Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt SSD HD-PATU3 Review
by Stuart Davidson - 23rd April 2013
Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt HD-PATU3 (with USB 3.0) SSD Review
In the world of portable storage generally drives use USB 2.0, some use USB 3.0 and although they are an option products which use either eSATA and Firewire are much rarer. It is easy to understand why though, with USB being the most available interconnect on modern systems and with USB 3.0 being present on most new systems and motherboards for the past couple of years. That said taking advantage of the newer standard isn't always something a storage drive does. Those which contain mechanical drives for example are limited by the drive rather than the connector.
Packaging and Bundle
Buffalos familiar red and white branding is present on the packaging for this product and as well as providing a nice clear image of the drive they also note the presence of an SSD very clearly as well as many of the key features. Inside we find a USB 3.0 cable and a Thunderbolt cable.
The MiniStation Thunderbolt
This MiniStation uses an aluminium chassis with white plastic top and two curved rubber feet are present on the base to stop it slipping on our desk. There is a discrete LED on the bottom front edge which lets us know the drive is on/working and Buffalo branding, in white, can be found on one side.
Inside the MiniStation we find a Crucial M4 SSD, the 128GB version and it is capable of around 415MB/s read, 175MB/s write based on Crucials own figures. At the factory the drive had firmware 0009 and it seems this has been tweaked at Buffalo to 0309. Also worthy of note is that the drive arrives formatted for Mac, we need to reformat for Windows use.
Looking at our test results the read speeds are decent for a USB 3.0 device and it is interesting to see Thunderbolt enhancing performance over the more widely used interface. Write performance hits 168-174MB/s depending on the connector used and as this is the drives rated speed it seems our SSD rather than the connector or chassis is the limiting factor here... which makes the m4 SSD a strange choice by Buffalo. Yes it is a solid drive with good reliability but other alternatives such as those using Samsung's controller offer a better read/write ratio which could be used by this enclosure.
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