Buffalo DriveStation HD-HXU3 USB 3.0 Hard Drive - Buffalo DriveStation HD-HXU3

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



  • Recommended by TR
Buffalo DriveStation HD-HXU3 USB 3.0 Hard Drive


Our Score:


USB 3.0’s advantages aren’t just limited to its higher bandwidth either. Data can now travel both ways simultaneously through the interface, allowing for more intricate and complex communication with connected devices. The new standard also provides far more power, resulting in faster USB charging and hopefully making even more devices USB-powered (thus ditching the separate power adapter) than is the case today.

Now that you have an idea of what USB 3.0 potentially brings to the table, it’s time to take a closer look at the first commercially available external drive that’s offering this new technology. Buffalo’s DriveStation HD-HXU3 is an imposing 156 x 175 x 45mm, though its weight of 1.1kg is pretty standard. It’s designed so it can only be placed upright on broad rubber feet.

There are quite a few curves, which combine with the silver strip that runs down its centre and the blue/green LED at the top to make for a reasonably attractive look. Unfortunately, the glossy black finish is as eager as ever to woo fingerprints and dust. Build quality is excellent though, with solid plastics holding up flawlessly under pressure. With the drive you get a compact power adapter and of course that all-important one metre-long USB 3.0 cable.

The 1TB drive is preformatted to FAT32, so one of the first things Windows users will want to do is reformat using NTFS; after all, what’s the point of a 1,000GB drive that won’t take files larger than 4GB? Of course formatted capacity is lower at 931GB. For now, Buffalo’s HD-HXU3 will use a 7,200rpm SATA II 3.5in drive of unspecified brand as these might vary according to “market conditions” (i.e. whichever HDD manufacturer offers the cheapest reliable option).

Software for both Mac and PC comes pre-installed on the drive and it takes up less than 100MB. Mameo is a competent and visually attractive backup utility that takes only seconds to install. TurboUSB is another optional install, but if you’re using USB 3.0 we wouldn’t bother as, unfortunately, in our tests it gave absolutely no speed advantage whatsoever. This might change depending on future revisions by Buffalo, but until then there would appear to be no reason to install it - except on any USB 2.0 systems you might also hook the drive up to.


January 21, 2010, 5:17 am

*Correction* where USB 2.0 took 135 seconds compared to 46 seconds for USB 3.0


January 21, 2010, 10:38 am

Pun half intended, but hurry up already.

I need a new laptop, I need a new external hard disk. I'd like to get them now, but the tech is just too new and there's hardly any USB 3.0 products out there. A couple of HP laptops and now this one HD. Seems I have to wait another couple of months before I can go shopping.

Geoff Richards

January 21, 2010, 11:54 am

@DEB - thanks. Fixed now.


January 21, 2010, 2:34 pm

This drive is great value. That's quite a small premium to pay in my book for much better speeds!


January 21, 2010, 2:43 pm

You say USB 3.0 should allow more devices to run without a separate DC adaptor, but the DriveStation has a DC in port. Obviously this is necessary for running in USB 2.0 mode, but does it need to be connected if the drive is attached to a USB 3.0 port? Sorry if I missed this, but I don't think it is covered in the review.


January 21, 2010, 4:06 pm

Why is the usb 3 performance under par? If its billed as 10x quicker than usb 2 why ISNT it 10x quicker?


January 21, 2010, 4:17 pm

@James It can go only as fast as the slowest interface, in this case the hard-drive.


January 21, 2010, 4:29 pm

@james1000: Further to adulaisow's point, the performance difference is only theoretical. The 4.8Gbps and 480Mbps figures are the maximum speeds as specified by the standard and there are many reasons why this limit won't be reached in the real world. It's the same with the vast majority of interconnect standards from ATA to Zip drives.

David Hollinshead

January 21, 2010, 4:53 pm

I wanna usb 3.0 floppy drive!

But seriously how did this drive get a an average write speed of 114.5 megabytes / sec? I didn't think hard drives were that quick - was that the burst speed? or should it be Megabits / sec?


January 21, 2010, 7:37 pm

@David Hollinshead:

Haha, don't we all!

The average write speed is correct, and is megabytes per second - don't forget that USB3.0 currently gives roughly the same real-world bandwidth as SATA for drives to play with.

This figure is admittedly a tad high when compared to older (internal) hard drives we've reviewed, but then both hard drive and controller efficiency have moved on since last year.

Tony Walker

January 22, 2010, 11:01 am


The drive must be tweaked to perform so well at HDTune (cacheing?) as the real world performance of the drive shows up in the 3.5Gb single file copy which take 46 seconds. This breaks down to about 76MBytes/sec which is a little slow (I presume you were copying the files off a drive with a read speed greater than this). My "last years tech" Samsung F1 just did a 1911MB file in 21 secs (approx 91MBytes/sec).


January 22, 2010, 3:35 pm

I've had a few Buffalo drives and had no problems with any of them; they all used either WD or Samsung drives so the brand snob in me was happy. I'd still rather know what's inside before buying though.

What annoys me more is the lack of any controls on the drive. My previous Buffalo drives had a power switch. This might not sound important, but is very useful for me - I regularly move files to an external HDD so I tend to keep one plugged in at all times, but that doesn't mean I want it powering on and off all the time.


January 22, 2010, 10:15 pm

could you clarify John McCleans point about power. Running in USB3 mode, would this drive require the power supply to be connected?, if so, is their enough power for USB3 to run an external hard drives and therefore should we be waiting to see what comes along?


January 26, 2010, 3:22 pm

@Tony Walker:

I doubt the drive is tweaked, and its performance in HDTune is in line with other modern drives we have in the office (we double-checked as we also thought the speed to be unusually high). As to its performance in the real world, this will vary depending on motherboard, operating system (we used Vista 64-bit), file type and location, so it's a less accurate measure.


I completely agree, and lament the sad demise of the power button on most popular external drives. They were there for a reason, dammit.

@John McLean & supersizeme:

Unfortunately the power draw of a regular 3.5in disk is still too high for USB 3.0, so the power adapter is required. USB 3.0 can only supply up to 900mA (though compared to a mere 100mA for USB2), while 3.5in drives can require up to 2,000mA.

Brian Kane

May 28, 2013, 10:50 pm

I don't suppose anybody can tell a senile delinquent if it will support 1 Windows P.C. & an Apple MAC? Will it / Can it be partitioned by a wrinkly?

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