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My Book Live
At a glance
ProductWestern Digital My Book Live (WDBACG0020HCH)   [Website]
SummaryFaster, simplified feature single drive My Book NAS with new admin GUI and no USB or eSATA ports. Based on 1 GHz Applied Micro APM82181.
Pros• Virtually silent
• Low Power consumption
• Improved performance
Cons• Doesn't provide 100 MB/s reads in our testing
• No USB ports

Introduction

Updated 3/20/2013: Added spec comment and link to Duo review
Updated 11/1/2010: WD performance comment, misc spec updates
NOTE: This review is based on original firmware. The Live's feature set is better described in the newer Live Duo review.

WD has single-drive NAS fans all worked up over the performance claims for its latest single drive consumer NAS, the My Book Live. As shown in Figure 1, WD is claiming "read speeds up to 100 MBps", which would be a first for a single-drive NAS.

While our testing found that the My Book Live is faster than its My Book World Edition ("white bar") sibling [reviewed], I wasn't able to substantiate WD's performance claims.

Updated 11/1/2010:

See the Performance section for how WD came up with its 100 MB/s read spec.

WD My Book Live performance claim

Figure 1: WD My Book Live performance claim

The My Book Live is housed in the My Book's familiar bull-nosed "book" form factor, but clothed in a subdued matte charcoal grey vs. the glossy white of earlier My Book NASes. The front panel carries only a lone, tiny light that changes colors and blinks to alert you of its many moods.

Figure 2 shows the rear of the Live, which you'll note is devoid of either USB or eSATA ports. So if you're looking for a NAS that can copy to / from external drives either on demand or on schedule, or share an external drive, you had best look elsewhere.

WD My Book Live rear panel

Figure 2: WD My Book Live rear panel

The My Book Live draws only 10 W when active and 4 W when drive spindown occurs after the Energy Save mode kicks in, which is programmable from 10 to 60 minutes in 10 minute increments. There is no fan, so the My Book Live runs very quietly, with only occasional muted drive noise.

Inside

WD doesn't talk about the processor or even the memory complement of the Live, so I had to open it up to take a look-see myself. Figure 3 shows the inside of the Live once the cover is pried free of its rear latches and slid off.

WD My Book Live inside
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: WD My Book Live inside

The metal shield was easily popped off to reveal the board's components shown in Figure 4, which I'll get to in a moment. The Live is designed for low-cost manufacture with its only "chassis" comprised of rubber-cushioned metal brackets which attach to the hard drive case and slip into slots in the flexible plastic case.

Since the hard drive was completely covered by a metal shield, I had to remove the assembly from the case and remove four screws to pop off the shield before a WD Caviar Green 2 TB drive (WD20EARS) was revealed. It's probably safe to assume that a Caviar Green drive is also used in the Live's 1 TB version.

WD seems to go its own way when it comes to processor choice in its My Books. The My Book World "White Bar" uses an Oxford OXE810DSE and 128 MB of RAM. The Live continues the WD tradition by using a 1 GHz Applied Micro APM82181 Embedded Power Processor and doubles RAM capacity to 256 MB.

WD My Book Live board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 4: WD My Book Live board

Other key components are 512 KB of flash and a Broadcom BCM54610 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet transceiver.

Figure 5 shows the My Book World "white bar" board for comparison.

WD MBW "white bar" board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 5: WD MBW "white bar" board

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