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LinkStation Mini 500GB [LINK]
Buffalo Technology [LINK]
Reviewed by
Kevin L. Kitchens
Review Publication Date
December 08, 2009

photographyvoice.com Review Haiku
LinkStation Mini
Always on, Always ready
Dependable drive

The LinkStation Mini has been a valuable addition to my network.

My LinkStation Mini has been sitting in my living room for nearly one year. It’s been there, tucked over by the router, behind the television. Out of sight and out of mind. Doing its job diligently. Protecting and serving files like a sentinel named Jeeves. It truly was a “set it and forget it” experience.

Sure, it’s never really been out of my mind, as I access it almost daily. But unlike other portable drives or shares on other machines, it’s just there. No hoops to jump through. No making sure the other machine is on and you have proper permissions. All I have to do is just call up the drive and copy my files.

The LinkStation Mini by Buffalo Technology is a network-connected hard drive. But that’s like saying your DSLR is a picture taker. It’s a networked storage solution and so much, much more. My version is the black (they come in white too) 500GB solution. This means there are two 250GB 2.5” drives in the case. They are a RAID array, which means you can view them as a single 500GB drive (as I’m doing) or as a 250GB drive that is automatically cloned to the other 250GB drive behind the scenes. If one fails, you’re back in business with no loss of data.

The LinkStation does not connect directly to your computer. Instead you plug it into your router or hub and it sits directly on your home network like any other computer or device. Always on, always ready. But even cooler is that via the USB connection on the back you can add you own portable drive to the mix and the LinkStation will control it and allow access to the files via its network connection. So again, instead of having to rely on another computer being up and running to access shares, you can simply connect to your LinkStation (which uses less power) and access its drives or a drive you’ve chained off of it.

But wait (as they say), there’s more! The LinkStation Mini also provides a network print server. It can email you when things go wrong. It can automatically back itself up. It can make julienne fries! (hint, one of these is not true).

Setup was very simple. Plug the LinkStation into power, connect the network cable. Install the control software on your machine and configure the drive how you want it. And you’re done. Map a drive from any of your networked machines to the LinkStation Mini and share files seamlessly.

I do this all the time now with my wife and kids. They want access to photos immediately and I can put them out on the LinkStation and then they can come along and browse them. They know the name of the LinkStation and where to find it and just like that we’re sharing files like we never could before. Not easily.

One time they needed files and I was able to mount the drive from a Linux machine I was remote connected into, FTP the files from where I was to the Linux machine, and then copy them onto the LinkStation for the wife to view. Little did I know at the time that LinkStation can even be configured to direct connect from the internet on its own! (hint, it pays to read the manual!)

The LinkStation Mini has been a valuable addition to my network. For its value and dependability, it has earned a photographyvoice.com rating of HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. It is available in white and black cases with 500GB (~$200) and 1000GB (~$300) total capacity.

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