GCN LAB REVIEW
Buffalo TeraStation III
The TeraStation III returned the fastest transfer rates in—but at a high price
- By Greg Crowe
- Aug 31, 2009
Fastest performance, smallest footprintCons:
High price, two USB portsPerformance:
A+Ease of Setup:
The TeraStation III is a fast-performing NAS that comes in a table-top box configuration that measures 6.75 inches wide by 9 inches deep by 8.5 inches high. This gives it the smallest footprint in the review.
In this GCN Lab comparison report:
NAS appliances cover the middle ground of extra storage
What Is A RAID?
A breakdown on common RAID configurations
Buffalo TeraStation III
LaCie 5big Network
Sans Digital EliteNAS
Seagate BlackArmor NAS 440
Gaining Virtual V-locity
A weakness of the TeraStation is that is has only two USB ports, both in the back. It does have two Gigabit Ethernet ports, so redundancy is covered in that department. It also has two serial ports: one in back for communication with a power supply and the other in front that you can use for direct terminal access. The TeraStation has a lock on the front panel, which accesses the drives and the direct-access serial port. No other appliance in the roundup had this, and we feel it is a nice security feature.
We were also pleased to find an LCD status screen on the front, which can be useful in making quick adjustments or identifying problems.
Setup was simple and quick. Plugging it into the network and powering up were almost all we had to do to get it ready to transfer files. However, to make any settings changes, we had to run the TeraNavigator software to find the TeraStation on the network and access it through a Web-based administration console.
By default, the TeraStation came set up with all four 1T disks configured in RAID 5. We could also change them to be in RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, or a JBOD (just a bunch of disks) span.
The TeraStation comes with Memeo AutoBackup software, with which we could schedule a backup of any file on a computer with the software installed. Unfortunately, TeraStation only came with one free license, but that is enough to get you started.
One security feature worth mentioning: Whenever we tried to change the RAID configuration or make other changes to the setup through the Web interface, the TeraStation would throw up a series of numbers in a graphic and asked us to type those numbers in. This works just like the bot-checking steps that many Web forms now come with. It makes sure that the request is coming through legitimate channels.
The unit returned the fastest transfer rates in our performance tests in both directions. It downloaded files from the NAS at 54.3 megabits/sec and uploaded them at 56.06 megabits/sec.
The TeraStation III’s major weakness is its price: $1,800, which is by far the highest in the roundup. Government pricing drops to $1,710, but that is still higher than we would have liked. The TeraStation might excel in many areas but not quite enough to warrant this price.
Buffalo Technology, 512-349-1500, www.buffalotech.com
Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.