Buffalo's TeraStation III is very fast, but its high price makes it poor value for most people.
4 disk bays, 4x 500GB storage supplied, 2x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports
Buffalo’s TeraStation III looks a bit plain compared to other NAS devices, but it’s well-equipped with four 500GB hard disks mounted in slide-out trays. These can easily be unscrewed and replaced in the event of a disk failure. They’re secured behind a lockable front door, but this will only deter causal data thieves, as we were able to pry it open with minimal force.
The disks can be configured as RAID 0, 1, 5 or 10. You can also create two separate RAID 1 arrays if you wish. The speed at which it copied files was impressive, no matter which RAID level we chose. Large files were transferred at an average speed of around 30MB/s, while small files were copied at around 20MB/s.
The crowded, dated-looking interface used on previous Buffalo NAS devices has been replaced by a sleek, new one. The controls have been reorganised into a less bewildering number of categories arranged as a series of tabs running along the top of your browser window. It’s less intimidating than the older interface as well as those from other manufacturers.
The controls for creating user accounts, assigning them to groups and setting usage quotas is accomplished from a single screen making it one of the easiest and quickest to use we’ve seen. Creating more than a few user accounts can be tedious in other NAS administration interfaces, but multiple accounts can be created fairly quickly using a text-based interface. A graphical interface would have been even better, but it’s still useful to have. Active Directory support is present too.
Extra storage can be added by plugging USB hard disks into the two rear USB ports. The TeraStation can also be used to share a USB printer across a network, potentially saving the cost of a dedicated network printer. The rear serial port is for connecting a UPS so the TeraStation can be set to shut down safely in the event a power failure. A timer can be configured to wake up the device and put it back to sleep again every day or only on specific days. Up to three different schedules can be set.
Files stored on your networked computers can be backed up to the TeraStation using the included Memeo AutoBackup software which works automatically in the background. The contents of the TeraStation itself can then be backed up to another NAS on a schedule – there’s support for incremental and versioned backups. It’s a well-designed backup system.
Although the TeraStation is aimed at small and medium sized businesses, some consumer features have crept in. It can be configured as a media server so it can stream videos, music and photos to a network media player, but there’s no iTunes server.
BitTorrent-hosted files can be downloaded without the aid of a computer, but the controls are within the main web management interface. This may be preferable if you don’t want any users on your network downloading illicit files, but inconvenient if you want to let a few trusted users use BitTorrent but don’t want them fiddling with the other settings.
Buffalo’s TeraStation III is a fast and generally well-designed NAS, but at 29p per gigabyte it’s expensive. We suspect this is due to its use of poor-value 500GB hard disks. If this doesn’t bother you, it’s a good NAS, but there are better-value options.
|Default file system||XFS|
|Price per gigabyte||£0.29|
|3.5in drive bays||4|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||0|
|RAID modes||RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10|
|USB direct access ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|Other USB ports (front/rear)||0/2|
|eSATA ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|Other ports||2x serial|
|Ethernet connection speed||10/100/1000Mbit/s|
|Universal Plug and Play support||yes|
|UPnP media server||yes|
|USB disk server||yes|
|Protocols supported||TCP/IP, SMB/CIFS, AFP, FTP, HTTP, NFS|
|Ethernet cable included||yes|
|Additional features||download manager, Active Directory support, Time Machine server, UPS support, power management|
|Power consumption active||61W|
|Warranty||three years RTB|