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View Full Version : Western Digital My Book World Edition 1TB

Chris Gohlke
01-11-2008, 09:00 PM
<img src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/images/cgg-wdproductpic-12022007.jpg" alt="" /><br /><strong>Product Category:</strong> Network Storage<br /><strong>Manufacturer:</strong> <a href="http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=347">Western Digital</a><br /><strong>Where to Buy:</strong> <a href="http://astore.amazon.com/digitalmediathoughts-20/detail/B000VJ0YQ0/104-8147914-2239126">Amazon.com</a> [Affiliate]<br /><strong>Price:</strong> $303.99 USD<br /><strong>System Requirements:</strong> Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Network Connection, Internet Connection<br /><strong>Specifications:</strong> 1 TB Network Storage<br /><br /><strong>Pros:</strong> <br /><ul> <li>Nice physical design;</li> <li>Quiet and low power consumption;</li> <li>High capacity and expandable;</li> <li>Cool extra features.<br /> </li></ul><strong>Cons:</strong> <br /><ul> <li>Included software could be better;</li> <li>No RAID options for data redundancy;</li> <li>Windows only;</li> <li>Default installation of trial software;</li> <li>Can't share music or video files.<br /> </li></ul><strong>Summary:</strong><br />As more and more households have multiple networked computers, the desire to centralize your data for both convenience and backup purposes becomes more and more important. Also, as more of the data on those networks involve larger multimedia files, the size requirements for that centralized storage increase. The WD My Book World Edition 1TB is designed to fill those needs and let you have access to all your data, all the time. After the break, we will see how well it lives up to its potential.<div style="page-break-after: always;"><span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></div><!----><br /><font size="4"><span><strong>Hardware</strong></span></font><br />Before we fire it up, let's start off by taking a look at the hardware itself.<br /><br /><img border="1" src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/images/cgg-wdinthebox-12022007.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Figure 1: In the box.</em><br /><br />In the box, you get the drive, manuals, an installation disk, a power cable, and a network cable.<br /><br /><img border="1" src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/images/cgg-wdback-12092007.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Figure 2: Connections.</em><br /><br />The back of the unit features connections for power, network, USB, and a security cable. Despite the USB connection, this device is network only. Instead the USB connection allows you to add an additional external drive to the unit and expand the capacity of your network storage. Sharp eyed viewers will notice that the air vents on the unit appear to be Morse code. Well you would be correct, but I won't spoil the fun if you want to figure it out, but the answer is easily Googled. <br /><br />The front of the unit features a single power button in the middle of two illuminated blue circles. One of the circles indicates the power status while the other reflects a general idea of how much empty space you have remaining on the drive. From more than a few feet away, I could not hear the drive over the ambient noise in my office.<br /><br />The folks at Western Digital told me that earlier versions of this drive were built with two 500GB drives while the newer drives are slimmer and based on a single drive. Personally, I'd be willing to put up with a larger footprint in order to have two drives and the ability to use RAID to mirror your data across the drives for redundancy in the event that one drive failed.<br /><br />Since I know some people would just as soon build a small server rather than look at this product, I wanted to see how much power this actually used. So, I hooked it up to my Kill A Watt and found that it draws only 11 watts. I doubt you can built a server that uses that little power. Since something like this is meant to be left on 24 hours a day, just the power savings can add up over time. However, I noticed that it always drew 11 watts, regardless of whether the drive was in use or not. So, I think there is certainly room for improvement by the addition of a power save mode that could power down the unit to a sleep mode and automatically wake it up when needed. <br /><pagebreak><br /><font size="4"><span><strong>Installation</strong></span></font><br />MioNet is the software application that Western Digital provides with this drive. MioNet is Windows only with Vista support recently added. Software installation from the included CD was uneventful on my desktop, but constantly froze before completion on my laptop. A download of the install program from MioNet rectified the problem. Curiously, I also got this message during my desktop installation - the review copy must have come with a little something extra. <br /><br /><img border="1" src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/images/cgg-wd120update-12022007.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Figure 3: MioNet, now with 20% more code.</em><br /><br />After installation, MioNet automatically gives you a 30 day trial of their upgraded features which allow additional access to your host PC, including remote file access, desktop sharing, and remote computer control (a la PC Anywhere). <br /><br /><img border="1" src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/images/cgg-shareddesktop-12092007.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Figure 4: You can share your desktop using the bonus features of MioNet.</em><br /><br />I demoed these features and they worked well. If they sound like something that would be useful to you, after the demo, a subscription will run you $79.99 per year. While trial offers are great, there was no way to decline the offer and once installed, it defaults to opening your computer to this access. I feel strongly that these features should not have been turned on by default, without the permission of the user.<br /><br /><img border="1" src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/images/cgg-wdbonus.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Figure 5: The trial features are installed by default.</em><br /><div style="page-break-after: always;"><span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></div><br /><font size="4"><span><strong>MioNet Software</strong></span></font><br />The MioNet software is designed to automate the process of locating and mounting the drive so that it's accessible to Windows regardless of whether you are working locally on the network or externally accessing the drive via the Internet. The My Book comes with five MioNet licenses, which should be enough for most home user's needs. The software also allows you to manage the settings of the drive. Due to the way the software works, it requires you to be connected to the Internet to be able to find the drive even if you are on the internal network. I don't think this is optimal because it leaves too many points of failure. If your Internet connection is down or the MioNet server is down, you will not be able to access your data even when you are local on the network. During this review, I had instances where MioNet would not connect to the drive, leaving it totally inaccessible. With some help from tech support and some of my own tinkering with my computer and router settings, it appears that I have the problem solved. Since the software is designed to make the drive an easy way for a novice user to add network storage, it should really have some diagnostic features to help you figure out solutions if you have problems. Otherwise, the software could tend to frustrate the same users it was designed to help.<br /><br /><img border="1" src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/images/cgg-wdfailedmount-12022007.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Figure 6: MioNet's errors could use a diagnostic function to help solve the issue.</em><br /><pagebreak><br /><font size="4"><span><strong>Remote Connection</strong></span></font><br />One of the nice things about this drive is that with a Web connection, you can access your data from anywhere. There are two ways to do this. First, you can use the MioNet software to map the drive and it will behave as if you are on the local network; although your connection speed will vary depending on how your home network and your remote computer are connected to the Web. MioNet also has a Web access option. This method has the additional advantage of allowing you to access your data from any computer that has a Java capable browser without having to install anything. <br /><br /><img src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/images/cgg-mionetweb-12022007.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Figure 7: Accessing MioNet via the Web.</em><br /><br />You can also add secured directories that can allow anyone access over the Web, basically giving you a file server. Western Digital staff did inform me that they don't allow sharing of music and video files for copyright reasons, so some of the obvious applications of this feature are out. There has been a lot of commentary online recently regarding this limitation. While I agree that Western Digital should not be setting artificial limits on the user, for most users this will be a non-issue since this limitation only applies to true sharing. Any of your five licensed computers will be able to access all files from anywhere and you can also access all files from anywhere using the Web access option. <br /><br /><font size="4"><span><strong>Another Way</strong></span></font><br />If you are more hardcore, don't want to be able to mount the drive remotely, and use the other MioNet special features, there really is no need to use their software. You can map the drive directly through Windows and access the setting for the drive through a Web interface by simply typing its IP address into your browser. You can also still access the drive remotely using the MioNet website as described above. I like this method because you are able to access the drive locally regardless of if you are connected to the Internet or not.<br /><br /><font size="4"><span><strong>Speed Test</strong></span></font><br />Finally, no hard drive review would be complete without a speed test. I picked a 691 MB folder containing 145 MP3 files. Over my wired network I had an average transfer speed of 5.7 MB/s download and 3.94 MB/s upload. Over wireless, it was 2 MB/s download and 1.68 MB/s upload.<br /><br /><font size="4"><span><strong>Conclusions </strong></span></font><br />Overall, I was pretty pleased with this drive once I got it up and running. While the software could use some work, this is still probably the easiest way for most consumers to add standalone storage as well as remote data access to their network. However, if you are looking for a full fledged file server for the Web and plan on serving up music or video files, this is not the product for you.<br /><br /><em>Chris Gohlke is a Contributing Editor for Digital Media Thoughts. He loves Sci-Fi and loves to get his hands on real-life tech gadgets. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, USA with his wife and three cats.</em></pagebreak></pagebreak>

Jason Dunn
01-15-2008, 05:33 AM
Nice review Chris! Seems like a decent product, although it really bugs me that Western Digital is playing the content police game. I don't like that one bit. :mad:

01-15-2008, 03:36 PM
I have this same drive. I bought it last summer to store my music and video collections. It is a nice drive but there are some issues I do not like. You touched on a few of them.

1. If you use the MIO software to copy items onto the drive, you have to use the MIO software to delete them, add more to the same folder, etc. I just plugged in my drive and mapped it through windows. That way anyone on my network can see my drive.

2. Without using the MIO software, the usb port on the back is useless. You can not map an external drive without the MIO. If you use the MIO Software you run into problem #1.

3. Like you said in your review, the software must have internet access. A few weeks after I first started uing the drive the MIO servers were down for three days. While I could access my files to play by using the windows mapping, I could not add new files to the folders or delete content.

These are just a few that really bug me. I'm planning on building a nice windows home server with the copy I won here. Just waiting for the Christmas bills to come in. I'm thinking that WHS could be a better product for my storage needs.

Jason Dunn
01-15-2008, 10:50 PM
You can not map an external drive without the MIO. If you use the MIO Software you run into problem #1...the MIO servers were down for three days. While I could access my files to play by using the windows mapping, I could not add new files to the folders or delete content.

Ugg. That's UGLY. It doesn't really seem like MIO provides enough benefits to outweigh a serious problem like not being able to add or delete files for three days. That's just ridiculous! :confused:

07-08-2008, 04:46 AM
"Despite the USB connection, this device is network only."

On page 26 of the User Manual (2779-701026.pdf) it says that you can connect it directly via the Ethernet port in case your router fails.