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Inside

The DL4100 is powered by an Intel dual-core Atom C2338 running at 1.7 GHz. The two Gigabit Ethernet ports are Marvell 88E1512 Alaska Gigabit Transceivers (X2). The table below summarizes the key components for the My Cloud DL4100, My Cloud EX4 and other products we'll be using for performance comparisons later in the review. It's worth noting that the DL4100 and the Seagate NAS Pro use the same CPU and have the same amount of memory, so it will be interesting to see how their performance compares.

Updated 6/3/15: Added RAM expansion info
Updated 4/22/15: Corrected flash capacity
  WD DL4100 WD My Cloud EX4 SeagateNAS Pro ASUSTOR AS5104T
CPU Intel dual-core Atom C2338 @ 1.7 GHz Marvell Kirkwood 88F6282A1 @ 2.0 GHz (single-core) Intel Atom C2338 (2C/2T Silvermont x86 Cores @ 1.74 GHz) Intel J1900 2.0 GHz Quad-Core Celeron
RAM 2 GB DDR3 (Micron MT41K256M8DA x8) on board upgradeable to 6 GB via SoDIMM DDR3 1600MHz 512 MB DDR3 2 GB DDR3 SoDIMM 2GB SO-DIMM DDR3L, upgradeable to 8 GB
Flash 2 GB 512 MB Micron 29F4G08ABAEA
8 MB Winbond 25Q64FVIG
256 MB 256 MB ADATA IUM01-001GFHL (128 MB USB DOM)
Ethernet Marvell 88E1512 (x2) Marvell 88E1518-NNB2 (x2) Intel I211-AT Gigabit Ethernet Controller (x2) Broadcom BCM57781 (x2)
SATA In CPU Marvell 88SX7042 In CPU (for up to 6 drives) ASM1061 x1 PCI Express to two ports of Serial ATA (x2).ASM1466 one lane (Dual-channel) 6 Gbps Serial ATA Repeater (x2).These buffer four internal SATA connectors and 2 eSATA
USB 3.0 Asmedia ASM1042A Etron Tech EJ168A Asmedia ASM1042A ASM1074
Table 1: Component summary comparison

The photo below shows the component side of the PCB. The processor, located in the middle of the board, is covered with a large heat sink. As you can tell from looking at the rear callout image above, the board is mounted vertically along the left side of the case (looking at the case from the front). Not shown here on the other side of the board is a single SODIMM slot that can expand total memory to 6 GB.

WD My Cloud DL4100 PCB component side
WD My Cloud DL4100 PCB component side
Fan and drive noise was rated medium. Power consumption for the external "brick" power supply was measured at 40W (active) and 13W (power save) with four 6 TB WD Red drives.

Features

The feature set for the DL4100 is almost identical to the EX4's. A full list of specifications can be found on WD's site. There are a couple of features worth noting:

Disk Management has some new features:

  • RAID: JBOD, spanning, 0/1/5 10/5 + hot spare support
  • RAID migration
    • JBOD to RAID 1
    • JBOD to RAID 5
    • RAID 1 to RAID 5
  • Hot swapping
  • Hot spare (in four disk mode)
  • Disk roaming
  • Array roaming

In previous reviews, we noted the EX4 had fairly poor logging features and lacked HTTPS support for Web Administration. The DL4100 now supports HTTPS admin. It relies on a self-signed certificate and I didn't notice an easy way to import an SSL certificate in the UI. The DL4100 also has improved logging, adding a built-in log to the web admin and syslog service for more detailed logging.

The built-in log is a work in progress, however, with display format problems and no backup logging. It's also hidden in the Settings > Utilities menu vs. being available on any admin page like the Alerts are.

The DL4100 supports Add-ons. Many other NASes in this class also support installable apps, but have more fully populated "App Stores". Here's a list of Add-ons that are currently available for the DL4100. The list hasn't changed since WD's OS first started supporting apps. It's also not particularly business-focused.

  • aMule - peer to peer file sharing application
  • Icecast - media streaming app
  • phpBB - Internet forum application
  • Joomla! - content management system
  • SqueezeCenter - streaming audio server
  • phpMyAdmin - My SQL administration tool
  • WordPress - blogging tool and content management system
  • Transmission - BitTorrent client

Note that a syslog server isn't one of the add-ons available

The web browser interface on the DL4100 has a similar menu structure and feel as the EX2 and EX4. The DL4100 uses a white color palette, and the personal cloud and the existing EX series of NASes both have a charcoal backgrounds. The composite screenshot below shows the landing page for the DL4100 (l) and the EX4 (r). Note that while the icons across the top of the screen have changed, the sub menus are the same. Not shown on the top menu are additional tabs for Apps and Settings.

WD My Cloud DL4100 (l) and EX4 (r) landing pages

WD My Cloud DL4100 (l) and EX4 (r) landing pages

Remote Access

In past reviews, we've praised Western Digital for the ease of remote access setup and the DL4100 uses the same WD My Cloud infrastructure. We didn't have the usual smooth experience this time. Things seemed, frankly, flaky.

During setup, the server will attempt to open ports via UPnP. If ports can't be opened, a WD relay server is used so there's no need to forward ports or set up dynamic DNS. In our testing, the relay connection was not as reliable as we've experienced in the past; it appeared to come and go.

You access your My Cloud files through MacOS or Windows desktop or iOS and Android mobile apps. Access via WD's wd2go.com web portal no longer provides file access via a Java app. Instead, selecting View Shares from your My Cloud device's icon you should find when you log in, sends you to the screen below so you can download the appropriate app.

wd2go.com download options

wd2go.com download options

Remotely accessing the DL4100's admin server was also problematic. None of the apps support remote admin, so you need to try remote access the old-fashioned way. But after forwarding the required ports in the router the My Cloud sat behind, I was unsuccessful in multiple attempts to access the admin screens.

The WD My Cloud app is available for MacOS, Windows, Android and iOS and provides a Windows Explorer-like view of your available shares. On all platforms, you can navigate through directories, click on a file and it will either play (music, video or photos) or will render the file if it can. The My Cloud application was able to render PDF files on both platforms. Likewise, it was able to play both MP3 and M4A files on both platforms. Of course, on the Android platform, you have more options for saving files. iOS limits applications because it doesn't provide access to device file systems.

WD Photos is available for iOS and Android only and is focused strictly on photos. You can play slideshows, share links and automatically upload photos from your mobile device directly to your My Cloud device.

The mobile applications have been around for awhile, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Android version was recently updated to add a few new features: You can now tag photos as favorites and Chromecast is now supported by WD Photos, so you can cast your photos to your HDTV if you have a Chromecast device. It's nice to see an Android app updated before an iOS app for a change. The iOS version of WD My Photos doesn't support Chromecast.

Since we haven't covered Western Digital's remote apps recently, I've included a short gallery with screenshots from both my iPad as well as my Samsung S5 phone.

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