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NAS Reviews

Introduction

BuffaloTech LinkStation Gigabit Network Storage Center

BuffaloTech LinkStation Gigabit Network Storage Center
Summary 250GB NAS with 10/100/1000 LAN connection, built-in print server and disk expansion via two USB2.0 ports

Also available in 160 and 300 & 400GB versions

Update None
Pros • Gigabit Ethernet with Jumbo Frame support
• Better peak read / write speeds than LinkStation & TeraStation
Cons • Looks the same as the 10/100 LinkStation
• No logging or reporting
• Print server is postscript only

Buffalo Technology recently decided to expand its popular line of LinkStation consumer NAS with versions that have a gigabit Ethernet LAN port. They come in 160, 250, 300 and 400GB sizes and I'll be looking at the 250GB flavor.

If you already own a 10/100 LinkStation, the first thing you'll notice once you get the "Giga" LinkStation out of its box, is that it looks exactly the same! Buffalo didn't even slap a "Giga" decal on the screened side panels that proudly declare "LinkStation". I know parts are cheaper when you buy in bulk, but jeez, guys, give it a little differentiation!

The Power, Link / Act, Disk Full and Diag lights on the front panel are the same as grace the front of the 10/100 LinkStation, as are the single USB 2.0 ports on the front and back panel. The only difference is that the Giga's Link / Act light glows blue when it's connected to a gigabit Ethernet switch.

I don't have any internal pictures of the Giga because, frankly, it's too much of a pain to open without cracking something. But Buffalo told me that the design uses the same basic components as its Terastation [reviewed here] - a Freescale MPC8241 PowerPC processor running at 266MHz with 128MB of RAM, and a NEC D720101 USB 2.0 host controller handling the four USB 2.0 ports.

The Realtek RTL8110S-32 gigabit Ethernet controller that provides the single 10/100/1000 LAN port supports auto MDI / MDI-X and can be set to support 4100 and 7418 Byte Jumbo Frames.

Tip! TIP: Jumbo Frames are simply Ethernet frames (packets) larger than 1518 Bytes. If you'd like additional background on Jumbo Frames try this article.

The file system format on the hard drive is EXT3 - the same as the 10/100 LinkStation.

By the way, I thought the Giga was noisier than the 10/100 LinkStation and determined this was due to fan, not drive noise. This could be due to the faster processor, which would cause the temperature-controlled fan to run faster.

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