Buffalo LinkStation 520
Apple’s Time Capsule looks smart and is easy to use, but it’s also pretty expensive. If you need a more affordable NAS drive that you can use on your home or office network to provide shared storage for all your Macs, PCs and mobile devices, then Buffalo’s latest LinkStation model is a really good option.
The bulky black chassis may not be particularly elegant, but this two-bay drive costs just £145 for a model with 2TB of storage (make sure you select the 2TB option – there are more expensive options), which is just half the price of the 2TB Time Capsule. There are also 4TB, 6TB and 8TB models, and even the 8TB model only costs £326, which is considerably cheaper than the 3TB version of the Time Capsule.
And, crucially, it’s very Mac-friendly too – which isn’t always the case with NAS drives. The LinkStation 520 supports Time Machine, so you can back up multiple Macs over your network, and there’s an iOS app that gives your iPhone or iPad access to files stored on the drive too. The LinkStation 520 also has a ‘private cloud’ option that lets you connect to the drive over the internet when you’re away from home or the office.
Other features include a scheduling option that turns the LinkStation on or off at specified times in order to save power. If you need to add more storage you can just pop the front panel off and replace the existing drive units, and the LinkStation 520 also supports RAID 0 and RAID 1 modes as well, so that you can use it as a RAID drive if you want.
Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0