The only bit of software on the installation CD other than the NAS Navigator application is a 30-day trial of Memeo's backup software.
The LinkStation Mini packs two 500GB laptop drives inside its tiny case. They're currently the largest capacity 2.5-inch drives on the market and were introduced only a few months ago. Hence, they aren't cheap--$200 and higher for each.
The LinkStation Mini has a USB port, which lets you connect another drive or share a printer. The LinkStation Mini is also DLNA compliant, should you have networked media devices in your home such as a PlayStation 3 that you'd like to steam files to. We didn't have any DLNA devices to test this feature, but we were able to share music files via iTunes. You'll need to add folders to your iTunes library before you're able to play music stored on the LinkStation, but it is a quick step and one that only needs to be done once.
We accessed nothing but frustration, however, with the Buffalo's Web access feature before eventually getting it to work. We were repeatedly stymied with the error message that said "Error accessing BuffaloNas.com, check Internet settings" when we tried to name the drive to enable remote access. Turns out we needed to reconfigure port forwarding on our supposed UPnP Netgear router to get Web access up and running. It's likely specific to our testing scenario; a Buffalo product manager said the Web access feature can be enabled without entering router configuration screens with routers from other manufacturers. Once set up properly, remote users were able to access the drive via the Buffalonas.com site.
The LinkStation Mini more than held its own on CNET Labs' throughput tests. It features two 5,400rpm 2.5-inch drives, which spin slower than your typical 7,200rpm 3.5-inch desktop hard drive. We tested the drives in their default RAID 0 configuration, which stripes data across the drives and can improve performance. Its write speed of 46.9Mbps placed the drive in the top half of NAS drives we've tested in recent memory. Most drives finished our read test near the 40Mbps mark, and the LinkStation Mini was no different at 40.2Mbps.
Even after being left on for long stretches--days at a time--the LinkStation Mini stays cool. Occasionally you'll hear the faint hum of the drives spinning, but for the most part it's completely silent--a huge bonus if you plan to make the drive a permanent fixture on your desk.
Service and support
Buffalo backs the LinkStation Mini with a one-year warranty. Toll-free tech support is available 24-7. We also found the pop-up help windows in the Web client surprisingly useful, though they didn't help us get the Web access feature up and running. Only after speaking with a Buffalo product manager were we able to enable Web access to the LinkStation Mini.
(in megabits per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)