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)
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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  • BillT2014 - Monday, July 14, 2014 - link

    I've never before heard that a raid1 component drive might not be universally readable. All the controller is supposed to do is make the two drives identical. A single component of the RAID should be readable by any other system that supports that filesystem.
  • jamyryals - Monday, July 14, 2014 - link

    Would this, or something similar from another manufacturer, work connection to a USB 2.0 port? I would like to use this connected to an older machine, but I don't really want to add a USB 3.0 adapter card. If the device slowed to USB 2.0 speeds that would be fine.
  • celestialgrave - Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - link

    How hot did the drives get? Did the fan ever have to spin up to full speed? How would you characterize the fan noise?
  • BillT2014 - Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - link

    Still waiting for an explanation of this sentence:

    " Inserting the removed disk into a PC's SATA slot didn't show the stored data (as expected, since this is hardware RAID)."

    This defies all sense. RAID is RAID whether it is software or hardware. Maybe the reason the drive wasn't readable is because it was a RAID 0 component? That would never be readable as such under any circumstances. But a RAID 1 drive should always be readable.

  • BillT2014 - Friday, March 27, 2015 - link

    The final sentence also defies everything we know about RAID:

    "Potential areas of improvement, however, include support for hot-swapping drives and provision for data recovery from a RAID 1-member drive directly connected to a PC."

    The reviewer ought to know that if a RAID 1-member drive, directly connected to a PC, is not recoverable, then the problem is the reviewer, not the drive.

    One might wonder if the reviewer was unwittingly testing a RAID 0 member?

    These issues should be addressed and the review should be corrected. It's amazing that it has stood so long like this.
  • yeub - Sunday, March 29, 2020 - link

    thanks for much for the post

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