Simple And Effective, But The LinkStation Can Use Polish
After testing the latest and greatest day in and day out, it's hard to get amped up about mainstream hardware. Really, Buffalo's LinkStation 420 satisfies any expectation you might have of a basic network-attached storage device. It's attractive enough, it's small, it's quiet, and it's relatively power-friendly.
It'd be nice if Buffalo would improve its documentation to make setup an easier process. USB 3.0 would be welcomed, too. And don't expect to push the limits of a gigabit Ethernet link with Marvell's little Armada 370 in there, either. But then again, this is a 4 TB RAID-capable setup for $340. Just the disks are going to run you $180 to $200. What remains pays for the platform, enclosure, and software.
Sure, we'd like to see some improvements. The interface needs work; it should be more user-friendly and responsive. A faster and more modern file system like ext4 would be a better choice for the LinkStation 420, too.
Typically, this is where enthusiasts chime in to add that they have a spare case, extra hard drives, and the smarts to deploy FreeNAS. If that's you, and you're able to roll your own storage server, then you stand to save quite a bit of cash going the do-it-yourself route. Otherwise, Buffalo's entry-level solution gets the job done affordably. It isn't going to do any more, though it won't do any less, either. When you make your comparisons to other devices, be sure you're looking at appliances with storage included. Otherwise, the side-by-side isn't fair. In this case, you get what you pay for.