Review: Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt 500GB
USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt have been around for quite some time now, with manufacturers updating their product lines to accommodate the faster data transfer speeds that are supported by the two formats. The MAX-IT offices have even reviewed drives from each camp, but never both at the same time. In review is what is touted to be the world’s first USB 3.0-Thunderbolt portable drive. Enter the Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt 500GB.
The MiniStation Thunderbolt (or its simpler name, the HD-PATU3) is a portable drive mainly catered to users who have a Thunderbolt connector on their computers. Intel boards that are higher up in the product tier (like the Asus Maximus V Extreme reviewed not too long ago) and the newer Macintosh products have Thunderbolt connectors, so the MiniStation is right up their alley. The MiniStation also comes with a 1TB variant, but it goes without saying that it will cost more.
The MiniStation Thunderbolt was tested twice – once with USB 3.0, and once with Thunderbolt. Since we had no Intel motherboards with Thunderbolt on hand, the new iMac was used to test Thunderbolt performance.
The MiniStation Thunderbolt is off to a good start in CrystalDiskMark, with read and write speeds lingering around the 115MB/s mark. Of course, this is if your computer has a USB 3.0 port, and speeds will be significatntly lower if you’re on USB 2.0.
The portable drive also put on a show in ATTO, with read/write speeds similar to those found in CrystalDiskMark.
In NASPT, the MiniStation cruised through all the scenarios with nary a hitch. In particular, it proved well in HD Playback (and its variants), and copying files and directories from NAS.
Using XBench for the Mac to test Thunderbolt performance, the MiniStation had read/write speeds of around 105MB/s. Considering Buffalo advertised it as being able to reach 105MB/s on Thunderbolt, it is by no means false advertising.
All in all, though the price might turn some people off, but for people who work with both Windows PCs and Macintosh products, the MiniStation Thudnerbolt is a godsend.