1 disk bays, 500GB storage supplied, 1x 10/100Mbit/s Ethernet ports
Buffalo’s DriveStation 2Share is a network-attached storage (NAS) device with 500GB of storage. Once plugged into your router, files stored on it can be accessed from any computer connected to your network.
Unlike most NAS devices we’ve seen recently, the DriveStation can also be connected directly to one computer at a time, since it has a USB port in addition to an Ethernet connector. The small front-mounted button switches between the Ethernet and USB connections. Its indicator light glows green when the DriveStation is connected over Ethernet, and red when using USB. Unlike other NAS devices that can also be accessed over USB, there’s no need to install a driver on every computer with which you wish to use it.
Setting up the DriveStation takes less than five minutes thanks to the setup wizard. This easy configuration is, however, due to a lack of features. Unlike other similarly priced NAS devices we’ve seen, it can only be used as a file server. This means it can’t share a USB printer or the contents of a USB disk with the other computers on your network.
The 2Share doesn’t have any security features, either, so anyone connected to your network can access your shared files. This means it’s ill-suited for multiple users with sensitive data. We expect every NAS to be able to support password-protected accounts for different users. You can use a third-party encryption program such as TrueCrypt, but it’s a lot of extra work if you must use it on a daily basis.
This lack of features could be forgiven if the DriveStation performed well in our file transfer tests, but its performance over Ethernet was disappointing. It wrote large files at just 7.4MB/s and read them at 6.2MB/s. Small files were written at 6.7MB/s and read at 5.3MB/s. Its performance over USB was much better, though, and was faster than any USB hard disk we’ve seen. The exception was when writing small files, where it managed just 16.3MB/s.
You could work around the slow network copying speeds by connecting it to a computer using USB whenever you need to copy large quantities of data. However, this reduces the convenience of a NAS, especially if it’s being used by a number of users at the same time.
The DriveStation is cheap at just 19p per gigabyte, but if you want a NAS on tight budget, then LaCie’s similarly priced Network Space 500GB is better value thanks to its wider array of features. For a quicker and even more capable NAS, RaidSonic’s IcyBox IB-NAS4220-B is a good choice, but it’s more expensive overall since you’ll have to buy and fit a disk yourself.
|Default file system||FAT32|
|Price per gigabyte||£0.17|
|3.5in drive bays||1|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||0|
|USB direct access ports (front/rear)||0/1|
|Other USB ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|eSATA ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|Ethernet connection speed||10/100Mbit/s|
|Universal Plug and Play support||no|
|UPnP media server||no|
|USB disk server||no|
|Protocols supported||TCP/IP, SMB/CIFS|
|Ethernet cable included||yes|
|Power consumption active||11W|
|Warranty||two years RTB|