Great performance in a sleek package.
Since Apple was the first company to release a Thunderbolt supporting product, on their MacBook Pros, it comes as no surprise that most external HDD manufacturers are making their drives specifically for Macs. Today we’ll be looking at the Buffalo 500GB MiniStation Thunderbolt portable hard drive.
Unlike WD, it was nice of Buffalo to include a Thunderbolt cable so that the drive is actually useable one you take it out of the box. Another nice little touch was the USB 3.0 port and cable, adding much needed versatility to this portable drive.
The Buffalo 500GB MiniStation Thunderbolt is designed to complement Macs, with a silver paint finish identical to those found on MacBooks, and a smooth opaque white top. On the bottom you have two strips of rubber for the feet and another thin strip of white LED. Come to the front and you’ll see the USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports.
Now with all the technicalities out of the way, let’s see how the My Book Thunderbolt Duo actually performs. We have three testing methods, since it’s our first time testing a storage device on Mac hardware.
- - AJA System Test 6.0.1 where we simulated the write and read speeds using a 16GB file
- - Copied the Diablo III folder from the Mac’s drive which had multiple files totaling 8.52GB
These three tests gave a real world speeds as well as theoretical maximum in the case of AJA System Test. All tests were conducted on the new MacBook pro Retina with 256GB SSD.
There’s no doubt that the Buffalo 500GB MiniStation Thunderbolt is a very capable and very fast drive. The only downside, if you can consider it as such, is that the internal 2.5-inch drive is what actually limits the performance of Thunderbolt, so much so that there’s literally no difference between USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt. Buffalo may as well have not included Thunderbolt at all, as any laptop or desktop PC that has a Thunderbolt port must have USB 3.0 as well, and the same performance can be had on either port.
Again, it’s the slow hard drive inside that limits the Buffalo MiniStation from taking advantage of the high speeds offered by Thunderbolt. However, even compared to our Sony USB 3.0 drive, the Buffalo 500GB MiniStation Thunderbolt posted much higher results, meaning that there’s some speed advantage to be had.