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NAS Reviews

Performance and Conclusions

We have recently revamped our popular NAS performance charts.  The new charts are now much more interactive and let you choose up to six products to compare for performance vs. filesize on numerous tests. Check out the description of the new features here. I generated the performance charts below using the new NAS chart tools. 

Overall, I was disappointed in the performance of the LinkStation Live—especially when  compared to the LinkStation Pro.  I also found this quite surprising considering that the two models are built on virtually the identical hardware platform.  I contacted Buffalo Technology, and they, too, were very surprised and had expected the performance of the "Live" to be approximately the same as the "Pro". 

In fairness to Buffalo, we received an engineering sample built just before production started, so it's possible that the performance of the production "Live" models will more closely match the performance of the Pro.  When Buffalo sends a production sample, we'll rerun the tests and update the performance charts as necessary.

For the purposes of this comparison, I included the LinkStation Pro (red line), LinkStation Live (blue line) and the older Gigabit LinkStation (green line).  I included the 100 Mbps and 1000 Mbps read/write tests, but encourage you to use the new interactive charting feature to explore and compare other test results and products. 

The charts below clearly tell an interesting story.  The LinkStation Pro, near the top of the NAS performance charts, clearly outperformed the LinkStation Live in every test.  And, in all tests but one, the LinkStation Live outperformed its predecessor, the Gigabit LinkStation. 

100 Mbps Write Performance Comparison

Figure 8: 100 Mbps Write Performance Comparison

At the 32MB file size with a 100 Mbps Ethernet connection, the LinkStation Pro appeared to be bound by the throughput of 100 Mbps Ethernet.  Still the Pro outperformed the Live by almost 20%.  The difference is even more noticeable when you compare the 32MB file size write performance at 100 Mbps and 1000 Mbps.  The LinkStation Pro was almost twice as fast as the LinkStation Live. 

100 Mbps Read Performance Comparison

Figure 9: 100 Mbps Read Performance Comparison

1000 Mbps Write Performance Comparison

Figure 10: 1000 Mbps Write Performance Comparison

1000 Mbps Read Performance Comparison

Figure 11: 1000 Mbps Read Performance Comparison

Performance is only one criterion for selecting a NAS for your home or small office.  Often, product functions will have more weight in making your purchase decision.  In practical terms, the measured performance of our test LinkStation Live, though not as speedy as its "Pro" sibling, is fast enough for most home networks—especially if you haven't upgraded to gigabit Ethernet. 

But Buffalo has decided to create separate product lines to serve consumer and business NAS needs. So you'll have to choose between "business" features and home features, which comes down to choosing whether or not you want the media and print serving that comes with the LinkStation Live or the Active Directory support of the LinkStation Pro.

We hope Buffalo gets us a production LinkStation Live so that we can make sure that it really does have the same performance of its "Pro" sibling. And we also hope new firmware will soon be released to resolve the collision between the Pcast and Mediabolic servers that messes up photo index creation. In the meantime, if you can do without media and print serving and want guaranteed high performance, your best bet is to go for the "Pro" until this product fully becomes "Live".

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