Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Western Digital My Book Pro Edition II Review


Bought My Book ProEdition II drive - 1 Terabyte model, from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


Pros

1. Sleek looking.
2. 1 Terabyte
3. Raid 0 or 1 (Performance or redundancy).
4. Hard Drives are user serviceable and can be cold swapped; Western Digital provides official instructions on that.
5. Three year limited warranty.
6. USB 2.0 (Burst mode), FireWire 400 / 800 (IEEE 1394a / IEEE 1394b).
7. Outer rubber edge helps stability and reduces vibration.


Cons

1. No format with FAT32 option with RAID0 or 1
2. No JBOD option – RAID 0 doubles your failure chances and RAID 1 reduces total space to just 500 GB.
3. No eSATA interface – For a drive this capacity it’s very important, if overall throughput matters.
4. Power supply external.
5. Noise – After testing connecting both FireWire 400 (I don’t have FW 800) and USB 2.0 simultaneously and individually I can confirm that connecting via FireWire switches the drive’s fans to mini hair dryer mode, very annoying indeed. I was copying data via USB 2.0 from both my internal hard drives and two optical drives for the past two days and not once, did it switch to super turbine mode. Maybe they can tweak the firmware to run the fan at lower speeds than full blast. However I think this challenge can be overcome by just relocating the drive to maybe underneath the desk or even replacing the internal fan but voiding your 3 year warranty in the process.

Fan Noise reduction - Workaround

I got some really good advice from Amazon and newegg customer reviews. About flipping the internal fan around, looks like a design oversight, as the fan sucks in air, instead of out. After flipping the fan around the drives are running much cooler and its not kicking into leaf blower mode even with FireWire (400).

I even went further and took out the 'drive cage cover' yesterday, so now air will pass through both sides of the enclosure.

This mod will work without voiding your warranty with all  second edition drives i.e. My Book Pro Edition II, My Book Premium Edition II, or My Book World Edition II.

Even though I've been stress testing the drives in RAID 0 mode and had left it constantly copying 200 gigs of data and managed to fill it up last night and all that time it was in silent mode. I even tried to stress test it further by playing three MPEG 2 VOB files during the copy process.


WD Button Manager

The WD Button Manager, not only does it show free space on the drive, but also safely ejects the drive and shuts it down after ejection. On the down side it only works when the drive is connected via USB and was using 15, 044 K memory according to Windows task manager just sitting there.


Wish list

I hope WD would release a firmware update, to JBOD the drives into logical volumes and format with FAT32 in either RAID modes.

To be honest I’d love to have a (perfect) drive with eSata, USB 2.0, FireWire 400 / 800 and NAS capable Gigabit Ethernet connections, RAID with option to JBOD multiple drives, all in a quite case with an internal power supply but at the moment there aren’t any.

Conclusion

The only major con with this model would be its fan noise (Without modification) when used with FireWire. Thankfully noisy hair dryer hasn’t kicked in after modifications.

Considering my current usage pattern I’m satisfied at the moment, this unit serves my purpose for now, as a music and video jukebox.
Looking back I would've gone for the 'FreeAgent™ Pro 750-GB USB 2.0, eSATA, FireWire External Hard Drive'. Even though it doesn't support RAID, it’s a better overall package to cover future needs.


Useful Links

My Book side-by-side comparison chart
 
How to dismantle a My Book Pro Edition II, My Book Premium Edition II, or My Book World Edition II to replace a hard drive.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Flux, how's the mod working out for you thus far? I just purchased one of these and it indeed sounds like a hairdryer.

    ReplyDelete