If you're anything like us, you'll have a tonne of digital files that you need to keep safely. If you don't fancy constantly prising open your PC and fitting new hard drives, then you need some sort of external solution.
Western Digital's My Book Live is a network-attached storage drive that comes in 2TB and 1TB versions, for around £140 and £105 respectively. It will enable you to store anything you want on your home network, and access it even when your PC is turned off.
The My Book Live is slender, because it only contains a single hard drive, unlike other Western Digital devices, which are mirrored RAID-type devices. This means that it will fit into any room, even if space is at a premium. All you need is a network cable to attach it directly to your router, or you can use a-style system instead.
At the back, there's a single Gigabit Ethernet socket. This socket enables the NAS to perform at higher speeds than previous Western Digital drives, and it should outperform many other NAS-type devices on the market too.
On the front is a single LED, which gives status information about the drive, and lets you know if anything is wrong. That's it for features on the exterior of the device.
Western Digital proudly proclaims that this is one of the fastest NAS devices on the market. It consistently delivered write speeds of 10MBps over our test network. This may not sound fast, but it's important to bear in mind that these network-storage devices rarely perform at the maximum speed of your network, and are limited by other factors too.
In addition, Gigabit Ethernet can be a tricky beast -- you'll need a PC, router and Ethernet cables that are capable of 1,000MBps speeds before you can be sure that you're getting the best speed possible from this hard drive. Most people won't have a home network like that.
At any rate, this drive is one of the fastest we've used. It will handle most types of file transfer in pretty short order.
Two drives are better than one
If you're looking for a device on which to store important information and secure it from drive failure, then the My Book Live probably isn't the device for you, as it's a single-drive device.
If, however, you have data on your PC or Mac that you want to back up to a second drive, then the My Book Live will fit the bill well. It's also very capable as a media drive, but we'll come to that in more detail shortly.