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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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  • Steven S.
  • 3/8/2015 6:13:17 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsGreat NAS and Tech Support

Pros: The Nas set up was easy and flawless. I have to say they have the best Tech Support I've ever experienced in the computer product world. Every call answered and handled fast. I called to better understand some of the system functions.

Cons: The processor in this unit is not the fastest but it's plenty fast for file storage and retrieval. We use it in a 2-user environment with Photoshop editing.

Other Thoughts: If your looking for fast performance then you'll have to pay more and get a dual processor but if your needs are basic storage and retrieval then You'll love it as much as we do. We had a Segregate that was a dog and returned it. We also have a fast dual core Qnap. I'm buying another one of these and building it for a friend.

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  • Brennon H.
  • 3/5/2015 2:40:31 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsWaste of time and money.

Pros: None.

Cons: I've had this product since September 2014 and it just doesn't cut it. The actual speeds are nowhere near 80mb/s. Buffalo's fix was to use a recommended HDD which is insane but I bought into it and took the opportunity to upgrade so I got a WD Red 3TB drive. Exact same speeds with this drive. Decided I would try SSD Raid to really test the speed, still nowhere close to 80mb/s (on a direct gigabit ethernet connection).

Firmware out of box was garbage and made the EWS unbearably slow and the integrated DLNA server never worked. Buffalo's fix was to offer a replacement which I opted out of because I needed the storage and couldn't afford the down time. I managed to resolve the issues myself noticing a new firmware update was available on the website that the EWS did not find on it's own, nor did the tech from Buffalo suggest.

Shortly after I fixed the speed issues with the firmware the device put itself into Emergency Mode. The only way to resolve the issue was to set up the drive again and rewrite the firmware to it.. causing a loss of all data on the drive. (Yes, I know how to back things up.) Wrote it off as a one-shot and continued using it.

This week the device entered into Emergency Mode itself again, yet again causing a loss of all data. I keep backups of important information but having to go through all of these issues in only a few months is a huge waste of my time, even as a home user.

Other Thoughts: My previous review was far more favorable to the product and I wish I could retract it. I got this on sale for $119.99 CAD and feel incredibly bad for anybody who spends the full price which is now listed at $239.99 CAD.

I reached out to Newegg for help. Their idea of a resolution was to tell me to sell it on e Bay and buy a new one.

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  • Randy V.
  • 1/30/2015 12:59:22 PM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggsDon't forget to PUSH THE BUTTON

Pros: Works great as a nas, fast and makes a great dependable file server.

Cons: Buffalo bundled instructions leave much to be desired. Depending on pictures is not enough, causing many to miss a very important step. After the new drives are installed, the device is connected to the network and powered on, you end up with both the white and red leds on. You need to PRESS THE BUTTON on the front of the unit, one quick press. This is shown on the buffalo setup as an easily missed arrow pointing at said button. Both leds then flash repetitively and setup can commence.
Seagate external expansion drives are for some reason not recognized by the unit via the usb ports, other drives are and the segate drives do work with other pcs and devices.

Other Thoughts: After pressing the front button and the leds start flashing the setup software works when you run it and all is golden. The error message is to update the firmware if required and is documented on buffalo's site however sadly not with the included quick setup guide. Simply then download the updater and run it. This will install an updated nas os/firmware on the drives.

Not sure why the seagate expansion externals do not work when plugged in to the usb ports and others do? But seems a common issue, however not a deal breaker for me, loss of one star.

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

  • Rich T.
  • 1/26/2015 11:07:26 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

2 out of 5 eggs

Pros: - SMB NAS and RAID work - I use mine with a couple 2GB drives in RAID-1 configuration.
- Software configuration works.

Cons: - DLNA feature doesn't find many files
- Device can't find directly attached USB disk for backup (same USB disk worked with Buffalo TeraStation)
- Firmware can't find updates from BUFFALO
- Bittorrent browser controls broken from mobile browser.

Other Thoughts: Most cons are annoying, but I wouldn't buy another one of these because it can't backup to locally attached drive.

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

  • 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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