I bought this just over a year ago to back everything up to on my network. It cost me just over £100 but for that price you get the piece of mind that you will have a backup of all your precious memories in case your main computer went down.
I have a load of home movies and another load of photographs that took me ages to get onto a PC and clean them up so they looked better than the original. I have had a few hard drive failures in my almost 15 years of using PCs, but i have always been able to recover the important files through one way or another.
Today I have gigabytes of files that i cannot afford to lose and i think it is worth spending some money on a network drive just in case anything were to every happen. Style wise it looks quite good and is not too big, the material is cheap plastic though.
Feature wise, it has a 500gb hard drive, and connects to the router using 1000mb/s if your computer/router supports it. Mine fortunately did support it but the speed difference was not apparent to me as the backups ran in the background anyway. I have 2 desktop PCs, and a laptop connected to my network and i have differential backups running every night at midnight. This means that it will only backup files that have changed. I have it set to rotate backups every other day so i will always have a good set to go back to. One point to note is that the backups have to be initiated from a PC. I have my main PC back everything up through Windows Backup, this gets all the files off the other PCs as well. You will need to give your main PC the permission to get into the other PCs first though.
The drive doesn't have many buttons, it has a power button on the front and a reset button on the back. I've never pressed the reset button, but i assume it sets everything back to factory state. It has an rj45 and two usb ports on the back. The usb ports are for connecting any external hard drives to the drive which will then show up as extra shares. It can also act as an extra precautionary backup of the main unit if you wanted to back this up to another external drive, which i never really used but it could be useful to somebody.
When this is turned on it lights up and beeps a few times before it connects to the network. There have been times when it started beeping continuously and needed a reboot in order to work again, but i never found out why it did that. Although it is rare, its probably happened a half dozen times in a year.
The drive comes with software to set this up but is probably not needed as you can get into it using the built in web interface. Through this you can configure the settings for this drive such as, adding and removing shares, setting the network properties and time on the device and most importantly, turning off the damned recycle bin feature. This feature moves every file you delete off the drive into a special folder, which doesn't sound like much of a problem, but when you are running backups everyday on this, it tends to run out of space very quickly, in which case you will manually have to delete the recycle bin folder everyday, which is a major annoyance.
I have since replaced this drive with a 2TB drive, as my library of files has increased but this did serve me well, until the problem with it disappearing every few minutes from my network thus no backup job would ever complete. I will probably format and a factory reset this and use it as a streamer drive in the future.
Recently I needed extra space to store my pictures and divx movies. This time rather than buying a normal external drive I decided to buy a linkstation, an external network drive that can be shared without the use of PC. This is especially useful for a household with several different computers. The same files can be accessed from any computer.
While previous Buffalo products have had the words "made in Japan" printed on the box, this particular drivestation has "designed in Japan" printed instead. The design is impressive however the components not up to the usual standard of Buffalo products.
In terms of actual performance, the device is rated as gigabit ethernet however since I have the unit connected to a 100MPS ethernet router transfer speeds are limited to 100MPS, still transfer speeds are reasonably fast. Overall for anyone who wants to share their files on a network, I highly recommend the Buffalo LinkStation.