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Item#: 9SIA66K31E9097

BUFFALO MiniStation Thunderbolt 1TB 2.5" USB 3.0 / Thunderbolt Portable Hard Drive Model HD-PA1.0TU3

  • USB3.0 and Thunderbolt
  • All cables included
  • Interface Speeds up to 10 Gbps
  • 3 year Warranty

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  • Overview
  • Specifications
  • Warranty & Returns
  • Reviews

Learn more about the Buffalo Technology HD-PA1.0TU3


MiniStation Thunderbolt



Physical Spec

Form Factor


USB 3.0 / Thunderbolt


Unparalleled Speed

USB Compatibility

Time Machine Backup

Compact And Convenient

All Cables Included

Client OS Support: Mac OS X 10.5 - 10.7, Windows 7 (32/64-bit), Windows Vista (32/64-bit), Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 (32-bit), Windows Server 2003 R2 (32-bit), Windows Server 2008 (32/64-bit), Windows Server 2008 R2 (64-bit)

Package Contents

Package Contents
MiniStation Thunderbolt
Thunderbolt Cable (19.7 in)
USB 3.0
Cable (19.7 in)
Warranty Statement
Warranty, Returns, And Additional Information
  • Warranty
  • Limited Warranty period (parts): 3 years
  • Limited Warranty period (labor): 3 years
  • Read full details

Customer Reviews of the Buffalo Technology HD-PA1.0TU3

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  • N/A
  • 4/6/2015 7:13:45 PM
  • Ownership: less than 1 day
  • Verified Owner

2 out of 5 eggsUnservicable

Pros: Seems to be functioning, the Thunderbolt portion, haven't tested USB

Cons: The enclosure is completely unserviceable. Think you'll replace that 1 TB drive with a nice SSD? Think again. They *glued* the two pieces of enclosure together and then used a bunch of clips inside to secure the circuit board to the top part of the enclosure. Servicing this thing makes opening an iPad look super easy.

Other Thoughts: Two stars because of complete lack of serviceability.

Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  • Howie
  • 8/23/2013 1:33:12 PM
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsFAILED within just 2 months!

Pros: Great transfer speeds (when it works)

Cons: Thunderbolt port FAILED after just 2 months!

Other Thoughts: After only 2 months, the Thunderbolt port failed. I bought this drive specifically to use as a Thunderbolt drive with a MacBook Pro late 2011, so USB 3 is not an option. When I contacted Buffalo support about the problem, they told me that the policy is for me to return the drive AT MY EXPENSE, wait 3-5 days, and then they would send a replacement. The whole process would take about 7-10 business days. That is not acceptable. I have had a couple of Seagate drives fail, and on both occasions, they offered me an advance replacement option, and they did not charge me for shipping the product back to them. I will NEVER buy another product made by Buffalo again.

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

  • Howie
  • 8/3/2013 6:53:04 AM
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsWorks great!

Pros: Very fast data transfers, quite operation. I like the dual interface (Thunderbolt and USB 3).

Cons: None so far

Other Thoughts: This is a great drive for anyone who has an Apple laptop with limitd SSD storage, but needs to carry a lot of data. There is absolutely no lag when open and work with large files directly from the drive. This drive makes a great Time Machine backup drive, and it works great as a boot drive too if you need to work with different OS builds. Having the dual interface means that I can keep the Thunderbolt cable with my laptop, and connect the USB 3 cable to my Mac mini for easy large data transfers between both computers. I've read a few bad reviews about this drive, but mainly from people who don't understand what they have. True, the drive inside the enclosure is not interfacing at the full 10GB that Thunderbolt is capable of, but you can't blame Buffalo for that. You will still get the full speed of what ever the transfer rate of the internal drive is, and that's much faster than Firewire, or USB 2.

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

4 out of 5 eggsNice, but worth the money?

Pros: The drive is nice. It's fast (especially when using the thunderbolt connection.) It's made of solid constructed materials, and I would assume it's fair to say this thing could take a beating. The drive is very, very quiet and doesn't vibrate much when it's running. Not as much compared to my other external drives, too. I have not tried opening the drive to see if the internal drive is swappable. Pretty nice to have such a large volume of storage at the speed you can have using thunderbolt. In my actual application & usage, the thunderbolt transfer was about 1.5x the speed of USB 3.0. That may vary depending on what your computer's specs are, what you're transfering, and how long you're transfering it for though. Under USB 3.0 I got normal-high transfer speeds, with no real complaints.

Drive was easilly recognized on a MacBook Pro, and another computer running Linux Mint 14.

Cons: Windows didn't particularly "play well" with the drive, at first. Even using the instructions with the drive, I had to use some prior Windows-knowledge to get the drive actually recognized by the OS.

Aside from that, the only real con is also the price.

Other Thoughts: You can buy a hard drive of this volume and a caddy combined for cheaper, and assemble it yourself. It would take all of fifteen minutes, if even that long, and it may be more rigid/protected, quieter, and just as faster (possibly faster depending on the internal drive.)

Over all, I give the product a high rating for it's performance and build quality. But I'm rating it at 4/5, which even that is a little high I think, considering it's price-point. I could see maybe $150 for this, MAYBE $175 inside of a store. But normally it's priced at $280. Which is way too high. And even with NewEgg's incredible discounts, it's still quite too high of a price for what you are getting. If they doubled the storage to 2TB and kept the price tag, well, then we could talk...

Over all, a nice, good product. Not dissappointing. But "buyer's remorse" may set in if you're money-conscious.

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

4 out of 5 eggsRespectable Drive - Pricy for it's Performance

Pros: Contains a Seagate 5200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s HDD.

Included very simple instructions for novice users on re-formatting the drive for Windows NTFS.

Includes Thunderbolt Cable (& USB of course).

Sturdy construction.

No external power adapter needed.

Overall respectable performance.

I have had no operational problems with the drive on the two test systems I used it on. An MSI Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt powered system and an ASUS Sabertooth 990FX powered system. Using Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 respectively.

Cons: The drive does run a bit warmer than any other external 2.5 drives I have personally used. Getting into the upper 90's F sitting on the desktop. Kept it a bit cooler sitting on top of the cases since both have upper exhaust fans.

Very pricy considering the capacity and performance when compared to other USB 3.0 capable external 2.5 inch drives. However, it's on par with the very limited selection of Thunderbolt capable drives in the same category.

Downward facing indicator light is hard to see, but nice if you prefer the more passive lighting.

Performance between USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt is not all too impressive with this drive, it is faster, but not by much. (See Other Thoughts)

Other Thoughts: 931 GB capacity formatted NTFS

In my "real world" testing, the speeds of the drive between Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 were not very impressive, however overall respectable. Using it to backup 4GB and 8GB video and archive files on an empty drive.

Thunderbolt 4GB file: Averaged about 111 mb/s write and 114 mb/s read.
Thunderbolt 8GB file: Average about 99 mb/s write and 116 mb/s read.

USB 3.0 4GB file: Average about 108 mb/s write and 112 mb/s
USB 3.0 8GB file: Average about 96 mb/s write and 108 mb/s

So as you can see, not a huge performance gap at all, but overall good performance.

The drive is not capable of using the thunderbolt interface to it's true capacity, perhaps future drives will change this. In all reality, this drive is best left as USB 3.0 based on performance, however that also means there are many other less expensive alternatives out there to choose from. Making it difficult to recommend this drive to anyone other than those who want the Thunderbolt connectivity but not it's full performance.

Overall, it seems like a very nice drive, it just can't do the Thunderbolt interface justice. However it does make a respectable USB 3.0 drive. So I guess in the end it comes down to the performance you want, what interface you want to use, and how much you want to spend. There are not a lot of Thunderbolt interface drives like this out there just yet.

If this drive was at a lower price point, to compete with USB 3.0, I would have no problems recommending it. I am giving it a 4 out of 5 based on the fact it's a nice drive, it seems to work well, but not being able to take advantage of Thunderbolts capability and the price stop me from going 5 out of 5.

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

4 out of 5 eggsA bit heavy, and pricey (for a 1TB drive)

Pros: The drive inside is Samsung/Seagate:
- Model: ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
- Firmware: 2AR20003
- LBA: 1953525168
- Logical Sector Size 512 bytes
- Cache size 16384 KB
- Form factor 2.5"
- RPM 5400
- Interface SATA Gen2 3.0 Gb/s

Maximum Data Rate is 110MB/sec (empty), dropping to: [a] 90MB/sec (half full), [b] 70MB/sec (3/4 full), [b] 50MB/sec (almost full).
USB 3.0 supports 4X the drive speed, Thunderbolt supports 8X, but both are throttled by the speed of the drive.

Out of the box, its Formatted for Mac. Includes (easy to read) paper instructions to re-format for Windows.

Comes with both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt cables (Thunderbolt cables are expensive, like $40). Both cables are white.

White (Mac owners love white). Silver (rounded) on the edges. Doesn't show fingerprints.

Cute white status Light (pointing downward, so can be hard to see). Comes in a cute Box (which opens from the side, like a book).

Three year warranty.

I had no issues doing a Windows System Image Backup to the drive.

Cons: About 2X the price of a typical 1TB USB 3.0 external drive (but Mac owners have LOTS of money -lol).

Heavier than other 1TB external drives. Unclear why?

Runs a little warm (39 C) while transferring 300 GB of files to the drive.

Other Thoughts: If you think you are going to get full Thunderbolt speed (10 Gbit/sec) you will be disappointed (you will get about an eight).

Always remember, all hard drives have delicate moving parts inside (unlike SSDs). Do NOT move the drive while it is plugged in.

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

3 out of 5 eggsThunderBolt, USB 3.0 ... more power?

Pros: *The Buffalo Ministation Thunderbolt Drive is a device for Mac users in many senses; although the Thunderbolt speed is not all that enticing.*
- The Ministation drive itself has sleek, beautiful aesthetics. The top is white with a fine matte finish (Mac-esque), and the bottom and sides are a glossy silver textured finish. There is a white (again Mac-esque), subtle indicator light that glows softly, angled under the device and not in plain sight like other drives. The light is inconspicuous and attractive, but hard to see (See Cons). The build quality is striking, and I have faith that it could withstand some abuse. There are thin rubber pads on the bottom of the drive, and no ventilation holes. The drive itself looks terrific next to a MacBook Pro laptop, which is what I used for the Thunderbolt benchmarks in Other Thoughts; although, I imagine next to any Mac computer, it would appear sleek and at home.
- Included is a Thunderbolt cable - which is nice considering most "Thunderbolt" compatible devices don't come with a cable - and USB 3.0 cable. The drive features both headers. Both cables are long enough to be comfortable with use on a laptop, but can be awkward with a desktop, and are white, matching the overall color scheme.
- While under load, the drive doesn't exceed 42° C. It merely is warm to the touch. Also when in use, it is extremely quiet and practically inaudible - a welcome change from most portable HDDs.
- The drive features AAM (Automatic Acoustic Management) and APM (Advanced Power Management).
- This drive performs rather well when using Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 alike, but there isn't a striking difference in connectivity speeds from USB 3.0. The speeds are definitely fast for an external HDD, but not mind-blowing on any account. (See Other Thoughts for Benchmarks)

Cons: - The drive is heavier and larger than other USB 3.0 drives that do not feature Thunderbolt, which I assume is to be expected. But this drive is definitely larger than most and weighs a deal more.
- It is a 5400 RMP drive and not a 7200.
- Though I like the subtleness of the indicator light, if you are not looking at it eye-level, you're unable to see if it is alit from above. You'll either have to move the drive to see it or catch a reflection.
- The rubber edging on the bottom of the device isn't very stubborn. With a little bit of force, you can push it around, but in most cases, it'll stay put.
- The connectivity speeds were not amazing. I expected the Thunderbolt connectivity to honestly blow my mind and leave USB in the dust, as Buffalo claims on the drive's box packaging; however, the MB/s scaling is rather negligible, and in some points, the Thunderbolt performed worse than the USB 3.0. There are claims Thunderbolt is nearly two times faster than USB 3.0, and that may be true; though, in this drive and in this scenario, that claim is not accurate. That may be because of the limited tests/benchmark programs available on the iOS platform, or the MacBook Pro 2011 laptop I used for the benchmarks. There are variables, but Thunderbolt doesn't seem to live up to its name. Nevertheless, see below for the data as most of my conclusions are drawn from the numbers below.

Other Thoughts: - No AC adapter is needed with this drive, but an option for it and larger capacities, hence better speeds, would be nice (I'm sure that's coming in the future).
- 931 GB usable storage.
- Use either one port or the other. Do not plug both in simultaneously.
- As of right now Windows and Thunderbolt has a tenuous relationship. It seems that Bootcamp on a Mac computer running Windows 7 / 8 is capable of using the Thunderbolt interface. In Buffalo's manual it states that as of right now Windows does not support Thunderbolt (that may be outdated). However, if you are using Bootcamp, be sure to avoid hot-plugging the Ministation. For it to be recognized, the drive has to be connected via Thunderbolt during boot.
- When using the Ministation on a PC, make sure to format the drive to NTSF as it comes pre-formatted for Mac. The manual that accompanies the device explains how to do this in Disk Management. Hopefully in the near future, Intel and Windows will show more support for Thunderbolt.
- The benchmarked speeds (Below) prove that this drive is comparable to other USB 3.0 drives without AC adapters. This is why I believe the Buffalo Ministation is aimed for Thunderbolt; however, the benchmarks do not lie, and I believe the Ministation needs more power to live up to true Thunderbolt speeds. Possibly in the future, an AC adapter will reinforce similar devices to give the power Thunderbolt needs to fulfill its promised speeds.

*The benchmarks are below. The situation and program names are listed and the read/write speeds follow. For Mac and PC comparison, the cross-platform program I used was AJA System Test. The MB/s is averaged out.*

= AJA System Test = Thunderbolt = MacBook
- 2GB - Write: 100 mb/s - Read: 110.2 mb/s
- 4GB - Write: 107.6 mb/s - Read: 114.7 mb/s
- 8GB - Write: 109.9 mb/s - Read: 115.9 mb/s

= AJA System Test = USB 3.0 = PC
- 2GB - Write: 114.6 mb/s - Read: 114.8 mb/s
- 4GB - Write: 114.2 mb/s - Read: 114.1 mb/s
- 8GB - Write: 114.0 mb/s - Read: 113.5 mb/s

= Moving onto Buffalo = Thunderbolt = MacBook
- 3GB File - AVG: 118 mb/s - Time : 30 sec
- 7GB File - AVG: 101 mb/s - Time: 1 min 1 sec

= Moving onto Buffalo = USB 3.0 = PC
- 3GB File - AVG: 114 mb/s - Time : 36 sec
- 7GB File - AVG: 97.8 mb/s - Time: 1 min 25 sec

= Moving Off Buffalo = Thunderbolt = MacBook
- 3GB File - AVG: 119 mb/s - Time : 27 sec
- 7GB File - AVG: 121 mb/s - Time: 59 sec

= Moving Off Buffalo = USB 3.0 = PC
- 3GB File - AVG: 112 mb/s - Time : 30 sec
- 7GB File - AVG: 110 mb/s - Time: 1 min 5 sec

= AS SSD Benchmark = USB 3.0 = PC
- Sequential W/R - Write: 81.89 mb/s - Read: 111.21

- Overall, the Buffalo Ministation is a nice, well-rounded device, but is Thunderbolt really worth the investment yet?

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

3 out of 5 eggsThunderbox

Pros: Comes with a $50 Thunderbolt cable
Pretty good build quality, feels fairly solid and has smooth corners
Helpful instructions for novice computer users on the initialization of the drive
Has a 3 year warranty

Has a protection built in to prevent the use of both connections (Thunderbolt & USB 3.0) at the same time, it will use one or the other, in order to prevent corruption. You still should NOT plug both in at the same time.

Performance (Crystal Disk Mark - 100 MB file)
USB 3.0
Reads: 116 MB/sec
Writes: 114 MB/sec

USB 2.0
Reads: 34 Mb/sec
Writes: 29 MB/sec

USB 3.0 Real world Tests
Small Files – 3062 files
Read: 43 MB/sec
Write: 38 MB/sec

Big File – 4.7 GB file
Read: 110 MB/sec
Write: 111 Mb/sec

Cons: Runs a little warmer than comparable drives, while plugged in it hit 95 °F just idling and ran at 99 °F while transferring files. This temperature is safe and within spec from Seagate but still warmer than expected.

Feels almost twice as heavy as my other 2.5” 1 TB external drives
It’s noticeably bigger than my other 2.5” 1 TB external drives

Considering it has Thunderbolt and USB 3.0, both have enough bus power to run a 7200 RPM without an AC adapter and as such for the price it really should be.

Has only one Thunderbolt connector making daisy chaining it impossible other than putting this at the end of the chain.

The rubber feet are too short and do not hold the device still on a flat surface
Activity light is on the bottom and really can’t be seen very easily without moving the drive

Other Thoughts: The hard drive is a 5400 RPM Seagate ST1000LM024 with an 8 MB Cache and a SATA 3/Gbs interface.

To sums things up if you are a PC user I really don’t see the point in buying this considering the hard drive is not fast enough to saturate either interface and therefore makes it hard to justify buying this over a cheaper just USB 3.0 hard drive. If you are a Mac user that has Thunderbolt but not USB 3.0 than this is a good buy as it will run at the same speed as USB 3.0 as shown by the test results stated earlier over Thunderbolt.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • N/A
  • 1/31/2013 8:25:38 AM
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsShould have listened

Pros: its thunderbolt and there are not yet a lot of portable options.

Cons: won't mount and I've only used this drive about a dozen times.

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

  • N/A
  • 1/1/2013 10:13:13 AM
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsPricy but a nice portable Thunderbolt drive

Pros: Comes with a short TB cable, nice and small great complement to my MBP Retina with its little SSD drive.

Cons: A bit pricy for 1 Gig

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

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Item#: 9SIA66K31E9097
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