Since the introduction of USB 3.0 in 2008, there have been a slew of portable 2.5-inch, SuperSpeed USB 3.0 based storage drives that offer a variety capacity points while offering transmission speeds up to a maximum of 5Gbps, which can give you up to 400MB/s in actual usage. The capability to reach this super fast speed greatly depends on the actual storage medium. As such, solid state drive (SSD) based solutions rather than those using standard hard disk drives stand to benefit from the interface's full potential.
Buffalo has up the ante with the introduction of Thunderbolt technology with its Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt. This drive features both Thunderbolt technology and USB 3.0 interface. Its Thunderbolt feature has broken the monotony of what is currently available and underscores the pioneering spirit of Buffalo to bring the latest technology to its portable storage solution. There is one catch that could be holding it back and that's the drive used within its enclosure which is not an SSD, but rather it's rather standard 5400RM based hard disk drive. Such drives are far from even breaching USB 3.0's capability, let alone Thunderbolt.
According to most marketing literature we have read, this new interconnect technology is twice as fast as USB 3.0. With this figure in mind, we have put this drive through our suite of benchmarking software to ascertain if the Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt is capable of achieving such performance levels and if it's worth the extra cost. The drive is available in two capacity points - 500GB and 1TB. We're reviewing the 500GB edition in this article along with a couple of comparison products.
|Model||Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt||Buffalo MiniStation Extreme||Western Digital My Book Thunderbolt Duo|
|Interface Type||Thunderbolt and USB 3.0||USB 3.0||Thunderbolt|
|Capacity||500GB / 1TB||500GB / 1TB||
|Supplied Cable Length(s)||
USB 3.0 Cable (50.8cm)
Thunderbolt Cable (52.2cm)
|Built-in (15cm) and extension (50cm)||Not Supplied|
|LED Activity Indicator||Yes||Yes (Orange for USB 2.0, blue for USB 3.0)||Yes|
|HDD Specs - Rotational Speed||5400RPM||5400RPM||
5400 - 7200 RPM
|HDD Specs - SATA Support||SATA 3Gbps||SATA 3Gbps||SATA 6Gbps|
|HDD Specs - Buffer Size||8MB||8MB||64MB per HDD|
|Shock Protection||-||US Military Grade Shock Protection||-|
|Dimensions||80.5 x 130 x 23mm (W x H x D)||89 x 128 x 18mm (W x H x D)||99 x 165 x 157mm (W x H x D)|
(2.15kg because it's a desktop product)
|Warranty||3 years||3 years||3 years|
|Price||S$279 / S$349||S$119 / S$165||S$899|