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BUFFALO MiniStation 500GB USB 3.0 2.5" External Hard Drive HD-PCF500U3B Black

  • USB 3.0
  • Buffalo Backup Utility
  • Compact Design
  • 1 Year Warranty
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Learn more about the Buffalo Technology HD-PCF500U3B

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  • Limited Warranty period (parts): 1 year
  • Limited Warranty period (labor): 1 year

Customer Reviews of the Buffalo Technology HD-PCF500U3B

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5 out of 5 eggsNice, lightweight little drive

This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation 500GB USB 3.0 2.5" External Hard Drive HD-PCF500U3B Black

Pros: The drive is compact, lightweight, and powered by the USB port... Transfer speeds are smooth and quick and there is a small indicator light on the drive so you know it is powered up.. The thing makes no noise at all that I can hear during file transfer so it is very quiet. The drive comes with a USB cable so there is no need to purchase an additional one. Transfer speeds are excellent in both USB 2.0 as well as USB 3.0... While the drive is lightweight, the case seems well constructed and is sturdy. The back is smooth with small spots that stick up in each corner like little tiny feet and the front has a slightly course surface.and the corners are slightly rounded so there are no sharp edges.

Cons: While there is an indicator light that shows the drive is powered up, that seems to be the only purpose it serves. It slowly pulses on and off, but does not seem to indicate drive activity. It would be nice if it turned red and flickered during file transfers so you knew it was functioning..

Other Thoughts: I think this is a great drive and well worth the money... It's sturdy, well constructed, quiet and quick... It's also very compact so will take up little space in your computer bag and can be easily stored in a desk draw..

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

5 out of 5 eggsWorks well

This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation 500GB USB 3.0 2.5" External Hard Drive HD-PCF500U3B Black

Pros: Does exactly what it says it will do. No real lag, good transfer times. Works with XP and Windows 7 with no issues. This disk is currently being used to transfer large amounts of audio data for a college radio station, and has performed flawlessly in this regard

Cons: None noticed. This is about as plug and play as it gets. Almost as you are using a large thumb drive.

Other Thoughts: For most applications this will be fine. Transfers and plays audio files with no discernible lag, even when using usb 2.0 instead of the faster 3.0

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5 out of 5 eggs

This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation 500GB USB 3.0 2.5" External Hard Drive HD-PCF500U3B Black

Pros: - Sleek, compact, and minimal design.
- Housing has a good solid feel
- LED Activity light pulses while transferring files instead of frantically blinking. This is good for me because the hard drive sits in my field of view while I work at my desk.

Cons: - Formatted from the factory with NTFS. This causes issues for Apple and Linux users because out of the box these operating systems do not support writing to NTFS volumes. ExFAT formatting would be a much better option to allow for files larger that 4GB while maintaining portability across operating systems.

Other Thoughts: Not really pros or cons, but good to know items about this drive
- Slick plastic could benefit from a soft-touch rubber coating
- Top edge of the housing has a sharp edge. A slight bevel on the edge would be nice.

This 500GB drive has 465.7GB of formatted space.

I did some benchmarks with my Early 2013 13" Apple Retina MacBook Pro. Using the included USB 3.0 cable data transfer speeds were quite impressive. I also used a standard USB 2.0 micro USB cable, and saw performance on par with other USB 2.0 drives.

Overall Performance USB 3.0: 118 MB/s Read / 117 MB/s Write
Overall PErformance USB 2.0: 40 MB/s Read / 38 MB/s Write

I am currently using this drive for Time Machine backups while sorting out issues with the Time Machine backups on my unRAID server, so this hard drive gets daily exercise, and I have no issues to report.

Intech QuickBench Detailed Benchmarks

All tests were performed in extended mode (this copies 20, 30, 40,...100MB files) Throughput is measured per file size for read and write, and then averaged with 100 cycles of the test. Asynchronous tests incorporated a 30ms read delay and a 20ms write delay. I also averaged the measurements below were also averaged between the 2 USB ports on my laptop to ensure there was no difference in the speed (The left side port was ever so slightly slower by 2MB/s, but could be a fluke)

Right USB 3.0 Extended Test : 119.1 MB/s Read / 118.4 MB/s Write
Right USB 3.0 Extended Test, Asynchronous I/O : 119.1 MB/s Read / 118.5 MB/s Write
Left USB 3.0 Extended Test : 117.8 MB/s Read / 117.4 MB/s Write
Left USB 3.0 Extended Test, Asynchronous I/O : 116.5 MB/s Read / 112.5 MB/s Write

Right USB 2.0 Extended Test : 39.7 MB/s Read / 37.5 MB/s Write
Right USB 2.0 Extended Test, Asynchronous I/O : 41.0 MB/s Read / 37.6 MB/s Write
Left USB 2.0 Extended Test : 39.7 MB/s Read / 37.3 MB/s Write
Left USB 2.0 Extended Test, Asynchronous I/O : 40.1 MB/s Read / 38.1 MB/s Write

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

4 out of 5 eggsSmall sized storage with big sized space!

This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation 500GB USB 3.0 2.5" External Hard Drive HD-PCF500U3B Black

Pros: Small; this thing is really compact. I can slip this into my pocket easily and having 465Gb in my pocket is just kinda cool. It works well and performs as I'd expect a USB 3.0 drive to perform. It's only slightly slower than some of my internal drives and faster than all of my USB 3.0 thumb drives. No power cable needed; which is a blessing most of the time but not always. (See cons)

Cons: This HDD failed to work with my front USB 3.0 connectors on my tower. [Write Error] This must be due to the front USB 3.0 ports not delivering enough power. Those ports work fine with USB 3.0 thumb drives and any other powered external HDD I own. I was forced to use the rear panel USB 3.0 ports on my tower which for me isn't too inconvenient but for others this might cause some headache.
A longer cable would be nice for me anyway. This way it could actually reach my desk. As short as it is I had to let it hang at the rear of my tower. Also because this unit doesn't require a power plug; it does require a special USB cable that I don't have extra of laying around. The plug end that goes into the HDD is something I've never used before and I've been around a long time. What this means is you have to always have THAT cable handy. Most devices use one of the standard USB cables that everyone has about a dozen laying around their home and work. Not this HDD though. I would have also preferred the option to use a power cable for those times that a non-powered USB port is the only available option.

Other Thoughts: Performance; Well this thing does perform pretty well. It won't set any records but it gets the job done and with enough speed that I'm not grinding my teeth and throwing up my arms. I did some benching of this drive against several of my internal drives as well a real world type transfer of a 5GB game file.

Here is the boring stuff: (CrystalMark bench)
Here are the results for the Buffalo mini-station while plugged into a USB 2.0 port:
MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

Sequential Read : 32.726 MB/s
Sequential Write : 29.510 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 22.036 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 28.976 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 0.533 MB/s [ 130.2 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 1.579 MB/s [ 385.4 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 0.581 MB/s [ 141.9 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 1.586 MB/s [ 387.3 IOPS]
And here via a USB 3.0 port:

MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

Sequential Read : 124.816 MB/s
Sequential Write : 123.989 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 42.653 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 63.167 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 0.555 MB/s [ 135.5 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 1.616 MB/s [ 394.6 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 0.606 MB/s [ 147.9 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 1.587 MB/s [ 387.5 IOPS]
Also for comparison I benched a WD 500GB internal 72k HDD:

MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

Sequential Read : 88.219 MB/s
Sequential Write : 86.817 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 34.606 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 48.465 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 0.425 MB/s [ 103.7 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 1.080 MB/s [ 263.6 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 1.197 MB/s [ 292.1 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 1.080 MB/s [ 263.6 IOPS]

And a WD 300GB Velociraptor 10k:

MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

Sequential Read : 95.804 MB/s
Sequential Write : 97.569 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 39.890 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 60.782 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 0.593 MB/s [ 144.7 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 1.497 MB/s [ 365.4 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 1.470 MB/s [ 358.8 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 1.518 MB/s [ 370.5 IOPS]
Transferring a 5GB file from standard HDD to external: 60 seconds @ 53 MB/seconds
Transferring a 5GB file from standard HDD to standard HDD: 45 seconds @ 90 MB/seconds
As you can see it holds up pretty good when USB 3.0 is utilized. All in all this is a great little HDD

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

5 out of 5 eggsExcellent drive!

This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation 500GB USB 3.0 2.5" External Hard Drive HD-PCF500U3B Black

Pros: Compact, feels nice in the hand, super fast drive, runs cool. Does not come with bloatware.

Cons: Not a big problem, there is some vibration. Probably due to it being a fast drive.

Other Thoughts: I am happy to report that this seems like an excellent drive. The speed is not advertised, but I believe the drive is a 7200rpm drive. Comes formatted with a total usable capacity of 465GB because of how OSes count bytes.

A large file transfer (2.3GB) was transferring at around 95MB/s the first run. The 2nd run, the drive was transferring at 120MB/s.

A more "real world" transfer test- I sent my photo archive to this device which was 55GB in size with about almost 17,000 files. Because it transfers a bunch of relatively small files with multiple folder branches, it is usually a slower transfer test. It still is pretty zippy- transferring at around 65-90MB/s. It did drop to 20MB/s at times, but not frequently.

Transferring this folder back to the source drive, the speed fluctuated from 25-90MB/s.

The device runs cool as expected. It is a 2.5" external drive, so it does not come in a bulky enclosure. No need to drag power bricks either. Just plug it in and enjoy. I also despise when bloatware preloaded onto external hard drives- this has none with it. You can download a copy of their backup utility on their website.

I am overall very impressed with the drive speed and quality of the product. I do not see why this will not last a long time.

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5 out of 5 eggsPerforms as expected.

This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation 500GB USB 3.0 2.5" External Hard Drive HD-PCF500U3B Black

Pros: Clean looks.
Good performance for 2.5" drive.

Cons: USB 3.0 connector may be annoying/difficult.

Other Thoughts: The unit I received contains a WD 5400rpm SATA 3 (6Gb/s) drive with 8MB of cache.
The speed seems only limited by the rotation of the drive as burst rates hit 260MB/s. Sustained read speed was ~95MB/s averaged across the entire media.
The drive came formatted with NTFS and pleasantly completely empty.
I'm sure it would work with a Mac but would need to be formatted with another file system for OSX to be able to write to it.

The connector opening is slightly larger then it needs to be. The rough metallic housing of the connector is slightly exposed leading to problems centering the cable end without looking carefully.

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5 out of 5 eggsWe've come a long way since USB 2.0

This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation 500GB USB 3.0 2.5" External Hard Drive HD-PCF500U3B Black

Pros: Having dealt with a few 2.5" portable USB hard drives in the past, this drive exceeded my expectations, and taught me that small and disk-based no longer means slow.

The very first thing I did after unboxing this drive was to benchmark it - with surprising results. Using a USB 3.0 port, ATTO showed consistent sequential read/write speeds of 110 MB/s (read and write) on files of 16kb and up. That's fast enough to not tap my feet annoyedly while transferring files. In fact, it blows my USB 3.0 flash drive away - That benches at 27 MB/s write, 43 MB/s read.

In a more real-world test, I transferred a 2.8GB folder full of MP3 files (about 350 files total) in just under 40 seconds. A single, huge 13GB video file transferred over in 2 minutes flat. Definitely fast enough for everyday use. The drive comes pre-formatted as NTFS, so Windows users will immediately be able to store files larger than 4GB, unlike those formatted in FAT32.

And to round the package out, the drive even looks great. It's small enough to stash in a little pocket in your computer bag, along with the compact MicroUSB 3.0 cable. Plus, that's a spare cable to fast-charge your Galaxy Note 3 with. Hey! I've got one of those, too.

Finally, Buffalo stands behind their stuff. They're highly regarded for their customer service in the networking world, and I'm sure they'd stand behind this drive if need be.

Cons: This drive still can't quite match the speed of my 1-year-old Fantom eSata drive, a 1TB 3.5" external. But is that even fair? I need to carry around a bigger drive, a wonky ribbon cable that's not good for anything else, and a power brick. On second thought, nope, that's not worth a few extra megs per minute.

NTFS formatting makes this drive plug-and-play for a PC, but Mac users will have to format. I get this move, since FAT32 has a 4GB file size limit (not OK for a half-terabyte drive), but ExFAT fixes that, and would have been a smarter pick for overall compatibility without cutting corners.

Other Thoughts: For fun, I tried running ATTO again, but with the drive plugged into a USB 2.0 port. Read speeds were about 37 MB/S, and write speeds topped out at 30 MB/s. This drive still works fine over USB 2.0, it just isn't as snappy. If you haven't made the jump to USB 3.0 yet, don't overlook this drive, since it's backwards compatible and ready for your future computer upgrade.

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5 out of 5 eggsVery decent external usb3 hard drive

This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation 500GB USB 3.0 2.5" External Hard Drive HD-PCF500U3B Black

Pros: This is my first Buffalo product and I am very impressed with the build quality, performance, but more importantly portability. Quick research indicates Buffalo has been around for quite a number of years and is highly touted for its routers. Enclosure is of plastic material lending to it's ability to be mildly jostled and being manhandled.
When put to use and in operation it's almost alarmingly noiseless making me do "double takes" just to validate it is operational. The external LED on the case also provides a good visual indicator of drive activities however it's brightness is easily overlooked as a means of determining drive activities. It has USB3 which capitalizes on faster reads/writes and is downwardly compatible with older pc's and laptops is USB2. Drive sans cable is roughly 6 ounces in weight making it ideal for migrating extremely large files such as iso images, o/s backups, videos, mongo sized digital images, etc.
The supplied USB cable appears to be a non-proprietary cable (10 pin Micro-USB Type B) hence misplacing or damaging this cable while temporarily inconvenient is readily available from many third part cable providers.

Cons: This Buffalo HD-PCF500U3B External Hard Drive when formatted comes in at roughly 465GB of usable space typical of many "off the shelf" mechanical laptop drives. I do wish every vendor of products using hard drive storage would accurate advertise formatted space versus unformatted space...truth in advertising please?

Other Thoughts: This is my 2nd Buffalo product. I have a very old Buffalo router which to this day still performs reliably

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  • john b.
  • 8/20/2013 11:15:00 AM
  • Tech Level: Low
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year

1 out of 5 eggsbad customer support

This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation 500GB USB 3.0 2.5" External Hard Drive HD-PCF500U3B Black

same as other drives

Cons: Customer service for bufflo awfull,
replaced brand new drive in retail box with an
refurb without box, very rude on the phone

Manufacturer Response:

JB007, please email me so we can help get you a new replacement instead of a refurb. If a customer needs a replacement within the first 30days, the customer should go through the retailer they purchased the unit from. This ensures you get a new unit. After the 1st 30 days, if the customer submits an approved RMA, Buffalo would either ship a refurb unit, or a new unit depending on what was available when we shipped out the replacement. On a separate note I would like to review your support call and see if there is an opportunity for us to improve.


0 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

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