Western Digital My Book Live Duo 4TB review
Western Digital's My Book Live Duo is one of the most compact 4TB NAS devices around, measuring just 165x157x99mm, and styled with the familiar black plastic curves of the My Book range. Despite its small size and the fact that it comes fully loaded with a pair of disks, it's easy to open up. A button on the top of it pops open the lid, giving you access to the NAS's metal chassis, which is held shut with a tool-free screw. This makes it easy to access and replace the drives.
The Live Duo comes with a Windows software CD that detects the NAS on your network and asks you to assign a drive letter to it, before installing the WD Quick View utility. WD Quick View lets you keep an eye on your My Book's status via an icon in the notification area. The wizard then gives you the option of browsing the NAS's shares, going to its web interface to carry out further configuration, and installing and configuring backup utilities, such as WD SmartWare, Windows Backup for Windows and Time Machine for Mac. The WD SmartWare backup utility lets you choose how many versions of your backed up files you wish to retain, select the directories you wish to back up and back up your files when your PC’s idle, but, unlike Windows Backup, it doesn't let you precisely schedule your backups.
The web interface makes it easy to set up a personal cloud or stream media files via DLNA
The NAS is functional as soon as it’s connected. It's configured as RAID 0 by default, and there's also a very handy web configuration interface that lets you easily set up shares, users, view your backups and more. Different users can be assigned either full or read-only access privileges. Elsewhere in the settings, you can set up email notifications and alerts that are sent to a maximum of five email addresses so that you know if anything goes wrong, and you can also configure the length of time the NAS must be inactive before it enters sleep mode. You can also check for and automatically schedule firmware updates.
Enabling extra features, such as the NAS's FTP server, is easy, and you can set up remote and mobile access to your 'personal cloud’. This is web-facing storage that you can access from a mobile app or a web browser on another PC. You can also enable iTunes or DLNA streaming of audio and video files stored on the NAS. A USB port on the back lets you add extra storage, but the My Book Live Duo sadly can't act as a USB print server. When you connect a USB drive, an icon appears in the top bar of the NAS's web interface to indicate its presence, and it'll appear as an available share when you browse the NAS using your computer's file manager.
We tested the NAS device's read and write speeds in both RAID 0 and RAID 1 mode. RAID 0 is, as you’d expect, the faster of the two, having an average large file transfer speed of 32.8MB/s and a small file speed of 11.1MB/s. RAID 1, which keeps your data secure by mirroring it across a redundant array, produced a large file transfer average of 32.8MB/s and a small file transfer average of 9.9MB/s. These speeds are among the best we’ve seen from a ready-to-go NAS device, but it is outdone by some enclosures. It’s also cheap, with its 4TB of storage averaging just 7p per GB.
Even though it can’t be used as a print server, the My Book Live Duo 4TB’s sound performance in our speed tests, friendly interface and very reasonable price make it our Best Buy.
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