Buffalo Technology DriveStation HD-HXU3 (1.5TB)

Memory and storage capacity continue to follow Moore's Law as ever larger storage and faster transfer speeds are put into smaller and cheaper packages. Case in point: the Buffalo Technology DriveStation USB 3.0 (1.5TB) ($144.99 direct) hard drive. It combines the highest capacity available with the latest iteration of USB by packaging the two into a sleek enclosure. While our review model has 1.5TB of space, 1TB and 2TB models are also available, and can be found for $95.99 and $174.35, respectively.
Though designed for desktop use, and not pocketable by any means, at 9.5 by 3.3 by 8.7-inches (HWD), the DriveStation USB 3.0 is still a sleek, trim drive that is compact enough to easily transport from one place to another. Its glossy black enclosure is accented with mirrored silver. The gloss looks great as long as it's kept clean, but it will clearly show each and every fingerprint on its surface. Other desktop drives, like the Western Digital My Book Studio ($380 list, 3.5 stars) and Iomega eGo Desktop Hard Drive ($185 Street, 3.5 stars), opt for a matte finish. The drive is vertically oriented to reduce its desktop footprint.
An LED indicator light glows blue when connected to a USB 3.0 port and green when connected to a USB 2.0 port. The sleek lines of the enclosure are warped into gentle curves, following the same design aesthetic of the Western Digital My Book Studio and Iomega eGo , which steadfastly refuse to resemble anything with right angles and corners, lest they look boxy.
Built into the sleek black enclosure is a 3.5-inch, 1.5TB spinning drive with rotational speeds of 7,200 rpm. The only interface on the drive is a USB 3.0 port, backwards-compatible with USB 2.0 connections. Though light and small enough to slip into a laptop bag, the Buffalo Drive Station doesn't draw its power via the USB port, so you'll need to take along the included AC adapter.
Buffalo includes its software suite, Buffalo Tools. Buffalo Tools features a Backup Utility, which automatically backs up one or multiple computers to the single drive; RAMDISK, which creates a small and nimble work environment for accessing files; and TurboPC, which utilizes RAM in order to boost transfer speeds up to 50% over other USB 3.0 systems. Buffalo includes Memeo AutoBackup, a software tool for automatically backing up and managing files, and the drive is compatible with Time Machine for Mac.
With 1.5TB of storage space and a speedy USB 3.0 interface offering connection speeds of up to 5GB per second, strong performance scores were expected from the outset. We tested the drive on both USB 3.0 and 2.0, but obviously, you will get vastly better transfer speeds when USB 3.0 is available.
In our drag-and-drop file transfer test, the DriveStation copied a 1.22GB folder onto the disk in 15 seconds using USB 3.0. This was 3 seconds faster than the 18 seconds scored by the HP External Hard Drive (1TB) ($169.99 direct, 4 stars), which also has USB 3.0; and 7 seconds faster than the Iomega eGo Desktop Hard Drive, Mac Edition (2TB) which did it in 22 seconds using FireWire 800.
It completed the same drag-and-drop test in 40 seconds using USB 2.0. This is a tad faster than average with this connection, as seen in the HP External Hard Drive (46 seconds), and the Toshiba 650GB External Hard Drive ($159.99 list, 4 stars) (48 seconds).
When we ran the the DriveStation through PCMark 05 HDD tests, the USB 3.0 connection scored 7,760 points, and the USB 2.0 scored 3,717. By comparison, the HP Portable External Hard Drive scored 5,423 points using the USB 3.0, and the Iomega eGo Desktop Hard Drive, Mac Edition scored 5,748 using FireWire 800.
Buffalo is offering high capacity storage with a high speed connection for roughly 10 cents per gigabyte. For a drive with USB 3.0, this is relatively cheap. The price isn't bad for a high-capacity desktop-class hard drive either, but similar-capacity drives without USB 3.0 can be found offered by manufacturers like Iomega, Western Digital, Seagate, and Buffalo for roughly $30 less.
If you want terabyte sized storage and USB 3.0 speeds in a more portable form factor, then consider looking at the Editors' Choice, the HP Portable External Hard Drive. If fast, spacious storage is what you want, however, and you don't mind having your external hard drive stay on your desk, the Buffalo Technology DriveStation USB 3.0 (1.5TB) should fit the bill.


System Type
Storage Capacity (as Tested)
1500 GB
Rotation Speed
7200 rpm
USB 3.0


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