|At a glance|
|Product||Buffalo Technology TeraStation Pro Quad (TS-QVH4.0TL/R6) [Website]|
|Summary||Four-drive Intel Atom D510 business NAS with NFS and AD support and remote, secure web access. No iSCSI support.|
|Pros||• NFS and DFS support|
• Dual Gigabit Ethernet with failover, aggregation
• Dual USB 3.0 ports
|Cons||• Slow admin GUI|
• Relatively low performance for a D510 Atom NAS
• Network backup only to Buffalo NASes
• Poor documentation
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Seems like every NAS maker with an eye on capturing small business buyers is Atom-izing its product line. Hence, Buffalo's refresh of its TeraStation line, announced at January's CES.
But with perhaps an eye toward price, Buffalo hasn't gone all-in for Atom and has equipped its new TeraStation Pro line with D510 Atoms vs. the more powerful D525s. The Pro line includes Pro Duo, Pro Rackmount (four-bay), Pro 6, Pro 8 and the four bay desktop Pro Quad that this review is about.
Buffalo hasn't attempted to dress up the Pro Quad with a fancy new case. In fact, from the front at least, there is nothing to distinguish it from the TeraStation ES reviewed last year. That is, if you don't count the TS-QVHL designation that rotates through the front LCD panel when the Pro Quad is booted.
A glance at the rear panel view below shows a key Pro Quad differentiator: two USB 3.0 ports. And unlike the USB 3.0 ports on the Thecus N4200, the Buffalo's worked fine. There are also two USB 2.0 ports so that you have plenty to go around for UPS sync, storage expansion and backup and print serving.
Front and rear panels
That #12 Factory Use Only port behind the front door is a standard VGA port. So when you connect a monitor and USB keyboard mouse, you can just fire up a server console and have at it.
The Pro Quad was easy to get apart to remove the main board for its beauty shot, although I had to remove the back panel to unplug the board from the drive backplane. The Intel D510 Atom and Intel 82801IR I/O Controller are under the single piece black heatsink.
Buffalo Pro Quad board
Other key devices include a 2 GB of SoDIMM RAM, 2 MB of flash, dual Marvell 88E8059 Yukon PCI-e Gigabit Ethernet controllers that can be configured for failover and aggregation, NEC D720200F USB 3.0 controller, NEC D78F0513A microcontroller and ITE IT8721F fan, temperature and voltage controller.
The review unit came with four Samsung Eco Green F2 1 TB (HD103SI) drives installed, which brought the total power consumption to 42 W. There is no idle drive spindown feature, but you can program three sleep / wake schedules to save some power.
The system generally ran quietly. But the almost 4" fan would rev up to an level audible in my quiet home office from time to time during testing.
Buffalo has packed a lot of features into the Pro Quad. Unfortunately, you'll be on your own to figure out how to set up and use many of them since the documentation is sorely lacking and poorly organized. The Read Manual link in the admin GUI takes you to the web page below where you download the various PDFs.
Buffalo Pro Quad documentation
But even after figuring out which document holds what, you'll find the functional descriptions are more "what" than "how". I also could not find any documentation on the MediaServer, BitTorrent or Time Machine Extensions.
The Pro Quad uses the AJAX-based web admin GUI found on other current Buffalo models. But, even though it has been a year since I last remarked about this on the ES, it's still slow. I also had the GUI just hang on me for nearly a minute from time to time when moving from screen to screen. I'm also not a fan of the expandable sections, some of which still require scrolling when you expand them.
Shutting down the system by a long press on the front panel power button also seemed like a crapshoot. I got a reassuring short beep after a second or so press, only once. One other time I risked a hard shutdown via a longer button press and finally got a beep and normal shutdown. And another time I never got a beep and the system appeared to shut down, but the LCD panel was still lit. Pressing the button again then initiated a boot! Go figure. The User manual provides no guidance on proper shutdown procedures, at least not that I could find.