The Buffalo LinkStation Pro LS-VL is a £150 single-disk NAS (network-attached storage) unit, available with either a 1, 2 or 3TB disk inside. It lets you store, backup and share files over a network. It can also stream media files to your entertainment devices.
It packs a 1.6GHz processor and gigabit ethernet and boasts a 76 MBps transfer rate, however during our tests we only managed to reach a top speed of 63MBps and sequential writes up to 51MBps, this using test data from 10MB to 100MB.
Click here for a full review of the Buffalo LinkStation Pro LS-VL.
The NAS drive comes in a shapely black glossy plastic case and is no bigger than a standard external hard drive. The drive also features Air vent perforations on the back and top assist airflow from a small fan on the back. The noise level of these vents isn't noticeable for everyday office and home use, but it becomes a little distracting if you use the unit as a sever for your hi-fi.
Setting up the Buffalo LinkStation Pro LS-VL is as simple or a complicated as you want it to be. We connected the LinkStation to our router and powered it up. The device takes about a minute to startup and was easy to find on the network. There are also configuration options let you the ability to setup file sharing, multiple users and workgroups, backups as well as web access. Printer, FTP and media servers are also available.For home use, iTunes and BitTorrent servers are included. The configuration options are for the most part straightforward, although we found it useful to follow the manual. If you're not familiar with such network devices, you’ll need these instructions as the settings can be a little tricky.
Buffalo LinkStation Pro LS-VL: Performance
The LinkStation Pro has a 1.6GHz processor and gigabit ethernet, a combination that bodes well for usable performance.
Buffalo claims a data transfer rate of up to 76MBps. We used QuickBench to test transfer speeds. Using AFP networking, we saw sequential read speeds reach a maximum of 63MBps, and sequential writes up to 51MBps, this using test data from 10MB to 100MB.
At the small file level, these figures plummeted to 5MBps random 4kB reads and just 0.1MBps random 4kB writes.
Using SMB/CIFS networking, the Buffalo had maximum sequential read speed of 52MBps, from most files from 256kB size and up. Write speeds never exceeded 37MBps with this Windows networking protocol; yet at the small file level, 4kB random reads measured a good 9.6MBps and random writes were at 3.2MBps.
Using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, we saw transfer rates of 55MBps write and 57MBps read over AFP.