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14 WD EX2 ULTRA
Two HDDs preinstalled

WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra NAS Review

  1. About the WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra…
  2. External Impressions
  3. How its tested?
  4. JBOD Testing
  5. RAID 0 Testing
  6. RAID 1 Testing
  7. Conclusion
  8. Online Purchase Links
  9. View All

Disclaimer: This review unit is provided by WD

About the WD EX2 Ultra…

Earlier, the WD My Cloud EX2 NAS was tested. Naturally, you’ll ask what’s different with the WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra. The EX2 Ultra has a larger 1 GB RAM. Rest of it is the same. It uses the Marvel Armada A370 clocked at 1.2 GHz, it has JBOD, Spanning, RAID 0 to 10 support and the same housing. As always My Cloud has the same type of Disk and diskless choices, depending on your preference in storage capacity and budget.

The WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra’s packaging is no different from the EX2. This variant has two WD 4TB WDEFRX Red drives preinstalled. The foam on the NAS should be adequate to protect from any potential damage during transit. WD provides few packaging materials, a power socket with two plug options and an ethernet cable. There’s no installation disc but it is better to just get the required installers from WD’s website. The disk variant of the WD NAS units should have the firmware installed so its a matter of getting the WD installer and let it detect it.

The EX2 series have two USB 3.0 ports. This is a great add-on which has been in NAS units for a very long time.

Specification

INTERFACE
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB 3.0 expansion port (x2)
DIMENSIONS
Height:6.75 in (171.45 mm)
Depth:6.10 in (154.94 mm)
Width:3.90 in (99.06 mm)
Weight:
  • 16 TB 5.0 lbs (2.3kg)
  • 12 TB 5.2 lbs (2.4 kg)
  • 8 TB 5.0 lbs (2.3kg)
  • 4 TB 3.4 lbs (1.6kg)
  • 0 TB 1.8 lbs (0.8kg)
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
  • Windows® 10, Windows 8, Windows 7
    or Windows Vista® operating systems
  • Mac OS® X El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks or Mountain Lion operating systems
  • DLNA®/UPnP® devices for streaming
  • Router for Internet connection
CAPACITIES AND MODELS
  • 16 TB WDBVBZ0160JCH
  • 12 TB WDBVBZ0120JCH
  • 8 TB WDBVBZ0080JCH
  • 4 TB WDBVBZ0040JCH
  • 0 TB WDBVBZ0000NCH
KIT CONTENTS
  • Network Attached Storage
  • Ethernet cable
  • AC adapter
  • Quick Install Guide
OPERATING SPECIFICATIONS
  • Operating temperature: 5°C to 35°C
  • Non-op. temperature: –20°C to 65°C
SUPPORTED BROWSERS• Microsoft® Edge
• Internet Explorer® 10 or higher
• Safari® 6 or higher
• Firefox® 30 or higher
• Google Chrome™ 31 or higher on supported Windows and Mac OS platforms
LIMITED WARRANTY
  • Pre-configured: 3 years Worldwide
  • Diskless: 2 years Worldwide

Note that the pre-installed WD EX2 Ultra carries a three-year warranty, while its diskless version is with a two-year warranty.

Casing Overview

Unlike most NAS units like QNAP and Synology with front installation, these are vertical mounts. The three sides are matte gray finish while the top, rear and base are black coloured ventilated sections. The front has three LED indicators- power, disk 1 and disk 2.

Unfortunately, both the EX2 NAS do not have a power switch. The only way to turn off these NAS without cutting the power is via its interface. But the only way to power it on again is by re-plugging the device. The top cage is a push eject frame that allows a user to gain access of the HDDs. The base stands as they are simply glued at its base. This would come out at some point, as one of them was already taped while the second one needed to be taped at the time when it was returned.

I/O Options

Rear I/O Options

The rear has a reset pin-hole switch, followed by two USB 3.0 ports, a gigabit LAN, a power in and a Kensington lock access.

HDD Installation

The top, rear and base are ventilated areas. This isn’t my preferred disk removable process. It requires the user to remove the support bracket and pull out using a finger support on the drive. Many NAS use push eject or tray release mechanism which feels easier to use. The WD EX2 Ultra relies on passive cooling via series of vents on the inner frame and on the casing. Some form of active cooling is preferred due to the low-profile design and the ability of the NAS.

As mentioned in the WD EX2 review, the mounting mechanism only allows the installation of 3.5” disks. While 2.5” HDD/SSDs are yet to be mainstream choice for NAS, it doesn’t change the part where many users do use SSDs on the NAS. Even the Thecus N2310 two-bay NAS had support for 2.5″ drives in its drive cage.

More images can be found here of the EX2.


It gives me great pleasure every time I put up a review. It’s always good to appreciate the support that the manufacturers give from time-to-time to review their own products and others on behalf of the readers. Thanks to companies such as Asus, Gigabyte, Kingston, WD and Coolermaster who give me hardware support by updating my test rig no strings attached. Thumbs up to these guys! I would like to thank:

  • Gigabyte India for providing Gigabyte 890GPA UD3H Rev 1.0 motherboard
  • Asus India for providing Asus 990FX Sabertooth motherboard
  • Kingston Taiwan for providing hardware support with memory kits and SSD drive.
  • WD India for providing WD 300GB HLFS Velociraptor Hard Drive and four units of WD30EFRX Red series 3TB NAS drives
  • Coolermaster India for providing Coolermaster GX450 RS-450-ACAA-D3 Power Supply
Test Setup forWD MY Cloud EX2
MB/Proc/CoolerGigsbyte 890GPA-UD3H+ AMD 965BE
GPUOnboard
MemoryKingston HyperX Blu 8GB 1600MHz DDRIII
Primary OS driveSanDisk Extreme 240GB SSD + WD Red 3TB WD30EFRX
Power SupplyCorsair TX750
ChassisLian Li A70F Full Tower PC Case

The benchmark was done with Single and dual drive setup, each with JBOD, RAID 1 and RAID O setup. Single drive mode is also tested. WD Provided two units of WD50EFRX 5TB Red drive, but we also tested it with two units of WD30EFRX.

The benchmarks are as follows:
LAN Speed Test: Tested with three packet sizes: 10 and 100
Transfer Test: 98.39GB Assorted Movies, 11.34GB ISO, 1.34GB Assorted photos, 1.27GB Compressed file.


LAN Speed Test

11.34GB ISO Transfer Test

1.34GB Assorted Photos Folder Transfer Test

1.24GB ZIP File Transfer Test

LAN Speed Test

11.34GB ISO Transfer Test

1.34GB Assorted Photos Folder Transfer Test

1.24GB ZIP File Transfer Test

LAN Speed Test

11.34GB ISO Transfer Test

1.34GB Assorted Photos Folder Transfer Test

 

1.24GB ZIP File Transfer Test


What’s good about the EX2 Ultra?

The read/write performance on the WD EX2 Ultra is more consistent than the WD EX2 NAS. With compressed file types such as ISO and ZIP file transfers, both upload/write and download/read takes lesser time than the previous model and the Thecus N2310. The interface feels more mature and smooth, though it has limited add-ons compared to Synology and Thecus units. Still, it’s pretty good for an all-in-one solution.

I would have liked to see some way of having a NAS be used as a DAS via USB 3.0. It makes central storage much quicker. It is something that’s not done as DAS and NAS units are usually made differently, but there is a certain common characteristic and purpose.

…and what’s not!

What I don’t like is the mounting method. Since this NAS’s mount relies on four standoffs on the side, there’s no mechanism to install 2.5″ drives (unless you use a 2.5-inch to 2.5-inch casing). No physical button to power up or turn on the device physically. There is also no spring-loaded mechanism to eject the hard drive. Instead, they provide this plastic cut-out that you put on the drive to remove them. It is not a very pleasant experience. The feet are glued on the base. By the time I got this review unit, one of the rubber feet was taped on. When I sent it back, I had to do the same. At that point, a hot glue stick probably will to a better job at keeping the feet in place than whatever they were using. Even the single-bay Synology that I have uses a more permanent solution.  All of these problems can be solved easily without changing the form factor. Using HDD tray with a 2.5″ drive mount is better than using standoffs to roll it in. With a spring-loaded mechanism, it makes hot-swap much easier.

Concluding remarks

For what it offers the price is pretty reasonable. The interface is fairly easy to understand and additional tools help. I don’t have anything further to complain. If the cons don’t affect you, you’re good to go. Unlike the EX2, I have nothing bad to say about the EX2 Ultra’s performance.

For keeping it simple, the following prices are diskless variants which are commonly found in Amazon India/US and the UK.
  • Form Factor
  • Easy out-of-the-box installation
  • Good read/write transfer for compressed files
  • Options for diskless and preconfigured SKUs
  • No Power button
  • No 2.5″ drive support
  • Case feet comes off easily
  • Unsatisfactory mounting mechanism

WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra NAS Review from hardware

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