Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo Singapore : Buffalo Technology

Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo Singapore

An easy-to-configure NAS that's let down by slow transfer speeds and a flawed disk tray design.

The 2TB LinkStation Pro Duo costs just 11p per gigabyte, and is one of the least expensive two-disk NAS devices around. Its pair of disks are hidden behind a removable front panel, and they're stubbornly difficult to remove in the event that you want to replace a failed disk or add bigger ones. The disk trays required some force to extract, and the ring pull-style grips dug painfully into our fingers.

A bigger concern is that the Pro Duo was painfully slow in our benchmarks. Regardless of whether it was set as RAID 0 or 1, large files were written at just under 9MB/s and read at around 15MB/s. Small files were both written and read at just under 3MB/s – that's seven times slower than the fastest NAS devices.

Despite its sluggish performance, we didn't have any trouble using the Pro Duo has an UPnP media server. It also worked flawlessly when sharing the contents of a USB disk and a USB printer across our network. There's just one USB port, though, and it didn't recognise a USB hub, so it can't perform both functions simultaneously. In our tests, the iTunes server did not appear in iTunes 10.1.2.17.

The BitTorrent download manager will be useful for downloading files without having to leave a computer on. Unfortunately, the download interface can only be accessed by users with administrator privileges. It's unlikely you'll want to give all other users the ability to change any setting at will.

Advanced users can use the Pro Duo as a web server. Since there’s support for MySQL databases, it’s possible to create quite sophisticated results such as ecommerce sites, although most website owners will want a professional hosting service if they're operating at this level.

If you just want to access your files remotely, you can do so via FTP or using a remote access web interface. There's even a smartphone-optimised version that can view Office, text, video and image files (and download them too depending on your smartphone’s capabilities). There's also a sophisticated iPhone app that can upload files back to the NAS, with an Android version coming soon. However, we found accessing files this way very slow.

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