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BUFFALO LinkStation 421e Diskless Enclosure High Performance RAID NAS Personal Cloud Storage and Media Server - LS421DE
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

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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NETGEAR WNDR3700-100NAS Wireless Gigabit Open Source Router/ USB port Rangemax 2.4/5GHz Simultaneous N600 Dual Band IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, IEEE 802.3/3u/3ab
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: Gigabit, dual band, relatively inexpensive
Can install DD-WRT (etc.)

Cons: Received bad hardware (I think)
Installing DD-WRT voids warranty

Other Thoughts: I installed DD-WRT right away, which it turns out was a mistake. It seemed to be working okay. But the switch portion of the router was flaky, dropping packets for 3-4 second stretches every 30-60 seconds. When I finally figured this out (TCP has retries and things do still work after the big pauses), I tried restoring factory firmware to see if DD-WRT was the cause and it no longer boots. The unit just sits in a reboot cycle and I've done the TFTP firmware recovery many times with many different firmwares.

So, waste of $85, and is now hunk of junk on my shelf. I give it more than 1 star because it does have potential to be an awesome router and I may even buy another one. I should have verified the hardware was solid before installing DD-WRT since that voids the warranty.

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AudioSource S325 Soundbar 2.2 Speaker System
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: less than 1 day

3 out of 5 eggs Not bad, but some issues 08/23/2013

This review is from: AudioSource S325 Soundbar 2.2 Speaker System

Pros: Width is spot of for my needs.
Sound is pretty good for not having a separate subwoofer.

Cons: Remote is horrible. I thought I was going to have to return the unit as the remote didn't work and I didn't know if it was due to the remote or the speaker. New batteries didn't help. Thanks to the other (first) review, I did try pushing/prying/squeezing the remote and did eventually come up with a working setup, allowing me to not have to return this thing. A learning remote will make this remote unnecessary.

I also have a little buzz/rattle coming out of the right side--I expect it's just not assembled well and I think I'll be able to fix that with a little screw tightening..

The hot-glue stringers all over the unit make it seem pretty cheaply made (which is reinforced by the flakey remote as well.)

I wish the remote could toggle the power--it does mute/standby. Probably okay as the input selection and volume level reset when powered off.

Other Thoughts: For the price (~ $90), I'm really happy with the sound quality and the size. It should fit perfectly in my TV cabinet (34.5" wide), and has both analog and digital inputs. The only remaining thing I wish it has was Bluetooth streaming, but that's a pipe dream at this price.

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Shane A.'s Profile

Display Name: Shane A.

Date Joined: 10/11/01

  • Reviews: 7
  • Helpfulness: 4
  • First Review: 05/20/10
  • Last Review: 12/10/14
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