Network-on-Chip (NoC) architectures have been adopted by a growing number of multi-core designs as a flexible and scalable solution to the increasing wire delay constraints in the deep sub-micron regime. However, the shrinking feature size limits the performance of NoCs due to power and area constraints. Research into the optimization of NoCs has shown that a reduction in the number of buffers in the NoC routers reduces the power and area overhead but degrades the network performance. In this paper, we propose iDEAL, a low-power area-efflcient NoC architecture by reducing the number of buffers within the router. To overcome the performance degradation caused by the reduced buffer size, we propose to use adaptive dual-function links capable of data transmission as well as data storage when required. Simulation results for the proposed architecture show that reducing the router buffer size in half and using the adaptive dual-function links achieves nearly 40% savings in buffer power, 30% savings in overall network power and about 41% savings in the router area, with only a marginal 1-3% drop in performance. Moreover, the performance in iDEAL can be further improved by aggressive and speculative flow control techniques.