Buffalo DriveStation DDR Review

We all want the performance of an SSD, but when it comes to large amounts of storage, SSDs get real pricey, real fast. That is why Buffalo’s DriveStation DDR is so unique. Buffalo claims that it’s the world’s Fastest USB Hard Drive, with SSD‐like transfer Performance. Buffalo has managed to accomplish this by using a 1 GB DDR3 RAM Cache cache system to accelerate transfer performance.

Out of the box, the drive comes preloaded with a suite of tools in the form of Buffalo Tools. This suite includes TurboPC, which is designed for increasing the speed of file transfers, Buffalo’s Backup Utility for backups, eco Manager for regulating the power usage of your drive, and SecureLock for controlling the data encryption of the drive. Unfortunately all of these apps are for PC and Windows only. As a matter of fact, Mac users will have to reformat the drive to use it for writing data. But that is done easily enough, and once they do format the drive, it’s Time Machine Ready. Buffalo even includes a handy PDF manual on the drive with instructions on how to format for Mac.

Measuring 7.75 x 4.96 x 1.77 inches, the DriveStation DDR sorts a simple minimalist black design with a 2 LED lights. One LED light indicates power, and the second LED flashes to indicate when data is being written. This light also goes solid to indicate when it is safe to unplug the drive from a power outlet. Speaking of which, the DriveStation DDR is AC powered, and it weighs 2.2lbs, and both of these factors hamper its portability factor quite a bit. That said, this is really a drive that is meant for performance hungry users who aren’t moving around all that often. The drive also has a Kensington lock slot and an internal fan can be optionally added to it.

Buffalo has also packed in some safe-guard technologies to help recent accidental data loss. So for example, even if the USB cable is pulled out, the writing activity on the drive won’t come to a halt.

We tested the drive with the AJA System test tool on Mac and saw write speeds of 268MB/s and read speeds of 225MB/s. Meanwhile, read and write speeds managed to be a bit less than those numbers while testing with Blackmagicdesign’s Disk Speed Test, but still impressive. That makes the DriveStation DDR the fastest external drive we have ever tested, and also faster than other Thunderbolt and USB external hard drives that we have recently tested.

Verdict

The Buffalo DriveStation DDR is the fastest external hard drive we’ve ever tested, and it’s affordable to boot. You’ll notice it’s spiffy performance when transferring everything from small files to performing everyday larger backups. All in all, the DriveStation DDR offers performance as fast as an SSD, but for a fraction of the price. After all, if you tried to pick up a 2TB SSD, it would cost you around $5k! That said, if you’re looking for a hard drive with bells and whistles, this isn’t it. However, if you’re looking for the ultimate performance in an external USB 3.0 hard drive, look no further. The Buffalo DriveStation DDR is available in a 2TB capacity for $169 and a 3TB capacity for $209. It can also be found for as low as $139 on Amazon.

The Good: Blazing fast performance, great pice point, comes with a 3 year warranty, built in data safe-guard technologies

The Bad: Uninspiring design, not very portable and requires AC adapter

Buy it!