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BUFFALO LinkStation 421e Diskless Enclosure High Performance RAID NAS Personal Cloud Storage and Media Server - LS421DE

  • 2-Bay
  • Diskless System
  • 1 x 10/100/1000M
  • 1 x USB3.0 + 1 x USB 2.0
  • Email this page
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Learn more about the Buffalo Technology LinkStation 421e (LS421DE)

Quick Info


  • Limited Warranty period (parts): 1 year
  • Limited Warranty period (labor): 1 year

Customer Reviews of the Buffalo Technology LinkStation 421e (LS421DE)

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  • Dale M.
  • 11/12/2014 4:34:45 PM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsAvoid this product

Pros: It was relatively inexpensive and has a decent feature set . . . if it worked . . .

Cons: The setup software didn't work, so I spent some time browsing forums looking for answers. I then downloaded the firmware updater, enabled debugging mode and was able to flash firmware to the NAS. Finally I'm getting somewhere . . . wrong! It's frustrating having to deal with emergency mode, reboots and having to re-configure my network to be in the same IP range as the device.

Get that all done and I can see the device, it sees my 2 TB Wester Digital AV-GP series drive. All I have to do is format the HD and I'm set, right? NOPE! This thing couldn't format the drive. OK, maybe I have some old partitions on the drive that are causing a problem. Hook to an external enclosure and check using Windows 7 and see there's some stuff going on, but I can't do much about it, so I boot a Linux distribution. Wipe all the partitions. Try it in the NAS again. Still nothing. Repeat. Still nothing. See a workaround using Windows to wipe the drive. Try that. Still won't format. Tried an old WD Raptor 150 GB drive I had sitting around. Still no luck. Oh, did I mention that when you wipe the partitions, you'll also need to "reflash" the firmware since this Buffalo device relies on your hard drive for much of the firmware storage? Keep repeating these processes, hoping I missed something, but no luck.

Cue Buffalo support - I tried their suggestions, but I was pretty far ahead of the first level support team, so they escalated the case. Got a call back and they pretty much said "Sorry. Use drives from our approved list if you're having trouble"

I work rather long hours and had been fiddling with the Buffalo LinkStation 421e in my spare time for a couple weeks at that point which pushed me outside the Newegg RMA period . . . So do I buy an approved hard drive or two and hope that it'll actually work or do I just accept that I bought a piece of junk?

Other Thoughts: I've used a Buffalo product or two in the past, and while the UI could be improved, I was very pleased with the price/performance ratio. I figured most negative reviews were just user error and there might be the occasional lemon, but I won't have any problems since I'm pretty tech-savvy. Well, based on my experience with this product, it's not user error, but a flaw in the NAS.

Don't try to save a few bucks going with this product - it's not worth the frustration.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Anonymous
  • 10/21/2014 10:00:55 AM
  • Tech Level: Average
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsmy second one

Pros: Hard to beat 2 bay NAS pricepoint. My first LS421DE has been up and serving trouble free over a year. This is my second one. It works well over my Win network and also my DLNA portables, TV, and blueray.

Cons: The provided NAS Navigator software for device set up and administration could be a bit easier to use. Not a deal - killer, It is workable.

Other Thoughts: If you are not comfortable with looking up arcane data in FAQs, help sections, online forums, this may not be the NAS you are looking for. I have 2 x 4tb cool spins in my first NAS, works on my androids and TVs. This new NAS has 1 x 4tb greendrive, and it serves media well, albeit on a separate network.

My two NAS are not on the same network. Just set up and test for the second NAS alone, was non-trivial. It may be easy for a network saavy person, but was difficult for me. i got it done.

I have not tried the iTunes server function yet. I have no apple products on the network here, yet.

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  • Jonathan M.
  • 10/12/2014 7:22:32 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggstotal waste of money

Pros: None

Cons: Never worked.

New hard drives, without partitions, it always says EM mode.

People who have money to buy these things usually have 40+ hr jobs, consequently i dont have time to read over 400 pages of documentation to get this thing to work.

Save yourself the trouble and dont buy this.

Horrible waste of money.

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  • Henry B.
  • 8/10/2014 7:36:50 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggsWorks fine

Pros: Cheap, reasonable speed. It's not fast. I use it with with two 7200 rpm 1TB drives in a raid 1 configuration. Writing to NAS is about 34 MB/s, reads are 74 MB/s for 14GB file, small files will be slower. That's on a gigabit wired network. Have not used it for much else yet than data storage, but features look easy to configure and use. Required firmware upgrade which was easy to perform. This provided new features such as timer on/off, which reduces wear on drives, and saves some minor energy.

Cons: 1.Hard drives held in place by catch on plastic HD carrier handle. Face comes off too easily. What's wrong with a screw?? 2. First level of folders (your "shares") require creation by the remote administration software, after that anyone with permission can create folders. 3. Takes 5-10 minutes to boot.

Other Thoughts: You do lose space to operating system. It's about 15 megabytes - - NOT 1.1 Terabytes as reported before. You can get better, but you'll spend a lot more. Works fine, worth the money. This may write faster in JBOD usage without the raid overhead. 4 Stars because of good performance for price.

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  • Tom M.
  • 8/6/2014 1:12:35 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggs

Pros: Great value. Put in quiet NAS rated HDD's and no appreciable noise. Runs cool. Up to 60MB/s data transfer rates on my home network.

Cons: None so far

Other Thoughts: Bought a diskless LinkStation model. Had no issues at all adding drives as some have experienced. Used WD Red 3GB drives. Device runs quiet and cool and great data transfer rates - up to 60 MB/S. (I use Cat 7 cables and Cat 6 nics,hub & router.)
So impressed with what I got for the money I ended up buying a second one a few weeks later. Put in WD 2GB Green drives (all I had available for now) and still very cool and quiet. NAS navigator picked up the second device nicely. Good product IMHO.

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  • Joseph W.
  • 6/27/2014 5:20:44 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsBRICK

Pros: Theoretically, a great NAS and media server.

Cons: Brick out of the box. Because I could not afford to buy the drives at the same time I bought the device on sale, I had to wait a month or two to get the unit setup. That was a huge mistake. The firmware was corrupt out of the box. First call to tech support ended up with downloading a new firmware version and being told the software would 'find' my device on the network. Not what I read, but ok we'll see. Tech was wrong, the device has a RANDOM SUBNET ASSIGNED. You will take years to try to get your PC to find the device. Call tech support back again. Get told, you can use the USB to update the firmware. Get a USB3.0 cable and attach the device to the PC. Win7 64 bit doesn't even blink when the device is attached. Try the firmware update software again. No dice.
So for all my money, I have a pretty red light that blinks seven times about every ten seconds.

Other Thoughts: So now I'm out a little over a hundred dollars for this brick because it's outside the RMA window.

Buffalo had a good reputation in the past, maybe that's where it is still.

2 out of 6 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Alan I.
  • 6/26/2014 12:28:44 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
  • Verified Owner

3 out of 5 eggsSome good some bad...

Pros: Price is low
Gigabit ethernet
2 bays
Raid 0/1/JBOD support
Email notification
Low power, low noise, lot footprint

Cons: You can't have spaces in the user names. This is a problem if you want to connect using your windows credentials without having to be prompted.

The devices stores its startup on the drives themselves. If you put new drives in the device, it fails to start. I found this out the hard way. There is a way to fix this, but documentation does not cover it. Use the firmware updater and modify the updater LSUpdater.ini file so that VersionCheck = 0 and NoFormatting = 0. With these changes you can then update the firmware which really formats the drives and writes the firmware to them so it can boot properly.

Hard drives are in a plastic tray that doesn't allow them to transfer their heat through direct metal contact to the enclosure. There is a fan however.

It seems to choke on heavy loads. While reading and verifying the crc of files I copied to it, one reported a failed crc and the other reported it could not be opened. A later check showed both files to be ok, but I've never had this happen before.

XFS filesystem is incompatible with windows. There may be tools to access it, but you can't just pull a drive and attach it to a windows system and get at the files.

Security is wierd. If you attach to a smb share, then disconnect, then attach again, it will not reprompt for the login/password. It caches it for a period of time I think. This is a pain because you can't disconnect and be truly logged out.

I experienced a slow issue with accessing it from a Windows 7 box at 100mbit, read speeds of <2mb/s that should have been 10 or 11mb/s. My other win7 box at 1000mbit worked perfectly. Enabling SMB2 on the device did seem to solve this issue.

Other Thoughts: The truth is this little unit really has a lot going for it. I almost kept it, but the cons started stacking up.

In the end I thought getting a small slim form factor PC and using it for a "NAS" would just be better for me. I can run Acronis on it, compatible filesystems, reliable security, etc.

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Gary S.
  • 6/23/2014 9:38:59 PM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsGreat home NAS

Pros: Quiet - It sits two or three feet away from me on my desk, I can barely hear it over my pc's fans and the NAS is closer to me.

Simple/Easy - Set up was super easy in default configuration of Raid 0, but I wanted Raid 1. Click here, click there, let the light blink and do it's thing, usable during that time, after some time, I had 4gb mirrored.

Can use two 4gb drives - acquired the Seagate 4gb made for NAS, those are working like a champ too!

Gigabit Ethernet - finally replaced my 15 year old 10/100 switch with a 20$ gigabit switch, don't know why I didn't do it earlier! Difference was night and day on large transfers!

USB 3.0 - don't plan on connecting an external drive having 4gb now, but you never know.

Cons: The web interface is somewhat slow and choppy, but it does it's job. I spent $105 for a NAS system, can't expect it to be the $500 other variations.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Chris U.
  • 3/23/2014 6:29:37 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsFantastic

Pros: * Works
* Quiet
* UI configuration offers a lot of options
* User/Group permissions
* SSH is enabled
* No problem with 2 x 4 TB drives

Cons: * UI could use some additional TLC

Other Thoughts: * I am using this to power a WD TV Live media device. With 1.5 TB of DVD rips and video clips, there have been no load issues from this NAS so far.
* The device formats the drives on its initial startup, so you have to reformat them if you want to use RAID 1. This isn't a big deal.
* If all other electronics are off in the room, I can hear the fan but the sound is minimal.
* The "RAID Scan" error detection feature takes ~5hrs per TB per drive, and cannot be cancelled during the first run. I had not seen this in the documentation but I may have scanned it too quickly.
* SSH uses your device configuration username and password (default username: "admin"). It is running linux, of course.
* USB printer sharing did not work for me with Windows 8, but then Windows 8 is not working with the printer on my other linux box either. Could be an AV firewall issue.

I am still playing with some of the features but this NAS is working well for my intended purposes so far.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Leon M.
  • 2/27/2014 11:18:07 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggs

Pros: SATA III, easy to program, nice backup options, quiet operation
Fast data rates NAS to NAS and PC to NAS
Diskless - Customize to drive sizes you need
DLNA Media Server functions very well

Didn't try apps... WebServer, BitTorrent, PrintServer, etc.

Cons: Sleep Mode option does not wake on lan. You can not log in to the NAS for administration or access files from a network computer while in sleep mode. The is strictly a hard sleep and is timed by programming. To over ride and regain access, the NAS needs to be power cycled. Opting not use this function. Other Buffalo NAS models have better sleep controls and attributes.

Email report option requires your email account user name and password. Created an email account just for NAS reporting.

Other Thoughts: Purchased 3 Buffalo LS421de NAS LinkStations which are placed on our home network system for DLNA server, Church files, home business files, accounting files, personal files, software, storage, etc.

It is not mentioned in the descriptions posted that these have SATA III data rates and compatibility. You can customize the storage capacities by the drive sizes you choose to purchase or re-use.

All 3 NAS boxes setup and function flawlessly, and extremely satisfied with their operation and performance.

There some are things to be made aware of for installation and setup… especially installing “used” drives (pulls from a computer) that will not initialize.

Compiled the setup information of procedures I had to perform to prep, install, initialize and setup these little puppies, because the supplied instructions are a bit vague. And, you may run into the same issues that I faced, which were resolved by contacting Buffalo Tech Support a couple of times. This compiled info is posted on my company web-site in pdf format (link below).

BTW, Tech Support is excellent and very helpful. It is not my intent to circumvent Buffalo Tech Support in any form, but to share what I have learned and how issues were resolved.

If you have an interest in purchasing NAS’s, personally, would highly recommend the LS421de… on both merits of product and tech support levels. Totally satisfied would be an understatement.

As a final note and some icing-on-the-cake, installed 2 SSD drives (not on HHD compatibility list) in RAID0 config for DLNA media server… initialized without a hitch and works great. The NAS DLNA server works perfectly with the SSDs.

A previous post by another party, “files larger than 2GB… PS3 ‘file corrupted” comment was not experienced. 8GB+ media files serve out to computer and PS3 DLNA clients and to non-DLNA computers without problems.

PDF Link: Buffalo LS421de NAS LinkStation
Filename: Buffalo LS421de NAS LinkStation.pdf

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

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