We started up a two terabyte external hard drive from Western Digital last week. Yes, we know that hard disk drives are going to become extinct and be replaced by flash memory chips, but until then – what a deal this is!

This drive is one in a series called “MyBook,” by Western Digital. We have the “Studio Edition II” version, which comes with either one or two terabytes of capacity. A terabyte is a thousand gigabytes; a gigabyte is a Western Digital MyBook thousand megabytes. Two terabytes is enough storage to hold more than 400 standard DVDs. That’s a pretty big film library that could sit there in one brushed aluminum case.

It will take years for flash memory drives to match this kind of capacity, and longer still before they match it for the price. We used to be in awe of reaching a benchmark of paying one dollar for a gigabyte of storage. That was pretty impressive; it meant you could store 200 million words for a dollar. But we found the drive for $500 at NewEgg.com. This works out to just 25 cents a gigabyte. Now, that’s cheap.

Aside from its huge storage capacity, we liked three more things about this drive:

One was the heavy duty case, and another was that it required no drivers. Just plug it into a Mac or Windows computer and the drive was recognized and ready to go. The third good thing was that the back of the drive had four connection ports, two for fire-wire, one for USB and one for eSATA. This last would take some lengthy explanations, which we’re not going to go into here. Suffice it to say that it works with computers that have special eSATA sockets and permits several disk drives to be chained in series and yet still provide nearly instant access to each.

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