WD My Passport Ultra 500GB

WD My Passport Ultra 500GB WDBPGC5000ARD USB 3.0 Drive Review

  • Introduction
  • Its been a while since I’ve done external drive reviews with WD drive, but there wasn’t much to update since their earlier My Passport variants…. and then came the ‘Ultra’ version.

    WD is pitching this drive which comes with 500GB, 1TB and 2TB storage space variant (so far) with their automatic and cloud (via drop box). We’ll take a look at their Smartware firmware and the performance of their drive.


  • Packaging and Specification
  • IMG_4484IMG_4485IMG_4495


    There are some companies (not just storage drive manufacturers) that bother putting warranty period on the box. WD, Seagate and few others still maintain it. It’s a good thing that the newer models still stick to that, but on an unrelated note they need follow this practice on internal hard drives as well.


    This time WD provides a small pouch with the drive. The drive that I got comes with a cherry red (?) plastic casing which seems the bit thinner. Along with it, you get an instruction manual and a USB 3.0 cable.  WDBPGC5000ARD comes with red coloured casing, ABK version comes in black, ABL comes in blue (more of a matte shade version of blue) colour and ATT comes in grey finish/Titanium.


    Just to note, USB 3.0 is backwards compatible (duh!) with USB 2.0, but in this case WD has mentioned the USB 2.0 separately. Now, I know that they’re trying to point out that fact out for most end users, but they could have simply mentioned that it has backwards compatibility. Not that I am whining about it.

    And it should be a surprise for North American buyers is that unlike before where they get only 2 years warranty, now along with other continents they also get 3 years warranty support. I am not sure if this is only for Ultra, but it’s a good point to note nevertheless.


    WD uses their 5000LMVW 5400RPM drive viz. seemed to be used WD My Passport Edge, atleast as far as what I could find in Google. This model’s internal drive version is not available.

  • Initial Impressions
  • _MG_4503_MG_4510


    There’s nothing much to say. WD thankfully got rid of the gloss finish a long time ago, and they’re sticking with it. The base as 4 small rubber feet and next to the USB 3.0 port there is a pinhole type white LED power indicator.

    This drive comes with Smartware Pro backup solution. As said before, it comes with a feature to use it to backup files in Dropbox as well.

  • WD Smartware Pro
  • 12


    Installation was effortless.



    The WD Pro allows only 3 activation, each activation comes with a key with 2 activation each. The first main activation doesn’t need the key to be inserted.


    As said, WD Backup allows the backing of data to either My Passport Ultra or to Dropbox.



    The backup is nothing more than a media backup, but also has made a backup of certain media files such as FRAPs logs.


    There are 3 WD applications that runs in the background,and one of them is for live backup. However, this does not put much stress in the memory, disk or CPU processing at all, irrespective of the amount of backup it does.

  • Test Bench and Testing Methodology
  • You get 465GB of usability space on this drive.

    It gives me great pleasure to say that I get hardware support from the manufacturers to review not only their own products, but others on behalf of the readers. Its some companies such as Asus, Gigabyte, Kingston, Western Digital and Coolermaster who give me hardware support by updating my test rig no strings attached and that helps me to help you! Thumbs up to these guys!

    I would like to thank

    • Gigabyte India for providing Gigabyte 890GPA UD3H Rev 1.0 motherboard
    • Asus India for providing Asus 990FX Sabertooth motherboard
    • Kingston Taiwan for providing hardware support with memory kits and SSD drive.
    • WD India for providing WD 300GB HLFS Velociraptor Hard Drive.
    • Coolermaster India for providing Coolermaster GX450 RS-450-ACAA-D3 Power Supply


    Test Setup for:WD My Passport Ultra 500GB WDBPGC5000ARD USB 3.0 Drive
    Motherboard+ ProcessorGigabyte 890GPAUD3H Rev 1.0+ AMD 965BE
    MemoryKingston KHX1600C9D3P1K28G HyperX Genesis 8GB 1600MHz DDRIII
    Primary OS driveWD 3000HLFS Velociraptor 300GB/WD 320GB BLUE 320AAJS
    Power SupplyCorsair TX750

    The Benchmarks that I am using are as follows:

    AS SSD (Pass 3) Read and Write (Pass 3)

    ATTO (Pass 3) Test File Size= 0.5 to 8MB- Read and Write Pass 3

    CrystalDisk Mark Benchmark with Pass 3, each with 5 re-runs 1000MB File Size

    HD Tune Pro Sequential Write and Read Pass 3

    Transfer Tests 1.27GB zip file transfer test; 11.34GB ISO Transfer; 98.39GB Assorted Movie Folder Transfer; 1.34GB Assorted Photo folder Transfer

  • AS SSD Benchmark
  • Although this drive is used for AS SSDs, the tests in these give a good idea of Sequential, 4K Aligned, 4K Aligned with 64Bit thread test and the Access time of the hard drive using incompressible data.




  • ATTO Benchmark
  • ATTO



    The drive performs head-to-head against backup plus 1TB only when it comes to up to 8MB file size, but other others take over after that.

  • CrystalDisk Mark Benchmark
  • CDM



  • HDTune Pro Benchmark
  • hdtread




  • Transfer Tests


    When it comes to large files, ISO or folder transfer, WD My Passport Ultra 500GB takes even more time compared to its My Passport Essential 500GB counterpart.



  • Conclusion

When it comes to larger file transfer, the WD My Passport Essential 500GB is quicker. But on the bright side, the Smartware Pro doesn’t consume a lot of processing power unlike certain live backup solution in the past. Still, large file transfers could be bit better. If you don’t mind waiting for about couple of minutes depending on the size of the bulk transfer it shouldn’t be an issue for a lot of people.

On another bright side, North American users get to enjoy 3 years of warranty period. As far as the drives I’ve tested so far, ADATA provides  3 years warranty to all continents.

India U.S.U.K.

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