WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo
Fast file store
Geek Treat of the Week The My Book Thunderbolt Duo contains two Western Digital 2TB or 3TB Caviar Green drives in its now familiar hardback-style silver chassis.
There are only two interface ports on the back, and they're both Thunderbolt so while you can include the My Book as a link in a chain of Thunderbolt devices, it’s not for you if you don’t have the necessary interface, or need USB, Firewire or eSata too.
So far, only Macs come with Thunderbolt ports, so the WD drives come formatted as HFS+ and configured as Raid 1. But an included Mac OS X utility allows you to change that to Raid 0 or JBOD. The utility also allows you to perform a Smart (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) status check and various other diagnostic tests.
There’s no fan inside - the My Book uses WD’s chimney-style ventilation to push warm air out through vents in the top - so it’s reasonably quiet. In use, it’s pretty nippy too. I tested the 4TB version using QuickBench 4 and found that for files between 20MB and 100MB, it recorded an average write speed of 197.8MB/s and an average read speed of 208.7MB/s.
That’s around three and a half times faster than a Firewire 800 drive, but slightly slower than other Thunderbolt hard drives, such as LaCie’s 2big Thunderbolt. It’s also significantly slower than Elgato’s Thunderbolt SSD.
The My Book’s flexibility and the fact that you can easily swap drives yourself should you need to make up for the marginally slower speed. If you’re in the market for a capacious Thunderbolt drive, it’s well-worth considering. Just remember that you’ll have to budget for a Thunderbolt cable on top of the price of the drive. ®
Geek Treat of the Week is published every Monday. Got a handy or fun gadget in mind you'd like us to consider? Please let us know
More Geek Treats
|Adonit Jot Flip||
So, just the sort of lightweight who passes for PC Support these days then?
"Yes, there is a v. small sector out there that really needs super-fast external storage, but it's really very small."
But I assume you're willing to admit that "really very small" is still greater than "non-existent", right? Ergo, there are people who will be interested in the combination of speed and capacity this device can offer.
The device in this review is very clearly aimed at such a "really very small" market, hence its niche pricing. Why do you (and so many other readers) have such a big problem with that? Nobody's forcing you to run out and buy the bloody thing! What the hell are you all afraid of that's got you on the defensive?
Please show us how you can get an "average read speed of 208.7MByte/s" from a server connected with 1Gbit/s Ethernet? (which has a top theoretical speed of ~ 100MByte/s, in reality much less)
The whole talk about NAS and servers is completely irrelevant here, this is for people who want VERY fast storage.
"But I assume you're willing to admit that "really very small" is still greater than "non-existent", right?"
Of course. If I were really arguing that there is absolutely no-one out there that this would suit I would certainly say so. I wrote a whole paragraph on who it would suit and why. So I'm hardly masking that. What I'm saying is that many who might think it suits them, would be better off with a solution that I proposed, or at the very least getting something that supports more than just the minority Thunderbolt interface. I'm also saying that this is very expensive for something so lmited (in terms of capability, expandability, range of scenarios that it is better suited for than something else cheaper). I'm not "afraid" or "on the defensive". I don't know how or why you read things like that into my commentary. I just think that most people who buy such a thing are spending more than they need. If it suits your needs and it's actually worth £450 - £550 - and I said this earlier - then go buy it. I'm just questioning how many people such a device really suits. IMO, not that many. I think it's overpriced given how limitied in application it is. Sure. I'm not saying no-one ever will find it useful.
And that's not "being afraid", btw. That's having an opinion.
"Ermm, those of us who are not geeks, numpties or nerds (ie normal people with a normal life)"
So people who wouldn't be posting on a NAS review discussion on a Bank Holiday Monday morning, for example?
Okay, my original comment was slightly tongue in cheek but not entirely. I would expect El Reg's readership to be mostly okay with putting in a home server rather than a thing like this. It offers advantages only to a very specialist group in comparison to an actual home server and for significantly more money and with significantly fewer capabilities. I miss-called it above: it's not even a NAS, having no network capability. It's basically an external drive with a Thunderbolt interface. Yes, it can transfer a 25GB file in maybe 2 minutes, rather than say 4 minutes for USB 3, but (a) I don't think that's a big deal and (b) it's at the cost of using an interface which isn't very common and isn't likely to become a standard either.
And before anyone takes the argument that just because something isn't a big deal to me, doesn't mean it isn't a big deal to someone else, I do some graphics and video work and whilst most of it is under 5GB, rather than 25GB, the files are huge enough that transfer speed is an issue. But if I'm going to be working on something 25GB in size, well, the two minute difference isn't going to concern me. The moment something falls outside the 'click it and it opens' category, I plan around it. If I'm working on a 25GB file, I drag it to my local system (which already has 3TB of data in RAID-1 (6TB disk space total, just to be clear), get my drink or whatever else I need to do before I start work, and then work faster than even Thunderbolt would let me from the internal disks.
Yes, there is a v. small sector out there that really needs super-fast external storage, but it's really very small. The rest are just people who like big numbers. The most that most people will do is serious graphics editing where you might get image files of 50MB (I have image files that sort of size lying around). Over 1Gb/s network, they take a few seconds to open which is a tiny fraction of the time I'm likely to be working on them.
So I see this only really for people who want to do serious, serious video-editing or want to physically transport the files easily and are sure they wont be encountering any systems that don't have a Thunderbolt interface (which is most).
That's a legitimate sector, sure. And if someone falls into that sector and wants to spend over half a grand on this, then fine by me. But for anyone else who wants to physically carry files around and save some money and gain wider support at the same time, get a USB 3.0 device for less. And if you don't want to be carrying the files around with you places, have a home server which can be expanded to have massively more storage, will still be plenty fast enough and can do a lot more besides.
I just don't see this being a good buy for most people.