Buffalo LinkStation Mini 500GB £189
26th Dec 2010 | 09:30
The Buffalo LinkStation Mini 500GB is tiny, but powerful enough to be a contender
This palm-sized NAS drive is designed for home use. Its fanless, well-ventilated enclosure means it runs almost silently, and it's small enough to fit just about anywhere.
Inevitably for a drive this size, it uses 2.5-inch hard drives. The model reviewed here offers two 250GB drives, but a twin 500GB version is also available.
You can set it up as a RAID 0 drive to enjoy the full capacity of the installed drives, or RAID 1 to mirror your data and protect against drive failure, but the drives aren't user-accessible, so you can't replace a failed unit.
The LinkStation Mini's feature set belies its size. It has a built-in BitTorrent client, an iTunes server and a print server should you wish to connect a USB printer. You can stream media to a DLNA-compatible device, which is good news if you own a PS3 or Xbox 360.
The LinkStation Mini's WebAccess feature enables you to store, share and access files from any web browser on a PC, Mac or iPhone, and backup is provided by the bundled software. You can control group and user level security.
The LinkStation is easy on energy consumption; Buffalo claims it uses 60 per cent less than most NAS devices. It can be set up to switch off with your PC, but if you want to access files via the internet or your network, it's best to leave it on.
The LinkStation Mini puts in a performance that matches its larger competitors. Its price per gigabyte ratio isn't great, but if you shop around you can save quite a bit on the RRP. You can't upgrade or replace the drives without invalidating the warranty, but it's well worth a look.
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