External Storage Guide

Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt 500GB (HA-PATU3) review

Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt (500GB) - Dual-Interface Portable HDD

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Launch SRP S$279

Overall rating 6.5/10
Design:
7.5
Performance:
7
Features:
8
Value:
4
THE GOOD
Dual interface offerings makes it versatile
Decent USB 3.0 performance
THE BAD
Expensive
Bulky for a portable drive
No Thunderbolt daisy-chain capability
Thunderbolt has no advantage on basic HDDs


Results - AS SSD Benchmark

AS SSD Results

This benchmark is usually used to benchmark SSDs as it uses non-compressible and completely random data to tax the various drive controllers. This prevent SSDs that feature certain controllers from using data compression to gain an advantage over their competitors. Since this is our first foray into testing drives that feature Thunderbolt technology, we have decided to put these drives through the whole gamut of benchmarking software in our arsenal. Since the benchmark just dishes out a different set of data, it's still an applicable test, regardless of its name.

In this test, we pitted the Western Digital My Book Duo against the Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt with the latter tested on both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt interfaces. The Western Digital drive performed better than portable drive from Buffalo for obvious reasons that stem from the completely different drive classes compared. As such, this outcome was to be expected.

In terms of reaching the promised land of better performance allegedly offered by Thunderbolt technology, we failed to see any pronounced difference in terms of the performance figures obtained on both interfaces from the Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt. It was only in the Copy Benchmark results that we witnessed the new interconnect technology's significant gains over USB 3.0. Its gains over the USB 3.0 interface scores were in the range of 13% to 23%, across the three components of the test.

It seems that the Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt drive leveraged on the dual-channel nature of Thunderbolt as it pushed ahead by slightly over 90% during the 4K Read test at 64 Queue Depth as compared to using the USB 3.0 interface. However, it failed to repeat this level of performance gain for the Write test.