Buffalo Ministation Extreme 500GB review
500GB hard disk, USB3, 128x89x18mm
The Ministation Extreme is a very well-designed portable hard disk. The rubberised leather-effect finish on one side makes it easy to grip, and the integrated USB3 cable means you’ll never find yourself unable to access your data because you’ve forgotten to pack one. Don’t worry if your USB ports are at the back of your PC, as Buffalo sensibly includes an extension cable in the box.
Buffalo claims the disk conforms to the US Military Standard MIL-STD-810F drop test, and we have no reason to doubt them – it kept working even after several drops from 1.2 metres. It also supports hardware encryption, to protect your files from unwanted access, which is handy should you ever lose it.
Inside is a Samsung 2.5in, 5,400RPM model with a 500GB capacity. Formatted to NTFS, you get 465GB of usable storage. Buffalo’s comprehensive software suite takes up just a few megabytes, so there’s ample room for all your files. It includes copies of TurboPC EX, which is supposed to increase file transfer speeds, Buffalo Backup Utility for protecting important files, the power management tool Eco Manager, the Secure Lock Manager password vault and a RAMdisk utility. We don’t expect many people to find the RAMdisk very useful, but the backup manager is at least fairly straightforward and easy to use.
Using our standard file transfer tests, the Ministation Extreme managed to produce 80.4MB/s write and 96.4MB/s read speeds when handling large files, compared to 25.8MB/s write and 39MB/s read speeds for small files. Enabling TurboPC Ex upped these averages within Windows by as much as twenty per cent with certain files, but it had no impact on our command line benchmark script.
At £56, or 11p per gigabyte, the Ministation Extreme would be competitively priced even without any software. Considering it comes with a healthy bundle, as well as an integrated USB cable, it’s an excellent choice, but the faster Seagate Backup Plus Portable 500GB remains our top choice.