WD My Book Live Duo NAS device

A 4TB network attached storage device that offers simple remote data access

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews (2)
  • Buy Now 7
Western Digital My Book Live Duo NAS device
  • Western Digital My Book Live Duo NAS device
  • Western Digital My Book Live Duo NAS device
  • Western Digital My Book Live Duo NAS device
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5
  • User Rating

    2.50 / 5 (of 2 Reviews)

Pros

  • Very easy to install and use
  • RAID 1
  • Easily removable drives

Cons

  • Web access needs some fine tuning
  • Drive door a little too loose
  • Android app didn't work on our HTC Rhyme

Bottom Line

The WD My Book Live Duo houses two hard drives and offers data redundancy in addition to spanning. It's a simple NAS device to install and use; best of all, if you want to access your data remotely, you don't have to know anything about networking to set this up.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 7 stores)

  • Wd My Book Live Duo 4tb Personal Cloud Storage ... 399.00
  • Wd Caviar Red 3tb 3.5 Internal Hard Drive Sata ... 155.30
  • Wd Red 3tb Sata 3.5 Nas Hard Disk Drive Hdd Wd3... 176.00
See all prices

Western Digital's My Book Live Duo is the two-disk version of the company's My Book Live network storage solution. Western Digital calls these drives "personal cloud storage" because they offer an easy way for users to access their own data (which could be stored at home or in the office) from anywhere on the Internet. As far as ease of use is concerned, the Duo can be set up without any fuss, even if you have very little knowledge of networking.

The My Book Live Duo is a Gigabit Ethernet-equipped storage unit that comes pre-installed with two 2TB 'Green' hard drives (a 6TB version with two 3TB drives is also available for $799) and they are not stuck in the case forever. A spring-loaded door at the top of the unit opens up to expose another door that is held in place by a butterfly screw. Simply undo this to open the door and pull out a drive if you ever need to replace one. The two drives in the Duo are set up in a spanned mode by default, which means that you can use the entire 4TB capacity to store data.

You will have to re-configure the drive in RAID 1 mode if you want to make your data redundant — RAID 1 will mirror data on both disks and you'll only be able to use up to 2TB for data storage. This means that if one of the two drives ever fails, you won't lose your data and you'll be able to re-build the array after installing a replacement drive of the same capacity. If you plan to use RAID 1, set it up before you start using the drive to store your data. It only took 3min to convert the drive to RAID 1, but then the array had to be rebuilt, which means it had to copy the contents of the first drive to the second (even though the first drive was empty) to mirror the drives. This rebuilding can take many hours, but the unit is still usable during this time.

WD My Book Live Duo 4TB review

Put the drive into RAID 1 mode if you want to make your data redundant and decrease the chances of losing it.

If you don't want to use RAID 1 to keep your data safe, you can plug in a USB drive to act as a back up device for the Duo. You can use either the supplied backup software for this, or Windows' own built-in backup utility, or Apple TimeMachine. Any USB drive you plug in to the Duo can also be shared across your network.

The My Book Live Duo is a Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) device, which means that it shows up as a storage device in Windows 7's networking section and you can simply right-click its icon and click 'View device webpage' to launch its Web interface. It's one of the most simple and well laid out interfaces of modern times, but it is sometimes a little slow at implementing changes. You can change the aforementioned RAID array from the Settings-Storage section of the menu; you can enable media streaming from the Settings menu, too, and the device is DLNA compatible and also capable of acting as an iTunes server. You'll need to go into the Settings-Remote Access section of the menu to enable the functions that allow the Duo to be accessible over the Web or through a mobile phone or tablet.

To access the Duo over the Web, it's a matter of creating a WD 2go account. The instructions in the Duo's Web interface tell you how to create this. When it's all said and done, you'll receive a confirmation email to the address that you entered during the setup and it will provide a link that you can click through to visit the WD 2go login page. If you're already a WD 2go user, you will be able to use your existing credentials to access the new drive in addition to any older drives you may have.

WD My Book Live Duo 4TB review

Setting up remote access through the Duo's Web interface.

If you want to access photos and music from the Duo from your mobile phone or tablet, then you will need to download the WD 2go app, which is available for both iOS and Android (version 2.1 and above). You'll need to authenticate your phone or tablet with the Duo, and this can be done from the Remote Access section of the Settings menu, which gives you a code to enter in to your device. However, we could not get the app to work with our HTC Rhyme phone. We received a message saying that the app was incompatible, despite the Rhyme running Android version 2.3.5 (the app requires 2.1 or higher). We faced the same problem with the My Book Live. It worked fine with the iPhone.

To transfer files over the Internet, you need to log in to WD 2go, click on your drive, and open your desired, shared folder in Windows Explorer. You might run into a few screens that warn you about expired security certificates while you do this, which you'll need to allow in order to use the site. Western Digital representatives tell us that it's an issue they are working on, but it's unknown when it will be fixed. You'll also need to make sure your computer is running Java.

WD My Book Live Duo 4TB review

The WD 2go Web site.

Once you open a folder in Windows Explorer, the remote drive is mapped to your system and you can access it through My Computer as easily as a locally-connected drive. You are able to drag and drop files to and from the shared folder as long as you have the rights to do so. Creating shared folders and users on the drive is very easy to do; simply create the folder and place a check mark next to all the users that you want to access that folder if it is to be private. Double-check to make sure write access is enabled in order to allow users to copy files onto the drive.

WD My Book Live Duo 4TB review

Setting up shared folders on the Duo.

We like the Duo because it's not necessary to know anything about networking to make files accessible over the Internet. There is no need to know about ports, firewalls and dynamic DNS services, the Duo basically does all the hard work for you. The main downside is that files can take a long time to transfer over the Internet from the Duo to your remote location, depending on how fast your Internet upload speed is. For many of us on ADSL2+ connections, the maximum upload speed is just below 1Mbps (megabit per second), which equates to 125KBps (kilobytes per second), which means a 100MB (megabyte) file can take up to 15min to transfer. In reality, our file transfers took much longer — a 175MB AVI file took almost 40min to transfer.

There is no way to share links to files with friends over the Internet, so you'll still need to make use of services such as Dropbox or Trend Micro SafeSync, for example, to allow others to access your files. Western Digital calls this a "personal cloud device", which means that it's your data, in your own "personal cloud", that you can access from anywhere if you choose. As mentioned though, it can be slow going for large files if your upload speed is not super-fast.

Overall though, the Duo works well as a network attached storage (NAS) device on a local network and it's extremely simple to set up for remote access. If you're a networking novice with aspirations of accessing your home data remotely, it's worth looking into. But it's also worth looking into even if you just want an easy NAS solution to stream files to media players and share data with all your computers.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Philip Harvey

1

I have the 6TB version of the WD MyBook Live Duo and I agree with most of the review. As a Macintosh user I performed an 'initial' Time Machine backup of 420GB from my MacBook Pro and it took about 4 days, far slower than I was expecting. I am hoping future incremental backups will be much faster. I monitored most of the backup procedure and I detected bursts of 60MBps during which maybe 200 - 400MB of data was backed up. The bursts were followed by pauses when nothing appeared to be happening. I suspect larger files are backed up with greater efficiency than small files.

I also agree with the comments concerning WD 2go. It is easy to use one ones browser has been setup to ignore the Certificates error. However, once again the file transfer rate over the Internet is not fast. If the files are small, there is no problem. However, if the files are large, several hundred MB (say), it could take tens of minutes or even hours to transfer the data.

Overall I like the WD MyBook Live Duo and it has more pros than cons. What I don't understand is why it was delivered with disk spanning active (1x6TB) when most(?) users would probably prefer RAID 1 (2x3TB). It took almost 9 hours to perform the conversion and rebuild.

ktony

2

I am running a MBL Duo 4 TB model, in mirrored, RAID 1 mode. My computer is an AMD FX 8350 CPU on an Asus Crossfire V Formula-Z board with 32 GiB RAM, and an Intel 82583V Gigabit NIC. I run Windows 7 Pro 64 bit.

I have yet to test the remote capabilities. However, I have run quite a few tests on LAN transfers over a G'bit network. Based on these test I have one major recommendation to anyone who wants maximum performance with this unit: use FTP. Following are my results for downloading and uploading ~9 GiB of Camera RAW files between the MBL Duo and a 1 TB Velociraptor drive which is on a SATA 3.0 connection and is not used for Paging File, etc. Results were recorded with the Speed Meter part of the Networx application.

Transferred with Filezilla 3.7.1.1
9.3 GB, 512 Camera RAW files MBL Duo to/from VRaptor

INCOMING
Current Transfer Rate 75.9 MB/s
Average Transfer Rate 77.9 MB/s
Maximum Transfer Rate 97.7 MB/s

OUTGOING
Current Transfer Rate 34.9 MB/s
Average Transfer Rate 34.1 MB/s
Maximum Transfer Rate 55.2 MB/s

As you can see, downloads are more than twice as fast on average as uploads. These are still much quicker than the results I have seen a number of people online complain of.

With Windows copy via Explorer the results are substantially slower:

9.3 GB, 512 Camera RAW files MBL Duo to/from VRaptor

INCOMING
Current Transfer Rate 43.5 MB/s
Average Transfer Rate 52.2 MB/s
Maximum Transfer Rate 62.0 MB/s

Outgoing
Current Transfer Rate 25.6 MB/s
Average Transfer Rate 30.2 MB/s
Maximum Transfer Rate 37.2 MB/s

I haven't yet tried system backup either with Windows Backup or WD Smartware. I haven't done a Safepoint snapshot of the NAS, either, so I can't comment on those speeds. When I have time I will run those, as well as transfers with mixed large and small files.

Martin

3

I am very interested to know how you achieved thise speeds. I am copying tranfering with no more than 3 mb/s.

The setup is the mbl duo linked to a linksys wrt54g router and transferring data wirelessly to my pc. I get no more than 3 mb/s. And that is with ftp. Windows explorer transfers are a bit slower.

Bill

4

Martin,

I am surprised you are still using a wrt54g. They were great in their day but are a huge data transfer bottleneck now. Please shxxcan that router and join the rest of us in the 21st. You will thank yourself later.

ferry

5

just wondering if i have MBL duo with 6TB can i upgrade or downgrade to 8TB or $TB?
anyone can help me?

Post new comment

Users posting comments agree to the PC World comments policy.

Login or register to link comments to your user profile, or you may also post a comment without being logged in.

bk

0.0

1

Pros
RAID1
Cons
Reliability
• • •

My Live book duo has died a week after purchase. What's a point to have HDD redundancy if the electronics inside the unit is so unreliable? Stay away from it. You may think that because of "Duo" your data is safe but it is not!

The Man

5.0

2

Pros
Everything
Cons
Nithing
• • •

Shit hot

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?