Home » Buffalo Routers » BUFFALO MiniStation 500 GB Thunderbolt / USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive with Thunderbolt Cable – HD-PA500TU3

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BUFFALO MiniStation 500 GB Thunderbolt / USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive with Thunderbolt Cable – HD-PA500TU3

BUFFALO MiniStation 500 GB Thunderbolt / USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive with Thunderbolt Cable - HD-PA500TU3

MiniStation Thunderbolt is a high performance portable hard drive featuring the revolutionary Thunderbolt technology. Delivering the fastest interface speeds available, up to 10 Gbps, Thunderbolt is 2X faster than USB 3.0, giving you the fastest portable storage interface ever, perfect for creative professionals and multimedia enthusiasts. Housed in a sleek aluminum body, MiniStation Thunderbolt is a stylish storage companion for your laptop while on the go and at home. It includes a USB 3.0 port for convenience and universal connectivity. Instantly add capacity to your Mac or PC computer and use with Time Machine to back up and protect your important data. Its bus-powered interface requires no additional cables so transporting your data is hassle-free. MiniStation Thunderbolt is a complete portable Thunderbolt storage solution, simply plug it in to any available Thunderbolt or USB port on your Mac or PC computer and securely store files to take on the road.

  • Thunderbolt Interface
  • Interface speeds up to 10 Gbps
  • Includes High Performance USB 3.0 port
  • Thunderbolt cable included
  • Time Machine compatibility
  • Adds storage to your Mac or PC computer
  • Dual Interface Portable Hard Drive
  • Perfect for creative professionals and multimedia enthusiast

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Question by David: What should I look for in a desktop computer?
I’m looking for a computer to stream videos, movies and surf online. I need it to be able to connect to the internet Wireless too. And if it could play blue ray movies that would be awesome! Thanks for any suggestions.

Best answer:

Answer by randomguy7560
Here is a good set-up for everything you’ve labeled:


Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

Wooww, nice product! I want to share this product!

What customers say about BUFFALO MiniStation 500 GB Thunderbolt / USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive with Thunderbolt Cable – HD-PA500TU3?

  1. 116 of 118 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    High quality components and good performance limited by 5400RPM drive, July 12, 2012
    Y. Lee (Colorado Springs, CO) –


    The aluminum frame and plastic top look great and feel great in my hands. Very solid with no flex. The two pieces are glued together using some kind of sticky tape (very similar to the glue on the Apple Time Capsule) and it was very difficult to open the case. I do not recommend that you try it!

    Once the top and bottom frames are separated, the entire PCB-HD-shieldcage assembly is held together with 6 high-quality screws. These were really well machined screws, with nicely polished beveled edges! (Every little thing counts.)

    The circuit board appears to be very well made, with plenty of SMDs, metal shielding and grounding. Both the USB and Thunderbolt ports are grounded with the drive through a metal cage. I think the circuit board “fit and finish” quality almost matches the logic board on my macbook pro.

    The hard drive is a SAMSUNG Spinpoint M8 HN-M101MBB. The sticker on the drive has both Seagate and Samsung printed on it. My drive had a manufacture date of May 2012. This is the normal 9.5mm laptop drive, which sells for $100. Buffalo did not cheap out and use the thicker drives!

    The case worked with other 2.5″ 9.5mm height hard drives, so I may be replacing the drive with a SSD in the future. I have not tested alternate drives yet.

    GREAT VALUE at $230:
    1. The 1TB drive is worth $100.
    2. The enclosure/case and circuitry is easily worth $50 in my opinion. It would be hard to find a similar quality USB 3.0 only case at this price. (Despite the glue!)
    3. The included cables (Thunderbolt + USB 3) are worth at least $50. (But, the cables are short.)

    I paid $229.00, which was the original launch price, and it was a great value. However, at $270 the Seagate Drive with easy-exchange interface looks better to me… Seagate GoFlex 1 TB Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive for Mac with Thunderbolt Adapter (STBA1000104)

    The external sticker says Made in Japan. However the hard drive is Made in China.

    This drive works great on my Macbook Air 2011 and Macbook Pro 13″ 2011. However, the drive was not recognized in my Macbook Pro until I applied the Apple’s thunderbolt firmware software update.

    The brochure for the drive make it sound like this drive will run at pure thunderbolt speeds. However that is misleading. A 5400RPM drive simply cannot saturate the thunderbolt interface. The drive reads and writes around 100MB/s over thunderbolt on my 2011 Macbook Pro 13″. That is still very fast compared to USB 2.0 and slightly faster than FW800; but it is definitely not “twice as fast as USB 3.0”. The drive reaches around 30 MB/s in USB 2.0 mode.

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  2. 51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Premium performance, build quality, and aesthetics, July 25, 2012
    Ed (San Francisco Bay Area) –
    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)

    This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation 500 GB Thunderbolt / USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive with Thunderbolt Cable – HD-PA500TU3 (Personal Computers)
    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What’s this?)

    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.

    – Fast Thunderbolt performance
    – Fast USB 3.0 performance
    – Aluminum enclosure
    – Comes with Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 cables
    – Great looking drive
    – 3 year warranty

    – Thunderbolt cable gets hot

    The Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt drive is definitely a looker and made to compliment the aesthetics of modern MacBooks. The sides of the aluminum case are silver and the lid is white. The overall build quality is excellent, with a solid feel and heft.

    The bottom of the drive has two U-shaped strips of rubber to keep the drive steady on a flat surface and to absorb some of the vibration from the spinning hard drive. The back of the drive has just two ports–the USB 3.0 port and Thunderbolt port. There’s also a thin white light that’s located slightly on the underside of the drive, that acts as a power/activity LED. It’s a little bigger than most portable hard drives, so you might find it a little more difficult to find a case for it.

    The Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt drive does not come with any software or extras, other than the cables. However, the fact that it comes with a Thunderbolt cable is a big deal, since Thunderbolt cables can cost over $50 by themselves.

    It comes pre-formatted for the Mac (HFS+), but can easily be reformatted to NTFS, if that’s your preference. There’s only one PC laptop that I know of that includes a Thunderbolt port, so for now, Thunderbolt drives will appeal mostly to Mac users.

    Buffalo makes the enclosure, but obviously not the hard disk inside. The drive inside is actually a Samsung Spinpoint M8 drive, rebadged as a Seagate ST500LM012 HN-M500MBB drive (Seagate bought Samsung’s hard disk business). It’s a 9.5 mm, 5400 RPM drive with an 8GB cache.

    I tested both the USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt interfaces on a MacBook Air (June 2012). Sequential transfer rates were outstanding for both interfaces, but due to the limitations of the internal hard drive, both interfaces performed similarly at around 103 MB/s read and 104 MB/s write. When I connected the drive to a Windows PC (reformatted to NTFS), I got slightly better performance at 112 MB/s read and 111 MB/s write.

    I noticed that the drive got fairly warm during my testing, which meant that the enclosure was doing its job of keeping the drive cool. The aluminum enclosure is necessary to cool the internal hard drive, as well as the Cactus Ridge Thunderbolt controller board. Even with a heavy load during intensive benchmarking, the drive didn’t get any hotter than about 42°C, which falls within safe operating temperatures.

    It’s also worth mentioning that both ends of the Thunderbolt cable get hot during normal use, though not too hot to handle. Apparently, this is normal for an active cable, like a Thunderbolt cable. Both ends of the Thunderbolt cable have integrated chips in them, which generate heat. Passive cables, like USB and FireWire, don’t generate any heat. Buffalo assured me that the heat is normal, and presumably safe.

    The Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 drive performs very well on both interfaces. For those with newer MacBooks that have USB 3.0 ports, there really isn’t a speed advantage to owning a Thunderbolt drive, since the two interfaces perform similarly. The only advantage would be in freeing up a USB port. The Buffalo Thunderbolt MiniStation has a bigger advantage for owners of older Macs with USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt. The performance advantage of Thunderbolt over USB 2.0 is huge and well worth the upgrade.

    I highly recommend the Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt portable hard drive. It’s a great looking drive, with terrific performance and value for those who’d benefit from the Thunderbolt connection.

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  3. 94 of 109 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Read reviews before buying, August 18, 2012
    G. Lamonte

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    I purchased the Buffalo Technology Ministation 1.0 TB Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 drive expecting some decent speed from the Thunderbolt connection however after testing the drive with Blackmagic disc speed test I found the results to be disappointing. After several test I averaged around 95 MB/s Read and Write. Matching USB 3.0 speed. I contacted Buffalo Technology for clarification as they label this a Thunderbolt drive.

    “The USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt interfaces on this unit both have about the same transfer rates.

    You should be seeing between 80MB/s and 105MB/s. It sounds like the unit is functioning correctly.”

    Thank you,
    Buffalo Technical Support

    So it’s a comparatively expensive USB 3.0 drive. This is the type of product that might be a match for a very small amount of people like me who have a Thunderbolt connection but lack 3.0. Other than that it is to expensive, you can find much cheaper USB 3.0 options on the market.

    ON the positive side Buffalo Tech contacted me quickly and answered the question honestly. I just wish they would label this product correctly; Its a USB 3.0 drive with USB 3.0 speed that can be connected using the Thunderbolt cable.

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  4. Any basic pc will go online. But as far as blue ray’s, you’ll prob spen around 500-900 for a good pc. I would look at www.compusa.com or tigerdirect.com they have really good deals for you to check out. Have fun :)

  5. Well, you want to focus on the wireless or internet cards in the desktop, try and get a faster card using 802.11 G or N, i cannot stress the G or N anymore, these are the best.
    You want to get a fast router so when looking for a computer, you may want to upgrade your router, to make sure you get the best speeds possible to ensure a smooth internet experience. Also try looking for the best internet provider in your area to get fast speeds, so you may be able to stream full HD films to your desktop!
    As for the Blu-Ray, you can either look for a desktop with Bluray built in, or you could just buy an internal blu ray player for around 50 pounds. This would go underneath your original dvd writers etc on the front of your desktop tower.
    And with the desktop, I reccomend buying a nippy desktop, to future proof for a while, so ensure you buy a desktop with multiple cores in its processor, so look for words like “Dual Core” or “X2, X4” etc.
    Have a look at non high street brand desktops, as these will give more “bang for your buck” and will be hand built and made in quality. Try Mesh. You can get a cheap build which gives you money to buy a Bluray drive.
    take a look at their value desktops, for the 299 one you get a good set up with a 3.1GHz dual core (making it 6.2GHz) processor, also leaving room for a blu ray drive and a better wireless router.
    For a router, i reccomend the “DrayTek Vigor 2110n” which is the best around under 100 pound at the moment, or if that is too expensive go for the “Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH” Just google them. The DrayTek is around 90 pound, and the Buffalo is 69.
    as for the blu ray drive, you only pay alot if you want to WRITE blu rays, for a plain READER which means you have to use your dvd drives to write to dvd, but you cant use Blu Ray discs to write, you can get them cheap. Try amazon. Here is one for you:
    this one can also write dvds despite what i said above. and is only about 54 pounds! You just need the no how to install it internally, but this is easy, just yahoo answer it later, or google it.

    Hope I have helped

    EDIT – Also you may need to upgrade your graphics card, but all you need for blu ray is a cheap ATI HD Radeon 5450 which isnt good enough for gaming, but your not doing that are you?
    Altogether, this makes your set up, if you buy the 299 desktop i reccommended from mesh, and the other hardware, minimally around 400 pound, or if you go for the more expensive router, then 450, not bad I think eh?
    Another Edit – You only need the faster routers etc of yours isnt that fast at the moment, otherwise dont bother.

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