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Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo 2TB review

Alan Lu
9 Apr 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
220
inc VAT

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

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Specifications

2 disk bays, 2x 1TB storage supplied, 1x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports

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.

Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo 2TB

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.

Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo 2TB back

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.

The administration interface is logically organised into a series of tabs running across the top of the screen. It's less intimidating than most other NAS devices' interfaces. Creating user accounts, setting them quotas and then organising those accounts into groups can be done from a single screen, making it quick and easy to do. When changing the RAID array type, the interface warned us that this will delete all our data. We had to type in a numeric code to confirm the change, too, which should reduce the likelihood of overlooking the warning.

We had high hopes for the Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo. Its features work well and it's easy to administer. Its tray design needs refinement though, and its slow file transfer speeds can be frustrating. Considering these flaws, we recommend thinking carefully about how you'll use your NAS before buying the LinkStation Pro Duo.

Basic Specifications

Price£220
Rating***

Storage

Capacity2x 1TB
Formatted capacity1834GB
Default file systemXFS
Price per gigabyte£0.11
InterfaceSATA II
3.5in drive bays2
Free 3.5in drive bays0
RAID modesRAID 0, RAID 1

Interface

Ethernet ports1
USB direct access ports (front/rear)0/0
Other USB ports (front/rear)0/1
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Other portsnone

Networking

Ethernet connection speed10/100/1000Mbit/s
Universal Plug and Play supportyes
UPnP media serveryes
iTunesyes
Print serveryes
USB disk serveryes
Web serveryes
FTP serveryes
Protocols supportedTCP/IP, SMB/CIFS, AFP, FTP, HTTP, NFS

Miscellaneous

Size128x87x205mm
Weight1.7kg
Vertical positioningyes
Ethernet cable includedyes
Additional featuresBitTorrent manager, remote access
Power consumption idle17W
Power consumption active22W

Buying Information

Price£220
Warrantytwo years RTB
Supplierhttp://uk.insight.com
Detailswww.buffalo-technology.com

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