Western Digital My Book Live Duo 4TB review
Sunday, May 27, 2012
I've recently bought the Western Digital My Book Live Duo 4TB. Yea, I know, it's a mouthful.
It is also ridiculously expensive. At SGD $509, it's not really some thing a person would buy everyday. Unless of course, you need something like this.
What this product is, is essentially an external storage. However, it's meant to be connected to your network so that anyone within your home network will be able to access the files.
NAS: Network Attached Storage
This is called a NAS.Of course, it's on a consumer level so surprisingly, even though it's expensive, it's reasonably priced. Higher end consumer levels can go up to $1,000. Small business NAS can easily go beyond $1,200+. (for similar capacity)
My reasons for getting this is fairly geeky/technical, so I shan't talk about it for this article. I would, however, talk about why you might need such a product.
Do you share files with other devices in your home frequently?
Do you want to watch your videos on your TV?
Do you want a centralized place to backup your data?
Do you want to simplify backing up of your computers?
Do you want to give multiple users access to the same files?
If your answer is yes to any of the questions, or if you're just plain curious, read on.
Given the nature of complexity in this area of topic. I'm kind of lazy to write a guide about how to use it like a normal reviewer would, but I would just talk about my experiences with this.
I bought the 4TB duo version. Which means that this product actually has two 3.5" hard drives inside, 2TB each. There's a reason why you might want to get one with 2 drives instead of 1.
This device supports RAID 0 and RAID 1 configuration.
RAID 0 means you get full capacity, in this case 4TB.
You will get extra speed from that configuration. However, it does not offer and redundancy at all. Which means that, if either of the drives fail, you will lose all your data because the it needs both to function.
RAID 1 means that you get half the capacity, in this case 2TB.
That is because the data is being mirrored from one hard drive to the other. If one fails, you can still continue to use the other one as per normal. You just need to buy a new hard drive, put it in and it'll work it's magic again. It's the most expensive way to implement redundancy, but also one of the safest.
note: RAID 0 or 1 only works with a minimum of 2 hard drives.
As a geek, I opted for RAID 1. I cannot afford to let my system or files fail on me should I need it at any time. Although losing 2TB worth of capacity is heart wrenching, but it's a far better option than the chance of losing 4TB worth of data.
Performance is a very important criteria when it comes to NAS. This device has an Gigabit ethernet port, so the link speed between the router and the NAS would be 1Gbps if your router supports it.
When I was transferring my files, the average speed ranges between 23~40 MB/s. Which is pretty respectable for a tiny device like this. Of course, if you opted for RAID 0, the speed would be 70++ MB/s. That kind of speed is usually not needed in home networks though. Unless you really need it.
The software is fairly intuitive, not really that hard to get around. However, it is a little bit frustrated for a more advanced user like me. Though simple, the interface doesn't offer enough advanced options, which stops me from implementing higher level networking features.
I must stress that I'm just a more advanced user and by no means an expert regarding this area. If you are an expert, (I really don't know why you're reading this then), but the NAS is running a Linus OS. You can SSH inside as root and change, download new modules and plug in as a feature. To my greatest regret I simply do not have the skill nor confidence to mess with a $500 device like this.
The interesting thing about this device is that it can be used remotely, away from your house. So you can just go online and use it as if you're at home. There is also an iPhone and Android app for it.
Here's the good news, it works.
Here's the bad news, it's extremely slow.
I really don't know if it's because of the limit of my network, or because of the internet connection of the place I've been at. Navigating through the drive is alright; downloading files is slow, but workable; but it's impossible to stream videos from it.
At home however, I've succeeded in sharing files with any wifi enabled device and the TV streams from it effortlessly.
Overall it is respectable what it can do. As a NAS it performs excellently, as a remote networking storage, it's down slope all the way.
It doesn't make any noise, it doesn't get too hot, setting up is easy.
I would give it a 7/10 overall.
It's a good performing device as a NAS for that price. (which is the most important part)
However, the sluggishness of remote access and the lack of advance controls reduce it's appeal to advanced users.