If you're looking for a superfast USB 3.0 storage device but don't want to pay a lot, the Buffalo Drive Station DDR USB 3.0 single-volume external hard drive is the perfect choice. that is, if you don't mind that it's a single volume hard drive: if this drive fails, your data is unprotected.
This shouldn't deter you from owning one, though. It is an amazing product, performing faster than the high-end Thunderbolt storage device. If your desktop supports USB 3.0, this is perfect. If you're worried about your data, go ahead and purchase a couple of them and use one for backup.
The Buffalo DriveStation DDR is a 3.5-inch standard hard drive in a compact chassis. As with most external storage devices, the internal hard drive is not user-replaceable. It also requires a power adapter to work.
In the rear of the device, you'll find the Micro-USB 3.0 port, an opening that at first glance looks like fan ventilation (but it isn't anything at all), and the power connector. The front sports two indicator lights: one for data activities, the other is a power indicator.
Just like the memory used in your computer, the Buffalo DriveStation DDR comes with 1GB of DDR3 memory, and is the only storage drive on the market today that offers this. Why? It is actually used to cache read/write operations, bringing it the high data transfer speeds it delivers. Downside: if the power source is somehow unplugged while performing a transfer of data, more information will be lost than you would see with a traditional storage drive. Not really a big deal though: the original file will remain intact, and you can start again.
You don't really have to do anything: it is reformatted in NTFS right out of the box, working with any Windows system. Mac user? Just back up the preloaded software on the drive and reformat it into HFS+ file system.
You'll find a variety of utility software applications preloaded on the Buffalo DriveStation DDR, such as the Buffalo Cache Control tool for Mac and Windows systems. This gives you the ability to turn on caching for writing exclusively, both reading and writing, or neither. If you do turn caching off, it behaves as any other USB 3.0 drive. Out of the box, it comes with caching activated for both reading and writing. As this is the setting you should use anyway, it kind of makes the buffalo Cache Control tool unimportant.
When it comes to speed, with caching turned on and USB 3.0, cnet testers said it performed at a speed of 216 MBps when writing, and 217 MBps when reading. The Thunderbolt devices, even the highest of high-end option, only provides less than 200 MBps of speed.
What about USB 2.0 speeds? It averaged 28MBps for writing and 37 MBps for reading, but not shocking as it is just the limitations of the technology.
Despite the lack of a fan, even when performing large jobs, it stayed cool and quiet.
The Buffalo DriveStation DDR is a high-performance drive that will keep your wallet happy: 2TB will set you back a mere $140, and pay $180 for 3TB of storage.