Buffalo DriveStation DDR External Hard Drive
Think of the Buffalo DriveStation DDR as the best of two storage worlds: You get data-transfer performance that comes as close to a solid-state drive (SSD) as a single external mechanical drive is likely to get, but at a lower price (and with the far higher capacity) that only platter-based drives can currently deliver.
Buffalo offers the DriveStation DDR in two versions: The 2TB HD-GD2.0U3 ($159.99 list; $149.99 at Amazon) and the 3TB HD-GD3.0U3 ($209.99 list; $180.99 at Amazon). We tested the 2TB model; however, of the two, we'd recommend going with the larger capacity. It's a better deal when you consider the cost per gigabyte, and given the speed of the drive, it's a safe bet that you'll pack in the gigs more quickly than you anticipate. We actually wish the drive were available in a 4TB capacity.
The DriveStation DDR gets its name from the fact that it has a 1GB cache of DDR memory inside to help boost performance. It's the first drive from Buffalo to use DDR RAM; previously, the company's Turbo drives used software alone to tap a PC's memory and expedite transfers.
The 1GB hardware cache did indeed improve performance in our tests. The drive carries a premium over an ordinary hard drive, though; that premium covers the added cost of the DDR memory, as well as the ARM controller inside the drive that manages the drive's reads and writes.
Take, for example, Buffalo's 2TB DriveStation Axis, which is not equipped with a RAM cache. Its MSRP is $119.99, and it was selling for just $84.99 on Amazon when we wrote this in October 2013. That's a pretty significant price divide for the same capacity. Still, if performance matters to you, the DriveStation DDR unit is well worth its extra cost.
The DriveStation DDR has a basic design that works well in either horizontal or vertical orientation. The external chassis is plain, matte black, with two LED indicators at the front, near the base...
Along the side sits a discreet vertical row of air vents, which runs down the trailing edge of the front panel...
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