NAS Devices: The Storage Centers (Part 1) - Buffalo LinkStation Pro 2TB, Freecom SilverStore 2-Drive NAS 2TB

7/24/2012 5:46:00 PM

With NAS, you would be able to gain access to your files via every in-door devices, and even the Internet. We have tested 4 NAS devices and 6 enclosures.

Buffalo LinkStation Pro 2TB

Ratings: 2/5

Price: $265.55


Buffalo LinkStation Pro 2TB

LinkStation Pro 2TB is a thin single-disk NAS with the size of a typical router. Unlike bigger devices, the design isn’t supposed to be opened or upgraded. It has a Gigabit Ethernet port and a USB connector allowing for connecting to external drives to expand its memory. The ON/OFF switch also has a mode which automatically turns the NAS off when it’s not in use and immediately turns the NAS on once a connected PC is trying to browse its contents.

Configuration is very easy. Pressing a big installing button will radiate and recognize NAS as the network drive and ask you to install NAS Navigator configuration tool of Buffalo. It also provides you options to install utilities like Network-USB Navigator that automatically searches and gains access to USB drives when you connect them with NAS. Another utility, TurboPC, will boost transfer speed between NAS and your PC, while TurboCopy accelerates Windows’s copying files, and NovaBackup allows you to make backup schedules.

It’s a pleasure that we were able to detect NAS on the Internet and enter its web interface from our browser without installing any other software. The web interface offers all tools that you need for configuring the device, from formatting hard disks to creating users and granting other particular privileges in access.

LinkStation Pro is one of NAS devices which owns various features, provides extra ones, from the average range such as remote web accessing to the specified one like popular media broadcasting which allows you to share your saved movies and music. It also functions as a Squeezebox, DLNA or iTunes servers. The USB port on the back panel can be used to either share additional storage all over the network or connect with USB printers. Other features includes uploading photos in a private folder to Flickr, connecting an Eye-Fi wireless SD card and backing up data from Apple devices to NAS through Time Machine. Moreover, it even owns a BitTorrent client application letting you download folders without starting up your PC.

Unfortuantely, LinkStation Pro is also disrepute for its extremely slow speed in transferring files. It only performs fastest once you install Buffalo’s accelerating tools on the PC that is being copied. This software temporarily uses PC’s memory to stores data during transfer process, but even when using it, our measure got an average speed of 37MB/s in a large file-transferring test and 6.4MB/s in a small one. With no help from the software, the transfer speed dropped to 27.4MB/s and 6MB/s. Although the slow transfer speed is a problem if you regularly run big backups or share media to lots of devices, you won’t encounter any problem in streaming standard definition movies or audio to a single client.

LinkStation Pro 2TB costs about 9p per gigabyte, and the single 2TB drive means you cannot set up your back-up storage on the second drive. Despite the moderately low $265.77 price, we recommend you to buy a 2-disk device , like My Book Live Duo 4TB of Western Digital.


Consideration: This single-disk NAS is user-friendly but quite slow.

NAS device:  2TB hard drive, 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet connection, 1 USB port, media servers for UPnP and iTunes, print server, USB connector, web, FTP.

Freecom SilverStore 2-Drive NAS 2TB

Ratings: 2/5

Price: $447.


Freecom SilverStore 2-Drive NAS 2TB

SilverStore 2-Drive NAS 2TB of Freecom is not your usual black box. Instead, its metal case is silver. Sadly, this brave move doesn’t do much for its look but at least it feels strong. You cannot say the same things for other hard disk containers because the plastic handle used to pull the drives out is too short and not comfortable for holding. We are not satisfied with wasting too much force just to get the disks out.

On the front is the power switch, a row of status light and a USB3 port. On the back, there are 1 USB port and 1 regular Ethernet Gigabit port. It is noisier than most other NAS devices. It created a small rattling sound vibrating our desk until we put a magazine under it.

The NAS device appeared in our network as a storage and media device, but its hard disks didn’t pop up as an accessible folder. First, you had to set it up by using the device’s web interface, which Windows users could enter by double-clicking the SilverStore icon on the browser’s screen of their file manager, or a program called Freecom Network Storage Assistant (FNSA) supplied on the installation disc.

The FNSA simplifies basic configuration, like changing NAS’s IP address, and has convenient tools to map the shared folders on the network to your selected drive, even add connected USB printer. More advanced configuration must be carried out via web interface, in which the software provides a shortcut. FNSA is not necessary, because its options are available from NAS device’s web interface, but the software is useful and well-designed.

The web interface is also clearly designed, with many features marked under tabs. A back-up manager allows you to back up the contents of NAS to a connected USB, and there 1 tab for downloader which is home for the device’s integrated BitTorrent client software. It supports Tonido remote control letting you enter SilverStone NAS 2TB’s contents through web browsers or mobile apps wherever you are.

SilverStone also has normal UPnP and iTunes media server plus options limiting accesses and quota to restrict actions of users as well as groups that you have set up. Unluckily, it doesn’t work as a print server for USB printers.

The device’s default setting is RAID 0, but we did run speed tests by using more secure RAID 1 configuration, which copied exact your data; it provided less space for storing but more security against data loss if one of the drives would be ruined. It was odd that SilverStore 2 TB ran faster in RAID 1 mode. In the RAID 0 mode, the average speed in test of reading and writing big files was 32MB/s, increasing to 39.8MB/s in RAID 1 mode. Relatively, small files were transfer at an average speed of 8.6MB/s in RAID 0 mode, and 12.1MB/s when RAID 1 mode was used.

The faster transfer speed makes it one of the best operating NAS devices we’ve reviewed but it is bad value in the aspect of storage space. With $447.61, you only have two 1TB-drives, while you would have two 2TB-drives in Western Digital’s superb My Book Live Duo 4TB.


Consideration: This seemingly cheap NAS is much faster than several opponents, but it is quite pricey for the capacity that it supplies.

NAS device: Two 1TB-hard disks, 10/100/1000Mbit/s network connection, 2 USB ports, UPnP and iTunes media servers, USB, FTP.
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