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You are here: NAS NAS Reviews Buffalo TeraStation Pro II Review: Good performer, odd design choices
 

Buffalo TeraStation Pro II Review: Good performer, odd design choices

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Introduction

TeraStation Pro II

At a Glance
Product Buffalo TeraStation Pro II(1.0 TB TS-H1.0TGL/R5 )
Summary Four SATA Drive NAS with support for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10. Available in 1, 2 and 3 TB models
Pros • Gigabit Interface
• LCD information status panel
• Easy setup wizard
• Quiet operation
• Multiple notifications of disk errors
• Built-in backup to other Buffalo NAS Devices
• Support for DFS
Cons • Drives not hot swappable
• Rebuilding RAID requires manual intervention after replacing drive
• No support for Daylight savings or authenticated SMTP mail
• "Middle of the pack" performance
• USB drives didn’t mount and share as expected

As storage capacities of NAS (Network Attached Storage) units continue to grow, so does the need for fault tolerance. Of course, simple, single drive NAS boxes such as Buffalo’s LinkStation Live or LinkStation Pro provide no fault tolerance. Mid-priced NAS products tend to be dual drive systems that typically support RAID 1 mirroring. Larger capacity systems, typically aimed at the business market, have four (or more) drives and support additional RAID configurations—all of which provide fault tolerance, and in most cases, high data availability.

Buffalo Technology, a well-known vendor in the NAS market, announced its new top-of-the-line NAS, the TeraStation Pro II, at CES in January. Buffalo announced the 3.0 TB version in May to complement the original 1.0 and 2.0 TB capacities. According to Buffalo, the Pro II is not replacing the original TeraStation Pro; however, Buffalo’s site listed no reseller links for the 1.0 TB version of the Pro. The two models look almost identical, but the original TeraStation Pro is labeled as TeraStation and the Pro II is labeled TeraStation Pro.

The Basics

The TeraStation Pro II contains four SATA drives. Depending on the model, the drives are 250 GB, 500 GB, or 750 GB. Our evaluation unit was equipped with four Samsung SP2504C 250 GB drives. The front panel is equipped with a lock to prevent un-authorized access to the drives.

Unlike the LaCie Ethernet Disk Raid that I recently reviewed, the TeraStation Pro II is equipped with an LCD panel that displays configuration and status information (Figure 1). Information displayed includes time/date, RAID configuration, drives in use, link speed, and the current IP address. When fault conditions exit, the display also shows error codes and drive status. In addition to the power indicator, the TeraStation Pro II has 11 LEDs. There’s an individual LED to indicate Link/Activity, Error, and Messages. For each of the four drives, there’s an LED for activity and one to show drive failure.

Degrade mode

Figure 1: TeraStation information screen showing degraded mode due to failed drive

On the rear of the NAS, there are two USB 2.0 ports that you can use to expand your storage with external USB drives. I tested the USB ports with the same USB drives that I used to test on the LinkStation Live and found that they were recognized but not mounted. The USB drives also did not show up on a dropdown list as an available volume to create a share. So a feature that worked well on the LinkStation Live appears to be broken on the TeraStation Pro II.

Inside Details

The Pro II features a new high performance architecture based on Marvel Orion processor with 128 MB of RAM and 256 KB of flash. Figure 2 shows a close up of the main board, which also includes an NEC D720101 USB 2.0 controller and D78F0511 8 bit flash-based microcontroller. Power consumption was measured at around 67W, higher than other RAID 5 NASes we've tested. Note that the Pro II doesn't support a power-save mode.

Terastation Pro II main board

Figure 2: Pro II main board

Check out the slideshow Check out the slideshow for an inside tour of the Pro II.




Related Items:

Buffalo announces 3TB NASes
Slideshow - Buffalo TeraStation Pro II
Buffalo adds iSCSI NASes
Buffalo Adds to TeraStation Line
Buffalo pumps up NAS lineup

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