buffalo http://www.maximumpc.com/taxonomy/term/2497/ en Budget AC Router Roundup http://www.maximumpc.com/budget_ac_router_roundup_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3>Five low-cost 802.11ac routers duke it out</h3> <p>Early adopters should be allowed to wear a special badge in public. That way, we can identify the brave souls who overpaid for immature technology and thank them for fast-pacing the process of getting next-generation hardware out into the market. Without them, we might still be looking at shelves full of overpriced and buggy pre-draft 802.11ac wireless routers, but that’s no longer the case.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u187432/mpc103.feat_router.opener_0.jpg" width="620" height="250" /></p> <p>Not only has the Wi-Fi Alliance certifi ed the Wireless-AC standard—it’s been nearly a year since it happened—but there are now several entry-level 802.11ac routers available at affordable price points. All of them promise varying levels of increased speed over last generation’s 802.11n standard, and at far less cost—even factoring in the fact that they lack the bells and whistles of their high-end brethren.</p> <p>But are there compelling reasons to spend more on a higher-end router versus a budget model, or do they all perform pretty much the same? That’s one of the questions we set out to answer, and to do that, we rounded up five low-cost AC routers from Asus (RT-AC52U), D-Link (DIR-818LW), Buffalo (AirStation WHR-1166D), Netgear (R6100), and Trendnet (TEW-813DRU). None of these models cost more than $100 (street pricing) before shipping, but that doesn’t mean we went soft on them. We put each one through the same rigorous tests as we do highend routers. Before we dive into the results, however, we’ll go over in detail what you give up by going the budget route.</p> <h2>Don’t Dodge the Bullet Points</h2> <p><em><strong>What to look for when buying a budget router</strong></em></p> <h3>USB Slowdown</h3> <p>If you plan on plugging an external hard drive, fl ash drive, or printer into your router for sharing files or printing over your home network, you’ll want to make sure it has at least one USB port. It’s even better if your router happens to have a USB 3.0 port, though that’s a rare sight in budget territory—every router in this roundup was limited to a single USB 2.0 port (save for one, which didn’t have any USB ports), which means slower fi le transfers from a connected storage device.</p> <h3>Speed Rating</h3> <p>Two of the routers in this roundup are marketed as AC750 models, which means they offer up to 300Mb/s on the 2.4GHz channel and 433Mb/s on the 5GHz channel, while the other three sport AC1200 designations and also offer 300Mb/s on the 2.4GHz channel, but bump up to 867Mb/s on the 5GHz channel. Higher-end routers support faster speeds on both channels—for example, AC1900 routers like the Linksys Smart EA6900 boast up to 600Mb/s on the 2.4GHz channel and 1,300Mb/s on the 5GHz channel. These are all theoretical maximum ratings that are virtually impossible to obtain, but you’ll still see speed gains.</p> <h3>Beamforming Blues</h3> <p>Beamforming is an optional feature of the Wireless-AC standard that allows for concentrating a wireless signal directly at a target device (or multiple target devices) rather than shooting it out haphazardly in every which direction. It’s akin to shining a flashlight at a specific target versus exposing its light bulb. You can usually forget about beamforming support in the budget category—Trendnet’s TEW-813DRU is the only one to support it in this roundup.</p> <h3>LAN and WAN Ports</h3> <p>Virtually all wireless routers these days come with a built-in switch that features four LAN ports. Unfortunately, some router makers still equip lower-end models with 10/100 LAN ports instead of 10/100/1000 (gigabit) LAN ports, and the same goes for WAN. This creates an unnecessary choke point for doling out data, so be sure to pay close attention to the speed rating of both LAN and WAN.</p> <h2>Testing Methodology</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Maximum PC Lab Midwest</strong></em></p> <p>Testing routers isn’t rocket science, but it can still be tricky business. These days, we test our routers at Maximum PC Lab Midwest. This consists of a 1,400 square-foot home in the suburbs. It’s not an isolated lab environment, but it does allow us to see how routers perform in a real-world scenario.</p> <p>When the settings allow, we confi gure each router to run in 802.11n-only mode on the 2.4GHz channel and 802.11ac-only mode on the 5GHz channel, both with WPA2 encryption and channel-bonding. More often than not, it isn’t possible to place such tight restrictions on each channel—some will only let you set limits to N+AC, for example—so in those cases, we let the router’s Auto settings confi gure itself for best performance. Depending on the results, we sometimes step in and manually select the best channel, which is something we can determine using Metageek’s inSSIDer tool ($20, <a href="http://www.inssider.com" target="_blank">www.inssider.com</a>).</p> <p>We perform these speed tests in fi ve separate locations, including three inside tests and two outside tests. These include the Bedroom (10 feet from the router, no obstructions), Dining Room (15 feet, 2 walls of separation), and Entryway (20 feet, 3 walls), followed by the two outside tests consisting of the Driveway (35 feet) and Backyard (90 feet).</p> <p>To measure throughput at each location, we run the open-source Jperf utility, which is a GUI front end for Iperf. For these tests, we hard-wire a desktop to the router to act as the Server, and use a laptop equipped with a Linksys USB6300 dual-band AC USB adapter for the Client PC. And if applicable, we wrap things up by measuring file transfer performance from each router’s USB using a Lexar JumpDrive P10 USB 3.0 flash containing a 3GB file and 1GB folder containing several smaller files.</p> <p>Since this is a roundup of budget routers, we’re looking for speed relative to price. That’s to say, we don’t expect an $80 AC750 router to perform the same as a $250 AC1900 router. At the same time, we do expect to see speed gains over the 802.11n standard, otherwise there really isn’t any point in purchasing an AC router.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Asus RT-AC52U</h2> <p><strong><em>Hobbled by a bipolar 5GHz band and 10/100 WAN port</em></strong></p> <p><img src="/files/u187432/mpc103.feat_router.asus_.jpg" width="250" height="141" style="float: right;" />Asus took the speed crown in three of our four file transfer tests, though this was a four-way fi ght to find out which one was best over USB 2.0—none of the routers evaluated here brought a USB 3.0 port to the party, and Buffalo’s router didn’t bring any USB ports at all. Still, it’s not a hollow victory if you plan on transferring files over a USB connected drive.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the RT-AC52U struggles where it matters most in this roundup, and that’s 802.11ac territory. Not matter what we tried, we couldn’t coax a reliable signal from the 5GHz band, which would inexplicably enter a comatose state at random intervals. To make matters worse, Asus equipped the RT-AC52U with a 10/100 WAN (and the same goes for its LAN ports). This pretty much negates jumping on the 802.11ac bandwagon.</p> <p>Performance on the 2.4GHz band in 802.11n mode was solid and surprisingly strong in our Backyard test where it benchmarked 18.9Mb/s for a first-place finish. We’re also impressed with RT-AC52U’s sleek and streamlined interface. It’s easy to navigate and overfl owing with advanced settings for experienced networking gurus to play with.</p> <p>Perhaps a future firmware update will alleviate the issues we experienced on the 5GHz band. Until then, there are more reliable models to choose from, albeit all more expensive than this one.</p> <p><strong>Verdict: 5</strong> | $69 (street), <a href="http://www.asus.com" target="_blank">www.asus.com</a></p> <h2>D-Link DIR-818LW</h2> <p><em><strong>Style meets substance</strong></em></p> <p><img src="/files/u187432/mpc103.feat_router.dlink_.jpg" width="250" height="141" style="float: right;" />Released in May of this year, the DIR-818LW is available in red, teal, black, and white, each of which runs about $80—a solid price point for what you get. All of them borrow from their bigger brother’s cylindrical shape, which itself looks like a miniature Mac Pro. The DIR-818LW, however, is more compact and would fit comfortably in a suitcase.</p> <p>Unfortunately, looks are only skin deep and don’t carry over into the DIR-818LW’s nerdy interface. There are five main hyperlinked categories, each of which brings up a set of subcategories on the left-hand side, and it’s all very wordy and drab, not at all like the router’s physical appearance. This is a step back from the overhauled dashboard D-Link rolled out for its DGL-5500 Gaming Router (reviewed in our April 2014 issue).</p> <p>D-Link came out swinging and gave Trendnet a run for its money on the 802.11ac radio, at least at close distances. The lack of beamforming support ultimately gave the edge to Trendnet, though the DIR-818LW has nothing to be ashamed of here—it pulled 233Mb/s in the bedroom and 150Mb/s in the Dining Room test while every other router save for Trendnet’s never crossed above 100Mb/s in either benchmark.</p> <p><strong>Verdict: 8</strong> | $80 (street), <a href="http://www.dlink.com" target="_blank">www.dlink.com</a></p> <h2>Buffalo Airstation WHR-1166D</h2> <p><em><strong>Too stripped down to take seriously</strong></em></p> <p><img src="/files/u187432/mpc103.feat_router.buffalo.jpg" width="250" height="141" style="float: right;" />It's a good thing you can find Buffalo’s AirStation WHR-1166D selling online for around $80, because the $150 MSRP is almost insulting for such a stripped-down router. To begin with, the internals are still based on Draft 2.0 specs. Perhaps Buffalo hasn’t gotten around to submitting this model for official certification, and if that was the router’s only shortcoming, we’d be more inclined to give Buffalo a pass. However, we have other grievances, such as the nerfed LAN ports (10/100 instead of 10/100/1000) and lack of USB connectivity.</p> <p>We couldn’t evaluate fi le transfer performance over USB, but we were able to test 802.11n and 802.11ac throughput. At close range, the AirStation settled for last or second-to-last place finishes in our three inside tests on the 802.11n radio. And on the 802.11ac radio, Buffalo never threatened a victory, though it held its own in the Driveway with the second highest throughput (16.4Mb/s). However, the Backyard test broke its back, just like it did for pretty much all five routers in this roundup.</p> <p>The web interface won’t intimidate novices and is touch-friendly, to boot. It could use some more fleshing out, but still offers a decent amount of fine-grain control. That said, we found it odd that the router password can’t be longer than eight characters—what’s up with that?</p> <p><strong>Verdict: 5</strong> | $80 (street), <a href="http://www.buffalotech.com" target="_blank">www.buffalotech.com</a></p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Netgear R6100</h2> <p><em><strong>Middling performance with above-average range</strong></em></p> <p><img src="/files/u187432/mpc103.feat_router.netgear.jpg" width="250" height="141" style="float: right;" />Netgear's highend routers are some of the fastest and most feature-rich around, but in the budget category, it seems Netgear is content to blend in with the competition. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—the R6100 only costs $90—though we’re disappointed Netgear chose to roll with 10/100 WAN and LAN ports instead of 10/100/1000. We can’t imagine gigabit ports cost much more.</p> <p>When we tested the R6100 on the 2.4GHz band, it hit 79.7Mb/s at close range and only dropped to 75.6Mb/s in the Dining Room. That’s respectable, though not exceptional. More impressive is that it had the range to post a second-best score in the Backyard test (17.3Mb/s at 90 feet away).</p> <p>On the 5GHz band in 802.11ac mode, the R6100 hovered around 94Mb/s in the Bedroom, Dining Room, and Entryway. Outside in the Driveway, performance dipped to 13.8Mb/s for a third-place finish, and it was the only router to maintain a signal in the Backyard, albeit a weak one at 2.49Mb/s.</p> <p>Netgear’s dashboard is another one that seems tuned for touch input with tiles on the main screen and big buttons on the sidebar. It’s easy to fi nd what you’re looking for, though if we had our druthers, we’d plop the QoS controls under the Advanced Setup menu rather than the standard Setup menu—but hey, at least it has them!</p> <p><strong>Verdict: 7</strong> | $90, <a href="http://www.netgear.com" target="_blank">www.netgear.com</a></p> <h2>Trendnet TEW813DRU</h2> <p><em><strong>The best of these budget routers</strong></em></p> <p><img src="/files/u187432/mpc103.feat_router.trendnet.jpg" width="250" height="393" style="float: right;" />The one router that stood out in this roundup is Trendnet’s TEW-813DRU. It also happens to be the most expensive at $95 street, plus about another $10 for shipping, but that’s still C-note territory and you get best-in-class performance and beamforming support.</p> <p>Only D-Link threatened Trendnet for pole position on the 802.11ac track, and though it stayed within striking distance at close range, Trendnet sprinted ahead the further away we benchmarked them—clearly a result of beamforming. When the smoke from the tires settled, Trendnet had won the race in all five tests. It performed especially well at relatively close range: 242Mb/s in the bedroom, 165Mb/s in the Dining Room, and 159Mb/s in the Entryway.</p> <p>The TEW-813DRU also posted some of the fastest scores on the 802.11n radio, and its file transfer performance over USB was pretty good for the most part, though not as fast as Asus’s RTAC52U. Had Trendnet opted for a USB 3.0 port, this could have been a good oldfashioned beat-down like a young Mike Tyson used to dole out.</p> <p>Even the web interface is fast. It responded quickly to our navigational clicks, and the layout is both userfriendly for networking novices and deep enough to satisfy more experienced users who might want to configure things like inbound filters, multiple SSIDs per channel, and more.</p> <p><strong>Verdict: 8</strong> | $95 (street), <a href="http://www.trendnet.com" target="_blank">www.trendnet.com</a></p> <h2>Specifications</h2> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u187432/specs.png" width="620" height="285" /></p> <h2>Are Budget Routers Worth the Price?</h2> <p>Picking a clean winner in any roundup is rarely easy, though in this case, Trendnet leaves little room for dispute. The only real negative is that the TEW-813DRU costs the most. However, we’re only talking about a $15 difference over the other viable candidates, and beamforming support alone is worth the small premium—it’s no coincidence that Trendnet’s entry was the fastest overall, especially in the 802.11ac space where the signal is highly sensitive to obstructions.</p> <p>We’d give Asus props for undercutting the competition on price with a street cost of just $69, but it’s negated by having 10/100 WAN and LAN ports, which hold the router back. And on top of that, the 5GHz channel was extremely spotty, both in our benchmarks and real-world tests. We routinely saw downloads on the 5GHz channel fluctuate in speed and drop out altogether.</p> <p>We also had high hopes for Netgear’s R6100, but like Asus’s model, the router is hindered by limiting both LAN and WAN ports to 10/100 instead of gigabit. That doesn’t have to be a deal-killer in the budget space, but it’s certainly a clear reminder of why these models cost so much less than their high performing counterparts, and the performance benchmarks bear that out.</p> <p>That leaves Buffalo and D-Link. Buffalo gets an early dismissal for its overly feature-poor approach and slow 802.11n performance, while D-Link is a solid choice. Though there’s no mention of beamforming support, D-Link’s DIR-818LW gave Trendnet’s unit a run for its money at close range, at least on the 802.11ac channel. However, it couldn’t keep up at distance runs, and its 802.11n performance trailed far behind Trendnet.</p> <p>None of these routers have what it takes to compete with much more expensive models, but if you’re just looking for a modest speed increase, you have a few inexpensive options.</p> <h2>Benchmarks</h2> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u187432/bench.png" width="620" height="453" /></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/budget_ac_router_roundup_2015#comments 802.11ac Airstation WHR-1166D asus buffalo d-link DIR-818LW netgear R6100 Router RT-AC52U TEW813DRU trendnet From the Magazine Thu, 23 Apr 2015 18:03:43 +0000 Paul Lilly 29502 at http://www.maximumpc.com NAS Storage Review Roundup: Let's Get NASty http://www.maximumpc.com/nas_storage_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3>Multi-bay NAS storage shootout</h3> <p>There’s nothing quite like having a system fail and then realizing you hadn't backed up your data. In the back of your mind, you always knew this day might come, but procrastination and poor planning has caught you with your pants down, and you have no one to blame but yourself. “Never again!” you shout, but as your anger eventually subsides, so does your impetus to do something about it.</p> <p><img src="/files/u99720/opener_nas3509.png" width="620" height="413" /></p> <p>You don’t have to be that guy. A little wherewithal, a minor amount of planning, and a network-attached storage (NAS) storage appliance will give you peace of mind—and keep your data safe. Owning a NAS box is an excellent way to keep your files organized, backed up, and readily available not just from your own PC, but over your entire network. That includes connected devices such as your smartphone, tablet, game console, and who knows, maybe even your toaster by the time you read this.</p> <p>We’ve rounded up a collection of five multi-bay NAS boxes, one each from Western Digital, QNAP, Buffalo, Netgear, and LaCie. Each one will happily back up your data to multiple hard drives configured in various levels of RAID, but they’re also capable of much more. We’ll evaluate how easy (or difficult) each one is to set up and use, how they perform, and what kinds of special or unique functionalities they bring to the table, beyond simple storage chores. Put the kids to bed, folks, things are about to get NASty!</p> <h3>Getting to Know NAS</h3> <p><strong>A primer on NAS and how it can benefit you</strong></p> <p>Let’s be honest: The topic of backing up storage isn’t particularly sexy or glamorous, though it is essential. At some point or another, your current storage device will fail; when it does, will you be prepared? Without a backup in place, you can kiss those vacation photos and home videos of junior taking his first steps goodbye. Once you’ve gotten over the emotional trauma and guilt of having lost all those digitally preserved memories, you can begin thinking of a way to tell your boss that the report you were working on for that multi-million-dollar client is going to be late—very late. There goes that promotion!<strong><br /></strong></p> <p>One way to avoid these situations is to back up your data to a NAS appliance. In its most basic form, a NAS is any storage device attached to your network that you can access from other PCs and connected devices, hence the reason it’s called “network-attached storage.” It’s your own personal server—your own cloud, if you will—that’s responsible for storing and sharing files. A NAS box is especially handy if you have multiple connected devices in your home, including mobile gadgets like smartphones and tablets.</p> <p>Not everyone will benefit the in same way from a NAS box. For example, if you only have one or two PCs in your home and don’t care about backing up data from or streaming to other devices, a hard drive or even a USB flash drive connected to your router’s USB port might be all you need. However, you’ll miss out on the other benefits NAS boxes offer, one of the most important of which is redundancy. A basic feature of any multi-bay NAS box is RAID (Redundant Array of Independent/Inexpensive Disks) support. Depending on the level of RAID you select, if one of the drives in a multi-bay NAS appliance fails, your data remains safe. You’ll want to replace the faulty drive as soon as possible, but unlike relying on a single drive—whether it’s connected to a router or as a storage partition on your system’s internal hard drive or solid-state drive—your backed-up files don’t enter the digital afterlife if a drive gives up the ghost.</p> <p>There are distinct advantages to using an in-home NAS box versus trusting your data to a third-party cloud provider, too. For one, you don’t have to worry about subscription fees. Even though some cloud-storage options are free, they’re typically capped and limited in functionality. On top of that, you can’t always be sure a free service will remain that way—SugarSync, for example, recently transitioned to a paid-only service. NAS boxes come with an up-front cost, but you own the hardware.</p> <p>We’d also be remiss to ignore the elephant in the room. The more we learn about our government’s spying tactics, the less likely it seems we can totally avoid the watchful eye of Big Brother, though that doesn’t mean we have to make it overly easy for Uncle Sam to sneak a peek at our files. Anything sent over the Internet is susceptible to spying, not to mention how much cooperation—forced or otherwise—a third-party cloud provider is offering up. It’s not just the government, either—hackers can make off with your data and your credit card details by breaking into a cloud provider’s database. To top it off, access to your backed-up data in the cloud is reliant on both your ISP and your cloud provider; if there’s an outage on either end, you won’t have access to that data.</p> <p>In short, there are a number of benefits to owning a multi-bay NAS box, but how do you choose one? The answer to that question really depends on how much functionality you want for your dollar. Performance also comes into play. In our experience, machines with bigger, faster processors perform better and are more responsive. There’s a lot of overhead to deal with, plus the fact that today’s NAS boxes are smarter and more capable than ever.</p> <p>One final word about NAS setup: For irreplaceable files and other important data, you should still maintain a separate, off-site backup in case of a fire, flood, or other disaster.</p> <h3>R.I.P. Windows Home Server</h3> <p>We were disappointed when Microsoft decided to discontinue its Windows Home Server OS—it worked wonderfully with other Windows products—though, truth be told, Redmond had already stuck a fork in the software by removing its nifty drive-extender technology from WHS 2011, the last version ever available. The drive-extender function was groovy because it allowed users to add, upgrade, and replace HDDs without losing their data. For example, if a user was running out of storage space on a setup containing four 1TB hard drives, he could swap out one of the drives and replace it with a 3TB HDD without skipping a beat.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/lenovo_405_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/lenovo_405_small.jpg" alt="All of the major OEMs have abandoned the now-dead Windows Home Server 2011 OS." width="500" height="538" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>All of the major OEMs have abandoned the now-dead Windows Home Server 2011 OS.</strong></p> <p>As much as we liked WHS, it never quite caught on with most mainstream users. Microsoft had the almost impossible task of trying to explain why a user should spend several hundred dollars rolling his own mini home server, when the average buyer was already reluctant to spend more than a few Benjamins on a new PC. The value proposition became even harder to explain as new PC prices started to nose dive in recent years—you can run out to Best Buy and snag a touchscreen laptop with Windows 8 for less than $400.</p> <h3>Buffalo LinkStation 420</h3> <p>Out of the five NAS boxes represented in this roundup, Buffalo’s LinkStation 420 is the least expensive. It costs around $300 (street) for a unit prepopulated with 4TB of storage, which is how it was sent to us. Other storage capacities include 2TB, 6TB, and 8TB, or you can opt for a diskless version (421e) for around $120 if you already own hard drives.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/buffalo_linkstation_420_small_3.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/buffalo_linkstation_420_small_2.jpg" width="620" height="578" /></a></p> <p>This is a two-drive box with support for RAID 0 and RAID 1. If you opt for a version with storage, hard drives will occupy both bays—the 8TB model sports a pair of 4TB drives, while the 2TB model uses two 1TB drives. Since it’s only a two-bay NAS box with no JBOD support, you’ll want to decide carefully on your current and future storage needs.</p> <p>Buffalo attempts to win over consumers by claiming transfer speeds of up to 100MB/s, and in some instances, you’ll hit and even surpass the century mark. The LinkStation 420 especially excels at small file transfers, though performance depends on how you have it configured. Out of the box, Buffalo defaults to RAID 0. This type of RAID doesn’t offer any redundancy and instead splits data across multiple disks for faster throughput. The major downside to this approach is that if one of the drives fails, you lose all your data. In a RAID 1 array, your data is duplicated across both drives and is still retrievable if one of the drives bites the dust.</p> <p>Surprisingly, switching to a RAID 1 configuration didn’t have a big impact on performance (though the task of switching RAID modes takes several hours to complete). Transferring 1GB of music files from our test bed to the LinkStation took 25 seconds when configured in RAID 0, and 27 seconds in RAID 1. That’s how it played out across the board: only minor performance hits, both in real-world and synthetic benchmarking.</p> <p>While the RAID configuration didn’t have much of an impact on performance, turning on DLNA did. With DLNA streaming enabled, it took over half a minute longer to copy a 3GB collection of VOB files to the LinkStation versus disabling the streaming service. We suspect that the combination of a 1.2GHz single-core ARM processor and 512MB of RAM is like asking the LinkStation to chew bubble gum and walk at full speed at the same time, so it gets tripped up trying to do both.</p> <p>Navigating the web interface is pretty straightforward, in part because the LinkStation lacks some of the advanced features found on higher-end (and higher-priced) NAS appliances. Whereas QNAP takes a kitchen sink approach with the TurboNAS TS-470, Buffalo sits way on the other side of the spectrum with a NAS box that offers users little more than the basics. There’s no app support either, so what you see is what you get.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/buffalo_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/buffalo_small.jpg" alt="Buffalo’s interface is sparse because there’s not a ton of options to play around with." title="Buffalo LinkStation 420" width="620" height="445" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Buffalo’s interface is sparse because there’s not a ton of options to play around with.</strong></p> <p>Buffalo at least covers the bare essentials. The LinkStation supports BitTorrent, you can stream media via DLNA or iTunes, and you can configure FTP settings. For backup chores, it supports Time Machine for Macs and comes with NovaBackup Professional software for Windows. It also supports printer sharing and external storage expansion, but only one or the other at a time via the single USB 2.0 port on the back.</p> <p>As a basic backup solution, the LinkStation is an attractive bargain. The big upside is you’re not being forced to pay a premium for additional features you may never use or care about, though if you want more from a NAS appliance than simple backups, you’ll need to pony up for a higher-priced alternative with more bells and whistles.</p> <p><strong>Buffalo LinkStation 420 w/4TB</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_7.jpg" alt="score:7" title="score:7" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> <p><strong>$300 (street),<a href="http://www.buffalotech.com/ " target="_blank">www.lacie.com</a></strong></p> <h3>WD My Cloud EX4</h3> <p><strong>A business-savvy box that’s consumer-friendly, too</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="/files/u99720/wd_nas-3493.jpg" width="620" height="413" /><br /></strong></p> <p>Western Digital infused the My Cloud EX4 with features that will appeal to both home consumers and small-business owners alike. This means home consumers won’t have to buy a brand-new NAS if their needs grow down the line, while business users have a relatively affordable option that’s easy to use. For example, most home consumers won’t give two spits about the dual LAN ports, but with link aggregation and failover support, a business user can tap into the two ports for additional performance or as protection against a downed connection or cable. If a connection fails for any reason, the EX4 switches to the other connection without skipping a beat. The same goes for the redundant DC power connections on the back of the box, though WD only provides a single external power supply—you’ll have to buy a second one if you’re concerned about it going bad, or as a precaution against little Billy tripping over the power cord.</p> <p>The EX4’s cloud-based GUI is the sleekest of the bunch and extremely user-friendly. That’s to say you don’t need to be a total networking nerd to navigate the interface and configure tasks like automatic backups, though if you want to dive a little deeper into your LAN, you’ll find a spattering of fine-grain tools to play around with. Many options are accompanied by an information box with brief explanations of their functions. These range from mildly helpful to insultingly obvious—in the Network UPS section, the help box offers clarification on Master and Slave models (that’s helpful), whereas the help box next to the On/Off switch for the WebDAV Service simply states “Enable or disable the WebDAV service” without explaining what it is or does (gee, thanks!).</p> <p>The EX4 is a four-bay box with support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10, along with spanning and JBOD. Our unit came with 8TB of storage spread across four 2TB WD Red NAS drives spinning at 5400 RPM; it’s also offered in 12TB and 16TB capacities, or sans HDDs if you want to bring your own to the NAS party. A nice convenience of the EX4 is that drives pop right in—no screwdriver needed. Perhaps too convenient, however, are the lack of drive locks. If little Billy isn’t tripping over the power cord, he could still wreak havoc by yanking out a drive and hiding it somewhere in the house.</p> <p>We tested the EX4 in RAID 5, RAID 1, and RAID 0 modes, though changing it up didn’t seem to impact performance all that much. In our file transfer tests, the EX4 generally lagged behind the competition whether we were dealing with smaller sized files or larger VOB files. This was especially disappointing in RAID 0—given the nominal gains in performance, it’s just not worth the added risk of data loss versus running RAID 1 or RAID 5.</p> <p>Enabling DLNA also proved a burden for the EX4, which is something we witnessed to some extent on every NAS box tested here. The good news for WD is that the impact was fairly minor on our real-world tests, though the EX4 was one of the slower-performing boxes to begin with.</p> <p>So, where does leave us? First and foremost, it leaves us wishing the EX4 had a little more pep in its step, which would make it a clear favorite. However, what it lacks in sheer speed it makes up for in features and ease-of-use. If you can live with slower transfers, the EX4 is a fantastic buy for both home and business users.</p> <p><img src="/files/u99720/wd.png" width="620" height="445" /></p> <p><strong>WD My Cloud EX4 w/8TB</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_8.jpg" alt="score:8" title="score:8" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> <p><strong>$750 <a href="http://www.wd.com/ " target="_blank">www.wd.com</a></strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Netgear ReadyNAS RN102</h3> <p><strong>Fast and compact</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="/files/u99720/netgear_nas-3485.jpg" width="620" height="413" /><br /></strong></p> <p>If there’s one company we thought might have a leg up in this competition, it’s Netgear, which has spoiled us with its high-performance wireless routers like the WNDR4500 and R7000 (otherwise known as the Nighthawk). The difference here is those are both top-shelf models, whereas the RN102 is part of the entry-level 100 series in the ReadyNAS product line released last year.</p> <p>Some of Netgear’s NAS boxes are a bit complicated for the average user, so with the ReadyNAS line, the company went back to the drawing board and rebuilt its Linux-based platform from the ground up. The result is ReadyNAS OS 6, a clean and open platform that looks slightly unfinished.</p> <p>Powering the RN102 is a 1.6GHz single-core ARM-based Marvell Armada 370 processor and 512MB of RAM, the exact same combination Buffalo chose for its LinkStation 420. Both are compact boxes with two drive bays, though Netgear’s carries a slightly larger footprint (3.97x5.59x8.66 inches versus 3.43x5.02x8.07 inches). Nevertheless, the RN102 can be tucked discretely away under the bed or in the corner of a closet. It also offers more connectivity options than the LinkStation—two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, eSATA, and a Kensington lock, compared to just a lonely USB 2.0 port.</p> <p>With a street price of around $340, the RN102 is wedged between Buffalo’s LinkStation and LaCie’s 2big NAS boxes, which sell on the street for around $250 and $400, respectively. Why not go for the cheapest of the bunch and call it a day? In addition to having more connectivity options than the LinkStation, Netgear’s NAS box is made with metal instead of plastic. We didn’t have the same nervousness yanking drives out of the toolless caddies in the RN102, whereas the LinkStation’s plastic pull-tabs feel chintzy in comparison.</p> <p>The RN102 supports up to 8TB. Our system came stuffed with a pair of Toshiba 1TB hard drives (7,200rpm, 32MB cache). By default, the RN102 configures itself in RAID 1 with Netgear’s proprietary X-RAID technology, a single-volume architecture that allows you to add storage space without reformatting your drives. Toggling out of X-RAID gives you the option of choosing other configurations—RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, and 10, as well as JBOD. That’s a pretty robust range for an entry-level box.</p> <p>We tested both RAID 0 and RAID 1 configurations. Performance was a mixed bag between the two, though generally fast at every turn. The RN102 approached or surpassed the 100MB/s mark in several tests and posted the highest read score in CrystalDiskMark. It also transferred large VOB files faster than both other two-bay NAS boxes. Unsurprisingly, enabling DLNA slowed things down a bit.</p> <p>The RN102 is capable of more than simple file transfers—it also supports a small but growing number of apps. This isn’t so much a selling point as it is a bonus, at least until developers step to the plate with more app options. As it stands, there are just a handful, one of the more interesting ones being a surveillance app (ReadySurvelliance) that turns the RN102 into a Network Video Recorder (NVR). Using the app and an IP camera, of which there are over 1,000 supported models, you can keep tabs on your business or home remotely from your iPhone or Android smartphone.</p> <p>Though Netgear markets the RN102 as an entry-level NAS appliance, it comes with a surprising amount of features and solid performance, to boot. Buffalo still has Netgear beat on price, but the RN102’s superior construction, flexibility, and performance makes it easier to recommend.</p> <p><img src="/files/u99720/netgear.png" width="620" height="445" /></p> <p><strong>Netgear ReadyNAS RN102 w/2TB</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_8.jpg" alt="score:8" title="score:8" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> <p><strong>$340 (street), <a href="http://www.netgear.com/ " target="_blank">www.netgear.com</a></strong></p> <h3>LaCie 2big NAS</h3> <p><strong>Small, stylish, and sturdy storage</strong></p> <p><img src="/files/u99720/lacie_nas-3479.jpg" width="620" height="436" /></p> <p>It’s a bit ironic that LaCie continues to attach the “2big” moniker to this line of NAS appliances, a naming scheme that belies its compact design. But that doesn’t mean it will go unnoticed by visitors if you leave it out in the open. On the contrary, LaCie’s 2big NAS wins style points for its refreshingly unique design. Whereas most NAS boxes are pretty plain, the 2big NAS looks like a giant heatsink ripped out of an alien spaceship, with a glowing blue orb near the top that gives the box a bit of sci-fi flair. It’s also functional as a physical button and an indicator of drive health. Solid blue is what you want to see—it means everything is normal. A blinking blue LED indicates it’s busy with an activity, while blue and red blinking means it’s building a RAID array or updating its software. What you don’t want to see is a blinking red LED, which is a warning sign that something’s wrong (high temps or a degraded RAID array), and you really hope to avoid a solid red LED, which indicates a critical error. You can disable the LED through software if you don’t care for the persistent mood lighting, especially if you plan to plop the 2big in your bedroom, but events triggering a red alert will still turn on the LED.</p> <p>LaCie is the only company in this roundup to include several different power adapters. Most civilians won’t care, but if you rack up frequent flier miles like a kid collecting candy on Halloween, you can take the 2big almost anywhere in the world and still have an appropriate power cord to fire it up.</p> <p>The 2big is yet another NAS box with a single-core ARM processor inside, though it’s clocked at 2GHz like WD’s entry. However, LaCie skimped on RAM, with just 256MB on board, the least amount of any NAS box reviewed here. Connectivity options are also a bit on the sparse side—there’s a single USB 2.0 port and an eSATA port, and of course, a Gigabit LAN to plug into your network. To LaCie’s credit, the 2big came with the longest Ethernet cable, giving users a bit more flexibility in terms of placement.</p> <p>LaCie's arrangement of the 2big's web-based dashboard is interesting. There are 11 main categories to browse—General Settings, Users, Shares, Network, and so forth—all of which are accessible from the main window. To the right and underneath are room for three tiles with a bit of expanded info. For example, the General Settings tile displays the date, time, and which network the 2big is connected to, while the Storage tile shows how much space is left. Overall, it’s pretty straightforward and easy to get where you’re going. You can’t dig as deep as you can with some of the other NAS boxes, though, nor does the 2big support third-party apps.</p> <p>When the rubber hit the road, the 2big was never the fastest, though it typically came in second or third in most benchmarks. Read speeds are a bit on the slow side, and with DLNA enabled, it took nearly twice as long to copy VOB files from our client PC to the 2big. Performance improves somewhat by switching from RAID 1 to RAID 0, but so does the risk of losing data.</p> <p>At $400 (both street and MSRP), the 2big is the most expensive of the two-bay boxes in this roundup. We’d be willing to overlook that if it could distance itself from the competition in some way, but with the limited connectivity options and middling performance, it’s a tough sell.</p> <p><img src="/files/u99720/lacie.png" width="620" height="445" /></p> <p><strong> LaCie 2big NAS w/4TB</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_6.jpg" alt="score:6" title="score:6" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> <p><strong>$399, <a href="http://www.lacie.com/ " target="_blank">www.lacie.com</a></strong></p> <h3>QNAP TurboNAS TS-470</h3> <p><strong>Your storage concierge awaits</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="/files/u99720/qnap_nas-3496.jpg" width="620" height="413" /><br /></strong></p> <p>We’ll be the first to admit that it’s not fair to put a $1,000 NAS in the ring with units that cost anywhere from a third to two-thirds the price, but we can only review what’s sent to us, and this is it. So, what does a grand get you in NAS-box world?</p> <p>Turns out it’s just about everything save for the kitchen sink. Oh, and storage. If you’re insulted by the price tag, QNAP adds injury by neglecting to include any hard drives, putting further hurt on your wallet. Hey, at least HDD storage is still fairly cheap these days.</p> <p>To be fair, the TS-470 isn’t just a simple backup device by any means. It’s more of a home-networking and storage concierge that’s ready to do almost anything you ask of it short of cooking you dinner—but give it time and there might be app for that, too. But before we talk about apps, let’s have a look at the hardware.</p> <p>The TS-470 isn’t swinging an ARM chip like the rest of the NAS appliances; it’s rocking a 2.6GHz dual-core Intel x86 CPU and 2GB of RAM. It sports four bays, and can expand to a whopping 36 hard drives and 144TB of raw capacity when paired with a couple of dedicated expansion enclosures. There are two 1-Gigabit LAN ports, courtesy of the included PCIe NIC, though you can swap it out for a 10-Gigabit LAN card. You also get two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports (one on the front), two eSATA ports, an HDMI port, both an audio input and output, a Kensington lock, and a built-in infrared receiver for MCE remote control.</p> <p>On the front is a backlit LCD panel that you control using Enter and Select buttons. You can change certain settings, though not nearly as many as with the web-based UI. Also on the front are power and one-touch copy buttons.</p> <p>QNAP doesn’t use toolless caddies (boo!) though the drive bays do lock in place (yay!). Depending on the number of drives you install, your configuration options include single disk, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6, RAID 10, and RAID 5 + Hot Spare. The way RAID 5 + Hot Spare works is one disk is reserved as a spare and used to rebuild the RAID 5 array on the fly if a disk goes bad.</p> <p>As you probably surmised from the port selection, the TS-470 has plenty of multimedia mojo. It even supports USB-based TV tuners, though that barely scratches the surface. Dozens of apps exist, including one that emulates Super Mario Bros., in case you’re in a nostalgic mood. But it’s not all about fun and games—Dropbox is available, and there’s an entire category of “Business” apps.</p> <p>Though there’s a dizzying amount of options and functionality to play with, QNAP does an excellent job of presenting it all in a way that doesn’t feel daunting. The browser-based UI looks like a typical smartphone or tablet screen, with colorful icons for easy navigation. The Control Panel is where you’ll find all the knobs and dials, though it’s set up in a way that will never make you feel lost.</p> <p>The TS-470 isn’t just the most flexible NAS box in this roundup, it’s also the fastest. It led the way or tied for first in all but two benchmarks, and made a mockery of the competition in our write tests. Surprisingly, the TS-470’s superior hardware wasn’t enough to offset the performance impact of enabling DLNA, but it did deal with it better than the others.</p> <p>It’s a shame QNAP doesn’t include any storage for the asking price, as that’s all that holds us back from giving the TS-470 a Kick-Ass award.</p> <p><img src="/files/u99720/qnap.png" width="620" height="445" /></p> <p><strong>QNAP TurboNAS TS-470</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_9.jpg" alt="score:9" title="score:9" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> <p><strong>$1000, <a href="http://www.qnap.com/ " target="_blank">www.qnap.com</a></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Performance</h3> <p><strong>Speed does actually matter</strong></p> <p>To evaluate the performance of each NAS box, we used the drives that each one shipped with, save for QNAP’s empty TS-470, which we populated with four Western Digital 2TB Red NAS drives. The real challenge was figuring out which RAID to use, and in the end, we benchmarked each NAS box using RAID 0 and RAID 1. We also repeated each test with DLNA enabled, to see what kind of performance impact it would have.</p> <p>We used a combination of synthetic and real-world benchmarks to evaluate performance. On the synthetic side, we ran CrystalDiskMark’s sequential read/write tests and 4K read/write tests. We also used an older version of ATTO (the newest release doesn’t recognize network drives) and plucked the highest read and write scores from each run. For our real-world tests, we recorded how long it took to transfer 1GB of music files from our test PC to NAS and from NAS back to the PC, and then repeated the tests using 3GB VOB files.</p> <p>Due to space constraints, the scores you see in the benchmark chart represent RAID 1 performance with DLNA disabled, though we looked at the overall picture and considered all scores when evaluating and issuing a verdict for each one. In doing so, the QNAP TS-470 stood out as the clear winner among the bunch. Not only is its feature-set a country mile long, it consistently outpaced all the other NAS boxes in our benchmarks (both synthetic and real-world), sometimes by a wide margin. Its write performance was particularly impressive—measured with ATTO, the TS-470 posted 113.74MB/s, well ahead of Netgear’s ReadyNAS RN102, which was a distant second with a score of 80.14MB/s. The TS-470 needed to run circles around the competition to justify its pricing premium—it’s $1,000 for the box alone—and it did that throughout the majority of testing.</p> <p>It was far more difficult determining a second-place finisher. Strictly by the numbers, LaCie’s 2big NAS came in second place more times than any other NAS box, but it also posted some disturbingly low scores and took last place in ATTO’s read and write runs. Plus, it’s the most expensive two-bay NAS box represented here and has limited connectivity options, to boot.</p> <p>If all you’re looking for is a cheap way to back up your data, it’s hard to ignore Buffalo’s LinkStation 420. It runs about $250 street for 2TB, or you can double up to 4TB for around $300, which, quite frankly, would be the better buy. Either way, it’s a relatively cheap and serviceable solution for your backup chores, just don’t expect it to impress with a list of tricks it never learned.</p> <p>In our minds, second place is a toss-up between Netgear’s ReadyNAS RN102 and Western Digital’s My Cloud EX4. The EX4 has twice as many drive bays (four), a sleek UI, and a great balance of features that home consumers and business users alike will appreciate. It’s also a little sluggish, posting scores that qualify for fourth or fifth place finishes in seven out of 10 tests. By comparison, Netgear’s ReadyNAS RN102 took first or second place in five of the 10 tests. It’s simply the faster box, and while it doesn’t offer business-class amenities like dual LAN ports and multiple power ports, it makes up for it with a wide selection of software options (including a growing app store) and RAID configurations, a healthy selection of ports, and metal construction, for less than half the price of WD’s My Cloud EX4. If forced at gunpoint to choose between the two, we’d ask the gunman why he’s so passionate about NAS boxes, and then we’d tell him to pick up Netgear’s ReadyNAS RN102.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Benchmarks</span><br /> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 620px; height: 265px;" border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>Buffalo LinkStation 420</td> <td>WD My Cloud EX4</td> <td>QNAP TurboNAS TS-470</td> <td>Netgear ReadyNAS RN102</td> <td>LaCie 2big NAS</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">CrystalDiskMark Sequential Read (MB/s)</td> <td class="item-dark">64.77</td> <td>72.86</td> <td>75.04</td> <td><strong>106.2</strong></td> <td>74.82</td> </tr> <tr> <td>CrystalDiskMark Sequential Write (MB/s)</td> <td>72.98</td> <td>69.68<br /><strong>&nbsp;</strong></td> <td><strong>110.6</strong></td> <td>47.43</td> <td>72.90</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">CrystalDiskMark 4K Read (MB/s)</td> <td class="item-dark">9.69</td> <td>6.76</td> <td><strong>10.73</strong></td> <td>6.71</td> <td>10.18</td> </tr> <tr> <td>CrystalDiskMark 4K Write (MB/s)</td> <td>9.02</td> <td>9.82</td> <td><strong>10.21<br /></strong></td> <td>5.43</td> <td>9.89</td> </tr> <tr> <td>ATTO Read (MB/s)</td> <td>113.98</td> <td>115.95<strong><br /></strong></td> <td><strong>117.47</strong></td> <td>102.52</td> <td>84.14</td> </tr> <tr> <td>ATTO Write (MB/s)</td> <td>75.72</td> <td>73.74</td> <td><strong>113.74</strong></td> <td>80.14</td> <td>59.52</td> </tr> <tr> <td>1GB Music files PC to NAS (sec)</td> <td>27</td> <td>29</td> <td><strong>15</strong></td> <td>28</td> <td>24</td> </tr> <tr> <td>1GB Music files NAS to PC (sec)</td> <td>19</td> <td>23</td> <td>26</td> <td><strong>17</strong></td> <td>22</td> </tr> <tr> <td>3GB VOB files PC to NAS (sec)</td> <td>59</td> <td>69</td> <td><strong>30</strong></td> <td>56</td> <td>66</td> </tr> <tr> <td>3GB VOB files NAS to PC (sec)</td> <td><strong>30</strong></td> <td>39</td> <td><strong>30</strong></td> <td>34</td> <td>34</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em>We connected the NAS boxes to an Asus RT-AC66U router and ran benchmarks on a wired client PC consisting of an Intel Core i7-930 processor, Asus P6X38D Premium motherboard, 4GB DDR3/1333 RAM, 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 SSD, AMD Radeon HD 5840 graphics card, and 64-bit Windows 8.1.<br /></em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <h3>Spec Off</h3> <p><strong>The Big Chart of Specs</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/qnap_back.jpg" width="620" height="388" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Pricier QNAP TS-470 features every port you'd want on a NAS</strong></p> <p>Choosing a NAS box can be difficult. The first order of business is to decide how many drive bays you need, both now and in the future. This affects both the potential storage capacity and your RAID options—for example, RAID 5 requires at least three disks. More drive bays typically translate into a higher price tag, too.</p> <p>We also feel it’s important to pay attention to the CPU and RAM combo. QNAP’s TurboNAS TS-470 is the only one that brought an x86 Intel dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM to the NAS party—every other box wields an ARM-based Marvell Armada 300 series single-core SoC and either 256MB or 512MB of RAM.</p> <p>Both the Buffalo LinkStation 420 and LaCie 2big NAS sport a single USB 2.0 port, the latter of which also has an eSATA connector. That’s about as bare-bones as it gets. QNAP’s TurboNAS TS-470 and Netgear’s ReadyNAS RN102 offer the most connectivity options, which is something to consider if you plan on attaching external storage or a USB printer. The QNAP TurboNAS TS-470 is especially well equipped for connecting devices—it has an HDMI port, dual LAN ports and power connectors, and even audio ports. It’s also the only NAS box in our roundup that’s 10-Gigabit ready—you can swap out its NIC for one with 10-Gigabit connectivity.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Benchmarks</span><br /> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 620px; height: 265px;" border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>WD My Cloud EX4</td> <td>QNAP TurboNAS TS-470</td> <td>Netgear ReadyNAS RN102</td> <td>LaCie 2big NAS</td> <td>Buffalo LinkStation 420</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">CPU</td> <td class="item-dark">2GHz single-core ARM</td> <td>2.6GHz dual-core Intel</td> <td>1.2GHz single-core ARM</td> <td>2GHz single-core ARM</td> <td>1.2GHz single-core ARM</td> </tr> <tr> <td>RAM</td> <td>512MB</td> <td>2GB<br /><strong>&nbsp;</strong></td> <td>512MB</td> <td>256MB</td> <td>512MB</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Drive bays</td> <td class="item-dark">4</td> <td>4</td> <td>2</td> <td>2</td> <td>2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2.5-inch support</td> <td>No</td> <td>Yes</td> <td>Yes</td> <td>No</td> <td>No</td> </tr> <tr> <td>OS</td> <td>Linux</td> <td>QTS 4.0<strong><br /></strong></td> <td>ReadyNAS OS 6</td> <td>NAS OS 3 (Debian-based Linux)</td> <td>Linux</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Ethernet ports</td> <td>2 (Gigabit)</td> <td>4 (Gigabit); 10GbE-ready</td> <td>1 (Gigabit)</td> <td>1 (Gigabit)</td> <td>1 (Gigabit)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Expansion ports</td> <td>2x USB 3.0</td> <td>2x USB 3.0, 3x USB 2.0</td> <td>2x USB 3.0, 3x USB 2.0</td> <td>USB 2.0, eSATA</td> <td>USB 2.0</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Kingston lock port</td> <td>No</td> <td>Yes</td> <td>Yes</td> <td>No</td> <td>No</td> </tr> <tr> <td>DLNA, VMware, etc. </td> <td>DLNA, iTunes, Time Machine, CIFS/SMB, AFP, NFSv3, HTTP, FTP, P2P</td> <td>DLNA, iTunes, Time Machine, AirPlay, VMware, Citrix, Hyper-V, CIFS/SMB, AFP, NFSv3, HTTP, FTP, P2P</td> <td>DLNA, iTunes, Time Machine, VMWare, Citrix, Hyper-V, TiVO, UPnP, CIFS/SMB, AFP, NFSv3, HTTP, FTP</td> <td>LNA, iTunes, Time Machine, VMWare, Citrix, Hyper-V, TiVO, UPnP, CIFS/SMB, AFP, NFSv3, HTTP, FTP</td> <td>DLNA, iTunes, Time Machine, CIFS/SMB, AFP, HTTP, FTP, NFS, BitTorrent</td> </tr> <tr> <td>RAID</td> <td>0, 1, 5, 10, Spanning, JBOD</td> <td>0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 5 + Hot Spare, JBOD</td> <td>0, 1, 5, 6, 10, JBOD</td> <td>0, 1, JBOD</td> <td>0, 1</td> </tr> <tr> <td>HDMI</td> <td>No</td> <td>Yes</td> <td>No</td> <td>No</td> <td>No</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Idle power consumption</td> <td>25 watts</td> <td>33 watts</td> <td>15 watts</td> <td>17 watts</td> <td>12 watts</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Audio ports</td> <td>No</td> <td>1 Input, 1 Output</td> <td>No</td> <td>No</td> <td>No</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Dimensions <br />(W x H x D)</td> <td>6.30 x 8.21 x 8.67 inches</td> <td>7.09 x 6.97 x 9.25 inches</td> <td>3.97 x 5.59 x 8.66 inches</td> <td>3.5 x 7.8 x 6.7 inches</td> <td>3.43 x 5.02 x 8.07 inches</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Jumbo frame support</td> <td>Yes</td> <td>Yes</td> <td>Yes</td> <td>Yes</td> <td>Yes</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Price</td> <td>$750</td> <td>$1,000 (street)</td> <td>$340 (street)</td> <td>$399 (street)</td> <td>$300 (street)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Verdict (restate)</td> <td>8</td> <td>9</td> <td>8</td> <td>6</td> <td>7</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em><br /></em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> http://www.maximumpc.com/nas_storage_2015#comments box buffalo LaCie nas storage netgear network attached storage qnap Western Digital Features Tue, 13 Jan 2015 21:07:53 +0000 Paul Lilly 28388 at http://www.maximumpc.com Buffalo Stuffs TeraStation 7120r NAS with 6TB HGST Ultrastar Helium HDDs, Won't Float Away http://www.maximumpc.com/buffalo_stuffs_terastation_7120r_nas_6tb_hgst_ultrastar_helium_hdds_wont_float_away <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/buffalo_terastation_7120r.jpg" alt="Buffalo TeraStation 7120r" title="Buffalo TeraStation 7120r" width="228" height="110" style="float: right;" />Industry's first enterprise-class NAS to use helium-filled HDDs</h3> <p>We imagine <strong>Buffalo's TeraStation 7120r enterprise-class NAS box </strong>talks to end users in a funny high-pitched voice as they walk around holding the thing on a string like a balloon. None of that is true, of course, though it is the first NAS box of its kind to come with a belly <strong>stuffed full of 6TB HGST Ultrastar helium-filled hard drives</strong>, up to 72TB total capacity (TS-2RZH72T12).</p> <p>The 12-bay RAID 2U rackmount NAS comes with an Intel Xeon E3-1275 quad-core processor clocked at 3.4GHz, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, quad Intel NICs with 10-gigabit support, half a dozen USB 2.0 ports, redundant hot plug PSUs and fans, two PCi-Express expansion slots, and support for various RAID and storage configurations (RAID 0/1/5/6/10/51/61/JBOD).</p> <p>"Buffalo has a proven track record of delivering products that utilize the latest technological advancements in the storage and networking sectors," <a href="http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/buffalo-launches-the-industrys-first-enterprise-class-nas-with-hgst-ultrastar-he6-helium-filled-drives-253368141.html" target="_blank">said Brian Verenkoff</a>, director of product management at Buffalo Americas, Inc. "We are excited to embrace HGST's revolutionary Ultrastar He6 helium-filled hard drives to offer the industry's largest capacity 2U NAS solution, with the goal of lowering TCO for high-capacity enterprise applications and datacenters."'</p> <p>There are some TCO benefits to using HGST's helium HDDs compared to a typical 3.5-inch air-filled 5 platter 4TB HDD. They include 50 percent more capacity at 6TB, 23 percent lower idle power at 5.3W, 49 percent better watts-per-terabyte, 4-5C cooler operation, and 50g lighter weight at 640g.</p> <p>These benefits don't come cheap. The TeraStation 7120r Enterprise 72TB TS-2RZH72T12D will be available in the U.S. for an estimated $20,000 MSRP.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/buffalo_stuffs_terastation_7120r_nas_6tb_hgst_ultrastar_helium_hdds_wont_float_away#comments 7120r buffalo Hard Drive HDD helium hgst nas storage terastation News Tue, 01 Apr 2014 15:07:34 +0000 Paul Lilly 27544 at http://www.maximumpc.com Buffalo Unveils AirStation Extreme AC 1900 Wireless Router and Other 802.11ac Solutions http://www.maximumpc.com/buffalo_unveils_airstation_extreme_ac_1900_wireless_router_and_other_80211ac_solutions <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/buffalo_ac_1900.jpg" alt="Buffalo AirStation Extreme AC 1900" title="Buffalo AirStation Extreme AC 1900" width="228" height="207" style="float: right;" />Wireless-AC is fast becoming commonplace</h3> <p>The transition to Wireless-AC networks is happening at a pretty brisk pace. We just recently wrapped up a roundup of several 802.11ac routers (you'll find it in the upcoming March issue of Maximum PC), and as CES kicks into full swing, even more AC routers are being announced. Buffalo just added three to the growing pile of options, including the <strong>AirStation Extreme AC 1900 Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Router WXR-1900DHP</strong>, AirStation 1200 Dual Band Wireless Router WHR-1166D, and the AirStation AC433 Wireless Travel Router WMR-433.</p> <p>"The increased availability of wireless devices has made it easy for consumers to access content online anywhere at any time. However, this trend has pushed previous Wi-Fi standards to their limits," <a href="http://www.buffalotech.com/about-buffalo/news-and-press/press-releases/buffalo-introduces-new-80211ac-wireless-networking-solutions" target="_blank">said Matt Dargis</a>, COO at Buffalo Americas. "We launched new models of Buffalo's AirStation 11ac routers to address these challenges of the modern day consumer by supporting the latest high performance Wi-Fi technologies available. With new solutions like the industry's first 11ac travel router, modern day travelers and vacationers now have the ability to easily setup fast personal wireless connections while away from the home or office."</p> <p>The big dog of the bunch is the AirStation Extreme AC 1900. It delivers wireless speeds of up to 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band and up to 600Mbps in Wireless-N mode. Bearforming is baked in to ensure strong connections to both AC and N devices, which is is aided by three wireless transmitters, and there's a 1GHz dual-core processor inside.</p> <p>Buffalo's other two routers aren't as feature rich or fast, though still embark on Wireless-AC territory.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/buffalo_unveils_airstation_extreme_ac_1900_wireless_router_and_other_80211ac_solutions#comments 802.11ac airstation extreme ac 1900 buffalo ces2014 Hardware Internet networking Router wireless News Tue, 07 Jan 2014 18:21:40 +0000 Paul Lilly 27025 at http://www.maximumpc.com Newegg Daily Deals: NZXT Phantom Full Tower Case, ASRock Z77 Extreme6 Mobo, and More! http://www.maximumpc.com/newegg_daily_deals_nzxt_phantom_full_tower_case_asrock_z77_extreme6_mobo_and_more <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/nzxt_phantom_1.jpg" alt="NZXT Phantom" title="NZXT Phantom" width="300" height="279" style="float: right;" /><img src="/files/u154082/newegg_logo_small.png" alt="newegg logo" title="newegg logo" width="200" height="80" /></p> <p><strong>Top Deal:</strong></p> <p>Here's an easy riddle to answer: What's red, aggressive looking, and has a 5-channel fan controller? The answer, of course, is the topic of today's top deal, an <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146066&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-Case-N82E16811146066-_-1129&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;cm_sp=&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">NZXT Phantom Red Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Case</a> for <strong>$96</strong> with free shipping (normally $140, use coupon code {EMCWWVR84]; additional $10 mail-in-rebate). That's a great price for a stylish looking chassis with dual radiator support and quad water cooling cutouts.</p> <p><strong>Other Deals:</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226446&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-RAM-N82E16820226446-_-1129&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;cm_sp=&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2666 (PC3 21300) Desktop Memory</a> for <strong>$130</strong> with free shipping (normally $150 ) </p> <p><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157295&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-Motherboard-N82E16813157295-_-1129&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;cm_sp=&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">ASRock Z77 Extreme6 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard</a> for <strong>$154</strong> with free shipping (normally $160; free desktop memory w/ purchase) </p> <p><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822165434&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-PortableHD-N82E16822165434-_-1129&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;cm_sp=&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">Buffalo MiniStation Plus 1TB USB 3.0 Black Portable Hard Drive HD-PNT1.0U3B</a> for <strong>$80</strong> with free shipping (normally $120 ) </p> <p><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817103087&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-PSU-N82E16817103087-_-1129&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;cm_sp=&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">Sparkle Magna GOLD PRO series R-FSP850-50TGM 850W ATX12V V2.3 &amp; EPS12V V2.92 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 Plus Gold Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply</a> for <strong>$110</strong> with free shipping (normally $190)</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/newegg_daily_deals_nzxt_phantom_full_tower_case_asrock_z77_extreme6_mobo_and_more#comments asrock buffalo Daily Deals daily deals mushkin Newegg nzxt sparkle Fri, 29 Nov 2013 14:39:19 +0000 The Maximum PC Staff 26791 at http://www.maximumpc.com Newegg Daily Deals: All Networking Gear Edition! http://www.maximumpc.com/article/daily_deals/newegg_daily_deals_all_networking_gear_edition <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/d-link_cloud_router.jpg" alt="D-Link Cloud Router" title="D-Link Cloud Router" width="300" height="289" style="float: right;" /><img src="/files/u154280/newegg_logo_small.png" alt="Newegg" title="Newegg " width="200" height="80" /></p> <p><strong>Top Deal:</strong></p> <p>Need a new router or switch? Boy, have you come to the right place. Today's batch of deals is loaded with networking gear, including our top deal for a <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833127395&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-Networking-N82E16833127395-_-0617&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">D-Link Cloud Router 2000 (DIR-826L) Wireless N600 Dual Band USB Shareport</a> for <strong>$48</strong> with free shipping (normally $110 - use coupon code <strong>EMCXPWT39</strong>; additional $10 mail-in-rebate). Manage your home network from your iPhone, iPad, or Android device!</p> <p><strong>Other Deals:</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833320090&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-Networking-N82E16833320090-_-0617&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">Asus GX-D1081 8-Port Power-Saving Gigabit Switch 10/100/1000Mbps 1MB Buffer Memory</a> for <strong>$22 </strong>with free shipping (normally $45 - use coupon code:[<strong>EMCXPWT37</strong>]) </p> <p><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833162069&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-Networking-N82E16833162069-_-0617&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">Buffalo AirStation HighPower N300 Gigabit Wireless Router - WZR-300HP</a> for <strong>$46</strong> with free shipping (normally $100 - use coupone code:[<strong>EMCXPWT38</strong>]) </p> <p><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833156383&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-Networking-N82E16833156383-_-0617&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">Trendnet TEW-680MB N900 Dual Band Wireless Media Bridge</a> for <strong>$60</strong> with free shipping (normally $170 - use coupon code:[<strong>EMCXPWT42</strong>]) </p> <p><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833181153&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-Networking-N82E16833181153-_-0617&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">Zyxel GS1100-24 10/100/1000Mbps 24-port Enterprise LAN Switch</a> for <strong>$80</strong> with free shipping (normally $250 - use coupon code:[<strong>EMCXPWT84</strong>])</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/daily_deals/newegg_daily_deals_all_networking_gear_edition#comments asus buffalo d-link Daily Deals daily deals Newegg trendnet zyxel Mon, 17 Jun 2013 19:22:49 +0000 The Maximum PC Staff 25752 at http://www.maximumpc.com Buffalo's 802.11ac Router And Media Bridge Hit Shelves, First 1.3Gbps Wi-Fi Devices Available http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/buffalos_80211ac_router_and_media_bridge_hit_shelves_first_13gbps_wi-fi_devices_available <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u138055/buffalo_80211ac.jpg" width="228" height="196" style="float: right;" />Faster Wi-Fi ain't just coming, folks -- it's already here. Just a few weeks back, we reported that Netgear was racing to be the first manufacturer with a speedy new 802.11ac router available on the consumer market, <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/first_consumer_80211ac_wi-fi_router_will_ship_netgear_starting_next_month">expecting to ship its R6300 router</a> sometime this month. Well, "sometime" wasn't fast enough; we're still waiting on the R6300, while Buffalo announced that its first 802.11ac devices are available in stores today in the form of the AirStation WZR-D1800H wireless router and the WLI-H4-D1300 wireless media bridge.</p> <p>With theoretical maximum speeds of up to 1.3Gbps, 802.11ac signals could achieve speeds three times faster than the 802.11n routers found in homes across the world today. That's on the 5GHz spectrum; the Buffalo router also packs in a standard 3x3 802.11n radio to operate on the 2.4GHz spectrum at up to 450Mbps. Range remains about the same as with 802.11n routers, however. Older 802.11g/b/n devices will work just fine with the new Buffalo 802.11ac offerings, albeit on the 2.4GHz spectrum. </p> <p>One big problem with being on the bleeding edge of Wi-Fi standards; there aren't any consumer devices that can receive the router's 802.11ac signal aside from Buffalo's 802.11ac media bridge -- and connecting devices to the bridge while maintaining those (theoretical) 1.3Gbps transfer speeds requires Ethernet connections. In other words, consider the 802.11ac router an investment in the future unless you want wires running through your home today.</p> <p>Both the router and the bridge are available now at Fry's and Newegg for $180 a pop.</p> <p><em>Follow Brad on <a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/114559883172848043224/about">Google+</a> or <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/BradChacos">Twitter</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/buffalos_80211ac_router_and_media_bridge_hit_shelves_first_13gbps_wi-fi_devices_available#comments 802.11ac buffalo Hardware Router wi-fi wi-fi router News Mon, 14 May 2012 17:45:20 +0000 Brad Chacos 23322 at http://www.maximumpc.com Buffalo External Drive Switches Capacity to Accommodate Stupid Smart TVs http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/buffalo_external_drive_switches_capacity_accommodate_stupid_smart_tvs <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/buffalo_external_hdd.jpg" width="228" height="106" style="float: right;" />Is your smart TV too dumb to recognize a 3TB hard drive? You have three choices: Buy a smarter, um, smart TV, invest in a smaller hard drive that won't confuzzle your TV set, or flip the switch on Buffalo's new HD-ALCTU2/V external hard drive to drop from 3TB to 2TB or 1TB, depending on what your not-so-smarty pants TV can handle. It's a pretty cool concept, and one that's not marred by lost storage space should you have to drop down to a lower capacity.</p> <p><a href="http://www.tcmagazine.com/tcm/news/hardware/41222/new-buffalo-external-drive-can-switch-capacities-1tb-3tb">TCMagazine</a> says you can partition the content. Maybe you want to store movies and TV shows on a 2TB partition and shove all your music on the remaining 1TB, or vice versa. Once you have it partitioned the way you want it, you can switch between them at will.</p> <p>The unit itself is a USB 2.0 device that measures 121mm x 40mm x 201mm, has a glossy black finish, and LEDs to indicate how much free space remains. Rubber mounts prevent vibration from wrecking the drive, and a fan on the rear keeps gets rid of hot hair.&nbsp;</p> <p>Buffalo says it will go on sale in Japan sometime this month. No word on when it will ship stateside or for how much.</p> <p>Image Credit: Buffalo via TCMagazine</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/buffalo_external_drive_switches_capacity_accommodate_stupid_smart_tvs#comments buffalo external drive Hard Drive Hardware hd-alctu2/v HDD maximum tech Smart TV storage News Thu, 13 Oct 2011 15:07:17 +0000 Paul Lilly 20817 at http://www.maximumpc.com Buffalo TeraStation Pro Quad Review http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/buffalo_terastation_pro_quad_review <!--paging_filter--><h3>One of the best NAS devices on the market—on paper</h3> <p>When it comes to computer networking products, there are a few companies that always come to mind. Buffalo is one of them. Storage devices have always been a part of Buffalo's repertoire, so including the TeraStation Pro Quad in this roundup was a no-brainer. The "Quad" in the moniker refers to the four drives that come preinstalled in the NAS, with options for 1TB, 2TB, or 3TB drives at various price points. Buffalo chose a dual-core 1.6GHz Atom to run the TeraStation Pro, and 2GB of RAM provides more than enough memory for most purposes. The configuration we tested came complete with four 1TB drives. Inside the box, you'll find Ethernet and power cables, a quick-start guide, and a software and documentation CD. Buffalo also includes 10 licenses of NovaBackup Business Essentials.</p> <p>Buffalo chose to keep the drive trays accessible from the front of the unit, though they are enclosed behind a locking door. The door locks at the bottom, but the handle is located at the top; this causes the door to flex when you attempt to open the door without first unlocking it. An LCD panel graces the front of the TeraStation Pro and provides simple configuration and diagnostic information. The back of the device has a generous array of connectivity options: two gigabit Ethernet, two USB 2.0, and two USB 3.0 ports. The USB ports support both external drives and printers, while the Ethernet connections can be configured for load balancing or failover.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/buffaloterastationproquad-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/buffaloterastationproquad-550.jpg" width="550" height="396" /></a><br /><strong>Buffalo is all business with the TeraStation Pro Quad. The result is a NAS geared toward the workplace and short on consumer features.</strong></p> <p>The software end of things is where Buffalo really shows its business bias. The most apparent tools in the web-based interface allow you to locate your NAS through beeps and a flashing LCD, features that are primarily suited to users with several NAS devices. Other prevalent features, such as Active Directory integration are key tools for business environments, but are of little use to home users. BitTorrent downloads are supported, as are DLNA and iTunes servers, though configuration for media-centric functionality is pretty sparse. One rather compelling feature is the WebAccess service, which allows you to create a friendly URL for accessing all of your files.</p> <p>Performance is the biggest cause for concern in our opinion, as our large-file copy to the NAS took a whopping 2 minutes, 4 seconds. Compare that to Synology's DS411+II coming in at 28 seconds, and you can understand our disappointment.</p> <p><strong>$1200 (four 1TB drives preinstalled), <a href="http://www.buffalotech.com/" target="_blank">www.buffalotech.com</a></strong></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/buffalo_terastation_pro_quad_review#comments buffalo Hardware nas network storage 2011 November 2011 Reviews NAS Boxes From the Magazine Mon, 12 Sep 2011 22:43:41 +0000 Tim Ferrill 20280 at http://www.maximumpc.com Buffalo Begins Shipping MiniStation Plus USB 3.0 Portable HDD http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/buffalo_begins_shipping_ministation_plus_usb_30_portable_hdd <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u46168/hd-pntu3-b_m1_lg.jpg" width="228" height="228" style="float: right;" />The <a href="http://www.buffalotech.com/products/portable-hard-drives/usb-30/ministation-plus-hd-pntu3/">Buffalo MiniStation Plus USB 3.0 external hard drive</a>, which the company announced last month, is now shipping. Housed inside a shockproof chassis, the USB 3.0-enabled MiniStation Plus is currently available in two capacities and three colors. Hit the jump to know more about Buffalo’s latest portable storage solution.</p> <p>The company is offering the MiniStation Plus in 500GB ($84.99) and 1TB ($119.99) capacities, with both versions available in black, silver and red. In a press release, the Austin,Texas-based company with a bovine name reminded everyone that USB 3.0 is capable of data transfer speeds of up to 5Gbps. The drive, which features 256-bit AES hardware encryption, is preformatted to work with both Windows and Mac machines.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/buffalo_begins_shipping_ministation_plus_usb_30_portable_hdd#comments buffalo external hdd Hard Drive HDD MiniStation Plus News Thu, 30 Jun 2011 06:52:32 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 19250 at http://www.maximumpc.com Canadian IP Company Sues Elpida and Two Other Memory Makers http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/canadian_ip_company_sues_elpida_and_two_other_memory_makers <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/elpida_chip.jpg" width="228" height="161" style="float: right;" />Mosaid Technologies, an intellectual property and technology licensing firm based out of Canada, has filed a lawsuit against DRAM makers Eplida Memory, Buffalo Inc., and Axiontech in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division. In the lawsuit, Mosaid accuses all three firms of infringing on six of its semiconductor memory patents.</p> <p>"Elpida is the only major manufacturer of commodity DRAM products that is currently unlicensed to Mosaid's semiconductor memory patents," <a href="http://www.mosaid.com/corporate/news-events/releases-2011/110510.php">said John Lindgren</a>, President and CEO of Mosaid. "We have been in active negotiations with Elpida, but have now concluded that we are unlikely to reach a fair settlement within a reasonable timeframe. As a result, we have filed suit to protect the Company's intellectual property rights and to advance the interests of our shareholders."</p> <p>Mosaid didn't go into great detail about the six patents Eplida and others are allegedly infringing on, saying only that they're in violation by making, using, importing, offering for sale, and/or selling DRAM and other products containing DRAM in the United States.</p> <p>No other company produces more commodity DRAM products than Elpida, which holds a 16 percent share of the market on total revenues of $6.3 billion (in 2010).</p> <p>Image Credit: Elpida</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/canadian_ip_company_sues_elpida_and_two_other_memory_makers#comments axiontech buffalo eplida Hardware law lawsuit legal Memory mosaid Patent Infringement ram News Tue, 10 May 2011 15:04:36 +0000 Paul Lilly 18479 at http://www.maximumpc.com Router Roundup: We Review 7 Top-Tier Routers http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/router_roundup_we_review_7_top-tier_routers <!--paging_filter--><h3>Today's premium Wi-Fi routers push the boundaries of design, features, and range</h3> <p>You’ve been getting by with the cheapie router you bought two years ago, so why should you upgrade now? In a word: Performance. And features. Oh, sorry. That’s two words. We looked at a host of budget offerings in <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/reining_router_rabblesix_80211n_routers_reviewed" target="_blank">our last router roundup </a>(February 2010) and didn’t find much to get excited about. This time, we asked seven manufacturers to send us the best consumer routers in their stables regardless of price tags.</p> <p><a class="thickbox" href="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/open_full.jpg"><img src="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/open_405.jpg" alt="" width="405" height="269" /></a><br /><strong>If aesthetics matter in your router, you're sure to find a design that suits your style, although its performance might not be up to snuff. Hey, that's why we're here.</strong></p> <p>In most cases, that meant a simultaneous dual-band router capable of running 802.11n wireless networks using the typical 2.4GHz frequency band and the less-crowded 5GHz band, plus a guest network that isolates its clients from your primary LAN. In all cases, it meant a router with an integrated four-port gigabit switch and at least one USB port for sharing a printer or a storage device over the network (some have two USB ports to support both functions). In an interesting twist, however, no one submitted a product using a three-stream wireless chipset promising raw throughput of 450Mb/s.</p> <p>We’re absolutely fine with that, because our first experience with this bleeding-edge standard, courtesy of Trendnet’s single-band TEW-691GR, left a bitter taste on our tongues. The TEW-691GR was very fast, but only at very close range. As we observed in <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/trendnet_tew691gr_450mbs_wifi_router_review" target="_blank">our review</a>, you can’t buy a USB Wi-Fi adapter with three antennas today, so much of that extra bandwidth is effectively wasted.<br />&nbsp;<br />Astute observers will notice that we’ve previously written stand-alone reviews of three of the routers here—namely, the Netgear WNDR3700 V1 (our current Best of the Best pick), the Linksys E3000 (previously known as the WRT610N), and the Belkin Play N600 HD (previously known as the Play Max). Since wireless performance varies with Wi-Fi client device drivers, router firmware updates, and even atmospheric conditions, we didn’t think it would be fair to compare one product with the latest updates to a competitor we reviewed several months ago.</p> <p>So, will Netgear’s WNDR3700 V1 retain its title, or will a scrappy challenger exceed our lofty expectations? Keep reading to find out.</p> <p>Jump to page 3 for the benchmarks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Asus RT-N16</h2> <p><strong>A solid, if unexciting, bargain</strong></p> <p>The Asus RT-N16 is a single-band router with three removable (and therefore upgradeable) antennas, but the third antenna didn’t help the router rise above third place overall in terms of TCP throughput. It did, however, do a solid job of penetrating our media room.</p> <p>The RT-N16 is equipped with two USB ports, so it can support both a portable USB hard drive and a printer. USB storage devices are shared using SMB/CIFS, so the shares appear when you use Windows to browse your network. This is a far superior alternative to forcing you to install a client to access the shares, as some of the other routers do.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_router/asus_full.jpg"><img src="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/asus_405.jpg" alt="" width="405" height="293" /></a><br /><strong>The Asus RT-N16 is a solid performer with dual USB ports, strong firmware, and support from the DD-WRT community.</strong></p> <p>Asus has developed a very user-friendly GUI for the RT-N16’s firmware, and the EZQoS utility makes it easy to assign bandwidth priority to various applications (with settings for VoIP, games, video streaming, and the built-in FTP server). There’s an integrated BitTorrent client, too. If the stock firmware doesn’t float your boat, you can replace it with a version of the popular open-source alternative DD-WRT.</p> <p>The RT-N16’s stock firmware includes a UPnP media server, but it’s not DLNA-compliant. This means the router is not a great choice if you’re looking to stream media from an attached drive to an Xbox 360 or a PS3 gaming console.</p> <p>You’ll find our complete Asus RT-N16 network and NAS benchmark results <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/home/asus_rt-n16" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Specifications</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Radio Frequencies</td> <td class="item-light">Single-band: 2.4GHz only</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Guest Network</td> <td class="item-light">No</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">DLNA-Compliant Media Server</td> <td class="item-light">No</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">USB Ports</td> <td class="item-light">Two (for printer and/or storage)</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">NTFS Drive Support</td> <td class="item-light">Yes</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">WDS Bridge/Repeater Support</td> <td class="item-light">No</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="lowdown"> <div class="module orange-module article-module verdict-block"><span class="module-name-header" style="font-size: 14px; border-bottom: 1px solid #000;">The Asus RT-N16 Verdict</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="product-verdict"> <div class="positive"><span class="header">GUI</span> <p>Decent range and throughput; dual USB ports; support from DD-WRT community; BitTorrent client.</p> </div> <div class="negative"><span class="header">Gooey</span> <p>Single-band only; no guest network; no DLNA-compliant media server.</p> </div> <div class="verdict"><img title="score:8" src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_8.jpg" alt="score:8" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Belkin Play N600 HD</h2> <p><strong>Homey don't play dat</strong></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/belkin_play_max_wifi_router_review" target="_blank">Belkin Play Max</a>’s claim to fame was a fat set of hardware features and a generous collection of apps that ran not on the router but on client PCs connected to the router. In relaunching the Play Max as the Play N600 HD, Belkin has kept all the hardware features but axed three of the apps (the music library tool Daily DJ, the backup utility Memory Safe, and the MP3 tagger Music Labeler).</p> <p>No big loss, as far as we’re concerned; we’re far more interested in the hardware. Like its predecessor, the Play N600 HD features two wireless radios, so you can operate distinct networks on the 2.4- and 5GHz bands, plus a second guest network (on the 2.4GHz band only) that provides Internet access while isolating visitors from your LAN. You’ll also find two USB ports, so you can share both a mass storage device and a printer across your network (but not with clients on the guest network).</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/belkin_full.jpg"><img src="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/belkin_405.jpg" alt="" width="405" height="476" /></a><br /><strong>Belkin's Play N600 HD router has a single status LED that glows green when the router is connected to the Internet and amber when it can't make that connection.</strong></p> <p>The Play N600 HD’s wireless routing performance using the 2.4GHz band was distinctly middle of the road, placing third in two of our test locations and tying for third in another. On the other hand, it managed a relatively strong second-place performance in our challenging media-room test. Performance on the 5GHz band was roughly the same, except that it couldn’t penetrate our double-walled media room at all.</p> <p>Belkin includes a BitTorrent client that’s useful for finishing Torrent downloads without tying up a host PC; but as you can see from our benchmark charts, the router’s NAS performance is abysmal.</p> <p>You’ll find our complete Belkin Play N600 HD network and NAS benchmark results <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/home/belkin_play_n600_hd" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Specifications</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Radio Frequencies</td> <td class="item-light">Dual-band: 2.4GHz and 5GHz</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Guest Network</td> <td class="item-light">On the 2.4GHz band only</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">DLNA-Compliant Media Server</td> <td class="item-light">Running on a host PC only</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">USB Ports</td> <td class="item-light">Two (for printer and/or storage)</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">NTFS Drive Support</td> <td class="item-light">Yes</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">WDS Bridge/Repeater Support</td> <td class="item-light">No</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="lowdown"> <div class="module orange-module article-module verdict-block"><span class="module-name-header" style="font-size: 14px; border-bottom: 1px solid #000;">The Belkin Play N600 Verdict</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="product-verdict"> <div class="positive"><span class="header">Dual Band</span> <p>Guest network; two USB ports; BitTorrent client, good range on the 2.4GHz band.</p> </div> <div class="negative"><span class="header">Dual Personality</span> <p>Slug-slow NAS performance; DLNA-compliant media server runs on a host PC, not the router.</p> </div> <div class="verdict"><img title="score:8" src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_7.jpg" alt="score:7" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Buffalo AirStation Nfiniti</h2> <p><strong>This bison no longer roams</strong></p> <p>Of the three routers we’re taking second looks at, none has changed more than Buffalo’s WZR-HP-G300NH. That’s because Buffalo has thrown the firmware we tested earlier out the window and adopted the open-source DD-WRT.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/buffalo_full.jpg"><img src="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/buffalo_405.jpg" alt="" width="405" height="507" /></a><br /><strong>We weren't impressed with the AirStation Nfiniti WZR-HP-G300NH's TCP throughput, but its price tag is a saving grace.</strong></p> <p>Comparing our earlier benchmark numbers to the performance we recorded this time out, however, we much prefer the Kick Ass award–earning router we tested in January to the one in front of us now. That router turned in the best throughput we’ve ever seen with our client in our well-insulated media room and in our furthest outdoor location; this one took fifth-place finishes in both tests (in a field of seven). We have little doubt the reason for this performance discrepancy is due to the fact that no matter how we configured the router, we couldn’t coax Buffalo’s WLI-UC-G300HP01B USB client adapter to connect to it at a stated data rate faster than 130Mb/s.</p> <p>This is a single-band router that enables you to run virtual wireless networks with distinct SSIDs, but these aren’t true guest networks that provide Internet access while isolating guest clients from your primary LAN. The router is equipped with a single USB port that’s limited to NAS functions—you can’t use it to share a printer attached to your network. It does, however, feature a DLNA-compliant media server, and it can be converted to a wireless bridge/repeater when you upgrade to a newer router down the road.</p> <p>You’ll find our complete Buffalo AirStation Nfiniti WZR-HP-G300NH network results <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/buffalo_nfiniti_wzrhpg300nh" target="_blank">here</a>. We didn’t test NAS performance because this router doesn’t support NTFS-formatted drives.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Specifications</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Radio Frequencies</td> <td class="item-light">Single-band: 2.4GHz only</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Guest Network</td> <td class="item-light">Sort of</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">DLNA-Compliant Media Server</td> <td class="item-light">Yes</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">USB Ports</td> <td class="item-light">One (for storage only)</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">NTFS Drive Support</td> <td class="item-light">No</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">WDS Bridge/Repeater Support</td> <td class="item-light">Yes</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="lowdown"> <div class="module orange-module article-module verdict-block"><span class="module-name-header" style="font-size: 14px; border-bottom: 1px solid #000;">The Buffalo AirStation Verdict</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="product-verdict"> <div class="positive"><span class="header">NTFS</span> <p>DLNA-compliant media server; integrated BitTorrent client; DD-WRT firmware.</p> </div> <div class="negative"><span class="header">NSFW</span> <p>Poor range; USB NAS feature supports only FAT32 or XFS formatted drives; no guest network.</p> </div> <div class="verdict"><img title="score:8" src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_7.jpg" alt="score:7" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Next Page: Wi-Fi Routers continued »</em></strong></p> <hr /> <h2>D-Link DIR-855 Xtreme N</h2> <p><strong>Does 'Xtreme' refer to the price tag?</strong></p> <p>In terms of features, D-Link’s DIR-855 came the closest to matching Netgear’s routerlicious WNDR3700. It’s a simultaneous dual-band model that allows you to run guest networks on either the 2.4- or 5GHz frequencies, it provides a USB port for sharing either a printer or a storage device, it’s equipped with three removable/upgradeable antennas, it sports an OLED display, and its firmware is a tweaker’s paradise.</p> <p>But the benchmark performance we experienced with the DIR-855’s 2.4GHz radio in no way justifies its astronomically high street price of $240. Netgear’s WNDR3700 V1 spanked the DIR-855 on both frequency bands, has almost as many features, and costs $90 <em>less</em> than D-Link’s router.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/dlink_full.jpg"><img src="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/dlink_405.jpg" alt="" width="405" height="356" /></a><br /><strong>You can attach either a printer or a USB storage device to the DIR-855's single USB port, but you'll need to run D-Link's SharePort utility on any client that needs to access it.</strong></p> <p>The DIR-855’s 2.4GHz radio scored fourth or fifth everywhere except at our outdoor location, where it placed first. Its 5GHz radio performed better, coming in second (behind the WNDR3700) in our two close-range tests, and third and fourth in two other tests.</p> <p>On the bright side, D-Link’s firmware boasts more customizable settings than any other router in this field. You can configure both radios to operate on a schedule, so you can shut off your entire wireless network when you’re away from home (with independent schedules for your guest networks), you can grant or deny guests access to your LAN, and more. But in the final analysis, we’d be a lot more impressed if the DIR-855 was a whole lot faster and much cheaper.</p> <p>You’ll find our complete D-Link DIR-855 Xtreme N Duo Media Router network and NAS benchmarks <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/home/d-link_dir-855_xtreme_n_duo_media_router" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Specifications</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Radio Frequencies</td> <td class="item-light">Dual-band: 2.4- and 5GHz</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Guest Network</td> <td class="item-light">Yes, on both radios</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">DLNA-Compliant Media Server</td> <td class="item-light">No</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">USB Ports</td> <td class="item-light">One (for printer or storage)</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">NTFS Drive Support</td> <td class="item-light">Yes</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">WDS Bridge/Repeater Support</td> <td class="item-light">No</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="lowdown"> <div class="module orange-module article-module verdict-block"><span class="module-name-header" style="font-size: 14px; border-bottom: 1px solid #000;">The D-Link DIR-855 Xtreme N Verdict</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="product-verdict"> <div class="positive"><span class="header">DIR</span> <p>Supremely configurable; OLED display; dual guest networks.</p> </div> <div class="negative"><span class="header">DUH</span> <p>Absurd price/performance ratio; no DLNA-compliant media server; NAS feature requires client utility.</p> </div> <div class="verdict"><img title="score:6" src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_6.jpg" alt="score:6" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Linksys E3000</h2> <p><strong>Same as it ever was?</strong></p> <p>As we mentioned earlier, the Linksys E3000 is actually a rebadged WRT610N. We’re taking a second look at it now because it remains Cisco’s best consumer router; as such, we owe it to our readers to compare it to the best of what the rest of the industry has to offer.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/linksys_full.jpg"><img src="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/linksys_405.jpg" alt="" width="405" height="270" /></a><br /><strong>The Linksys E3000 scored dead last in most of our benchmarks--and left us wondering which of its two radios we were testing.</strong></p> <p>We updated the router with the latest firmware for this review and downloaded fresh drivers for the Linksys AE1000 dual-band USB client adapter, so we were quite surprised to see the router perform more poorly than it did when we tested it several months ago. Cisco Connect remains the easiest tool we’ve ever used to establish a connection to a router, but Cisco’s “fix” for a problem we described in our initial review has rendered the router a whole lot less appealing.</p> <p>In that earlier review, we discovered that using the router’s web interface to change the router’s SSID broke Cisco Connect. The new firmware not only forces you to use Cisco Connect to change the SSID, it uses the very same SSID for both the 2.4- and 5GHz networks. So when your client Wi-Fi adapter surveys the airspace, it sees only one network plus the guest network. That’s just dumb.</p> <p>You’ll find our complete Linksys E3000 network benchmark results <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/linksys_e3000_wifi_router_review" target="_blank">here</a>. We didn’t test NAS performance because this router doesn’t support NTFS-formatted drives.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Specifications</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Radio Frequencies</td> <td class="item-light">Dual-band: 2.4- and 5GHz</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Guest Network</td> <td class="item-light">Yes, on the 2.4GHz band only</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">DLNA-Compliant Media Server</td> <td class="item-light">No</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">USB Ports</td> <td class="item-light">One (for storage only)</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">NTFS Drive Support</td> <td class="item-light">No</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">WDS Bridge/Repeater Support</td> <td class="item-light">No</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="lowdown"> <div class="module orange-module article-module verdict-block"><span class="module-name-header" style="font-size: 14px; border-bottom: 1px solid #000;">The Linksys E3000 Verdict</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="product-verdict"> <div class="positive"><span class="header">EEG</span> <p>A brain-dead zombie could connect a wireless client using Cisco Connect.</p> </div> <div class="negative"><span class="header">DRE</span> <p>Crap benchmark performance; NAS feature doesn't support NTFS drives; can't share a USB printer.</p> </div> <div class="verdict"><img title="score:5" src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_5.jpg" alt="score:5" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Trendnet TEW-673GRU</h2> <p><strong>My eyes! The goggles do nothing!</strong></p> <p>We thought the 1.5x1.25-inch LCD on Trendnet’s TEW-673GRU was pretty cool at first. It informs you of the router’s status, provides real-time performance numbers, displays the time and date, and more. But our enthusiasm wilted when the display became corrupted to the point of being illegible. That’s unfortunate, because there’s a lot else to like about this router.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/trendnet_full.jpg"><img src="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/trendnet_405.jpg" alt="" width="405" height="270" /></a><br /><strong>We like the Trendnet TEW-673GRU's removable/upgradeable antennas, but the flakey display gives us pause.</strong></p> <p>The TEW-673GRU is a dual-band model with two USB ports to support both a printer and a portable hard drive. It finished second in terms of TCP throughput on the 2.4GHz band (taking third place on the 5GHz band), and it turned in the fastest transfer speeds as a NAS device.</p> <p>But it’s not all hot fudge and cherries with this sundae. You need to install a utility on each client PC in order to grant access to the attached storage device, for instance, and only one client can utilize those ports at a time. And while the TEW-673GR delivered high throughput to our outdoor patio using both radios, neither was able to penetrate our media room or reach our second outdoor location. The router isn’t capable of operating a guest network, either, and its integrated media server is not DLNA-compliant.</p> <p>You’ll find our complete Trendnet TEW-673GRU network and NAS benchmark results <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/home/trendnet_tew-673gru_router_review" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Specifications</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Radio Frequencies</td> <td class="item-light">Dual-band: 2.4- and 5GHz</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Guest Network</td> <td class="item-light">No</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">DLNA-Compliant Media Server</td> <td class="item-light">No</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">USB Ports</td> <td class="item-light">Two (for printer and/or storage)</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">NTFS Drive Support</td> <td class="item-light">Yes</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">WDS Bridge/Repeater Support</td> <td class="item-light">No</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="lowdown"> <div class="module orange-module article-module verdict-block"><span class="module-name-header" style="font-size: 14px; border-bottom: 1px solid #000;">The Trendnet TEW-673GRU Verdict</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="product-verdict"> <div class="positive"><span class="header">Hardwood</span> <p>Excellent TCP throughput in most locations; dual USB ports; relatively strong NAS performance.</p> </div> <div class="negative"><span class="header">Fiberboard</span> <p>Flakey display; must install client utility to use USB ports; no guest network; no DLNA-compliant server.</p> </div> <div class="verdict"><img title="score:7" src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_7.jpg" alt="score:7" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Netgear RangeMax V1</h2> <p><strong>The winner, and still champeen!</strong></p> <p>It wasn’t much of a contest: Netgear’s WNDR3700 V1 retained its crown as our Best of the Best router with spectacular TCP through-put, a strong feature set, and an even stronger price/performance ratio. It’s the second-most expensive router we tested, but it’s worth every penny.</p> <p>The WNDR3700’s 2.4GHz radio delivered the best performance at every client location except one (where it placed second), and its 5GHz radio finished first in six of our seven locations. D-Link’s DIR-855 firmware is more customizable, but Netgear’s router offers several important features D-Link can’t match, including a DLNA-compliant media server, the ability to configure either radio as a wireless bridge/repeater, and NAS functionality that doesn’t require a client-side utility.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/netgear_full.jpg"><img src="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/netgear_405.jpg" alt="" width="405" height="270" /></a><br /><strong>Supremely fast, feature-rich, and relatively inexpensive: There's little we don't like about Netgear's WNDR3700.</strong></p> <p>If your ISP subjects you to download limits and penalizes you for overages, you’ll appreciate the WNDR3700’s traffic meter. This tool measures both online time and download volume and can be configured to prevent you from exceeding either quota. Unfortunately, the meter measures in aggregate, so you can’t establish limits on a per-client basis. We also find it odd that Netgear doesn’t support printer sharing on the WNDR3700’s single USB port.</p> <p>We suspect the primary reason the WNDR3700’s press-time street price was so low is because Netgear was clearing inventory to make way for the WNDR3700 V2. Netgear is promising to double the router’s memory, deliver a 50 percent performance boost on the 5GHz band, and provide full support for IPv6. We can’t wait.</p> <p>You’ll find our complete Netgear WNDR3700 V1 network and NAS benchmarks <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/netgear_rangemax_wndr3700" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Specifications</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Radio Frequencies</td> <td class="item-light">Dual-band: 2.4- and 5GHz</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Guest Network</td> <td class="item-light">Yes, on both radios</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">DLNA-Compliant Media Server</td> <td class="item-light">Yes</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">USB Ports</td> <td class="item-light">One (for storage only)</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">NTFS Drive Support</td> <td class="item-light">Yes</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">WDS Bridge/Repeater Support</td> <td class="item-light">Yes, on both radios</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="lowdown"> <div class="module orange-module article-module verdict-block"><span class="module-name-header" style="font-size: 14px; border-bottom: 1px solid #000;">The Netgear RangeMax WNDR3700 V1 Verdict</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="product-verdict"> <div class="positive"><span class="header">Wonders</span> <p>Awesome price/performance ratio; DLNA-compliant media server; dual guest networks; traffic meter.</p> </div> <div class="negative"><span class="header">Blunders</span> <p>No USB printer sharing; traffic meter can't limit on a per-client basis.</p> </div> <div class="verdict"><img title="score:9" src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_9ka.jpg" alt="score:9" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Next Page: Benchmarks »</em></strong></p> <hr /> <h2>Benchmarking Routers</h2> <p><strong>Keepin' it real-world</strong></p> <p><img style="float: right; padding-left: 8px;" src="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/mb.jpg" alt="" width="110" height="147" />When it comes to benchmarking routers, Maximum PC enjoys an advantage most publishers can’t match: My<a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/introducing_maximum_pc_lab_north" target="_blank"> home</a>, which is located on a 10-acre parcel in rural northern California, well isolated from the pollution of neighboring Wi-Fi networks.</p> <p>I measure TCP throughput by running the free JPerf 2.0.2 network measurement tool (Jperf is the Java GUI for Iperf) as a server on a desktop PC and as a client on a notebook PC. Each router is paired with the same vendor’s USB Wi-Fi client adapter. I record benchmark performance with the notebook at four locations inside the home, as well as in an enclosed outdoor patio, and at a location completely outside the home.</p> <p><a class="thickbox" href="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/jperf_full.jpg"><img src="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/jperf_405.jpg" alt="" width="405" height="335" /></a></p> <p>For dual-band routers, I perform the same battery of tests on both radios. And for routers that support attached storage devices, I use the same benchmark criteria we use with NAS boxes and home servers. You’ll find even more details <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/how_we_test_wireless_routers" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>The Performance Picture</h2> <p><strong>A router worth its salt will perform favorably in a variety of real-world scenarios</strong></p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">2.4GHz Benchmarks</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table border="0"> <thead> <tr> <th class="head-empty"></th> <th class="head-light">Asus RT-N16</th> <th class="head-light">Belkin Play N600 HD</th> <th class="head-light">Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH</th> <th class="head-light">D-Link DIR-855</th> <th class="head-light">Linksys E3000</th> <th class="head-light">Netgear WNDR3700</th> <th class="head-light">Trendnet TEW-691GR</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Bedroom, 10ft (Mb/s)</td> <td class="item-dark">74.3</td> <td class="item-light">53.2</td> <td class="item-dark">56.9</td> <td class="item-light">59.6</td> <td class="item-dark">56.1</td> <td class="item-light"><strong>98.7</strong></td> <td class="item-dark">75.9</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Kitchen, 20ft</td> <td class="item-dark">54.1</td> <td class="item-light">60.9</td> <td class="item-dark">42.8</td> <td class="item-light">55.0</td> <td class="item-dark">55.9</td> <td class="item-light"><strong>96.6</strong></td> <td class="item-dark">86.8</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Enclosed Patio, 38ft (Mb/s)</td> <td class="item-dark">35.5</td> <td class="item-light">32.9</td> <td class="item-dark">3.7</td> <td class="item-light">5.7</td> <td class="item-dark">4.8</td> <td class="item-light"><strong>53.8</strong></td> <td class="item-dark">44.9</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Bedroom 2, 60ft (Mb/s)</td> <td class="item-dark">25.5</td> <td class="item-light">25.5</td> <td class="item-dark"><strong>41.5</strong></td> <td class="item-light">4.3</td> <td class="item-dark">3.8</td> <td class="item-light">27.1</td> <td class="item-dark">2.0</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Media Room, 35ft (Mb/s)</td> <td class="item-dark">6.3</td> <td class="item-light">18.5</td> <td class="item-dark">3.7</td> <td class="item-light">4.9</td> <td class="item-dark">2.3</td> <td class="item-light"><strong>22.8</strong></td> <td class="item-dark">1.1</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Outdoors, 85ft (Mb/s)</td> <td class="item-dark">1.9</td> <td class="item-light">3.1</td> <td class="item-dark">0.5</td> <td class="item-light">3.2</td> <td class="item-dark">N/C</td> <td class="item-light"><strong>4.0</strong></td> <td class="item-dark">N/C</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <div class="spec-notes"> <p class="MsoNormal">Best scores are bolded. TCP throughput measured using IPerf. N/C indicates no connection at that location.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">5GHz Benchmarks</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table border="0"> <thead> <tr> <th class="head-empty"></th> <th class="head-light">Belkin Play N600 HD</th> <th class="head-light">D-Link DIR-855</th> <th class="head-light">Netgear V1</th> <th class="head-light">Trendnet TEW-691GR</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Bedroom, 10ft (Mb/s)</td> <td class="item-dark">70.6</td> <td class="item-light">86.1</td> <td class="item-dark"><strong>94.5</strong></td> <td class="item-light">84.4</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Kitchen, 20ft (Mb/s)</td> <td class="item-dark">34.5</td> <td class="item-light">64.6</td> <td class="item-dark"><strong>68.9</strong></td> <td class="item-light">50.8</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Enclosed Patio, 38ft (Mb/s)</td> <td class="item-dark">32.5</td> <td class="item-light">23.9</td> <td class="item-dark"><strong>34.7</strong></td> <td class="item-light">27.5</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Bedroom 2, 60ft (Mb/s)</td> <td class="item-dark">28.1</td> <td class="item-light">22.0</td> <td class="item-dark"><strong>44.3</strong></td> <td class="item-light">5.1</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Media Room, 35ft (Mb/s)</td> <td class="item-dark">N/C</td> <td class="item-light">N/C</td> <td class="item-dark"><strong>4.3</strong></td> <td class="item-light">N/C</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Outdoors, 85ft (Mb/s)</td> <td class="item-dark">N/C</td> <td class="item-light"><strong>2.4</strong></td> <td class="item-dark">N/C</td> <td class="item-light">N/C</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <div class="spec-notes"> <p class="MsoNormal">Best scores at 5.0GHz are bolded. TCP throughput measured using IPerf. N/C indicates no connection at that location.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">NAS Benchmarks</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table border="0"> <thead> <tr> <th class="head-empty"></th> <th class="head-light">Asus RT-N16</th> <th class="head-light">Belkin Play N600 HD</th> <th class="head-light">D-Link DIR-855</th> <th class="head-light">Netgear WNDR3700</th> <th class="head-light">Trendnet TEW-691GR</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Large File Write (min:sec)</td> <td class="item-dark">8:24</td> <td class="item-light">22:23</td> <td class="item-dark">9:06</td> <td class="item-light">11:41</td> <td class="item-dark"><strong>5:52</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Small Files Write (min:sec)</td> <td class="item-dark">2:48</td> <td class="item-light">9:42</td> <td class="item-dark">2:13</td> <td class="item-light">4:15</td> <td class="item-dark"><strong>1:32</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Large File Read (min:sec)</td> <td class="item-dark">7:53</td> <td class="item-light">23:36</td> <td class="item-dark">11:58</td> <td class="item-light"><strong>3:59</strong></td> <td class="item-dark">6:45</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Small Files Read (min:sec)</td> <td class="item-dark">1:59</td> <td class="item-light">5:36</td> <td class="item-dark">2:36</td> <td class="item-light"><strong>1:04</strong></td> <td class="item-dark">1:11</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <div class="spec-notes"> <p class="MsoNormal">Best scores are bolded. We used the contents of Maximum PC's November 2007 CD for the small-file test, and a single 2.79GB for the large-file test. All scores are averages of three transfers.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Next Page: New Developments in Home Wireless »</em></strong></p> <hr /> <h2>New Developments in Home Wireless</h2> <p><strong>A host of new technologies promise to meet our evolving needs</strong></p> <p>Believe it or not, 300Mb/s IEEE 802.11n routers have already been on the market for several years. What’s more, the first 802.11n routers that support three 150Mb/s data streams—that's raw throughput of 450Mb/s—have reached store shelves, too.<br />&nbsp;<br />As we’ve already mentioned, we didn’t find the first such model to be very impressive in terms of range, and we haven’t been able to find any USB client adapters equipped with the three antennas needed to take full advantage of the technology. Let’s take a quick look at what other wireless technologies are headed our way in the near future.</p> <h3>Wireless USB</h3> <p>We once dismissed Wireless USB because it offered terrible range, but the technology has improved considerably and several manufacturers are now using it to build inexpensive video-streaming solutions. Instead of streaming video from the Internet or a media server over your network to a set-top box connected to your TV, these devices will stream video to your TV from a laptop in the same room.</p> <p>You can read our review of Warpia’s PC-to-TV Display Adapter <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/warpia_wireless_usb_pctotv_audiovideo_display_adapter_review" target="_blank">here</a>. The recently announced Veebeam HD promises an even better experience: Warpia’s device uses a VGA output and supports a computer-oriented maximum resolution of 1440x1050. The Veebeam HD uses HDMI and promises resolution of 1080p.</p> <h3>Intel's WiDi</h3> <p>Intel announced its Wireless Display (WiDi) technology at CES last January, and notebook manufacturers including Dell, Sony, Toshiba, and Asus have been slowly rolling out machines that support it. Since WiDi is incorporated into Intel’s wireless chipset, it doesn’t require a USB dongle to transmit. As with Wireless USB, however, it still requires a set-top receiver that plugs into your TV, and that means buying Netgear’s $100 Push2TV.</p> <h3>WiGig</h3> <p>Future tri-band routers will operate three wireless networks on the unlicensed 2.4-, 5-, and 60GHz frequency bands simultaneously. Initial WiGig solutions will likely cover short distances, but there’s talk of deploying reflectors and repeaters to enable the 60GHz signals—which can deliver data-transfer rates up to 7Gb/s—to cover wider areas within the home.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/diagram_full.jpg"><img src="http://dl.maximumpc.com/galleries/dec10_routers/diagram_405.jpg" alt="" width="405" height="377" /></a><br /><strong>The WiGig spec will use the unlicensed 60GHz spectrum to transmit high-definition video and audio short distances without cables.</strong></p> <p>The WirelessHD specification seeks to deliver similar data-transfer rates, but we’re putting our money on the WiGig Alliance thanks to its strategic partnership with the Wi-Fi Alliance, which has already done such a great job of ensuring the interoperability of IEEE 802.11 devices. It could be a year or two before we see the first WiGig products hit store shelves.</p> <h3>Wi-Fi Direct</h3> <p>Wi-Fi Direct is another initiative promoted by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Today, the typical wireless network involves clients connected to a wireless access point (typically a router), which is connected to a wired gateway, which is in turn connected to the Internet. Most of these networks operate in infrastructure mode, with the access point acting as a central hub.</p> <p>That mode works well enough when you’re dealing with a few computers sharing a common broadband connection and a printer. Throw in smartphones, media-streaming devices, digital picture frames, and empowering guests to share your network’s resources—without giving them carte blanche access to your data—and things quickly become unwieldy. Wi-Fi Direct envisions products that have embedded software access points that would enable the casual formation of an ad hoc network. This would enable your guest to establish a wireless connection between their smartphone or laptop and your printer directly, without involving your router or granting access to the rest of your network. By the same token, a digital media player could stream music and video directly to your TV or A/V receiver.</p> <p>A security protocol similar to Wi-Fi Protected Setup would prevent unauthorized connections, while a protocol similar to Microsoft’s UPnP or Apple’s Bonjour would enable each device to exchange information about its capabilities. The Wi-Fi Alliance says it expects to begin certifying Wi-Fi Direct products in late 2010.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/router_roundup_we_review_7_top-tier_routers#comments asus Belkin buffalo d-link features Hardware Linksys netgear reviews roundup routers trendnet wi-fi 2010 December 2010 Reviews Networking From the Magazine Features Wed, 27 Oct 2010 18:34:35 +0000 Michael Brown 15101 at http://www.maximumpc.com Buffalo Welcomes V-Series NAS Drives to LinkStation Family http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/buffalo_welcomes_v-series_nas_drives_linkstation_family <!--paging_filter--><p>Buffalo has expanded the LinkStation network storage family to include the new V-Series line, which <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/13/buffalo-gets-snazzy-with-linkstation-v-series-nas-drives/">currently comprises LinkStation Pro, LinkStation Pro Duo and LinkStation Pro Quad NAS drives.</a> As per Buffalo, the raison d'être of the V-Series is providing “highest performance.” To this end, V-Series drives use a 1.6 GHz processor to deliver network transfer speeds of up to 76MB/s.&nbsp; </p> <p> With the drives being DLNA certified, streaming content to DLNA compatible devices like the Xbox 360 and PS3 is a cakewalk. The same applies to iOS devices, thanks to a couple of free iOS apps the company launched recently. Available now in capacities ranging from 1TB to 8TB, and prices ranging from $189.99 to $1039.99, the drives are covered under a limited one-year warranty.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="../../files/u46168/linkstation-v-series-buffalo.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="262" /></p> <p><em>Image Credit: Buffalo</em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/buffalo_welcomes_v-series_nas_drives_linkstation_family#comments buffalo DLNA Hardware ios iPad iphone iPod linkstation maximum tech nas nas drive networked storage ps3 Xbox 360 News Thu, 14 Oct 2010 03:52:18 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 15053 at http://www.maximumpc.com Buffalo Launches Low Cost Wi-Fi Lineup http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/buffalo_launches_low_cost_wi-fi_lineup <!--paging_filter--><p>Networking outfit Buffalo Technology this week <a href="http://www.buffalotech.com/press/releases/buffalo-adds-new-cost- effective-wireless-solutions-to-its-portfolio/">announced</a> a handful of new wireless products the company says take aim at budget shoppers looking for cost-friendly, easy-to-install solutions.</p> <p>"Buffalo has always been committed to delivering high quality, high performance wireless solutions that consumers have come to rely on," said Ralph Spagnola, vice president of sales at Buffalo Technology. "With the latest additions to our wireless product portfolio, Buffalo is offering the best blend of robust value-model, entry-level, and high-performance wireless solutions on the market."</p> <p>Buffalo's trio of products include a fairly standard wireless-N router (WCR-GN) with four Ethernet ports, a dual-port access point (WLAE-AG300N) that can be configured to operate in three different modes (Ethernet converter, access point, or repeater), and a USB 2.0 802.11n adapter (WLI-UC-GNM).</p> <p>The WLAE-AG300N ($75), WCR-GN ($40), and WLI-UC-GNM ($40) will all ship later this month.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/buffalo_router.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h5 style="text- align: left;">Image Credit: Buffalo</h5> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/buffalo_launches_low_cost_wi-fi_lineup#comments buffalo Internet maximum tech Router wi-fi wireless News Thu, 12 Aug 2010 14:08:09 +0000 Paul Lilly 13934 at http://www.maximumpc.com Buffalo, NovaStor Tag Team Data Storage http://www.maximumpc.com/article/maximum_it/buffalo_novastor_tag_team_data_storage <!--paging_filter--><p>Network and storage vendor Buffalo Technology said it is <a href="http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Midmarket/Buffalo-Partners-with-NovaStor-on-Data-Storage-115757/">getting in the saddle</a> with NovaStor, a data protection and backup software specialist. The plan is to bundle NovaStor's NovaBackup data protection software with all of Buffalo's network attached storage (NAS) products.</p> <p>&quot;Data protection is extremely important and providing first-class, cost-effective backup solutions has always been a top priority for Buffalo,&quot; said Ralph Spagnola, vice president of sales at Buffalo. &quot;This strategic partnership with NovaStor not only strengthens our product portfolio, but it strengthens our committment to delivering useful, all-in-one solutions that exceed our customers' expectations.&quot; </p> <p>This is the second partnership this month for Buffalo, who earlier announced it was teaming up with NewMedia-NET to bring DD-WRT based software as part of the standard configuration for all of Buffalo's high-power routers and access points. </p> <p>Buffalo said NovaBackup <a href="http://www.buffalotech.com/press/releases/buffalo-partners-with-novastor/">will be offered</a> on all TerraStation and LinkStation NAS solutions beginning in May, 2010. </p> <p align="center"><img src="/files/u69/Buffalo_NovaStor.jpg" width="405" height="161" /> </p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/maximum_it/buffalo_novastor_tag_team_data_storage#comments buffalo data Hardware IT News storage Maximum IT Fri, 12 Mar 2010 13:36:17 +0000 Paul Lilly 11401 at http://www.maximumpc.com