Buffalo Technology has released two new external storage products that it reckons out-perform other USB 2.0 solutions. So what has the company done to achieve this?
The products in question are the MiniStation - a 2.5" hard drive in a portable enclosure, and the DriveStation - a 3.5" external drive. The new "TurboUSB" variants deliver better performance than their predecessors and competitors, the company claims.
The TurboUSB DriveStation comes in flavours up to 1TB in capacity and features circuitry to detect when it's plugged into a host machine, allowing it to conserve energy when it can't possibly be in use.
The drives used in the TurboUSB DriveStations are SATA, one of the reasons for Buffalo's claimed speed boost. But TurboUSB technology seems to be a performance enhancement in its own right, making the product 25% quicker than a regular SATA->USB enclosure.
The TurboUSB MiniStation is bus powered and features a wrap around cable for tidiness. Buffalo has used 5400rpm drives in the range, making them quicker than 4200rpm alternatives.
The company doesn't reveal whether the 2.5" drives are SATA or PATA. Either way, they're kept inside a "floating" shock resistant case. Again, TurboUSB adds even more to the throughput, delivering a claimed 64% data rate boost over a 4200rpm solution.
Both MiniStation and DriveStation products come bundled with backup and security software.
The packeted nature of USB data transfers doesn't lend itself to sustained file read/writes. That's why the theoretically slower Firewire 400Mbps interface can out-pace a 480Mbps USB in certain file transfer scenarios.
Given that the TurboUSB products don't require special drivers, we're guessing that in addition to using the latest drives, Buffalo might be using a newer bridge chip that delivers better performance over older versions.
Whether that is actually the case remains to be seen. Somebody will have to crack one of these devices open to find out.
Get more info, including model numbers and pricing, in Buffalo's press release.