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Best Portable Hard Drive I've Found for The Money
on May 8, 2011
- I've been a laptop computer user for over 20 years. I own a consulting firm with clients 'round the country, so I'm always on the go.
- I own - or have owned - portable hard drives from every major manufacturer. My theory was that if I bought different brands with good recommendations (versus buying all of them from one manufacturer), I would spread my risk.
- Bought the Buff' Stealth 500GB from Amazon to try it out. Its the smallest 500GB portable drive around from a major manufacturer (and just 0.1in thicker than Oyen).
- I've owned and operated the drive for 30days to date. All of our computers (laptops and desktops)run Windows XP/32 bit operating systems.
Folks, hands down, this is the best overall portable hard drive I've owned to date:
1. This puppy is small, lightweight, and fast for USB 2.0. I'm getting 16-18MB/sec transfers using 5+ year old laptops and desktops (with Intel single core processors), and up to 22MB/sec on my Intel Core Duo Laptop.
2. I've left it on for 3 days straight, and found no heat generation above room temperature.
3. Needs only 1 USB2.0 port, and runs off of just 1 USB port on every one of our desktops/laptops I've tried it on.
4. Has a great blue light on top to signal its working. Doesn't have a sleep mode, so there is no delay, after your computer sits for a while, when you go to transfer/access a file.
Three particulars you'all might find of interest:
1. One reviewer here gave the drive 3stars because of the onboard Buffalo file transfer software. It's advertised to accelerate file transfers vs. Windows Explorer. And it does - but I agree, its not worth using.
I installed the Buffalo "turbo" software on two computers and found "turbo" didn't work as well as Teracopy (which is freeware and works great to speed up USB2.0 file transfers). The Buffalo "turbo" software did slow down both my desktop and laptop computers and seemed to complicate rapid removal of any flash/hard drive I connected. I've eliminated the pre-installed Buffalo software from the drive and my computers. I'd recommend the same to anyone. But I do recommend you find and download Teracopy, its a great program. (see CNET.Com to download Teracopy for free).
2. I've not dropped the Buffalo 500GB drive, so I can't provide insight on its hardiness to physical abuse. You'll find details on construction at the Buffalo site. It appears solidly built, but the plastic case doesn't appear to warrant confidence that it would not break of dropped over a foot or so onto a hard surface.
I presume that being so small, there isn't as much space to install lots of "shock-absorbing" material. I also presume one has to get some sort of case/carrier/cozy for the Buffalo 500 if you're going to actively travel with it. In my case, I'm using it to date to store large files I download from my desktop to carry home or use on my laptop, and I'm being careful with it because of my concerns about its hardiness until I get more experience. It might could benefit from a rubber border and thicker plastic case as one finds on the Toshiba Canvio, but then it would be thicker/bigger - the Toshiba was my previous 1st choice for portable hard drives, its now no.2, but I'm comparing it with the Buffalo as I go along, and I'll report back down the road on hardiness as I collect more info.
3. Based on my experience with the Buffalo 500GB, I've already bought the 1TB model. Available on Amazon today for $84, its the best deal going for portable hard drive space/dollar. I've found the performance specs for the 1TB model are exactly the same as the 500GB model. BUT, be aware the physical specs for the 1TB model are different - its about a quarter of an inch thicker than the 500GB version (same length x width). Since I found the pre-installed Buffalo software unworthy of use on my 500GB model, I've eliminated the same from the 1TB version.
Update: August, 2012
It's 15 months from my initial Buff' Mini-Station Stealth portable hard drive review here on Amazon, so time for an update.
1. All of my initial comments/info/details on the Buff' 500GB and the 1TB USB2.0 drives still ring true. I now own 10 of them, and all of them work like a charm. I particularly like the fact that they mount/dismount easily (e.g., they power up and down quickly). The USB cable provided with the drives is the best USB2.0 cable I've found/used to date - it mounts/dismounts the drive quickly.
I've lost only one (1) Buff' portable drive to date - that drive fell off of a desktop 30inches high onto a hard concrete flow in my basement. The case did not crack, but the drive seemed to have trouble mounting onto my computer (meaning the drive took a long while to start up) and it would turn on/off at erratic intervals. Fortunately, the drive didn't have much data on it, so no big deal. I have had my other Buff' drives fall onto a carpeted floor from the same height with no adverse effects. Taken together, I think this speaks very well on the hardiness of these drives. As a comparison, I've had 2 of 4 Simpletech Signature Mini Drives fail without any physical drop.
Hope this update helps.