Buffalo MiniStation TurboUSB Portable Hard Drive Review


I have been considering upgrading my backup external hard drive for quite some time now. The difficult decision was choosing between a larger (in both physical size and capacity) 3.5 inch drive and a smaller 2.5 inch drive (that would take up less space, not need a separate power cable, and is nearly silent). After a good amount of research and tech-soul-searching, I decided on the 320gb MiniStation TurboUSB Portable hard drive by Buffalo.

The MiniStation ranges in capacity from 80Gb up to 500GB.

While many of the portable hard drives currently on the market have either an aluminum or glossy plastic housing, the Buffalo MiniStation is refreshing utilitarian, constructed of a hard matte plastic shell. It is designed to withstand the test of time and travels.

Package Contents

  • Buffalo 320GB MiniStation Turbo USB Hard Drive
  • Turbo USB utility
  • Memeo AutoBackup, SecureLockWare Encryption
  • 2.5′ USB A to +5V DC aux. power cable
  • 1.5′ USB A to mini-B wraparound cable
  • Turbo USB utility installation instructions
  • Memeo quick start guide

Hardware Specifications

Drive Interface SATA
Hard Drive Sizes 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, 250GB, 320GB, 500GB
Rotational Speed 5400 RPM
Standard Compliance USB 2.0
Connector Type USB Type A
Dimensions (WxHxD mm) 127 x 20 x 84
Weight (g) 190
Power Consumption (W) max. 2.5
Operating Environment 5-35°C
OS Support Windows XP, Windows 2000, Mac OS X
Warranty One year


  • TurboUSB – Up to 64% faster transfer speeds
  • Floating Internal Supports and Shock Absorbing Case Protect Against Minor Bumps and Shocks
  • Includes Two USB 2.0 Data Cables (30 cm and 81 cm)
  • Automatic SetupNo Drivers Needed
  • Pre-formatted for Immediate Use
  • Supports USB 2.0 and 1.1
  • Lightweight, Compact and Portable
  • Near-silent Operation

A relatively unique feature of the MiniStation is the floating supports and shock absorbing design engineered into the structure of the Buffalo external hard drives. According to Buffalo, the MiniStation can withstand minor drops and a fair amount of bumps and abuse.

There are very few noteworthy things to mention about the exterior of the MiniStation housing. The top of the case has the USB and DC auxiliary power cable ports. All of my computers (iMac, Macbook Pro, and Macbook) were able to power the drive via the single USB cable. If extra power is needed, the MiniStation has the ability to be powered by an additional power source.

The MiniStation comes with an innovative, well designed USB cable.

The 18 inch USB cable wraps around the drive’s perimeter and clips into a slot on the back of the plug for secure storage. A great touch by Buffalo, allowing you to keep the cable neatly attached to the drive (vs rattling around your bag or getting lost). The cable is detachable and readily replaced if damaged or misplaced.

Buffalo includes a Mac and Windows compatible utility that enables the MiniStation’s TurboUSB feature. According to Buffalo, this application increases the drive’s transfer rate to as much as 64 percent faster than that of a typical 4,200-rpm USB 2.0 drive. This application plus the MiniStation’s 5,400-rpm drive does make file transfer/backup pretty zippy.

The Memeo backup software (Windows and Mac versions) that Buffalo bundles with the MiniStation is pretty good and does get the job done. Memeo is more of a file/document backup software application than a complete disaster-recovery program. It does not take an image of your drive to use in restoring your system if your drive fails (i.e., like Time Machine). It backs up individual files then monitors if they have been modified and only updates those. So, the initial backup takes a while but subsequent ones go relatively quickly.

Overall, I like the form, function, and build quality of the Buffalo MiniStation TurboUSB portable hard drive. Plus the fact it does not require a separate power supply, is very fast for a 2.5" drive, and is incredibly silent, makes it an excellent way to backup and/or keep your data/files.


Product Information

  • Quality construction and materials
  • Excellent utilitarian design
  • Shock absorbing engineering
  • Faster than the average 2.5" portable hard drive
  • Bus-powered
  • Good bundled TurboUSB/backup/encryption utilities
  • Turbo USB application works on both Win and Mac
  • Small, lightweight, and portable
  • Good value
  • Only a one year warranty
  • Does not include Mac encryption software
Posted in: Computer Gear, Laptops and Gear
{ 3 comments… add one }
  • aksh February 13, 2009, 10:12 pm

    good info ; I already have this drive.

    Any ideas whats the +5V DC aux. power cable for ?

    I dont seem to understand its purpose.

  • Mark T May 8, 2009, 8:14 am

    The additional 5v dc cable is supplied because some older laptops dont have enough power to get the drive going, so the other cable is there so you can use both at the same time which then boots up the the drive. Thinking of getting the 500GB one myself, just looking around at the moment though.

  • Littlesurfergirl October 27, 2009, 7:52 pm

    Hi, great info. Mark T- have you bought the 500 yet? Does anybody know how good/bad the “Ministation 500GB Portable USB Hard Drive with Encryption” is?


Leave a Comment