Buffalo Tech's 80GB MiniStation 'turbo-USB drive' goes to the ZDNet reader who...

Buffalo Tech's 80GB MiniStation 'turbo-USB drive' goes to the ZDNet reader who...

Summary: It's week #12 for ZDNet’s Deputy Product Tester of the Week program: a program where ZDNet’s audience members get free tech stuff for keeps. This week, I’m giving away our 19th product (I've given away more than one product on some weeks).

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It's week #12 for ZDNet’s Deputy Product Tester of the Week program: a program where ZDNet’s audience members get free tech stuff for keeps. This week, I’m giving away our 19th product (I've given away more than one product on some weeks). But first, for more information on how the program works and how you can participate, see the program’s original announcement and make sure you read the rules and regulations to keep our lawyers smiling.

This week, the folks at Buffalo Technology have furnished me with the 80GB version of their just announced MiniStation turbo-USB drive to hand off to the next ZDNet Deputy Product Tester. This $100 product is so new that you can't even purchase one yet. According to the box it came in (you'll see it in the video above), Buffalo claims that it will run at up to 64 percent faster than traditional USB drives which could be a boon to people who use the drive to work with big databases or a lot of rich media files. In order to get that performance benefit however, you'll have to load the drivers that come with the drive (if you're an XP or Vista user that ends up getting one of these, I always suggest that you set a system restore point before installing new drivers like these on your system).

In the video above, I read the pitch from Buffalo Tech's official press release for the new product and talk about the various capacities it comes in. I haven't tested the drive yet. Instead, I'm leaving that up to the ZDNet reader who can prove to me that they'll be able to run this supposedly Windows and Mac-compatible drive through the best battery of tests. Tests that should include testing of two other utilites that come with it: one for backing up your main hard drive's file and another for encrypting everything that's kept on the MiniStation (question: does encryption affect performance, and how?).

So, who should the Buffalo Tech MiniStation go to? Use the comments area below to tell me why you should be the reader we send it to and by Friday of this week, you could be the next ZDNet Deputy Product Tester of the Week. Lastly, no e-mails please. To participate, you must use the comments area below. Thanks!

Topics: Windows, Hardware, Operating Systems, Security, Software, Web development

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20 comments
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  • This would solve my needs and I do have a mac and pc

    I have a Mac and a PC that we use in our video editing company and I am constantly moving files between the two computers. We deal with really LARGE media files and it always takes FOREVER to transfer over USB and we would like to test this drive to see if you could actually edit broadcast HD via the drive or to what extent you could. I think I could give you a great review of the drive from a professional broadcast tv editor to a home user moving files from office to home pc. Pick me and you will have the great honor of making my day! Thanks
    wesleonard
  • Putting portability to the test

    I work for the research group of a large enterprise software developer, and I spend a lot of time working with various groups on my laptop PC. I also test software on a variety of platforms including Macs.

    I'd love to try the speed of this baby out and see how it handles the pressure. Will I really see the speed difference? Can I install things on it and have them run as if on the local hard drive? How well will it handle moving large data files between Macs and PC?

    I'll be happy to put it through its paces and see what all of us think about it.
    bernard.farrell@...
  • Why "I'm the one..."

    Hi David,

    Here's why I think I'd be a good tester. I'm currently a full-time student at New England Institute of Technology in RI. In my Active Directory class, we use multiple VMWare image files to implement Active Directory on a team of servers. Since I like to work on my labs at home, I copy 12GB of VMWare files onto a 160GB external hard drive to bring them to class and load them onto my classroom pc for grading. It sure would be nice to have a smaller device (especially one that looks to be about 1/5 the size and weight), as opposed to packing my drive in bubble wrap each week and dragging it around to go back and forth between school.

    Thanks,
    MGP2
    MGP2
  • As a heavy VMware user

    This would be perfect. My 500GB USB 2.0 drive is so sluggish that I cannot run a VM from it. I have to copy the VM to the hard drive to run it from there, then I have to copy it back to backup the VM. Then when I take the hard drive to a different computer... same old thing.

    As far as the security goes, I handle computer security for my company and have been investigating various tools for transporting and securing confidential information. I would love to test this one out as well.

    I have several laptops, desktops, and such that I can use to test this. I would also run it under Linux to perform other tests.

    As far as the backup goes, I would like to see how that performs compared to something like WHS (which I beta tested).

    Matt Gardenghi
    mtgarden at bju dot edu
    mtgarden
  • low budget, High tech household

    I don't need this for work or school.
    I do have a house full of wired and wireless devices and a wife,and Daughter and Daughter-in-law with passion's for Pic's, Not to mention my passion for commercial free music on my zune and the girl's IPOD's, @ any one time in the house, there is normally 3 pc's, a couple of ipods,a zune and a Xbox 360 going around here, and every weekend I get to go to all 3 pc's and tranfer content to my portable drives and clean up the mess left on the PC's (kinda like their room's). to sum it all up, I run around the house with a 2 gig flash drive to transfer music to the maxtor 80 gig and pic's and video to the 120 gig. the flash drive is quicker than using the ethernet 10 mbs.
    HELP! I'm drowning in digital content. hehehe
    boogie2277@...
  • The answer to my prayers!!!

    I am a Systems Administrator in the process of a large scale server deployment/upgrade for my hospital where capacity and encryption are crucial. The capacity of this drive would let me "Ghost" images to it, deploy the new server OS and then restore the data all via USB. Please select me as the tester of the week and I can put this drive to the test in a real world environment and report how well it works. Thank you for your consideration.
    reidm@...
  • Great for video

    My company does a lot of high end graphics and video for customers. I would like to have a portable media system that can be able to transfer large files fast. Most of my files are between 5 and 40GB and I need to be able to display them to a customer from a laptop.

    I have found that even with a Gigabit network it still takes about 15 mins to transfer a file at 40GB. I also currently use a seagate 40GB pocket drive and a Western Digital 60GB drive to transport files. If I were to get this I would be able to test this against the industry's conterparts to see if it is truely faster.

    It would be a great product to see if it can increase productivity in the business. I will be utilizing the device on a daily basis and will have it filled and emptied multiple times in the first month. I would also like to test how many times it can cycle through the process until it gives out. My guess from other products that I have used is about a year worth of regular file transfers.

    Brian
    birddawg
  • I can let my Myth server pound it to pieces

    Just use it as the repository for live tv... it'll get a good hammering from recording, transcoding, flagging and network viewing, especially if it's handling multiple streams.

    I can also toss it on a Windows box to test the rest of the goodies, but I thought that a big ol' server would give it a real test of its worth.
    Sabz5150
  • David, Pick me!!!!

    I am a Logistics Manager for a VERY large Transportation Company, and I (in my one and 1/2 person office) run two domiciles by myself, so I have a laptop that has all of my files on it. However , I need to be able to back up my files and leave them here for my Lead driver to access on a second PC in my office (Win 2000!!) when I am out of town at the other domicile. The Encryption software would get a good workout, as there is personal information in the files that should not be accessed when I am not there. I should be able to give the unit a thorough workout for review purposes.


    Jeff Henry
    JLHenry
  • I've been meaning to..

    . do a backup of my files for a while now. Seriously. I'm a photographer, and am dangerously close to using up most of my 1.5 TB of hard drive space; 500 GB of it from a USB/SATA WD external drive. It seems like the faster drives I get, the faster they fill up! I'd be able to test this product as I transfer large project files, collections, and media over to a backup Thinkpad and MacBook. I'd be able to compare speeds with my existing USB drive, with and without the "turbo mode" enabled. I usually dont like to install software like this, but I'll do it for you, David.
    Brungold
  • If I am chosen.

    If I am chosen I feel that I can test this product for what it is worth. I won't be using it for things like work but I will be using it around school. I am an avid anime fan and have well over 300 gigs on my desktop. I also am a part of an anime club and we seem to have need to transport files from individuals to the school in order to use the files for video editing on the schools powermac or for the enjoyment of the students. Each episode can run anywhere from 60 to 150 MB. While this is not large I usually try to have the whole of a series with me at any given time. This easily means Gigs of data. Flash drives just don't cut it when it comes to moving these files. I am currently using a Buffalo 500 GB Drive Station at home and am very happy with it. If the software included with this MiniStation is anything like it I can test it's effectiveness versus the Drive Station. Having the 500 GB Drivestation will also allow me to test just how well the turbo-mode functions compared to the standard data rate of a traditional external drive.
    ZeroStryfe
  • Would like to be the ZD net tester

    Ok David, I am finally seen something that intrested me to put my nomnation into being this weeks ZD net tester. I would in It for a Non-profit company and when you were showing the programs on the CD portion of product I liked the encryption software. As for now I have to go to off sites of my company that are not connected through a network and the drive and software would be a great replacement to jump drives I carry with me and I usally burn out a jump drive after around 8 months by moving files and pluggin it in and out of computers. With the drive and its software I could do backups of off site computers and encrypt the files. this way I am not looking over my shold making sure no one is going to try to steal the information I am carring on the jump drive. With the encryption it makes it allot safer than going to the "go to my PC" or "Logmein.com" to connect through the web. this like I said I can give you a full testing and fun review.
    rupaa62
  • Need for portable information and encryption

    I am very interested in this turbo-USB drive because of my need for mobile data and encryption. I work with 3D modeling, CAD, and CAM software (large files) for a product design company, and everyday I need to take data off of my work computer to bring home the files to work on.

    My current USB drive's connection is too slow to work on the file directly from my external hard drive. If this turbo-drive is what it claims to be, I won't have to do the time consuming task of copying the files to my internal hard drive, editing them, and then re-copying them back onto the USB drive. I definitely will use the encryption feature, as most of the products I work with are confidential.

    I am also a Mac and PC user, so I will definitely be able to see if the quality of this product is consistent on both platforms.

    As for the power cord, I will definitely test the difference between the amount of energy it pulls from my laptop battery plugged in and not plugged in.

    I really hope that this product is what it claims to be, and I hope you choose me to test it out!
    npwang
  • Test it to the MAX

    I am a programming consultant who travels CONSTANTLY. When I go to a client site, I always have a need to copy many large files to an external drive for retrieval by other members of my team and/or the client, as well. A flash drive doesn't work simply because it's too small. Having an external drive that not only has a lot of storage space but is 64% faster would be ideal for this situation.

    I can guarantee that the MiniStation drive would not only be tested thoroughly, but almost constantly, too.

    I would welcome the opportunity to run the MiniStation through its paces.

    Thanks.
    upndown4par@...
  • I would like to test this drive as an...

    answer to a few possible scenarios. First one being a dependable backup/storage device for my main development machine. Secondly, backup (and subsequent restore) of data files from my sandbox SQL 2005 server (I have a DB just aching to try this on, a complete custom instance of the national do not call DB; safe to say, it's Huge!). And maybe a third feasibility check of using this device as a backup repository for source code control. I'd also like to throw in testing of the encryption capabilites and see how that affects performance over all use cases (especially with regard to the SQL data files as security is crucial when backing up to a removable device such as this, but can be hampered performance-wise just by the fact that datafiles can be so darned big these days). Thanks for the consideration!
    ov1kenobi
  • On-the-fly data encryption at full speed?

    For years I have been creating my own portable hard drives from laptop hard drives and external hard drive enclosures so that I could have the combination of capacity and speed that I require without paying exuberant prices typically desired for portable data storage. Disregarding the slight bulk, the custom solutions still fail to completely fulfill my needs for I have yet to find a comprehensive, cross-platform encryption software that supports on-the-fly data encryption/decryption. This has forced me to install the encryption software on all computers used, and in some cases even maintain two separate copies of the files, protected by separate encryption software due to compatibility issues under the various editions of Windows (95 through Vista) and Mac (OS X and Mac OS ?Classic?). Constantly decrypting files before opening or copying them, then re-encrypting upon completion of any necessary modifications has proved to be a very time-consuming task indeed.

    Should I be selected to review the Buffalo Tech 80GB Ministation I will critique all of its features on a collection of computers, with emphasis on benchmarking it under Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.4. In particular, I would like the opportunity to test its encryption software, determining if it is capable of securing the confidential documents I am normally charged with protecting, without a drastic reduction in read/write speeds. Furthermore, I would like to see if the included software can be extended to enhance the drive?s capabilities under traditional Linux distros running Wine. If that is a possibility the Buffalo Tech 80GB Ministation may truly be the solution I have long desired, enhancing my productivity and elevating the portable data storage market to the next level.

    Thank you.
    geek4life1986
  • I would be perfect for this review

    I have tested portable external hard drives before and I think I would be perfect for this. I have more than one PC and a Mac so I would be able to test out the different USB ports to tell which one is the best. I also have an Edge DiskGo Mini Portable Hard Drive, US Modular Dragon Drive, and an Azio Mac Enclosure Drive Kit so I can test the performance against competing products. I was also recently offered a Klegg?s NetDisk which seems very similar to this. I will be great for this review.
    ryanmc
  • I've had several USB HDDs over the years

    The power issue on USB HDDs is not new. A lot of 2.5" enclosure manufacturers have been providing a USB Y-cable, data and power. Or, like Buffalo, an additional USB power cable. I've found that using the power USB connector (even when external HDD works fine without it) helps when heavily taxing it with large data transfers to/from it.
    I am using my two, 30Gb and 80Gb self made from old 2.5" HDDs and enclosures, daily for backup of my laptop data and for imaging my client's computers. I could use this device in the same manner and report to all readers on its performance versus my own drives.

    Thanks,

    George Greydinger
    greydinger@...
  • Ah--I'd love to test this.

    I'd love to test this. It would provide secure data portability for one of the not-for-profit organizations for which I do volunteer work. I started out maintaining their website, but got sucked in to keeping their financial records since everyone else conveniently claimed to be unfamiliar with Excel. Currently, I store all the data on CDs, which has me worried that, if and when I'm unable to continue this data-keeping function, some other member of the organization may lose data. Having a portable hard drive would be perfect for having all relevant records in one place and less likely to be lost. In addition, the encryption would be a very nice added feature.
    ca_ellis@...
  • Runner up ?

    C'mon David ! consulation prize, hehehe

    Thanks for letting me give it a shot.
    boogie2277@...