We hear ya: Those portraits of Grandma can really take up a lot of room on your hard drive. If you’re just looking for an easy to solution to quickly add about 1,000 gigabytes (1 terabyte) of extra memory to your system, the Buffalo DriveStation Axis Velocity 1TB external hard drive is a good place to start. A convenient plug-and-play hard drive that is compatible with both Mac and PC, the DriveStation doesn’t require much effort to set up or run.
If you’re running a Mac, the DriveStation is fully capable of integrating with Time Machine to give you more storage for your backups. For PC users, the included Buffalo Tools software allows you to set automatic backups. For either, this device offers optional 256-bit full disk encryption. The world’s fastest supercomputer would literally take millions of years to crack that. You’d think this kind of security would be a given, but a few of the drives we tested in this range had NO encryption. It’s something to keep in mind if you want to stop anyone from accessing your por… portraits of Grandma.
External Hard Drive Facts: Before we go any further: you read the title of this article, right? Right? Okay, so we’re talking about external hard drives. Not portable hard drives. External hard drives use a system similar to that in a desktop computer to access their memory, namely a spinning hard-disk drive (HDD). Conversely, portable drives use flash memory (otherwise known as SSD), which has no moving parts, making them much better at handling the rough knocks of a backpack or bag. An SSD is meant to be portable. An HDD is not.
External hard drives are cheaper per gigabyte, meaning they give you more storage for less money, while the portable drives are less susceptible to physical damage. The two devices also handle data differently. An external HDD is faster when moving large sets of data all at once — for example, saving large photo files or recording TV shows. The SSD is faster at making lots of small calculations at once, like running Photoshop or similar programs. Which one is best for you really depends on how you expect to use it.
We wanted to test these hard drives for a few different things while keeping their main purpose in mind. Namely, we wanted to see how they handled media as well as games. The Buffalo has no fan, making it quieter than the others we tested. This was a nice touch when we wanted to unwind with a Golden Girls marathon. You can hear the spinning disk in operation, but it’s pretty quiet and easily drowned out by Sophia’s classic zingers. The Buffalo stays relatively cool, though, and we never noticed any overheating.
For gaming, the Buffalo was able to wake up and start doing its thang in no time flat. Like, ready to go in less than a second. It easily handled data for the Xbox One, PlayStation4, and Wii U. While we didn’t test it specifically for PC gaming, there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t do just as well. Given its 7200 RPM speed and USB 3.0 capability, it should easily be able to run your modded version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or Fortnite.
If you’re looking to add a lot of memory quickly for a little money, and you aren’t going to be tossing this thing in your backpack, the Buffalo DriveStation is a good entry-level drive that’ll give you 1TB of extra storage, ease of use, and quiet operation.