There will come a time when all of one's data will be stored safely in the cloud and that would include terabytes of their movies and music. However, till that day actually arrives, we will have to rely on portable drives and today we have a tough little cookie from Buffalo, called the MiniStation Extreme drive. It features a USB 3.0 interface and is also U.S Military Standard (MIL-STD-810F 516.5 Procedure IV) certified, so it’s designed to withstand extreme shocks.
Design and Build
The actual drive is enclosed in a tough plastic shell with a rubberized back for better grip. The shell encases the drive snugly without being overly bulky, compared to a standard portable drive. The MiniStation Extreme is also available in different colours. The USB 3.0 cable comes attached to the drive and folds into the side of the drive, so you’ll never lose the cable. Since the cable is not very long, Buffalo bundles along a USB 3.0 adapter, along with the drive as well for convenience.
There’s a blue LED light on the top that can be seen through the little loop on the top. The drive feels very sturdy and there’s no sign of any creaking plastic parts even when pressed. The front portion has a glossy finish for aesthetic appeal, but is prone to scratches. The drive is available in two capacities – 500GB and 1TB. Buffalo claim that the drive can survive falls from up to 2.3 meters. The hard drive being used is a Samsung HN-N500MBB running at 5400rpm.
The main feature of the drive is the rugged nature of the enclosure, which makes it a good choice, if you travel a lot or have the habit of lending your drive to friends often. Besides its rugged nature, Buffalo also bundles plenty of utilities to help you along the way.
Sturdy and rugged
First up is the TurboPC EX software that’s supposed to speed up file transfers. The program is present on the drive itself. You also get the option of installing a Backup Utility, which can be used to schedule backups to your drive on a timely basis. They also have a RAMDISK utility that helps clear space up in RAM. You also get Secure Lock Manager that helps you keep track of passwords on your system and also set a password for your drive. You can optionally encrypt the entire drive with a 256-bit hardware encryption for added security. The backup utilities are available for both PC and Mac. Finally, since this is USB 3.0, it’s completely backwards compatible with USB 2.0.
With the drive connected to our testbench, which consists of a Core i7-2600K and a P67 motherboard, we ran the Buffalo through our regular series of tests. The internal drive used was a WD Velociraptor to avoid any bottlenecks. All the tests were run with the TurboPC EX drivers installed. In HD Tach, we recorded a sequential read speed of 78.9 MB/s. The rest of the scores are in the chart below.
The real world tests involved copying a 2GB Random and Sequential file to and from the drive. Although this is a 5400rpm drive, the Buffalo really excelled in the real world read and write tests, where it simply flew past the Iomega drive. In other tests, the drive was close on the heels of the Prestige SuperSpeed drive. Throughput the test the drive ran extremely silent with very little to no vibration at all. It also doesn’t heat up too much, in fact it barely got warm throughout the testing phase.
The TurboPC EX in action
The Buffalo MiniStation Extreme is priced well at Rs. 5,200 for the 500GB model and Rs. 7,500 for the 1TB version. This offers much better value, compared to the Iomega, as it’s more portable, thanks to the 2.5-inch drive inside, you don’t need an external power source to run it and it’s as rugged as they come. If you’re looking for a very capable USB 3.0 portable drive in the 2.5-inch space, then the Buffalo MiniStation Extreme makes for an excellent option.
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