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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
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Learn more about the Buffalo Technology LinkStation 421e (LS421DE)

Quick Info

Warranty

  • 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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  • Douglas L.
  • 1/9/2015 8:57:11 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsIt's good

Pros: Easy to use once you get past the learning curve of a strange menu system. Fast transfer speeds as long as computer and network can keep up. DNLA works well with Xbox 360 after all firmware updates. Plex picks up all media on the NAS without problems after a registry key change on Windows 8.1.

Cons: Must update the firmware from out of the box to fix many documented problems. Instructions are a little strange, but with time make sense.

Other Thoughts: I only purchased one 2TB WD Green WD20EZRX drive for the 421e. It has worked flawlessly since upgrading firmware. Before upgrading my laptop to a Samsung EVO 840 SSD I was only able to get about 11MB/s for transfers. Now I have hit 40MB/s with a bad Cat5e cable. Replacement Cat6 cables should arrive today. Works well with my gigabit router and new gigabit fiber internet.

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  • Brennon H.
  • 12/31/2014 11:41:53 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

3 out of 5 eggsMeh.

Pros: Easy setup. New firmware fixed extremely sluggish embedded web server. Decently priced at time of purchase (got this on sale for $119.99 a while ago).

Cons: Flimsy plastic drive bays and front door. Extremely slow transfer rates (11.3MB/s consistently) when using recommended internal drives (WD RED 3TB). Original firmware had an extremely slow EWS. Built in firmware check stated no available firmware but website showed new version was available. The built in DLNA server was a nightmare and could never get it to work. EWS would crash every time I enabled it and customer service could not help. Ended up saying screw it and going without it. Have not tried other built in services like print server or Bit Torrent yet.

Other Thoughts: Overall not extremely happy with the product but works well enough for what I need.

Biggest issue for me is the slow speeds when advertised as able to support up to 80MB per second.

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  • Shane A.
  • 12/10/2014 4:41:48 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

3 out of 5 eggsGet what you pay for

Pros: Inexpensive (if on sale), Reasonably High performance

Cons: The OOB (out of box) experience with this thing is pretty awful. The quick start guide suggests that you open it up, add drives, plug-in, wait 10 minutes, then you're good to go. This is NOT the case. See other thoughts for how to really get this going:

Other Thoughts: With no included drives, this thing has no 'firmware', so it will boot into EM mode (emergency/engineering mode), and suggest you do a firmware update or call tech support. Any drives you add will most likely not have this firmware either, but adding them is an important step (do that next). Then, do the firmware update (DL files from Buffalo). You will probably have to edit the LSUpdater.ini file to say NoFormatting = 0 (instead of 1). Then when you update firmware it will ask if you want to format the drive, which WILL WIPE OUT ANY DATA ON THE DISK. But this is a necessary step as the 'firmware' it loads will be placed on the hard drive. Let this grind a while and you'll end up with a working unit with the 2 drives in a RAID 0 configuration, even if not the same size, so I suspect it's more like a concatenation of the drives in that case. Then you can customize things via the web interface.

I did put 2 4-TB drives in one unit (I have 3 now) and reconfigured for RAID 1. This takes a LOOONG time to sync the drives. I suspect the sync rate is limited to about 35MB/sec, giving me about a 32 hour sync time.

And so far no joy with USB drives--they are detected but say they are unformatted. Will try formatting one soon just to see how that goes (but not on a drive with data on it.)

I also plan to play with getting sshd running on this thing. Apparently you can modify the 'firmware' files (Linux filesystem and initrd image) and then re-update to do stuff like this and then I could get in and really start playing around (perhaps up the sync rate for the raid if that's the limit.)

All in all, this is a decent unit for the price, but I was really hoping for the 'firmware' to really be 'firm'--not on the hard drives. Imagine that the 1st hard drive craps out and then you need to install firmware again to get access to the other drive. I'd even be happy if the 'firmware' could live on a USB stick instead of the hard drive(s).

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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.

2 out of 2 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
USB 3
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

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