The Gadget: My Book World Edition II, a 4TB NAS in RAID configuration—in other words, a small networked hard drive with a ton of secure storage.
The Price: $700 (4TB), $400 (2TB)
The Verdict: It's a NAS for normal people. With a simple curved white design highlighted by a single hypnotic bar of white LED, the diminutive My Book plugs in to your router via ethernet to give you up to 4TB of networked storage. You plug it in, it shows up on your network, and that's that. (There's a more advanced CD installation that allows you to auto-backup your PC hard drive should you want the software.)
We tested the large, 4TB RAID 1 (mirrored drive) version of the My Book. In other words, you have about 2TB of recordable space that's backed up to another drive so that if one drive fails, you don't lose any data. If you wanted more speed/space, the drive can be reconfigured to RAID 0 (Striped) mode allowing you to access all 4TB. And it's easy to forget, if you choose to mainline the My Book right into your computer's ethernet jack, transfer speeds are fast. Gigabit ethernet reaches 1000Mbps, which is easily faster than USB but also quicker on paper than even Firewire 800. Still, transferring a 700MB file took 1:32. Transferring 8.2GB in files took 18:49. Not so fast in practice. (In other words, you won't actually be copying files at 1000Mbps, but the installed system has no trouble streaming HD media over Wi-Fi.)
You feel a bit of warmth dissipating out of the My Book's large top to rear vent panel (that we wish were metal instal of plastic), but system runs cool enough, offers easy access to the drives (you just pop the lid) and operates with very little noise. Quite simply, it works pretty well and makes a cute little media server (if you've got the scratch).
It's As Simple as RAIDs Get
Small, Quiet Formfactor
Venting Could Feel More Durable, But It's Flexible and Thereby Easy to Pop Off