If you’re looking for an insanely fast external drive, then this is it.
We looked at our first USB 3.0 hard drive in the form of a portable 2.5″ Buffalo MiniStation Lite. Thanks again to Buffalo, today we’re looking at a 3.5″ hard drive based dekstop version of their DriveStation. Packaged in a nice little red box the DriveStation HD-HXU3 USB 3.0 comes with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 cables along with the power adaptor.
The DriveStation we received had a capacity of 1.0TB, however, 1.5TB and 2.0TB versions are also available. It comes pre-formatted with FAT32 meaning it would allow direct read and write access to a Windows or Mac based platform. However, once you plug in the device, the auto start program kicks in and asks you if you to format the drive into NTFS while .dmg files suggest that you will be able to do the same on a Mac and HFS.
The DriveStation HD-HXU3 USB 3.0 itself is a sleek looking hard drive- not much bigger than your standard internal 3.5″ drive. On top you have an LED while the backside has the USB and power connections. You can keep the drive horizontally or vertically- I prefer the latter as that saves some space. The chassis has active cooling but the fan is extremely quiet and I did not hear it at all during testing. There are vents towards the bottom of the chassis to let the hot air out.
We still had the Buffalo USB 3.0 PCI-E x1 expansion card with us which is what we used to test the older 2.5″ drive as well. As usual, we ran HDTach to measure transfer rates. Before that though, we installed the USB Turbo application present on the drive which, as you will see, inflates the burst rates to unbelievable levels. Here is what the throughput of this drive looks like.
That throughput you see above is actually faster than your average internal SATA drive that starts off at about 110 MB/s and ends at 60 MB/s which means that the DriveStation is pretty darn fast. Average Read Speeds posted by this drive is 109.3 MB/s which again is faster than your average desktop hard drive that posts about 85 MB/s.
In short, the Buffalo DriveStation USB 3.0 is an incredibly fast external hard drive. It doesnt take much space on your desktop and is barely audible. About the only thing going against it is the price and the fact that you need a USB 3.0 equipped PC to utilize it. Priced around AED 650/- (US$179), the DriveStation is quite a bit more pricey than your average 1.0TB USB drives that retail under AED 500 but then you always pay a bit more for the latest/fastest. That being said, if I was to buy an external USB drive today, this would be it.