOUS on the front of the box so that cusomters who need their product will figure out what it is EASILY and then give them their money.......??? who runs these companies???). And i'm young, healthy and got 20/20 vision !! (ok, rant REALLY over).

I am grateful for discovering this great group, and thanks in advance for your intelligent, unemotional and enlightened replies !

jm : )

My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jul 2010   #2

W10 Pro desktop, W10 laptop, W10 laptop, W10 Pro tablet (all 64-bit)

It would be nice if they made it clear on the packaging what the differences are. Here's a link to the WD website that shows a table of the features. Looks like the major differentiation is what software is included. External Drives Overview
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jul 2010   #3


Other then different bundled software, the Essential has a Illuminated capacity gauge - See at a glance how much space is available on your drive, and the Elite has a Smart display - Create your own personalized drive label to remind you of what's stored on each drive. You can even view the label when the drive is unplugged. The display also includes available capacity and security status.

The speed will be the same on all 3 drives because it's USB 2.0 (480Mbps Max)

My System SpecsSystem Spec

25 Jul 2010   #4


Dear MK2, thanks for the reply.

are you saying that this data transfer speed is good ? or bad ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jul 2010   #5

W10 Pro desktop, W10 laptop, W10 laptop, W10 Pro tablet (all 64-bit)

He's saying the xfer speed for all of the models will be the same, gated by USB 2.0 speed of 480MBs. You'd need to go with with drives that support eSATA or USB 3.0 to get faster xfer speeds.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jul 2010   #6


thanks. pardon my newbie question, but are you saying that USB 3 is better and therefore an important parameter when looking for a Hard Drive, or was it just a point of clarification

thanks man,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jul 2010   #7

W10 Pro desktop, W10 laptop, W10 laptop, W10 Pro tablet (all 64-bit)

USB 3.0 is definitely faster but if your computer doesn't support USB 3.0 then it's a moot point. You should get whatever your computer supports.

If your computer is brand new it might support USB 3.0. If it's no more than 2-3 years old it might support eSATA. OLder than that it will most likely support USB 2.0. If it's really old it might only support USB 1.1.

According to the HP website your computer supports eSATA and USB 2.0.

HP Pavilion DV7-1275dx Specs
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jul 2010   #8


There's a nice offer on Amazon at the moment on the Western Digital My Book Studio II
a 2TB (2x1TB) external HDD with USB 2.0, Firewire and eSata connections.

It has 2 1TB drives wich can be set in raid 0 with the full capacity of 2TB, wich virtually doubles the speed of the drives.
If speed and only more space is the most important thing and you have your important files backed up somewhere else you could go for raid 0.

You also can set it in raid 1 wich gives data redundancy (the data will be written to both drives) you then only have 1TB available but are better protected against hard drive failure. It can be set to make automatic backups.
The speed will be roughly the same as using one drive.

You can find the specifications here: My Book Studio Edition II 2 TB Hard Drives ( WDH2Q20000 )

You can find the offer here: Western Digital My Book Studio II USB 2.0/FireWire 400/FireWire 800/eSATA Desktop External Hard WDH2Q40000N: Electronics

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jul 2010   #9

Windows 10 Home Premium 64bit sp1

@jm1996a just for the record i dont think any single sales person at best buy has a clue about what the components do or the differnces i have witness more then once a best buy employee failing to know his product

the sad thing in all of this is most people dont know either and let someone like that talk you into a more expensive but less effective product ifi were you jm1996 a a respectable opinion from this site all the difference then taking advise from a wouldbe salesperson
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Western Digital Drives: Elite vs Essential vs Element

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