Buffalo Technology has traditionally been a big player in the entry-level NAS appliance market thanks to its TeraStation products. The TeraStation Pro impressed with its excellent range of features and tempting price tag and now we take a look at the TeraStation Pro II, which aims to improve on the performance of its predecessor.
There’s nothing new to see externally as the Pro II uses the same chassis as the Pro model and you also get the same backlit LCD display above the drives. A button alongside enables you to cycle through viewing the status of the network connection and its assigned IP address, the date and time, which disks are in use and the RAID configurations. The network connection is still served by a single Gigabit Ethernet port and the USB port count remains at two. These are used to connect external storage devices but note that USB printers are still not supported.
The door can be locked shut and behind this are four drive bays with the review system equipped with a quartet of 250GB SATA hard disks in removable carriers. Unlike much of the competition, including the Infrant Technologies ReadyNAS NV and Thecus’ RouStor N5200 the TeraStations have never supported hot-swap capabilities and so it is with the Pro II. Instead, Buffalo uses a quick swap feature where the drive carriers have a combined SATA/power connector cable which must be unplugged manually from the rear of the drive. Buffalo advised us that if a drives fails the unit must be powered down before it can be replaced. Buffalo offers a next day replacement service and the new drive arrives complete with carrier. It’s not as elegant as true hot-swap but the process of replacement won’t take too long as it’s completely tool-free and once the new drive is in place the appliance will automatically rebuild the array.
The Pro II 1TB on review only costs around £20-£30 more than the previous model but processing power gets a big boost as the 266MHz PowerPC processor has been replaced with a 500MHz Marvell Orion variety. Marvell also takes over SATA and USB controller duties although main memory remains the same at a modest 128MB. The Linux kernel is also still partly implemented on 4MB of flash memory and this arrangement stops you buying the appliance diskless as the kernel is distributed across a protected 100MB partition on each hard disk. The faster processor has enabled Buffalo to improve performance with it claiming a top speed of 35MB/sec for FTP transfers.