Summary: I purchased this drive in August 2012. I had issues from the start, sometimes the Thunderbolt port would not work at all. The drive would not mount on my Mac about 85% of the time when using Thunderbolt. Using USB 3.0 it worked fine until the end of September 2012. The disk would not mount using USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt. Desperate to get to my data I opened the drive and inserted the hard disk into an external enclosure I had laying around.
Excellent hardware marred by sub-standard drive speeds/upgrade difficulty
William Grose "Tzu Crazy", Amazon
15 August 2012
Summary: This BUFFALO Technology MiniStation is a shame. A really great shame. Why? Because it's theoretically a great product. The build quality is great, the USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt cables included are a great touch (especially given how expensive Thunderbolt cables currently are). So what's the problem, then? So in my testing via Thunderbolt on a 2011 MacBook Air, the slow-spinning Samsung 5400rpm disk inside the enclosure is a huge bottleneck (I didn't even hit 100MB/s).
Pros: This is in response to the previous review. I suggest you go to the anandtech website for a review. He said that the case was very hard to get into and hard to put back together. Drive got positive review, however. Review dated 8/1/12
Cons: see above. This "review" is a caveat which may be of interest to others considering this or the 1TB version.
Summary: Other reviewers have already gone into minute detail about the technical specs, so I'll be brief and simple. This surprisingly small HD easily backed up my Macbook Pro. Setup was painless... plug it into a port and it works. No software to install, no instruction booklet necessary. The first backup took a looooong time, and be warned... if you choose to encrypt the drive, it could literally take all night.
Premium performance, build quality, and aesthetics
25 July 2012
Summary: The Buffalo MiniStation 500 GB Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 drive is one of only a few Thunderbolt drives out on the market right now. Thunderbolt drives can theoretically reach twice the speeds of USB 3.0, but you'll have to pay a premium for those theoretical speeds. I took a look at the Buffalo Thunderbolt drive to see if the portable hard drive was worth the premium.
Summary: [EDIT:] The BUFFALO MiniStation 500 GB Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive has failed. I have adjusted the review rating to reflect my poor experience with the defective product, and the lack of an acceptable avenue for resolving problems. I have bought and used dozens of drives over the years, and I know failures occur with every manufacturer (I have never come across a total failure myself), so maybe I just got a dud.
Summary: I bought this with the intention of possibly changing out the hard drive with a SSD later or a larger one. Seems like it will be rather easy to open at this point. My only thought is that it would have been much nicer if they would have gone aluminum for the whole thing or a better plastic on top.
Pros: Very inexpensive for a thunderbolt drive. I also like that it is completely powered off the one cable. Speed seems to be much better than my USB portable hard drive that I paid more for last year. Also a big plus is that it comes with a thunderbolt cable which can cost around 50.00 on it's own.
Cons: So far I only have one con. The case while its aluminum on the bottom still feels very cheaply put together. The white plastic top feels kinda thin and I feel like I have to be more careful with it than other portable hard drives I have owned.
Summary: BUFFALO HD-PA500TU3-EU MINISTATION 500GB THUNDERBOLT USB3.0 2.5IN PORTABLE HDD - (Storage External Hard Drives) This is a great HD! Its blazing fast, even in its original configuration (mechanical HD). I've already installed an SSD on it and as expected now it's another championship :) At interface level it is great to have the possibility to not only connect the HD to my macbook pro through thunderbold but also be able to connect it at work to my desktop USB3 port.