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Updated 12/17/08: Replaced Fig 1 with updated chart

Buffalo LinkStation Quad

At a Glance
Product Buffalo LinkStation Quad (LS-Q1.0TL/R5)
Summary Four SATA Drive NAS with support for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10. Available in 1, 2 and 4 TB models
Pros •Least expensive 4 drive RAID 5 NAS
•Can be used as a Mac OS Time Machine destination
•Quiet operation
•Remote Web Access
Cons •Bottom of the pack performance for four-drive NASes
•Power down is the default RAID Failure mode
•Drives not hot swappable
•No logging for FTP or Web Access

The SOHO NAS market has been dominated by single and dual-drive products. Generally, four drive NAS products have not been targeted at SOHO buyers—they are just too expensive. However, Buffalo is about to change all that with the introduction of their LinkStation Quad, which replaces the TeraStation Live.

Like all of Buffalo’s NAS products, the Quad ships fully populated with disks. My test unit, the LS-Q1.0TL/R5 arrived with four 250 GB Seagate ST3250310AS Barracuda 7200.10 cold-swap drives.  Yet, the LinkStation Quad has an amazingly low list price of $449 and is available online for as little as $363.  That’s about what you’d pay for D-Link’s DNS-343 that ships without drives.  However, while you get a lot of bang for the buck, the LinkStation Quad ranks near the bottom of the four-drive NAS performance charts.

Buffalo has updated their LinkStation comparison chart (Figure 1) to include the new LinkStation Quad.  As you can see, the LinkStation Quad has a feature set that, with the exception of the additional RAID features you pick up with a four drive NAS, is almost identical to the features found in the LinkStation Live. 

Buffalo Technology LinkStation Comparison Chart
Click to enlarge image

Figure 1: Buffalo Technology LinkStation Comparison Chart

The Quad has a case that’s relatively small for a four drive NAS.  It measures only 5.91 x 5.91 x 9.01 inches.  The front panel, pictured above, has a blue status indicator light, individual LEDs for each drive, a power switch, a single USB port, a function button and a function LED.  The function button enables you to copy media files from an attached USB drive to a share that you’ve defined. 

The front panel is simple to remove—you simply pull it off.  It’s connected to the case with four magnets. Behind the cover, you’ll find the four SATA drives.

LinkStation Quad Rear Panel

Figure 2: LinkStation Quad Rear Panel

Figure 2 (above) shows that the rear panel has a second USB port that can be used for attaching additional storage or as a print server. There’s also a Gigabit Ethernet port, network activity LED, security slot, power connector and cable guide for the power cord. Jumbo frames are supported for 4102, 7402 and 9694 Byte frames. 

The Quad is powered by an external “power brick” that auto senses 110/220VAC and outputs 19.5VDC at 4.7 Amps.  The cord on each side of the “brick” is 6 feet long, so you can position the Quad up to 12 feet from your power outlet. 

Also on the rear is a power mode switch.  It’s not clear from the manual how the switch works, so I contacted tech support for clarification.  If you connect your computer directly to the NAS (without going through a switch), the NAS will power down when the attached computer powers down, if the switch is in the "automatic" position. 

The Quad does not have configurable idle drive spin down times. But you can configure it to shut down and power up using up to three scheduling options (Figure 3).

Power Up / Down Schedule

Figure 3: Power Up / Down Schedule

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