Western Digital My Passport Essential  (Source: Western Digital)

Western Digital My Passport Essential in Pocket  (Source: Western Digital)
320GB My Passport Essential gets all its juice from the USB port

With notebook sales quickly outpacing sales of desktop systems, many computer users are leaving larger desktop computers behind. One of the biggest drawbacks to notebook computers is that they typically lack the storage space you find on desktop systems.

Western Digital announced a new My Passport Essential portable hard drive today. The Essential has 320GB of storage capacity in a small package that is completely powered by the USB bus of a notebook or desktop computer. This means that the drive requires no AC adapter making it much more portable.

Users who don’t need 320GB of storage can opt for 250GB or 160GB versions as well. The My Passport Essential uses USB 2.0 to reach a maximum transfer rate of 480 Mbits/s. The drive is small measuring in at 0.590-inches high x 4.967-inches long x 3.130-inches wide and weighs only 0.231 pounds for the 320GB version.

Western Digital includes WD Sync software that allows users to sync data between their computer and the drive easily. The software synchronizes files from Outlook automatically and encrypts data with 128-bit protection. Google software is pre-installed on the drive as well including Desktop Search and Picasa as well as the Google toolbar. The 320GB My Passport Essential retails for $199.99.

Users of small ultra-portable notebooks like the ASUS Eee PC may find that the added storage capacity of the drive makes using a very small notebook more practical.

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