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Performance - Competitive

Moving on to a competitive comparison, Figure 10 shows the MBW's read performance with a 1000 Mbps LAN connection vs. the Buffalo "Pro" XHL, Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive (HMNHD), original MyBook World and the WD ShareSpace.

As expected, Figure 10 shows the Buffalo XHL turning in the fastest read performance, with the MBW White Bar in close pursuit and the Iomega HMNHD not far behind it. I'm not surprised to see the original MBW at the bottom of the pack, but was a bit surprised at the ShareSpace was only a little more than half as fast as the MBW White Bar.

Competitive read comparison  - 1000 Mbps LAN

Figure 10: Competitive read comparison - 1000 Mbps LAN

Figure 11 compares the write performance, which is compressed by the cached performance of the Iomega HMNHD and the MBW White Bar up to the 256 MB file size point. So concentrate on the results in the table from 512 MB to 4 GB. The Buffalo XHL still comes in at twice as fast as both the MBW White Bar and Iomega HMNHD and the White Bar writes 3X faster than the original MBW.

Competitive write comparison  - 1000 Mbps LAN

Figure 11: Competitive write comparison - 1000 Mbps LAN
Updated 3/16/2009

WD told me that they see the 1 TB versioin of Buffalo's LinkStation Live CHL as the MBW White Bar's competition, given that they both have $229 MSRP's vs. the 1 TB Pro's $299 MSRP. So here are some quick comparison plots of the MBW White Bar, LinkStation Pro XHL and LinkStation Live CHL.

Competitive read comparison  w/ LinkStation Live CHL - 1000 Mbps LAN

Figure 12: Competitive read comparison w/ LinkStation Live CHL - 1000 Mbps LAN

The MBW White Bar clearly outperforms the LinkStation Live CHL about 2X for reads, but is fairly well-matched but maintaining a slight lead for writes.

Competitive write comparison  w/ LinkStation Live CHL - 1000 Mbps LAN

Figure 13: Competitive write comparison w/ LinkStation Live CHL - 1000 Mbps LAN

Closing Thoughts

I'm very happy to see Western Digital finally show that it can bring some of the performance focus that it has with its hard drive design to its NASes. Although the MBW isn't the fastest, baddest NAS on the planet, it ranks right up with the new generation of large-capacity single-drive NASes exemplified by it, Buffalo's LinkStation Pro XHL and Iomega's HMNHD.

Between the three, I'd pay a bit more and go with the Buffalo, mainly due to its ability to perform unattended backups either to an attached USB drive or another networked Buffalo NAS. It's also the best performer of the group.

But if you liked the original MyBook World and are looking to step up to a roomier version, the "White Bar" will give you just what you want along with a significant boost in performance and even throw in media and iTunes servers to make a good deal even sweeter.

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