Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt - Review & Custom Spec Results

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by rw3, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. rw3, Jul 7, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012

    rw3 macrumors 6502a

    rw3

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #1
    USB 2.0 Benchmarks at the Bottom of Post

    Specifications: http://www.buffalotech.com/products...portable-hard-drives/ministation-thunderbolt/

    Well with the purchase of my rMBP, I was looking for a great external hard drive to carry with me that had Thunderbolt as well as USB 3.0/2.0 so that it could be used with previous generation machines, although at much slower USB 2.0 speeds. I saw that Buffalo Technology has released their MiniStation Thunderbolt and saw that it also had USB 3.0, I had to get one and do some testing on it. It was surprisingly in stock at my local Fry's and they had both the 500GB and the 1TB ($199.99 and $229.99 respectively).

    So when I got home, I decided that the first thing I wanted to do was tear it apart to really see how it was put together. Well, there are no screws that hold the enclosure together. Instead, Buffalo decided that it would be a good idea to use super strength double sided tape that with a little bit of heat and muscle, the two halves would separate. The silver part of the enclosure is aluminum and the the rest is lots of plastic. There is a metal internal shield, but that's it.

    I have a couple of Corsair Performance Pro 256GB SSDs that I will be using as a test for the speed of SSDs in this enclosure. I have tried the Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter and just don't like the bulk and I believe that Seagate could've done a much better job at it. Anyways, I digress. I will get USB 2.0 benchmarks posted this afternoon.

    Benchmarks

    First Test: MiniStation 1TB over USB 3.0 (Uses the Seagate/Samsung 1TB 5400RPM HN-M101MBB)

    Disk Utility
    [​IMG]

    BlackMagicDesign DiskSpeed Test
    Results - Read: 108.2 Write: 108.3
    [​IMG]

    AJA System Test
    Results - Read 108.8 Write: 105.9
    [​IMG]

    Second Test: MiniStation 1TB over Thunderbolt (Uses the Seagate/Samsung 1TB 5400RPM HN-M101MBB)

    Disk Utility
    [​IMG]

    BlackMagicDesign DiskSpeed Test
    Results - Read: 108.6 Write: 96.1
    [​IMG]

    AJA System Test
    Results - Read 108.7 Write: 105.9
    [​IMG]

    Third Test: MiniStation 256GB SATAIII SSD over USB 3.0 (Corsair Performance Pro SSD)

    Disk Utility
    [​IMG]

    BlackMagicDesign DiskSpeed Test
    Results - Read: 258.9 Write: 255.6
    [​IMG]

    AJA System Test
    Results - Read 257.5 Write: 255.6
    [​IMG]

    Fourth Test: MiniStation 256GB SATAIII SSD over ThunderBolt (Corsair Performance Pro SSD)

    Disk Utility
    [​IMG]

    BlackMagicDesign DiskSpeed Test
    Results - Read: 360.8 Write: 313.1
    [​IMG]

    AJA System Test
    Results - Read 360.4 Write: 313.6
    [​IMG]

    Fifth Test: MiniStation 1TB Seagate/Samsung HN-M101MBB over USB 2.0

    BlackMagicDesign DiskSpeed Test
    Results - Read 34.1 Write: 27.5
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Koodauw macrumors 68040

    Koodauw

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Madison
    #2
    So USB 3.0 was slightly better all around the TB with the 5400rpm drive? Interesting.
     
  3. rw3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rw3

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    #3
    Yeah, I think it has to do with how USB may buffer and TB doesn't....I don't know. It find it funny but then again, SSD is a lot faster on TB than USB 3.0.
     
  4. dearlaserworks macrumors regular

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    Location:
    Eastern Shore, USA
    #4
    These numbers lead me to believe that when Apple releases iMacs with USB 3.0, one could add an external SSD boot drive inside a USB 3.0 enclosure that supports SATA III (6Gb/s) for a lot less than the cost for Thunderbolt enclosure and cable or build-to-order internal SSD's.
     
  5. rw3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rw3

    Joined:
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    #5
    The good thing about the MiniStation ThunderBolt is that it comes with a USB 3.0 cable and an 16" ThunderBolt Cable....not bad considering the cost. $300 for the enclosure and a good 128GB SSD...not too costly if you ask me.
     
  6. Richdmoore macrumors 65816

    Richdmoore

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Location:
    Troutdale, OR
    #6
    These one thunderbolt port solutions are kind of aggravating to us 21.5 iMac (1 thunderbolt port only) owners who may want to daisy chain in the future.

    I guess at some point some either a thunderbolt hub or 2 port devices that can daisy chain will be made.

    At the end of the day, thunderbolt will be great to use to add a ssd boot drive, without the problem of opening an iMac.
     
  7. dearlaserworks macrumors regular

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    Eastern Shore, USA
    #7
    Post a few pics of the disassembly, please.
     
  8. b0rg macrumors member

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    Oct 5, 2009
    #8
    Could you tell me how to open this enclosure without breaking it?
     
  9. rw3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rw3

    Joined:
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    #9
    To take the enclosure apart, use a hairdryer to heat up the bottom (part with the rubber C shaped feet). Then gently pry the white plastic away from the aluminum. It will take some muscle. The 1TB model came apart easy where as the 500GB model I got took about 10x more effort to get apart....pictures uploading now of the parts.
     
  10. rw3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rw3

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  11. dearlaserworks macrumors regular

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    #11
    Thanks for the pics! If you do any testing with this unit as external boot device, I'm sure many would appreciate hearing how well this unit performs (boot times, app launch) over USB 3.0 vs. Thunderbolt compared to internal flash drive and even HDD if you test with an iMac or other Mac with an internal HDD. Does USB 3.0 latency offset the gains of SSD, for instance?
     
  12. plucky duck macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    #12
    Would be nice to see buffalo come out with just the enclosure itself with tb and USB 3.0 options. As it stands you're looking at ~$100 for the drive and ~$100 for the enclosure. Not too shabby since the housing accommodates both USB 3 and tb.
     
  13. rw3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rw3

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    #13
    Not only that but a Thunderbolt cable is included as well. Super flexible and 16-18"
     
  14. dearlaserworks macrumors regular

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    Eastern Shore, USA
    #14
    Yes, we all want to see an affordable Thunderbolt enclosure so we can drop an SSD or drive of choice in it.

    Definite plus. The Seagate adapter is $99 then a cable $49, which means $150 w/o enclosure, whereas here we now have all for only $50 and a drive thrown in.

    Too bad it's not easier to pop open, but it's easier and less scary than minor surgery to drop an SSD into an iMac.
     
  15. b0rg macrumors member

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    Oct 5, 2009
    #15
    @RW3

    Thanks for the pictures, to bad the drive is not available in Europe.. :mad:
     
  16. KPOM macrumors G5

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #16
    I noticed the same effect using the Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter vs. USB 3.0 enclosure with an SSD and HDD. USB 3.0 is slightly faster for the HDD, while Thunderbolt is faster for the SSD.
     
  17. jamswirl macrumors regular

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    Feb 25, 2011
    #17
    Awesome! looking at getting one of these. Any chance you could post a quick video of how to disassemble it?
     
  18. rw3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rw3

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    #18
    See post #9....the casing just pulls apart....
     
  19. b0rg macrumors member

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    Oct 5, 2009
    #19
    @RW3

    When you put the case together again does it still keeps everything oke?
    Does it still need the double sided tape to keep the cases together?
     
  20. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    Location:
    Poole, England
    #20
    That is the only thing that upsets me about this product.
     
  21. rw3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rw3

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    #21
    The double sided will always be there unless you remove it before putting it back together, hence needing something to keep the two halves together.
     
  22. g4cube macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 22, 2003
    #22
    I removed the double-sticky completely.

    Rubber bands now seem to work well in keeping it all together.

    there's not enough clearance for velcro inside.

    :)
     
  23. lozion macrumors regular

    lozion

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    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #23
    I wonder what numbers you would get with a 7200rpm drive...
     
  24. spdntrxi, Jul 14, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2012

    spdntrxi macrumors regular

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    #24
    so pretty much any sata drive can go in here... cool

    also thinking 7200rpm or ssd/hybrid
     
  25. rw3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rw3

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    #25
    You may see an additional 5-10MB/s with a 7200RPM drive. Where the 7200RPM is better than a 5400RPM is random reads and writes, not steady data. Density has gone up so speed differentials have decreased.
     

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