The Ministation Turbo USB is a product we’re familiar with, as we looked at the 320-GB version half a year ago. The notebook hard drive market has moved on and now offers up to 500 GB capacity, so the new Mini Station at 500 GB capacity doesn’t come as a surprise. Performance, however, does surprise a bit, as the latest version provides a few megabytes per second higher read and write throughput, maximizing the available USB 2.0 bandwidth. Access time could also be reduced from 22.6 ms to 19.1 ms for average seeks, which still isn’t enough to beat many other portable 2.5” drive products. Luckily, access time is secondary for this type of storage product.
But Not Well Finished
Buffalo claims that the product is shock-resistant thanks to its plastic enclosure. Clearly, it could be finished much better, as you can actually see the PCB inside the enclosure if you look at the power or USB connector on the back. Tighter mechanical specifications would help in providing better clearance, meaning smaller gaps between the two parts of the enclosure.
Wrap Up the Cable
The USB 2.0 cable can be wrapped around the Mini Station. To facilitate this process and to minimize the physical space used—and to make sure traveling with the drive and the USB cable is as convenient as possible—the mini USB connector is bent by 90° so this can be done while the unit remains connected. Buffalo includes a USB data cable and an auxiliary cable.
Power is supplied via a USB power adapter cable. Should your USB port not be capable of providing the required 2.5 W, then you can hook up the power port to a second USB port using the additional cable to ensure a stable power supply.
The FDE models come with full disc encryption, and the PF series includes the U2 software that allows users to install applications onto the U2 framework of the Ministation Turbo USB drive rather than on a host PC’s operating system. These are not yet available at the 500 GB capacity point, however.
Secure Lock Ware
Buffalo includes a software program called Secure Lock Ware, which can be used to encrypt files and lock access to the drives. Encrypted files are always compressed as well, and they are copied either into their source, onto the desktop or to another directory. Be aware that Secure Lock Ware does not modify the source, so you’ll have to erase your source files securely if you intended to encrypt files without moving them off your PC.