The Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo is a network-attached storage (NAS) device with a RAID 0 array consisting of two hard drives and a total capacity of 4TB. It's reasonably easy to set up on your home network and it has a wealth of features for advanced users to tinker with.

To get started with the Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo, we recommend downloading the latest version of the Buffalo NASNavigator2 software from the company's website, which will allow you to map the drive to your computer so that you can access its content and store content on it in a jiffy. Furthermore, the software allows you to access the drive's web configuration page.

The web interface isn't pretty, but it has plenty of features for you to play with. Not only can you create folders, users and groups and set folder attributes, you can also enable the media server, check the status of the RAID array (the drive can be set to use RAID 0 or 1), access the built-in BitTorrent client, enable web access to the drive and even set up a print server. The drive also has web server and MySQL server capabilities.

The LinkStation Pro Duo is a black, metal drive that's about 21cm deep and 13cm tall, and it's a reasonably inconspicuous unit when it mingles with the other devices on a typical geek's desktop. In addition to a Gigabit Ethernet port, it also has a USB 2.0 port on its rear, which you can use to either attach USB-based hard drive or a printer, and a panel on the front so that you can easily access its two internal hard drives.

One thing that was noticeable about the drives (Seagate ST32000542AS drives) is that they made a fair bit of noise when seeking and writing data. The fan in the NAS also meant that there was a constant whir coming from it, but that wasn't too annoying.

We like the overall usability of the LinkStation Pro Duo. It doesn't have a perfect interface, but we soon got the hang of it; we were able to use most of its features in no time at all. Torrent files can be downloaded directly to the NAS, but you have to open the torrent Download Manager from the drive's web interface, which in turn opens in another window. To download files, just copy the torrent link into the download manager.

Setting the LinkStation Pro Duo up for web access was a lot easier than we expected. We were even able to make files accessible over the web in less than a minute flat by using the BuffaloNAS.com dynamic DNS service. We didn't have to sign up for an account, we simply came up with a name for our drive and in a few seconds a URL for us was created. Remote access to the drive worked like a charm using the created address.

OUR VERDICT

There is so much space available on the Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo, you can dedicate some to back up your computers (Mac users can use it with Time Machine). You can store music and videos on it so that they can be accessed on your phone or through your media streamer (the LinkStation is compatible with DLNA and UPnP devices), you can even use it as a storage location for workers' files in a small office. In saying that, it's better suited to home users, but, nevertheless, it has enough versatility so it may be appealing for business users.