Mobile technology should not be about cramming the office into your pocket but a way to enjoy your everyday life.
Buffalo TeraStation Live 2 TB
I have been "investing" in new hardware lately and the Buffalo TeraStation has been on my wish list ever since that very first model a few years ago.
Now I bought the "TeraStation Live" 2 TB version. The original TeraStation product line seems to have been split in two: the "Live" and the "Pro" versions. The main difference, besides the pro version being black and the live version not, is Active Directory support in the Pro version and UPnP AV / DLNA media streaming server integration in the Live version. Since I have no use for AD support, I got the Live version.
There are a number of similar NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices on the market now that connect using Gigabit Ethernet to your home network and uses four disks to give you RAID5 data redundancy where 25% of the capacity is used for checksums so even if one disk breaks, you do not lose any data.
Some of the competing devices are small servers in themselves - almost all of them run a mini version of Linux - loaded with things like Apache web servers, MySQL servers and so on. The TeraStation is a more minimalistic device focusing on the NAS task at hand and that suits me fine. One of the things that the TeraStation has that most others lack, is a small LCD display that tells you the IP number the device is using and that is a nice little feature.
The main reason I chose the TeraStation, however, was the fact that this product line has been on the market for several years and I consider it to be mature compared to the competition.
Setting it up was an uneventful experience. It could have been simpler and the user interface could be nicer, but the default settings will fit most users and there is little need to change anything - it works almost out of the box. Some basic understanding of Ethernet networking is necessary though but if you have been able to connect your computer to your ADSL modem using an ethernet cable, you will probably know enough to get the TeraStation working.
There is one feature I miss though: there is no power saving mode, the disks do not spin down even if the device is idle and unused for hours.
I have seen some complaints about the device being slow, and yes, copying hundreds of gigabytes of data to the TeraStation may take days. Still, once I had copied the bulk of the data, accessing files and moving around more normal sized files did not seems slow and I am quite happy with the speed, I am not expecting anything comparable to a internal hard disk. My link speed is gigabit as my switch and most of my devices are gigabit capable, but it does not make that much difference, the TeraStation maxes out long before it can make full use of the gigabit connection.
The media streaming server also works nicely. You just select the folder where you have placed media files such as MP3 files and after that iTunes in both Mac computers in the house automatically noticed the media server and listed the available songs. Unfortunately, Winamp in my PC does not support UPnP AV by default.
All in all, I am happy with the TeraStation - it does what it is supposed to do and it does it well. This is a mature, compact and competitively priced RAID-5 capable NAS. The speed will be an issue for some and the fact that the discs never go into sleep mode is a drawback but these are the only negative issues I have noticed so far.