Buffalo LinkStation EZ 500GB Network StorageJun 17th, 2008 | By Nivedh
Buffalo LinkStation EZ 500GB Network Storage
: 06/17/08 – 05:07:27 AM
Page 1 : Index
: Buffalo Technology
You might have seen a few products from Buffalo in the past including some memory kits and even a USB flash drive. Other than those, they also make wireless routers and network storage products. We will be taking a look at the latter in this review.
Network-attached storage (NAS) is quite popular in small businesses as it provides centralized storage that can be accessed easily. Buffalo hopes to bring NAS to the home user with the new
featuring 500GB of storage.
Page 2 : Package
Buffalo's LinkStation EZ comes in a distinctive bright red box. Clearly featured on the top right corner is the capacity: 500GB.
The sides of the box feature the same information albeit with package contents and technical specifications added. There is also a picture of the NAS itself.
The back features some simple instructions. The LinkStation EZ is different from Buffalo's other products in that it is meant to be used by the average user who knows nothing about NAS devices. There are four simple steps.
The seal on the box was already open so I'm assuming another reviewer probably had their hands on this unit before me.
Turning to the bottom of the box, we have the model number (LS-L500GL) as well as regulatory information and the like.
Let us now take a look at the features and specifications before moving on further.
Page 3 : Features & Specifications
Buffalo's website for the LinkStation EZ has a great amount of information.
Here is a description:
Of note, the LinkStation EZ has gigabit Ethernet capabilities, allowing a theoretical maximum speed of 1 Gbps (128 MB/s). Though SATA II hard drives have a theoretical maximum of 3 Gbps (384 MB/s), most drives, in my experience, do not even come close to realizing the full potential of the interface.
Here are the specifications:
The 500 GB hard drive is a good compromise between price and quantity in that 1 TB drives still aren't widespread. The LinkStation EZ also comes in a 320 GB variant.
Page 4 : Package Contents
Opening the box, we can see that all the contents are well-packed.
Other than the drive itself, we have the power brick, an Ethernet cable, a quick setup guide, warnings, and a driver/software CD.
Moving on to the drive, we are greeted with an all-white exterior. It seems that someone has already had too much fun with it as evidenced by the chip in the plastic on the top right corner of the LinkStation EZ. The front face has a very clean design, offset by a mirror-finish square area.
The top features several holes for ventilation.
Both of the sides are similar and have the indentation of Buffalo's logo, below which there are more ventilation holes.
Finally, turning to the back of the LinkStation EZ, we have the power button, a small fan, the Gigabit Ethernet port, power plug, and a Kensington lock port.
The bottom of the drive has rubber feet and more ventilation holes.
Last but not least, a 3/4 view of the drive shows its sleek form factor.
Page 5 : Installation
Installation is relatively easy.
The first step is to connect the LinkStation EZ to your router using the included Ethernet cable. It can also be connected directly to your computer's network card but that defeats the purpose of a network-attached storage device.
After connecting it, you can either go ahead and install the LinkNavigator software or access the device directly. The share is located at LS-LGLxxxshare where the xxx corresponds to the last three digits of the LinkStation EZ's MAC address (in my case, it was LS-LGL832).
The software installer guides you through the setup process as well:
Clicking ‘Easy Setup’ shows the following sequence:
Clicking ‘Advanced Setup’ would have showed these in addition to the previous sequence:
I had a problem installing the Memeo Auto Backup Software as it had an incompatibility with Microsoft's .NET Framework.
Either route leads to the following:
Page 6 : Configuration
After installation, the Buffalo NAS Navigator icon shows up on the taskbar.
Clicking it brings up the following screen, which shows the host name (which is not changeable), the workgroup, IP address, and other pertinent information.
Of note, clicking Setup allows you to modify a few parameters such as the IP address (which can be set to be automatically acquired from DHCP or manually set). In terms of advanced configuration, the LinkStation EZ is a bit lacking. The Mapping menu allows you to map the share as a network drive, which can be done manually.
Page 7 : Testing & Performance
Instead of synthetic performance benchmarks, I will be adopting a more realistic test of the Buffalo LinkStation EZ.
To do so, I will be employing a folder containing all my songs, some pictures, and some miscellaneous files (about 15 GB). I will measure the time it takes to transfer the folder to the drive and from the drive over a variety of network connections in order to calculate the average speed. Each test will be done thrice and the results averaged.
Some important things to note when comparing the results include the fact that different routers were used for each test. A D-Link DI-514 router was used for the 11Mbps Wi-Fi and 100Mbps LAN tests, a TRENDnet TEW-432BRP router was used for the 54Mbps Wi-Fi test and for the 1Gbps LAN test, the LinkStation EZ was plugged directly into the NVIDIA GbE controller on the back of an A8N-SLI Premium system.
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Venice @ 1.8 GHz
Motherboard: Asus A8N-SLI Premium
PSU: Antec SmartPower 2.0 SP-400
Memory: OCZ EL DDR-400 1GB dual channel kit (2x512MB)
Video Card: eVGA e-GeForce 7600GT CO PCI-E x16 w/ Zalman VF900-Cu
Hard Drive: Hitachi Deskstar T7K250 160GB SATA II 8MB cache
Optical: Samsung DVD±RW
Case: Ultra m998
Using anything less than a 100Mbps LAN connection will result in lowered performance. However, at the other end of the scale, there is no increased performance from using 1Gbps LAN, even though the LinkStation EZ features a gigabit Ethernet port! Initially I thought the slow speed might have been due to the fact that my files were small (around 3-4 MB) but even transferring big files resulted in about the same speeds. Regardless, speeds of over 8 MB/s (64 Mbps) are decent for an external network hard drive.
Page 8 : Conclusion
At the end of the day, the convenience provided by network-attached storage (NAS) devices is unparalleled. Buffalo's LinkStation EZ is a great product for those looking for an entry-level NAS. The capacious 500 GB unit should satisfy most users. Also, installation is extremely simple.
However, expert users might complain that options for advanced configuration are too limited.
All things considered, I would recommend the LinkStation EZ to anyone looking for a simple yet functional NAS unit.
- Immensely convenient
- Easy installation
- Quick way to add 500 GB to your network
- Somewhat more expensive and slower than a regular external hard drive
- Configuration options are limited
Overclockers Online would like to thank Buffalo for making this review possible.