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Solid State Drives & Hard Drives

Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt review

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Buffalo Technology's MiniStation Thunderboltdrive is a plug-and-play, portable, external hard drive that boasts both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 connectivity.

The MiniStation comes pre-formatted for Mac and is Time Machine compatible, so backing up your data is a breeze; take note however, that Thunderbolt is only compatible with OS X 10.6 and later, whereas USB can be used with OS X 10.5 and later. The drive comes in two capacities, 500GB ($200) and 1TB ($240). Included with the drive are both a Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 cable, as well as Buffalos 24/7 tech support and a three-year warranty.

The MiniStation Thunderbolt drives design is very simple. Housed in a silver aluminum body with a white top, the drive has only two ports: one Thunderbolt and one USB. With only one Thunderbolt port, it has to be the last device in a daisy chain. On the bottom of the drive is a flashing white activity light to let you know when the drive is connected. The MiniStations 3.2 by 5.1 by 0.9 inch pocket-sized body and bus-powered ports make it easily portable, allowing you to take your data anywhere you need to go.

Although this drive boasts the high-speed Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 interfaces, it yielded pretty average test results. Because the MiniStations internal drive is a 2.5-inch platter drive, the capabilities of each interface are hampered by the drives rotational components. In the AJA System test, the MiniStation put up a write speed of 102.5 MBps and a read speed of 108.2 MBps via Thunderbolt, and scored a write speed of 101.4 MBps and read speed of 106.9 MBps via USB 3.0. When connected to USB 2.0, the MiniStation drive put up fairly standard scores, with a 26.6 MBps write speed and 35.2 MBps read speed in the AJA System Test. Overall, this drive performed similarly to Seagates new Backup Plus drive, but is considerably more expensive and has less to offer as far as extra features are concerned.


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