Buffalo LinkStation mini review
As more people move from desktops to laptops, and our homes become populated with multiple computers, NAS (networked attached storage) drives like this LinkStation mini from Buffalo become compelling options.
The idea is that you connect this unit to your wireless router, then any computers you have on the network can access it. Keep your music, pictures and documents on this drive and you can work on any computer.
We've seen a few NAS drives lately, but the Buffalo LinkStation mini is striking on a number of levels. Firstly, it's also a RAID unit housing two separate 500GB 5400rpm hard drives. These provide either 1TB of space, or are mirrored for 500GB of redundant storage – in the case of one drive breaking you'll still have all your data.
A NAS drive with RAID is rare because typically you need a processor for the RAID and a processor for the NAS; to keep costs down most units have either one or the other.
Secondly, despite this horsepower it has a diminutive stature and lacks a noisy fan, which makes it ideal for home use. It also ensures a lower power consumption, which makes it ideal for an ‘always-on’ media sever. All of this is rare in a NAS unit.
Thirdly, Buffalo has really gone to town with the functionality: it is a DLNA certified media server, which is great if you have a DLNA player (such as PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360). It also offers Buffalo's web access technology that enables you to access your files remotely (more on this in a bit).
Despite its diminutive nature, Buffalo's LinkStation mini NAS drive offers RAID storage and a host of extra features