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Wi-Fi Router Charts

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Mesh System Charts

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On the Inside

Figure 4 shows the main circuit board.  The Quad is powered by a Marvell 88F5182-A2 C400 Orion Storage processor and has 128 MB of memory and 256 KB of flash. The Ethernet port is the ubiquitous Marvell 88E1118 gigabit controller. 

Quad main board
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Figure 4: Quad main board

Interestingly, the Quad has a Marvell 88SM4140 SATA II 1:4 Port Multiplier which undoubtedly saves a bit on the Bill of Material costs, but might help account for the relatively low performance. 

On the rear of the chassis, there’s a temperature-controlled fan that provides cooling.  The Quad runs very quietly with the fan noise just barely above ambient room noise. Power draw was measured at 34 W with four drives.

Hands On

Figure 5 shows a summary screen of the setup and initial configuration performed by a Setup Wizard. It walks you through the required steps and also allows you to install the supplied Mimeo backup software.  

Buffalo LinkStation Setup Wizard

Figure 5: Buffalo LinkStation Setup Wizard

By default, the Quad is configured to get an IP address via DHCP, RAID 5, a pre-configured public share named “Share”.

A new version (Version 2.11) of Buffalo’s NASNavigator shown in Figure 6, provides a new look and feel for the discovery tool.  It finds all TeraStations and LinkStations on your network, identifies their IP address, shows you the available space on each device, and lets you map drives.  It doesn’t however, point you to the web-based administration page.

NASNavigator showing two Buffalo NAS devices on my network

Figure 6: NASNavigator showing two Buffalo NAS devices on my network

Buffalo didn’t break any much new ground with the user interface on the LinkStation Quad.  The interface, with menu tabs arranged vertically along the left side of the screen, is virtually identical to what I’ve seen in other Buffalo NAS products (Figure 7).  Since I’ve already covered the user interface in other reviews as well as slide shows, I’ll comment briefly only on new or improved features, or those that are unique to the Quad.

As you would expect, there are few differences in the Disk Management tab.  In this menu, you can configure the NAS for RAID 0 (striped), RAID 1 (mirrored), RAID 5 (Striped Parity) or RAID 10 (striped and mirrored).  As noted earlier, the Quad ships configured for RAID 5, which provides the maximum amount of fault tolerant storage.  For the 1.0 TB model, the net storage space available for your files is 676 MB.  The balance of the storage capacity is used for parity as well as a limited amount of system overhead. 

If you decide to change RAID levels, you are prompted that you will lose all of your data, i.e. RAID migration and expansion are not supported.  A second screen forces you to type in a 4 digit code to confirm that you really want to lose your data. 

Reconfiguration of RAID levels takes only a couple of minutes. But after the RAID has been changed, it will take many hours before the RAID has been checked and resynchronized.  However, during this period you can still configure and use the Quad.  For each of the possible RAID configurations, a graphic, shown in Figure 7, will show you how your data will be arranged on the four drives.

RAID setup configuration for the LinkStation Quad
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Figure 7: RAID setup configuration for the LinkStation Quad

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