Buffalo LinkStation LS520DE
A network drive that fails to impress
£123 from Buffalo, buffalo-technology.com features 1GHz dual-core CPU, 256MB memory, 2x SATA II bays
This is a no-frills, two-bay network drive with RAID (0 or 1) support.
The base model is diskless – we tested it with a 3TB Seagate drive. It’s much smaller and lighter than other two-bay drives we’ve tried, and while the plastic casing seems durable, the drive caddies are a bit flimsy. It’s rounded out by a USB 3.0 port at the back for adding more storage.
Functionality is similarly stripped back. Highlights are a private cloud and BitTorrent, along with AFP, Time Machine, DLNA and an iTunes audio server. The drive is mostly easy to set up, with a Mac app that takes you to its web interface, though we had a weird blip with needing to disable then re-enable AFP for SMB file sharing to work correctly.
The drive’s performance is disappointing. Tests drew attention to its old SATA II interface: using SMB, it managed 49 and 30MB/sec
in sequential read andwrite operations for standard (small) transfers, 13 and 30MB/sec for random ones, 98 and 73MB/sec for large transfers, and 93 and 76MB/sec for very large ones, making it the slowest NAS we’ve tried in a while.
Ultimately, the LS520DE is too expensive, given the Zyxel NAS520 goes for about the same and outclasses it in features, connectivity, power and, large transfers aside, drive speed.