Introduction

Even as the consumer NAS market continues to experience rapid growth, it is impossible for consumers to have really fast access to data when the storage is bottlenecked by the speed of their network link. Single hard disks, by themselves, can hardly saturate today's high-speed direct-attached storage (DAS) interfaces such as eSATA, USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt. Users needing fast transfer rates (while maintaining the higher cost-effective capacities that hard disks provide) need to go in for RAID solutions. These tend to perform well for certain common workloads such as multimedia handling.

Earlier this week, we took a look at LaCie's high end 2-bay RAID DAS, the 2big Thunderbolt 2. It integrated both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 2 as connectivity options. At $800 for a 8 TB version, the pricing carries a premium for the Thunderbolt connectivity. USB 3.0 is, in a way, the poor man's Thunderbolt. With a focus on the average consumer, Western Digital launched the My Book Duo USB 3.0 DAS with hardware RAID capabilities a few weeks back. We got the 8 TB version in for review. The detailed specifications of the unit are provided below.

Western Digital My Book Duo WDBLWE0080JCH
Internal Storage Media 2x 4 TB 3.5" WD40EFRX Red Hard Drives
Interface 1x USB 3.0 + 2x USB 3.0 (Downstream Hub)
RAID Modes RAID 0 / RAID 1 / JBOD
Cooling Fan behind the front face at the base of the unit
Power Supply 100-240V AC Switching Adapter (12V @ 3A DC)
Dimensions 165 x 157 x 99 mm | 6.5 x 6.2 x 3.9 in.
Weight 2.24 kg | 5.0 lbs.
Included Software
  • Acronis True Image WD Edition
  • WD SmartWare Pro
  • WD Drive Utilities / WD Security
Product Page Western Digital My Book Duo
Price $450

 

Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology

Evaluation of DAS units on Windows is done with the testbed outlined in the table below. For devices with USB 3.0 connections (such as the My Book Duo that we are considering today), we utilize the USB 3.0 port directly hanging off the PCH.

AnandTech DAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard Asus Z97-PRO Wi-Fi ac ATX
CPU Intel Core i7-4790
Memory Corsair Vengeance Pro CMY32GX3M4A2133C11
32 GB (4x 8GB)
DDR3-2133 @ 11-11-11-27
OS Drive Seagate 600 Pro 400 GB
Optical Drive Asus BW-16D1HT 16x Blu-ray Write (w/ M-Disc Support)
Add-on Card Asus Thunderbolt EX II
Chassis Corsair Air 540
PSU Corsair AX760i 760 W
OS Windows 8.1 Pro
Thanks to Asus and Corsair for the build components

Full details of the reasons behind choosing the various components in the above build, as well as the details of our DAS test suite can be found here.

Hardware Aspects and Setup Impressions
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  • PEJUman - Saturday, July 12, 2014 - link

    it's also only $100 if you factor the 2 x 4TB reds in it worth $350. Reply
  • fteoath64 - Sunday, July 13, 2014 - link

    If you put it that way, then $100 for the enclosure, PSU and controller board would be reasonable, so it is a good buy if a DAS suits your needs using USB3 only interfaces with the added value of a hub tossed in as extra!. Reply
  • fteoath64 - Sunday, July 13, 2014 - link

    Clearly this is a DAS as opposed to a NAS that you would like to expect. Totally different kettle-of-fish!. Reply
  • Cerb - Sunday, July 13, 2014 - link

    Um, OK. Is there any reason why it can't connect to your router or Plex server? While the review is a little ambiguous, there's no mention of needing added OS-specific drivers just to see the drives, so it *may* work with [most USB UMC enabled] routers just fine. Reply
  • Zak - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - link

    OK Reply
  • darwinosx - Sunday, July 13, 2014 - link

    You couldn't test it on a Mac too? With all the Apple articles Anandtech does? I'd like to know about the Mac software and performance. Reply
  • name99 - Sunday, July 13, 2014 - link

    What problem do you want to solve on a Mac?
    This will give you a single glob of 8GB storage with minimal config, but you're paying for that convenience. That's fine, but there are cheaper and/or higher performing alternatives.

    If you're willing to do just a little config, for the same sort of price you could buy
    - a USB3 hub
    - a 256GB external USB3 SSD
    - two USB3 4TB hard drives
    You could then use Apple SW RAID to stripe the HDs together, and use CoreStorage (using the commandline diskutil command) to fuse the SSD to the striped RAID. What you'd have will give you the performance of this box for throughput, but with the zippiness of SSDs for the random access. I have a system like this (although put together from substantially older equipment --- an old 64GB SSD and two REALLY old 300GB HDs) and it works astonishingly well given the age of the equipment, especially the HDs.
    Reply
  • darwinosx - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    I am already using two USB 3 drives and carbon copy cloner. I want a more minimal solution. Interesting solution with SSD but I don't need speed for a backup solution. Reply
  • DanNeely - Sunday, July 13, 2014 - link

    AT authors work remotely (and live all over the world) so there isn't a single shared testbed, nor can they easily loan hardware back and forth for testing. Since Apple doesn't donate hardware to build testbeds, the only authors who have Apple devices to test with are those who've bought Apple computers with their own money for personal use. Reply
  • darwinosx - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Anandtech has plenty of Macs availalbe which is really obvious. Reply

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