Buffalo LinkStation Mini SSD – NAS review

ITPro has a review of the Buffalo Linkstation Mini SSD. Buffalo created this NAS device with the aim to make it as quiet and small as possible. Does using SSD drives make a difference?

Titled LS-WSS240GL/R1, the 240GB device houses a pair of 120GB solid state drives and features DLNA / iTunes server capabilities, an Ethernet port, RAID 0 / 1 compatibility, a USB 2.0 socket and a nifty function to turn it off and on with the PC it’s connected to.

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“Buffalo has fitted solid state drives to its latest NAS, which might tempt business users looking to save power. But does the Buffalo LinkStation Mini SSD offer any genuine real-world benefits?

Price and performance aren’t the only factors to consider when purchasing IT equipment. Other factors, such as the amount of power consumed by the device, how much noise is generated and the amount of space it takes up can be just as important. These issues are especially important for NAS devices since they’re designed to be left running all the time.

Buffalo clearly had these factors in mind when designing the LinkStation Mini SSD. It is small enough to easily slip into a handbag making it one of the smallest NAS devices we’ve seen, so it’ll take up very little space no matter where you place it. It’s also the first NAS we’ve seen to come fitted with solid state disks (SSDs), which tend to consume less power than conventional hard disks.

This LinkStation is actually Buffalo’s second attempt at creating a tiny, energy-efficient NAS – a previous version of the Mini was fitted with two 500GB hard disks and is still available for around £207 excluding VAT. So is the SSD version worth buying over its hard disk-based predecessor and other NAS devices?

The LinkStation is fitted with two 120GB SSDs, which can be configured as either RAID 0 or RAID 1. The LinkStation is sealed, so it will have to be sent back to Buffalo for service in the event of a disk failure. This is far from ideal if the LinkStation is your business’ only NAS. During our tests over several weeks, a SSD did indeed fail – twice – requiring replacement.

We had our doubts about the potential performance boost from having SSDs instead of hard disks fitted in a NAS, since the performance bottleneck is usually its processor or network connection and not its storage disks. Our file transfer tests confirmed our suspicions – the SSD Mini copied files at almost exactly the same speeds as its hard disk-based predecessor.”