Buffalo 3TB DriveStation
Editors' note: After final testing, I decided to give the Editors' Choice Award to the Buffalo DriveStation DDR for its outstanding performance and affordable pricing. Still, note that this is a single-volume device and as such is not suitable for storing the only copy of your important data.
Once in a while, there's a revolutionary product that changes the conventional expectations for the entire class of devices, and among all USB 3.0-based external hard drives, the Buffalo DriveStation DDR is that product.
Housing a standard 3.5-inch hard drive on the inside, the new external storage device is the first that incorporates 1GB of DDR3 memory as cache to boost the data speeds. In my testing, the DriveStation DDR's USB 3.0 real-world speeds trumped even those of the most advanced Thunderbolt storage systems. It's just ridiculously fast.
If you're looking to get an external hard drive for a desktop that supports USB 3.0, the Buffalo DriveStation DDR is definitely an excellent buy. Maybe you should even get two for backup purposes since the drive is slated to cost just 0 and 0 for 2TB and 3TB, respectively.
The Buffalo DriveStation DDR is a relatively compact box that houses a single 3.5-inch standard hard drive on the inside. Its internal hard drive is not user-replaceable, which is quite normal for this type of storage device. It requires a separate power adapter to work.
The Buffalo DriveStation DDR comes with a few utilities that enhance the user experience. Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET
On the back, it has a standard Micro-USB 3.0 port, the power connector, and a small opening that looks like that of ventilation a fan, but there's no actual fan. On the front, there are two small indicator lights for the power status and data activities.
The DriveStation must be plugged into both power and a host computer via a USB cable (included) to work.
BUFFALO DriveStation 2 TB USB 3.0 Desktop Hard Drive (HD-LC2.0U3)
Personal Computer (BUFFALO)