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BUFFALO MiniStation Air 1TB Wireless Mobile Storage
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

5 out of 5 eggs One Sweet battery powered portable HDD for WiFi/DLNA streaming + HOTSPOT +BOOSTER 06/23/2014

This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation Air 1TB Wireless Mobile Storage

Pros: +Fast 1TB HDD
+USB 3.0 connection to quickly load up your media to this device
+depending on file size, device achieved speeds of up to 111MB/s during file copy (~70MB/s for a bunch of small MP3 files) over USB 3.0
+WiFi access from smartphones/tablets/laptops for media streaming
+built-in battery can power device itself (up to 12hrs of runtime) or charge the mobile device connected to it via USB2.0! (this is awesome! a booster feature)
+can share WiFi Internet access (create HotSpot) from your WiFi router for devices that are connected to MediaStation (over its WiFi) - I know it sounds twisted but it works :)
+had no trouble streaming gigabytes of high quality MP3 or HD videos to my phone over 2.4GHz wifi
+manufacturer claims it can stream to DLNA devices (e.g. LCD TVs) too and that sounds awesome, tho I personally don't own such (except my DLNA capable smartphone) and haven't tested it that way

Cons: -WiFi does not support 5GHz (aka your home router MUST be running in 2.4GHz band or device won't see it, ask me how I know)
-WiFi interface card could be faster (looks like a standard 802.11n even tho never mentioned in any specs, could be 802.11ac?)
-Price could be a bit cheaper for only 1TB of portable storage with battery and a wifi adapter
-Buffalo app video player (streaming) leaves ugly white bars at top and bottom of horizontal screen on my cellphone when playing full HD, why not change the color of those bars to black, I ask? ;)
-it's not obvious that one needs to press & hold the power button for 3 seconds to actually power the device up (so its WiFi activates)

Other Thoughts: Android app (tested with Galaxy S3 android 4.3 smartphone) is not plain straight when setting things up, remember to connect to device's WiFi first (SSID and key are printed on sticker)!
You might have a problem with keeping that connection alive if your phone checks for internet availability over WiFi (it may switch back to your home router WiFi or 4G instead).
This is not the device's fault, it's the over-smart android default functionality resulting in such a convoluted WiFi setup for 4.3+ android portables, e.g. my GS3 (4.3) was refusing to connect to MediaStation Air WiFi because it had no internet available (it kept disabling that connection with message "network disconnected because internet connection is slow"). The solution is to go to Advanced settings on WiFi scan screen and uncheck the option called "Auto network switch" (aka "check for internet service" in some android revisions), then it keeps the connection alive and allows for using the Mediastation Air 2 android app so you can configure the device to your liking (e.g. add Internet access from home/work 2.4GHz wifi router).

Device instantly powered up when connected to my Windows PC via USB 3.0, file transfers were fast and everything in this part was smooth as butter.
Charging time of device's battery can be lengthy, for me it took 3 hours until it was all fully charged (green light instead of red)

All in all I recommend this device, especially if you can get it on promo deal pricing, because it simply rocks! So many features in one small portable HDD, I think I fell in love with mine :)

READ FULL REVIEW
BUFFALO WHR-300HP2D AirStation N300 Open Source DD-WRT Wireless Router IEEE 802.11b/g/n
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: +open-source firmware out of box giving a good start for going into right direction
+processor clocked @ 580MHz and lots of RAM for intensive networking use (64MBis impressive)
+nice looking and lightweight case allowing for space-saving vertical setup on integrated stand
+real life speeds over wifi on some wifi devices seem improved (at least over IPv4) over my much older N-band Linksys E2000

Other PART1/3:
Some of you might be curious why I do not brawl about DD-WRT features here, well, they are just that - features provided by DD-WT firmware and they have nothing to do with Buffalo router itself nor the Buffalo company.

Personally I've been running DD-WRT since around build 9000 (whatever the exact number was, most current is 24000) and kep upgrading it over years. DD-WRT gave me a great boost in funtionality of my various routers (both home and small business use) however I personally find this firmware a bit lacking in N-speed support (mixed results depending on build you try), VLAN support (some router models are crashing on generic VLAN configuration GUI, so use of text console commands is only way to get this to work) and lastly ... the main reason why I dropped DD-WRT all together is because it does NOT provide out of the box support for native IPv6! That last is something that you get natively from other open-source flavors like Tomato 1.28 (e.g. the 7505 build by Toastman which I use here now).
See for yourself, IPv6 seems to be boosting over-wifi speed connectivity in my cases, while giving pretty much same speeds over wired connection.

I did some speedtests over the Wifi and Wired connections utilizing my Comcast 100/10 Internet connection on Sunday afternoon in a very congested apartment block here in New Jersey (over 30 APs in wifi range, crowded channels on 2.4GHz WiFi which I use as not all my devices support 5GHz wifi).
As mentioned, wifi channels are crowded here, in my apartment alone I can see/scan nearly 40 APs across various channels, there is always at least a few other active ap's on any 2.4Ghz channel.

My test environment at moment includes 2 wifi (android) tablets, a wifi enabled smartphone, 2 laptops and a wired desktop and networked printer.

Cons: -price on higher side a for device utilizing only a 100Mbit switch and opensource (free!) firmware
-range is pretty POOR out of box, actually about 20% shorter than on my old Linksys E2000 at standard settings
-no out-of-the-box IPv6 support on DD-WRT firmware
-real life speeds are lacking in wired department (100mbit switch!) when copying large data between 2 wired computers connected through this router it can get really painful
-real life speeds over wifi on some of my wifi devices seem about the same as with much older router I bought for $20 years ago
-DD-WRT GUI reported router's CPU (Ralink MT7620A ver:2 eco:3) speed as 580MHz, Buffalo advertises it as 600MHz, I don't personally like such rounding up in advertising
-case has intergrated stand and so the wall mounting is not possible without modding
-getting up to 120Mbps downstream via wired connection on my old Linksys E2000 flashed with tomato 1.28.7505.2 while I get only up to 95Mbps on brand new Buffalo AirStation N300 (over same wired connection) ... not impressed, but it's what it is!

OTHER PART2/3:
1. old Linksys E2000 354MHz @ 453MHz running Tomato 1.28.7505 (MIPSR2-Toastman-RT K26 VLAN-VPN flavor)
a) recent i7-3770K @ 3.5/4.7GHz performance desktop running Windows 8.1 x64 Pro and a wired Intel 82579V Gigabit NIC
IPv4: downstream peak 101.89Mbps, avg 100.33Mbps / upstream peak 12.48Mbps, avg 11.43Mbps
IPv6: downstream peak 96.32Mbps, avg 92.00Mbps / upstream peak 11.84Mbps, avg 11.39Mbps

b) new HP Envy laptop (Intel i7-4800MQ @ 2.7/3.7GHz) running Windows 8.1 x64 Home and a wifi Realtek 8188EE b/g/n NIC
IPv4: downstream avg 8.67Mbps / upstream avg 11.42Mbps
IPv6: downstream avg 52.53Mbps / upstream avg 10.26Mbps

c) ancient Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop (AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-62 2.1GHz) running Windows 7 32-bit Pro and a wifi Dell 1505 N-draft NIC
IPv4: downstream peak 17.26Mbps, avg 15.89Mbps / upstream peak 11.39Mbps, avg 10.55Mbps
IPv6: downstream peak 63.70Mbps, avg 55.23Mbps / upstream peak 11.74Mbps, avg 11.35Mbps

Other Thoughts: OTHER PART3/3:
2. Buffalo AirStation N300 running factory DD-WRT flavor, mine was flashed with Standard build 22750
a) recent i7-3770K @ 3.5/4.7GHz performance desktop running Windows 8.1 x64 Pro and a wired Intel 82579V Gigabit NIC
IPv4: downstream peak 95.00Mbps, avg 94.50Mbps / upstream peak 12.98Mbps, avg 11.68Mbps
IPv6: no support

b) new HP Envy laptop (Intel i7-4800MQ @ 2.7/3.7GHz) running Windows 8.1 x64 Home and a wifi Realtek 8188EE b/g/n NIC
IPv4: downstream peak 8.70Mbps, avg 6.93Mbps / upstream peak 11.88Mbps, avg 11.44Mbps
IPv6: no support

c) ancient Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop (AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-62 2.1GHz) running Windows 7 32-bit Pro and a wifi Dell 1505 N-draft NIC
IPv4: downstream peak 36.92Mbps, avg 28.03Mbps / upstream peak 11.89Mbps, avg 11.47Mbps
IPv6: no support

3. Reconnected my old E2000 and what you know, Xfinity speedtest reported up to 120Mbps on IPv4 downstream and 111Mbps on IPv6 :)


NOTE:
*Comcast Xfinity Speedtest is powered by Ookla, it reports both IPv4 and IPv6 protocol speeds, as an average and peak results as opposed to Speedtest.net tester which reports only peak speeds and only for classic IPv4.
The linked xfinity speedtest stage results however do not include peak speeds (only averages), but they do include IPv6 results.
** wifi card in my wife's Envy laptop might need attention (drivers?) or replacement with another brand, during this test I noticed how bad the results on it were consistently over IPv4.

READ FULL REVIEW
Seagate ST500LM021 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 2.5
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

5 out of 5 eggs Surprised! FAST constant 7200RPM 04/29/2014

This review is from: Seagate ST500LM021 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 2.5" Laptop Thin Hard Drive

Pros: *Quiet
*Fast er than most 7200RPM drives I've seen so far
*Constant 7200RPM, all the way with no SSHD crawl when often shuffling large file around
*Potentially the new feature regarding “Seagate SmartAlign technology provides easy transition to 4K sectors” makes the whole world of difference here!

Quick & dirty test with Crystal Disk mark on my ancient SATA1 test laptop (specs below) running daily apps in background netted quite awesome results!
Sequential Read speed: 141.5MB/s
Sequential Write speed: 138.5MB/se
Wow!

Cons: Nothing major, but it could be a bit cheaper in the world of cheap SSHD and plummeting prices of SSD

Wondering if it could also include a MLC NAND cache module for boosting even further the performance of most frequently accessed files! ... But that's probably asking for too much ;)

Other Thoughts: This time was trying to compare this laptop drive with some competition coming from same vendor :)
The test units were:
1. Seagate Momentus 250GB SATA2 (7200RPM and 16MB cache)
2. Seagate Thin SSHD SATA3 (5400RPM platter, 64MB cache and sporting a NAND MLC/8GB chip)
3. Seagate Momentus Thin HDD SATA3 (7200RPM, 32MB cache, no NAND boost)

Results are interesting, all tests done on same hardware and software.

From lack of spare hardware the comparison was done on a very old SATA1/1.5G laptop Dell Inspiron 1501 (running AMD Turion x64 Dual Core CPU and Windows 7 32-bit), using HD Tune 2.55, speeds are listed as min/max/avg/burst/access time:
a) Seagate Momentus 250GB ST9250410AS: 36.4MB/s / 99.7MB/s / 77.6MB/s / 132.0MB/s / 15.8ms
b) Seagate Thin SSHD 500GB ST500LM000: 43.9MB/s / 115.4MB/s / 86.7MB/s / 145.4MB/s / 2.8ms
c) Seagate Momentus Thin 500GB ST500LM021: 67.9MB/s / 138.3MB/s / 110.5MB/s / 117.9MB/s / 16.9ms

And here same laptop and Seagate drive under Windows 8.1 x64, running drivers selected by installer (no vendor drivers installed for anything):
Seagate Momentus Thin 500GB ST500LM021: 46.0MB/s / 136.1MB/s / 107.3MB/s / 123.8MB/s / 17.0ms

The results are pretty consistent and also quite fast! Mind that the testing was done on SATA1 interface.

This new 7200RPM spinner drive is an excellent performer reaching way above the average and maximum transfer rates achieved by older mechanical drives. No surprise the SSHD has shortest access times.
I just wish Seagate returned to idea of coupling 7200RPM drives with NAND boost, I guess that was just too good to last for long.

NOTE:
When using SATAII/III expect much higher benchmarks! Mine were done on SATA1 interface for comparison only, not for top notch numbers.

READ FULL REVIEW

Kuba L.'s Profile

Display Name: Kuba L.

Date Joined: 08/17/05

Achievements:

  • Top 1000 Reviewer
  • Reviews: 70
  • Helpfulness: 21
  • First Review: 08/09/06
  • Last Review: 06/23/14
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