Review: Buffalo Technology MiniStation USB 3.0 - 1 TB

Our score: 4/5
Reviewed: April 19, 2011 11:00 PM
Published: April 19, 2011 11:00 PM
By Vincent Lheur
Translated by: Catherine Barraclough
Most manufacturers seem to have at least one USB 3.0 hard drive in their product range these days, and today we're testing the Buffalo Technology MiniStation 1 TB USB 3.0 external hard drive.

The MiniStation is a 2.5-inch hard drive (7.7 x 1.7 x 11.4 cm) that weighs 213 g and which can be easily carried around in a large pocket or a bag. It connects to a computer via a 50 cm USB 3.0 cable that's also compatible with USB 2.0 ports. It's available with a storage capacity of 500 GB or 1 TB, and all models come in a choice of black or white. Here are the product references for the various MiniStation USB 3.0 drives:

 

  • 500 GB, black: HD-PCT500U3/B-EU
  • 500 GB, white: HD-PCT500U3/W-EU
  • 1 TB, black: HD-PCT1TU3/BB-EU
  • 1 TB, white: HD-PCT1TU3/BW-EU

Data transfer speeds are slightly below average for drives of the same format:
 
CrystalDiskMark test results

In particular, random write speeds for smaller files max out at 23.7 MBps, which penalises this HDD's performances on the whole.
This result isn't all that surprising however, considering that the access time in write mode (although tested with different software) isn't all that great either:
 
 AS-SSD test results

There aren't many hard drives that take over 5 ms to access files in write mode, but the MiniStation USB 3.0 takes three times as long!

Although these results might look awful, it's important to put them into the context of day-to-day use. The PCMark Vantage test score of 2832 shows that in reality, this drive's performances are actually 10% to 13% lower than the average comparable drive:
 
 PCMark Vantage test results
 
4/5 Buffalo Technology MiniStation USB 3.0 - 1 TB DigitalVersus 2011-04-20 00:00:00

Pros

  • Capacity (500 GB and 1 TB versions available)
  • Performances and USB 3.0 compatibility
  • Compact

Cons

  • Performances over USB 3.0 on the lower side of average, notably random write speed
  • Casing seems fragile

Conclusion

In spite of its slightly low random write speeds, the 1 TB Buffalo Technology MiniStation is still a decent enough USB 3.0 external hard drive. Its main selling point is its large storage capacity.

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