Buffalo LinkStation Mini: Network storage device goes pocket size

The new LinkStation Mini from buffalo redefines "compact" among NAS devices.

The LinkStation Mini is by far the most compact 1TB NAS device to date. Dong Ngo CNET Networks

I've tested and reviewed a good amount of NAS devices and found them generally bulky. Even those we consider "compact", like the Synology DS107+ or the D-Link DNS 323 , are still in no way close to being able to fit in your pocket. This is why I let out a big "wow" today when I saw Buffalo's newest kid on the NAS block. The LinkStation Mini immediately and totally changed my expectation in regard to how tiny a network storage device can be!

By tiny I refer strictly to the form factor. Having the same footprint (and about the same weight, too) as the OWC Mercury external hard drive, the LinkStation Mini offers twice the amount of storage space: 1 terabyte. That's plenty of storage and more than most regular-size NAS devices offer. Unlike other NAS devices that use regular-size 3.5-inch hard drives, the LinkStation features two 2.5-inch hard drives, 500GB each. This is Buffalo's key to significantly reduce the size and weight of the LinkStation Mini. The compact design of its internal circuit board and outer casing helps, too. In the end, the LinkStaion Mini's actual size is not much bigger than the combination of two 2.5-inch hard drives inside.

The Buffalo LinkStation Mini doesn't have any fans but has a lot of openings on the casing for ventilation. This means the device will operate silently and hopefully will not generate a lot of heat. It features a Gigabit Ethernet port and a USB port for adding more external storage devices to it.

The LinkStation Mini, despite its size, offers a lot of high-end features such as RAID 0, RAID 1, Active Directory support, and Buffalo's Web Access that allows for sharing its storage over the Internet. It's also compatible with Windows' SMB protocol (so you can browse it using Windows Explorer) and supportDLNAmedia streaming server. The drive comes with Memeo AutoBackup software for both Windows and Mac platforms.

In all, the LinkStation seems great, except for its price. At $699 and 17 ounces, the LinkStation Mini by far tops the charts of dollars-per-ounce cost. Fortunately we don't assess the value of technology that way. Come back to CNET.com for an in-depth review of this device and find out if its performance, functionality, as well as other features are worth breaking your bank.

About the author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

 

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