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I can connect the drive via USB and it mounts correctly. However, when I connect via FireWire, the drive powers down.

The drive realizes that it is plugged in. When I plug in via FireWire, the lights on the front of the drive flash the same as when it it mounting via USB, but then the drive powers down. I've upgraded the firmware on the drive, but it still won't mount via FireWire.

Edit: After a relatively painless RMA process, I got a new drive from Western Digital and it is working on my Macbook via FireWire.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Probably because WD uses really cheap bridge chips in their re-branded enclosures. Or you could have a busted FireWire port.

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It's looking like the former. I'm getting the same behaviour on my wife's machine too. I'm going to run over to the Apple store today just to verify that the FireWire port is good, then it's back to Costco with this drive when/if it is. – Ryan Olson Mar 1 '10 at 15:46
WD drives are great. WD consumer products are terrible. Your best bet is to buy the OEM drive you want and drop it in the $30 enclosure of your choice. – Hasaan Chop Mar 1 '10 at 20:50

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