Buffalo DriveStation 2Share 500GB review

£92
Price when reviewed

If you have a large music and video collection, or more than one PC you want to access important data from, a NAS drive can be a godsend. With one centralised repository for all your files you never need worry about data duplication and backup becomes simple.

Most NAS drives are multi-talented, too, offering everything from iTunes servers to website hosting, backup and FTP. Some offer so many features they can be overwhelming and complicated, a fact that Buffalo acknowledges with its new 500GB DriveStation 2Share NAS drive.

This is networked attached storage at its most basic. Setup is simple – connect the box to your network, insert the setup disc and after a minute or so you’ll be ready to go. A shortcut is added to your desktop which leads directly to the drive’s share and that, as far as most users will be concerned, is it.

On the installation disc a copy of Memeo AutoBackup is provided for backups to the DriveStation and there’s an encryption utility to which you can allocate a portion of the drive’s capacity. Both 128-bit and 256-bit AES encryption levels are offered.

The drive itself is able to do very little else. There’s no music or media server feature – odd in a consumer NAS device – no support for external expansion via USB and no support for FTP. More worryingly the DriveStation is not even UPnP compliant, which means you’re unlikely to be able to stream media files direct to media streamers such as the excellent ZyXel DMA1100P.

Performance is limited too, with just a single Ethernet port at the rear. In our speed tests, the Buffalo took a sluggish 11mins to write 3GB of large files and the same time to write 3GB of small files. Reading those files back to the originating PC wasn’t much more impressive either: 8mins 22secs was the time for the large files and 9mins 43secs for the small ones.

The DriveStation does have one interesting trick up its sleeve. Not only is it a basic NAS drive, but it can act as an external USB disk. Hit a small button at the base of its attractively curved front panel and it switches mode offering improved performance but no extra features to speak of. In this mode the drive will turn off whenever the PC shuts down, thus saving power, but it’s hardly groundbreaking stuff.

All of this we could forgive if this drive was dirt cheap; alas, it isn’t. The 500GB DriveStation 2Share costs roughly double what a normal non-NAS desktop USB drive would and it’s no cheaper than other 500TB NAS drives on the market either (the LaCie Network Space, for instance), many of which boast more impressive vital statistics. We’d advise steering well clear.

Basic specifications

Capacity 500GB
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Services

FTP server? no
UPnP media server? no
Print server? no
Web hosting? no

Connections

Ethernet ports 1
USB connection? yes
eSATA interface no

Physical

Dimensions 45 x 156 x 175mm (WDH)

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