capsule review

Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo 2TB Review: An Affordable, Solid Performer

At a Glance
  • Buffalo Technology LinkStation Pro Duo 2TB

    PCWorld Rating

    This two-bay box offers some advanced software features and streams media well.

The $380 (as of March 23, 2012) Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo streams media well--and it performs well, too, thanks to its 1.6GHz CPU. Software features include the usual sharing, DLNA/iTunes media serving, and Mac Time Machine support, but you also get rarer perks such as Bittorrent downloads, Squeezebox streaming, backup from PCs using the five supplied licenses to Nova Backup, and website serving.

The LinkStation Pro Duo is a basic two-bay NAS box. It comes with a single USB 2.0 port on the back, but no USB 3.0 or eSATA. The unit also lacks a quick-copy button. The two drive bays are easy to reach when you pop off part of the front cover, but they aren't hot-swappable.

In its default RAID 0 configuration, the LinkStation Pro Duo read our 10GB large file at 68.5 megabytes per second. That's speedy enough to handle streaming even 1080p video, though it's only slightly faster than the slowest box we tested for our roundup of 11 NAS boxes. The other performance numbers are lower-echelon as well, though adequate for home use. The box wrote our 10GB mix of files and folders at 27.5 MBps, read them at 40.6 MBps, and wrote the large 10GB file at 45.6 MBps.

Note: RAID 0 increases performance slightly and uses the full capacity of the box's drives, but it leaves all of the data on the box at risk. Drive failure happens, so keep the LinkStation Pro Duo backed up, or consider reconfiguring it to RAID 1 mirroring to build in data redundancy.

The LinkStation Pro Duo's operating system is generally well-organized, but the language and help are often terse, technical, and not particularly easy to follow. You can puzzle stuff out fairly quickly if you have the tech chops, but we noticed some very loose ends in the interface and in what it describes.

The 2TB LinkStation Pro Duo's street price of approximately $380 puts it in direct competition with the Western Digital My Book Live Duo 4TB. The latter offers twice the capacity for the same price, as well as faster (by 20 MBps) large-file read performance. That makes the LinkStation Pro Duo a tough sell, even though it has some attractive software features that the My Book Live Duo lacks.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This two-bay box offers some advanced software features and streams media well.

    Pros

    • Affordable network storage
    • Useful software features

    Cons

    • Uninspiring performance
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