WD My Cloud EX2100 Dual Bay 8TB NAS Review


Measuring performance of a device such as the My Cloud EX2100 is a bit tricky since it operates over a network connection. Also, performance for NAS drives is usually not even listed in the bullet points, as the value of these drives is dictated by their feature set typically--the drives themselves are usually capable of transferring data faster than a gigabit network connection. That said, it can be painful transferring large files over a slow network connection, so we obviously want the drive to be as fast as it can be, and hopefully faster than its predecessors. 

To determine the context for the EX2100's performance, we decided to repost the benchmarks from the previous My Cloud reviews, showing the original drive's scores, and those for the updated EX2 model. The EX2100 is a high-performance successor to both of these drives, so it should be interesting to see its scores in relation to the earlier drives. 

ATTO Disk Benchmark 
More information here: http://bit.ly/btuV6w

ATTO is a "quick and dirty" type of disk benchmark that measures transfer speeds across a specific volume length. It measures transfer rates for both reads and writes and graphs them out in an easily interpreted chart. We chose .5kb through 8192kb transfer sizes and a queue depth of 6 over a total max volume length of 256MB. ATTO's workloads are sequential in nature and measure bandwidth, rather than I/O response time, access latency, etc.

WD My Cloud (original)

My Cloud EX2

ATTO EX21002
My Cloud EX2100

Looking at all three charts, we can easily see how WD has been able to increase the performance of its NAS over time, and we can also see that the EX2100 is clearly the fastest of the three. That's a good thing, as improved performance over the EX2 is one of this drive's talking points. In this straight-line speed test, the EX2100 topped out at 118MB/s read speeds and about the same for write speeds, which is impressive. That's in-line with what we would see if it was hard-wired via USB 3.0. 

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks
Synthetic File Transfer Tests

CrystalDiskMark is a synthetic benchmark that tests both sequential and random small and mid-sized file transfers. It provides a quick look at best and worst case scenarios with regard to drive performance, best case being larger sequential transfers and worse case being small, random transfers.

WD My Cloud (original)

WD My Cloud EX2

crystaldiskmark EX21002
My Cloud EX2100

In CrystalDiskMark, you can see that the EX2100's write speeds have greatly improved compared to the EX2, but it's read speeds have declined a tiny smidgen. Overall, we saw the same numbers in this test that we saw in the ATTO test, making it safe to say the EX2100 can hit 100MB/s in both directions on a gigabit LAN port. That's pretty damn fast for a NAS drive, and if you are looking for a drive that is faster than the EX2, the EX2100 certainly fits the bill. This is just-as-fast-if-not-faster than being hard-wired to a USB 3.0 port, so there's very little to complain about when it comes to the EX2100's performance in a home network environment. It is quite fast indeed. 

Also, in the real world we were able to access the NAS from a laptop and stream a movie over Wifi, and then double it to an LCD using Apple AirPlay and it was flawless. We also tried streaming movies from the NAS to our iPhone and files that were in MP4 format played without issue. The mobile app seemed fast and responsive. In general everything with the EX2100 was fast - it feels just like local storage for the most part, albeit with hard drives so some sluggishness is expected, especially when transferring large files. But we never detected any slowdowns or unresponsiveness. It was a pleasure to use and was always ready. 

Tags:  Storage, NAS, RAID, Network, WD

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