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Western Digital shows off a Thunderbolt hard drive at Macworld | iWorld 2012

Hard drive storage company Western Digital was in attendance at Macworld | iWorld 2012 last week showing off its MyBook Thunderbolt Duo setup. The unit is a two-drive box that can hook up to your Mac through the Thunderbolt port, and it's Western Digital's first entry into the protocol.

As you might imagine, using Thunderbolt means the transfers are much faster. Western Digital's rep said that while a transfer of 6 terabytes (the drive will likely debut in 4 or 6 TB models) would normally take up to 6 days to completely write over, the Thunderbolt drives can do it in six hours. That's big news for backup fans, who are very much awaiting WD's new models.

The drive we saw was only a prototype model, and official pricing or release information hasn't yet been announced, unfortunately. But the units on display at the show had two built-in Thunderbolt ports, which actually allowed them to be daisy-chained off of the iMac on display. That means that users can either run the drives in Raid 0 or Raid 1 configuration, either using the two drives as one storage unit, or allowing one drive to back up the other. Additional units can then be added on to the setup -- the display at WD's both had three such units all hooked together, allowing for 18 TB of storage total, or any number of splits across those drives for backups.

It was all very impressive, though again, WD hasn't yet announced plans for release. We should see these drives hitting the market later on this year, however, so we'll stay tuned for that.

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