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My Book Duo 4TB dual-drive, USB3.0  high-speed premium RAID storage Model WDBLWE0040JCH-NESN
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: Nice sized unit, not too large or small and it's very heavy so it's not going to get knocked over very easily.

The drive includes software and utilities for windows and Mac thus no need for a CD which is not included or you can download the latest from WDC's main site.

The front LED is white which is nice for a change instead of the super bright blue that are usually used.

Each drive has it's own LED which will be black unless there is an issue in which case they will turn red alerting you to a problem that needs corrected.

Installation was as easy as plugging in the USB cord, power and allowing windows to install some drivers and it's up and running.

The unit is packed very well in the box which is always good to see. It's not DOA, always another plus.

The drives in this unit are of course WD RED drives which are decent, not the fastest but decent.

Two included USB3.0 ports on the back to daisy chain another My book or another external enclosure.

The Price is fairly decent if you take into account a RED 2TB drive is roughly $100 each thus the unit with raid controller is only $79 currently.

I doubt you will find any external hardware raid unit for that price point from anybody currently.

Made in Thailand, not China!

Cons: WD is a bit misleading on their stats. The unit comes pre-configured for raid0 which is why you have 4TB but you do not have two 4TB drives.

The idea behind backup is redundancy, you do not get that with raid0.

This unit has a built in 50mm? fan but it does not turn on until the RED drives hit 60C! thus the fan will never turn on making it pointless.
[WD confirmed this for me]

WD states the RED drives can "safely" reach up to 60c max which is extremely hot and will really kill the lifespan plus induce errors and bad sectors as the media breaks down.
Not sure I'd trust my critical media to that environment.

That said doing benchmarks and transferring some files I easily had it up to 48C [120F] which I find a bit warm. I could feel the heat rising from the top of the unit and the unit had a slight burning plastic smell.

My Lian-Li case has a top fan and once I put the WD My book Duo on top so it gets some decent airflow through the bottom grills [and out the top] the drive temps dropped to 84F which is so much better for long life. I never planned to have this on top of my case as it is rather heavy to leave on top of a aluminum case long term.

Another issue is the fact there is no ON/OFF switch. You can setup with WD software to have the unit sleep but if you want to physically turn it off and put it aside then your only option once you eject it is to pull the power plug.

The unit has a 2 year warranty which I found odd as the RED drives have a 3 year warranty. The unit should at the least match the same warranty as the drives.

The metal plate that covers the drives I had a slight issue with. In order to remove the drives WD supplies plastic pull taps attached to one of the pins on the back. Not sure how long those might last but they should unless you are constantly pulling the drives out.

The metal plate has a metal tab, it was bent on mine not allowing me to put it back on and screw it down flat so the plastic top would sit flush once snapped down. I had to bust out some needle nosed pliers to fix this.

Other Thoughts: The power supply is not WD made or branded but Ktec which seems to come with all types of external enclosures. If it fails out of warranty it could be purchased.

Read speeds are decent but writes speeds in both raid0 and 1 are quite erratic. It might just be the way RED drives work but it's certainly not a smooth graph as I am used to.

It would be great to see a My Book with raid10 but this would of course double the cost and double the width but you would get the speed with redundancy.

I want to note this unit uses hardware raid which is generally robust with one caveat. You cannot pull one of the drives out and install it into another PC and read the files.

Also with hardware raid if you decide you want to try another version or JBOD the drives will be erased to backup beforehand.

WD just announce RED Pro drives with a 5 year warranty which appear to be faster and even more robust.

I would not be shocked if WD creates a My Book Raid Pro in the future offering those drives with a longer unit warranty.

Overall not a bad external backup solution which a few things that could be improved.

Crystal benches:

Read speeds are decent but writes speeds in both raid0 and 1 are quite erratic. It might just be the way RED drives work but it's certainly not a smooth graph as I am used to.

It would be great to see a My Book with raid10 but this would of course double the cost and double the width but you would get the speed with redundancy.

I want to note this unit uses hardware raid which is generally robust with one caveat. You cannot pull one of the drives out and install it into another PC and read the files.

WD just announce RED Pro drives with a 5 year warranty which appear to be faster and even more robust.

I would not be shocked if WD creates a My Book Raid Pro in the future offering those drives with a longer unit warranty.

Overall not a bad external backup solution which a few things that could be improved.

crystal benches empty

raid0

Sequential Read : 280.368 MB/s
Sequential Write : 227.841 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 310.199 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 213.924 MB/s


raid1

Sequential Read : 213.472 MB/s
Sequential Write : 137.789 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 107.493 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 205.398 MB/s

HDtune read

raid0
minimum 115
maxium 242
average 197

raid1
minimum 62
maxium 151
average 113

HDtune write

raid0
minimum 30
maximum 186
average 145

raid1
minium 38
maximum 139
average 88

READ FULL REVIEW
ASRock Z97E-ITX/ac LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: I'll start by saying this is my first Asrock board and micro for that matter. If you are familiar with full ATX this board it's tiny or in this case mini.

The layout is very nice, little cramped but nothing that will stop you from using the stock Intel heat sink and some smaller but decent aftermarket like Noctua low profile since this is designed with HTPC in mind.

Unlike most ATX boards the SATA plugs are not on the edge but on the board pointing out. Not an issue, my old Gigabyte board was set up that way and cables are easy to bend/route generally.

The ALC1150 with the Nichicon gold audio caps sounds pretty good actually for on-board. The TI headphone amp should help as well for higher end Sennheiser, Beyer, Grado, etc.

Generally the fit and finish is nice, no issues. The backplate fit my Antec case just fine.

I grabbed all the drivers straight from Asrock beforehand and skipped the CD so I could pick and choose what I wanted.

The board did ship with the original bios 1.00 and I updated to 1.10 which was super easy with their instant flash, even more simple then Gigabyte.

The included wireless receiver/bridge is not a gimmick, it actually works quite well. I just had to set it up with my information and it connected to my router and speeds were as good as my Linksys bridge.This is a nice added bonus if you want wireless and saves you some coin in the process.

Asrock has quite a few apps that look interesting. I generally skip most of them but they might come in handy at some point.

M.2 connector on the back of the board, sadly it can only use a 2242 due to length and none exist yet, only 2280 which are almost twice as long.

Cons: This could be an issue for people but it only has one fan header. If you have a standard case with push/pull then you have two fans and it only has a plug for one. There is room on the board, I am sure another or even three could have been included.

Nitpick here but the RST on their site is 13.0.0.1098, the latest from Intel is 13.0.3.1001 so I grabbed it from there.

For the price I suppose including 4 SATA cables [two straight, two right angle] would have been nice but in reality somebody building with this is not going to have 4 drives but maybe two in raid with a blue-ray burner/player so a bit of skimping there.

Packaging, I realize they are trying to keep things small but the board is really jammed into the box with the manual, cd and plate all laying in top and the lid was bulging out.

They might want to add another 1/2 inch of depth. The board itself has foam around it and 4 zip ties, that was very nice and the first time I seen foam padding used to protect the board.

Other Thoughts: Before I put windows 7-64 on it I tried Ubuntu and Mint and had no issues. I have no desire to try 8/8.1 but there are a few settings like secure boot with EUFI you need to be aware of in bios.

The board feels like good quality, everything works so far as intended and setting it up was painless which is what you expect when you get new hardware but not always the case with the latest tech.

The 60A alloy chokes and 12K platinum Japanese caps [probably Chemi-con or Rubycon] might be overkill but better over built then under built.

Only two DIMM slots so a max of 16GB but this is expected for this type of board so it's not a con but should be noted.

Only one PCIE lane [16x]so your somewhat limited. If you want to game then one GPU, a upper end sound card if Realtek is not good enough for you or an add in card [raid controller, etc]

I mentioned the m.2, this can be a pro or con. It's a pro since it will be out of sight, a con if it fails the board has to be removed from the case.

I might seriously consider Asrock for a future build unless I run into issues down the road and change my impression about them.

Build
Asrock Z97e-itx/ac
Intel i5-4570
Mushkin redline 1866
Seagate ES.3 1TB
Seasonic 660XP2
Lian-li PC-7HX

READ FULL REVIEW
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz TBS-3400 5.1 Channels 20-bit 48KHz PCI Interface Sound Card
  • Owned For: more than 1 year

Pros: I've owned this card for over 10 years and it has been flawless and still sounds great, better then any Realtek on-board solution but not up to snuff compared to the latest sound cards.

The control panel was clean and easy to use and the best part was the versajack with headphones will having a 5.1 Logitech system plugged in at the same time.

It was easy to switch without touching the plugs through the console.

Cons: This card was discontinued before windows 7 came out thus never any driver support.

The last XP driver package was not MS certified and over the years I've had a blue screen here or there and bluescreenview pointed it out to be the turtle beach driver as the cause.

Other Thoughts: I've sadly had to say goodbye to this card due to no windows 7 support since XP was just abandoned by MS recently thus rendering this perfectly working sound card obsolete and unsupported.

It had a good run and I got my money's worth 10x over.

Shame Turtle beach decided to focus on headsets instead of making sound cards.

Your only choice now is Creative or Asus for mainstream.

READ FULL REVIEW

Anonymous's Profile

Display Name: Anonymous

Date Joined: 10/31/02

  • Reviews: 52
  • Helpfulness: 22
  • First Review: 03/01/03
  • Last Review: 08/11/14
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