Remember those innocent days when a humble cassette tape more than met our computer entertainment needs? As more and more of our lives have been digitized, our storage requirements have risen at almost the same rate as our impatience at waiting for files to travel from one place to another. Western Digital offers some relief with the announcement that it has upped the storage capacity and data transfer capabilities on its popular My Passport Essential, My Passport Essential SE and MyBook Essential external drives. In addition to offering up to 3TB of space for keeping digital memories, media, photos and files in one place, the range now also features USB 3.0 connectivity.

All of the new offerings benefit from Western Digital's SmartWare software for continuous automated backup and password protection. They've all been NTFS formatted for Windows, so any Mac users will need to reformat. Western Digital says that the inclusion of dual USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 functionality means that "when connected to a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port, consumers can transfer data at speeds up to 5 Gb/s."

The company's smallest portable drive at 0.6 x 3.2 x 4.3-inches (15 x 83 x 110mm), the updated My Passport Essential version is available in 500GB capacity and a variety of colors and carries a suggested retail price of US$99.

The slightly chunkier (0.7-inch/18mm) My Passport Essential SE offers a slightly more capacious experience, with the 750GB unit being priced at US$129 and the 1TB version costing US$169.

There are four capacity options available for the 6.5 x 5.3 x 1.9-inch (165 x 135 x 48mm) MyBook Essential drive, starting from 1TB for US$129 up to 3TB of storage for US$249.

The USB 2.0-only versions are still available too and come in a greater variety of storage sizes.

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