WD My Book Live Duo 6TB
Western Digital, www.westerndigital.com
Easy setup; simple setting controls; versatility with remote access via DLNA and iOS apps; quiet operation
Slow video streaming
$799.99 (6TB); $599.99 (4TB)
When it comes to your digital media, there’s no such thing as too much storage. With four or six terabytes packed into the My Book Live Duo, Western Digital has created an easy way to boost your Mac’s hard drive space. Designed as a network hard drive for both Macs and PCs, the My Book Live Duo promises remote access for all your files.
We reviewed the 6TB model and found that setting it up was painless. We simply connected the drive to power and to our router via an Ethernet cable, then installed the software on our Mac. The toughest part of the whole operation was finding another power point next to the router to plug it in, as there’s no inbuilt Wi-Fi.
WD offers the option to use the My Book Live Duo as a single 6TB storage device, or as two 3TB drives in a RAID 1 array for security. Switching between the two options is easy through the browser-based menu system, although it’s not something you’ll want to change after you’ve started loading up the drives with files.
On an empty device switching to the RAID formation took about 25 minutes, with hours and hours on top of that for rebuilding the drives.
While all that extra storage is nice, the most impressive aspect of the Live Duo is that the content stored on the hard drive isn’t locked in there. Because it’s connected directly to your router, it’s possible to access your photos, videos and music from pretty much anywhere there’s an internet connection, via a dedicated iOS app or a simple web browser.
You have to manually enable each device you want to allow remote access to your files, which is a good thing for file security. Remote access from a browser also requires a password,
meaning your personal files aren’t open to public scrutiny – unless you want them to be, as you can switch password protection off. The iOS app, however, requires a special code to work, although fortunately it offers a step-by- step walkthrough of the process.
The WD2Go iOS app comes in two flavours – a free version and a paid version for $2.99 that allows you to download files to your phone or iPad for offline viewing.
Streaming content from the networked drive is fairly effortless, although the design is a little underwhelming. For example, when streaming a video, the default view leaves a tan-coloured bar across the top of the screen, requiring you to manually maximise the video to view in full screen.
Then there are the speed issues. While accessing documents and MP3 files remotely was efficient enough, video files were not so reliable. Even trying to stream a 24-second, 30MB .mov file took five minutes to buffer. Speeds were practically unbearable with a larger 720p video, even when accessing it over the same wireless network.
For those looking for a simple way to share files throughout the home, the My Book Live Duo also doubles as a DLNA server. Once again the setup process is easy, requiring a single check box to be activated in settings.
Accessing files through a PlayStation 3 was simple, with the WD drive automatically appearing in the PS3’s menu.
Despite heavy workloads with Time Machine backups and acting as
an iTunes server, the My Book Live Duo didn’t get very loud or too hot. It also puts itself to sleep after a predetermined period of inactivity, making it a relatively environmentally friendly option for a networked drive.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice.
Six terabytes for $800 isn’t the cheapest storage solution out there, but WD more than makes up for it with the addition of remote access and redundant backups through a RAID setup. Speed of remote video streaming is an issue, though.