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3.6 out of 5 stars38
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 20 October 2013
I have had this NAS for 24 hours now but for the first 3 hours I was ready to send it back. As others have stated the documentation is woeful. Also, I could not get it to be seen on my network for 3 hours as it stated that it was booted in emergency mode.

Searching the internet I found this link to forcing a firmware upgrade.

http://commonmanrants.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/buffalo-linkstation-partition-not-found.html

[Edit 20/06/14 - I have found another link describing exactly what I did before so let's see if Amazon delete this one too]

Do not buy this NAS without looking at this link first as you will need it to force a firmware upgrade to get the thing to work. It is frustratingly hard to find this link in the first place. I had to rebuild the partition table and delete the user config to get mine to work.

Anyway, I have a 3tb and 1tb drive in it. The Samsung 1tb drive is not on the capability list but it works o.k.

The drive is fast - I was copying over 200gb of data per hour.

It is also quiet. The only noise I can hear is the hard disks spinning in it.

So frustratingly hard to set up but fast in use.

On the strength of this product I have bought a 4 bay Buffalo drive that was a lot easier to set up but is somehow a bit slower in data transfer - still a great product though.

Update 05/12/13. I have bought another of these NAS devices as the price had dropped to £75 and I still have a few spare hard disks lying around. As I had learnt from my previous experience I had the second NAS up and running in half an hour - still had to force the firmware upgrade and I had already downloaded it for the first one. Buffalo really do need to update the firmware on the NAS's they send out to sell as it is unacceptable to have to go through such painful steps to get them to work. Still 4 stars though based on performance.....
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on 3 October 2013
Size: Diskless|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Although I am generally quite happy to tinker with things such as NAS drives (I have a multi drive NAS where I installed Linux operating system on directly) the idea of a work-out-the-box home network drive has a lot of appeal. By this I mean a device which can be left on all the time, can store everyone's files (private and shared), can connect to a printer and play videos on TV. In terms of size this device is surprisingly small yet in terms of features it packs a lot in.

Installation is a case of installing the drives, connecting it to the network, and running some software on a PC (Mac install is also available). It finds the drive easily and despite mine seemingly wanting to configure it in a way other than I intended (I will put that down to my user error) it is fairly intuitive. I was a bit annoyed I had to install the software on my PC as the configuration afterwards can be done by website. I would have thought connecting it via USB would allow you to set the IP address and then you would be good to go (perhaps you can do this, but I did not find it in the instructions).

I configured mine in RAID-1 which means you have two hard drives installed of the same size, and they store identical information. This is really important for important files (perhaps photos and videos) as it means if there is a drive failure, the other drive has a copy. To install RAID 1 you have to let the drives synchronise which takes ages.

Once up and running you can do all sorts of clever permissioning with different users accessing different folders. For a family that might be really useful as you can each have your own folders and then have some shared ones (eg. movies or music). There is also something called WebAccess which lets you access the drive over the Internet. I would suggest avoiding that as from a security perspective it seems a problem waiting to happen.

Overall the file server works well, and it is easy to add various shares, configure FTP if you want, and generally use the system as a file server.

That said I am looking for more, in terms of multimedia. Happily this device supports DLNA which is a technology for streaming video files across a network. It means I can watch movies from the server on my iPhone when at home, on a computer or on a newish TV. It works well and from what I've seen so far there is good codec support (ie. different file formats). There is also an iTunes server which I did not use.

You can also share a printer. This is useful because generally if you want a network printer at home you have to leave a computer on. This device uses much less power so is a better solution. It does have a Print Server mode, but it is disappointing as it is not "bi-directional". This means that information sent from the printer to the computer (eg. ink levels) cannot be displayed. It also means multifunction devices with scanners will not work. There is the option to use a "USB Device Server" which means you install some software on all PCs or Macs that want it, and you can then access the multifunction device. This works okay, but you can only use it one person at a time (so don't accidentally leave it connected) and it means you have to install the software. For less fussy users this is fine.

I am conscious that others have said this device is quiet, but I have to disagree. There is a small fan at the back but from what I have seen so far there is no speed control (ie. it slows down and is therefore quieter when it does not need to operate). I need to leave this on 24x7 so the noise is noticeable when there is no other sound.

Overall this device is good, especially if you want a non-obtrusive network server in the house for lots of people to share. The print server and noise are negatives for me, but given the price point and the size of it, I think it is a very good product if what you want to do is covered above.
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on 1 December 2013
Software loads easily and initial setup getting started for administrator rights are easy too. Setting the unit to RAID 1 was straight forward but took an age to complete. Once the RAID is set, user accounts and folder set up also nice and easy. The most troublesome bit was setting up the web access with my Virgin Superhub. The Buffalo instructions wasn't too helpful here, I had to google and troubleshoot the problems I had. With another router it may connect ok I don't know. Once connected having given my Linkstation a name it worked beautifully. The speed of the connection is good and loading music and documents are pretty quick too.
The good: Linkstation is easy to access and transfer speeds via Windows 7 are generally very good.
The bad : RAID takes ages to setup. Uploading files over the web particularly films are slow, not easy to get it to work with the Superhub.

Overall a good unit which is compact and quiet and reasonably priced.
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Size: Diskless|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have had a Buffalo LS-CHL500 Linkstation for about five years and during that time it has performed faultlessly. My only issues were that it was has never been particularly fast, it can vibrate a bit in use, and of course it only has a single hard disk so I had to make sure I did regular backups of my pictures and data stored on the drive.

I must admit I was quite excited at getting the chance to review a much newer version of the Linkstation as this model seems to address all of my concerns about my older model.

The version provided for review was a diskless model, so you have to add your own hard disk(s). It supports disks up to 4GB and both RAID 0 and RAID 1, so you can have up to a maximum of a 4GB mirrored system for better data protection, or an 8GB striped set-up for maximum performance.

As my Linkstation is primarily used to store my photographs and videos, I wanted to have the device set up in a RAID 1 configuration so that the data on one disk is mirrored onto the second disk so that there is always a backup in case of disk failure

As this is the diskless version of the Linkstation, I bought 2 x Western Digital Red - 1TB Desktop SATA Hard Drives for NAS - OEM to fit in it. Red drives are specially designed for use in a NAS and rather than in a desktop computer, offering lower operating temperatures, quieter operation and longer Mean Time Between Failures.

On opening the box, the first thing you notice about the Linkstation is how small it is! It really is not that much bigger than two hard disks. It also felt quite light and perhaps even a bit flimsy.

Fitting the disks was simple. The drive mounting rails come out easily and screws are supplied to fit the drives. Slotting them back in to the NAS was simple and they seemed to locate securely and firmly into the electrical connections at the back.

Once the drives were fitted the whole assembly felt a lot more solid.

I then attached the drive to my network and plugged it in and turned it on. Following the set-up instructions and installing the software was pretty simple (even though they are pictures only).

My first issue was that when I logged on to the Linkstation, it had by default created a RAID 0 (striped) array without asking if that is what I wanted. This meant I had to go in to the advanced controls and delete the array and then create a new RAID 1 (mirrored) array myself.

Once the array was created, I was easily able to create a few folders and to start copying over my data.

Performance, even when set up as a mirrored array, was significantly better than my old Linkstation. I did some performance tests today and there really is a huge difference.

Please note these are only rough and ready performance figures, but they should give you some idea of the performance. (This is running on a Netgear Gigabit switch and CAT 6 cables)

Old Linkstation LS-CHL500

File copy 16GB from old LS-CHL500 to SSD on my PC - 14 minutes 02 seconds - 19MB/s
File copy 16GB from SSD on my PC to old LS-CHL500 - 21 minutes 42 seconds - 12.29MB/s

New Linkstation 421e

File copy 16GB from LS-421e to SSD on my PC - 3 minutes 28 seconds. - 76MB/s
File copy 16GB from SSD on my PC to LS-421e - 5 minutes 7 seconds. - 52MB/s

This quick test shows that the new Linkstation is around four times faster than the old one and this is with it running in mirrored array. It should be faster still if you decide to run it as a striped array.

On a more subjective level, when browsing through my photographs stored on the Linkstation, they just snap open instantly.

My next comment is that with the Western Digital Red drives installed, the Linkstation is almost silent. It is much much quieter than the old one and there is none of the annoying vibration either!

One thing to note - when you first create a RAID 1 array, the NAS will carry out a full disk synchronisation. This can take up to seven hours and I could not find any way of controlling when a synchronisation will happen in the software. Fortunately, this did not seem to have much of an impact on the performance, but it did keep sending me annoying notifications in the task bar saying that a disk synchronisation was taking place. I presume that the NAS will do a synchronisation on a regular basis, but it would have been nice to have control over this scheduling.

Overall, I am really impressed with this little NAS. It is small, fast, very quiet, and quite flexible. The control software is OK rather than brilliant, but it does the job - It would have been better if I could have chosen a RAID 1 array during set-up, and I would have liked some control over when the drives synchronise, but these are really quite minor issues.
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on 23 December 2013
Ok so I'm generally good with computers, and have never failed to get something to work properly before but here goes, starting with the positives....

Pros:

-Looks nice - yes it's plastic but actually looks a bit like a grey-brown metal and to me at least appears stylish.
-Reasonable quiet - but not silent.

Cons:

-Absolutely horrible to set up.
-As previous reviewers have mentioned this is a nightmare. It took me ~2 hours to make it stop reporting an incorrectly mounted hard drive before it would format the drive and use it.
-This took reformatting the HDD 4 times in my desktop and just way too much fiddling.

Useless as a DLNA server.
I purchased this for the sole purpose of streaming my lossless music collection to my network player (Cyrus Streamline2).
However, the server software sends everything apart from artist name, album name and track names in non-latin letters, so when browsing music the selection for choosing to browse using artist/album will appear as something along the lines of ~~~~~/~~~. There are loads of these options and I'm not sure what most of them even are.
The streamer never gets problems like this from any other DLNA server.

Conclusion:
If you want this for very basic file storage, backup and sharing then it would be absolutely fine if you have a lot of patience to set it up. If you want a media server avoid like the plague!
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on 16 December 2013
This is the first NAS drive I have ever bought, and I hate hardware problems so I did quite a bit of research first.

I ended up buying two. One for my business network, and one for the home network.

This unit is absolutely brilliant. The admin control panel which comes installed is logically laid-out and simple to use. Configure users & passwords, and assign which folders each user (or all users) can access.

Just put a DLNA app on your phone(s) or tablet(s), and instantly, everything on a network just sees the drive straight away (subject to the permissions you set already set up).

The first evening I was streaming a movie from the NAS drive, wirelessly, to my Android phone.

DLNA SmartTVs etc see it straight away.

The admin control panel contains a back-up facility - this item's best feature. It backs-up either to itself, or online, or to another Buffalo unit.

Opens up all kinds of possibilities.
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on 20 February 2014
Decided not as good as I thought. Two drives do not work, they get too hot and one fails. Very slow running fan. Using RAID1 you cannot purchase identical drive and just plug it in, does not work as RAID1. Forums confirm this, you have to get replacement from Buffalo. Now using successfully with one drive. My view now for a home user is just to buy a single bay type and use external USB for backup. You are sure then.
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on 27 November 2013
I love this device. I was looking for something like this. At home I have Windows desktop and at work, I use Macbook Pro. So I always have problem to manage my data between both operating systems. With this one, I just attached to my network and can access from windows and mac OSx. performance is remarkably high.
It went one time in emergency mode during first time setup, but the Buffalo support help line is great, they are very well aware of their product and help you to the end to solve your problem. I was very impressed with their support service.

Love this gadget and highly recommend it.
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on 2 January 2014
After a deal of research of the available budget NAS diskless boxes I plumped for the Buffalo LinkStation 421E. The Amazon reviews of this model seemed to give a fair evaluation of the NAS box.

There was only a couple of downsides to the installation side:
1. The documentation could have been much better as the quick start guide only had a pictorial run though. Some explanation of procedure would have been welcomed. Advise that you download the latest full manual and read up before installing the NAS box.
2. The installation program could not find the NAS until I turned off my AV/Firewall software. Once I did this, the installation proceeded without a hitch and worked perfectly after turning the AV/Firewall back on.

The speed of this budget NAS is very good compared to my first experience of NAS (WD My Book Live) which are OK but operate a lot slower in comaparison to the Buffalo LinkStation 421E. (Mac Pro 2x2.26 Zeon)

Would have given the 421E a 5 star rating if only the installation process had been easier.

Once you got passed installation (not a show stopper but quirky), this NAS operates superbly. Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 21 November 2013
Size: Diskless|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have to admit. I am one of those people who has never backed up data on my computer. It got to the point when I had literally thousands of photographs & videos that are very precious to me. The thought of losing them was a major concern so I got this. Have to say that the set up was a bit complicated. The instructions weren't very clear - particularly for someone new to doing this. I had to trawl the web & get some answers on some user forums before I managed it. However, one connected, I'm now using it without issue. It's not particularly pretty, and not as robust as it looks in the picture. It doesn't run silently but is fairly quiet. My PC now runs so much faster which is great. I got used to it running slowly so its like having a new PC. Really happy with it - just need to persevere a bit on the set up.
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