The Bottom Line
The My Cloud lineup from WD has evolved over the years, starting with personal storage in the My Cloud home and Mirror to the power user platform in My Cloud Expert EX2 and EX4100. The highest end of this portfolio includes two models, the PR2100 and PR4100 with each having several capacity options.
Turn-Key platforms are gaining popularity for both home and small businesses as the potential cost savings of building your own has dwindled over the years thanks to new technology. The My Cloud platform looks to emphasize this by offering a range of capacity options within each model allowing consumers to buy in to the platform at a low-cost relative to their budget.
The PR4100 is a four-bay NAS built on the Intel Braswell platform. This model takes advantage of the Quad-Core N3710 operating at 1.6GHz. WD fails to mention the memory specs of this lineup but do mention its aimed at UHD and Full HD media streaming with hardware transcoding capability.
RAID modes supported include 0,1,5,10 and JBOD while connectivity is offered via 2x gigabit Ethernet ports. In addition to that WD has outfitted the PR4100 with three USB 3.0 ports, the front mounted capable of one-touch copy, we also have redundant power via two barrel connections on the back. The internal drives are 10TB WD Red units, model number WD100EFAX.
Current MSRP comes in at $2199.99 for the 40TB model in house for review. They also offer a diskless solution for $499.99, 8TB at $799.99, 16TB at $1099, 24TB at $1399 and 32TB at $1649. Each model comes with a two-year warranty.
Packaging is quite traditional for WD with a blue background and logo at the top left. We have an image of the device to the right with appropriate capacity at the bottom left.
The top of the box offers the features and specs for the PR4100. As you can see it supports Windows and macOS along with DLNA and UPnP.
Included in the box we have the power adapter left, power cord middle and ethernet cable to the right.
The NAS itself is a familiar form factor, four bays across the front with LED indicators below and a small screen above. The power button and one-touch copy are to the left.
The back houses a large cooling fan, dual gigabit ethernet and two USB 3.0 ports. At the very bottom, we have two barrel connectors for redundant power applications
Internally, we have four WD100EFAX 10TB drives from the Red family.
Test System Setup and Web Management
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z370 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i3 8350K (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32GB 4x8GB DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H115i (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Air 540 (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 250GB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
- Wi-Fi NIC: ASUS PCE-AC88 (buy from Amazon)
- 10Gbe NIC: ASUS XG-C100C (buy from Amazon)
- Thunderbolt 3: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
The dashboard for the PR4100 gives an overview of the storage and health of the platform. To the left we can see available capacity and storage use categorized. Below we have network activity, users and apps installed on the PR4100. To the right we have device health and firmware update notifications.
WD allows you to setup groups and users from the menu above.
You can also setup shared folders in addition to the automatically created shares from apps.
The app store has grown slightly since our last look when we reviewed the My Cloud EX2.
To configure your mobile device to sync with the My Cloud platform, WD goes through a verification system that generates a one time code.
Backup options include USB, internal and cloud backups to several platforms.
The storage menu gives you access to change RAID modes and iSCSI services.
Supported RAID modes are listed above and include 0,1,5,10 and JBOD. You can also use spanning if needed.
The settings menu allows you to change the name of your NAS system on the network along with time and date settings. If you chose not to use the cloud service, you can disable it here for local network use. Further, you can customize sleep settings for both the NAS itself and the drives.
Starting off testing, the PR4100 did quite well in read performance reaching 118 MB/s in both RAID 0 and RAID 5.
Write performance was only slightly lower, 116 MB/s for RAID 0 and 114 MB/s for RAID 5.
Moving over to workload testing, we started with RAID 0. As you can see the PR4100 performed quite good peaking at 650 IOPs in Database, 500 IOPs in File Server with its low coming in Web Server at 375 IOPs.
RAID 5 produced the opposite with Web Server coming out on top at 440 IOPS. Email Server was the lowest at 150 IOPs.
WD has done a solid job with its My Cloud lineup. Over the years I have used a number of these units both for review and in my personal storage lineup. The PR4100 is by far the best I have seen a WD unit perform in a NAS environment. That said build quality is on par with the likes of Qnap, Thecus, Asustor and Synology. The enclosure has an equal mix of metal for durability and plastics to dampen noise and remove the bulky tray system that can at times amplify drive vibration. The combination of drive activity LEDs and the front panel display allow you to navigate to most basic options such as drive options and network connectivity.
The performance was able to max out our gigabit ethernet connection in sequential read and write and moving to workloads we found it to perform quite well in RAID 0 with a peak of 650 IOPs in Database. In RAID 5, we also had success with 118 MB/s in sequential read and 114 MB/s write. Workloads changed slightly with Web Server peaking at 440 IOPs.
The software platform used in the PR4100 is very user friendly and lends itself to the overall experience of this platform. For the most part if you know your way around a PC you can easily manage this platform via its well laid out labelled menu system. For power users, WD has kept features like iSCSI and the plethora of apps available. On the downside, I'm not sure why WD made the decision to not have RAID 6 capabilities on a four-bay platform.
In addition, pricing is a bit odd for this lineup and makes me think they set the MSRP when 10TB was first launched. Having not adjusted the price since then, you can currently pick up the Diskless PR4100 for $499 at many retailers. Add in four 10TB WD Red drives, at $318 each and you end up saving yourself a good bit of cash when compared to the 40TB PR4100 sent for review.
The Bottom Line: The PR4100 is a solid unit for those wanting extreme capacity in a turn key platform
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