I cover in this article why the Buffalo DriveStation desktop 3TB USB 3.0 external hard drive performs excellently and offers ample storage for a Mac user.
The good points, the things to watch, how to go about getting the Buffalo Drivestation Axis connected to your Mac.
Believe that the Buffalo Drivestation will give you the convenience a desktop hard drive that both works on a Mac
and can support your Mac and Windows computers if you need to share files between the two.
This Buffalo 3TB external hard drive provides ample file storage for your documents, video’s and music.
Buying an external hard drive is crucial to many Mac users, not only as a place to store files away from your internal drives. It is the peace of mind that comes with having to hand a secure backup.
Buffalo DriveStation Axis Velocity Review
Manufactured by Buffalo Americas Inc, a subsidiary of Melco Holdings Inc. A company that started in Japan in 1975. Since 2000 when Buffalo Americas Inc was established the brand has specialized in storage and networking and offers a suite of external hard drive solutions, that present some fine options for a Mac user.
Buffalo Drivestation’s Streamlined Design
The DriveStation’s hard drive is encased in a black sleek and stylish chassis designed for the office desktop. With dimensions of 1.52 inches x 7.44 inches x 4.83 inches and the amount of storage capacities available it occupies a modest area.
The Buffalo Drivestation Axis is cleverly designed so that the hard drive can be positioned either horizontally or vertically depending on your need for efficient use of your desktop space.
Unusual as normally mechanical spinning disks require certain orientation to perform properly. Though it is worth bearing in mind that
when the Drivestation is laid horizontally the set up guide clearly states that there is only one side you can lay it on – this is probably due to cooling requirements.
I like the tri-color LED status light, too. Aside from showing the Buffalo DriveStation’s status when it is powered on, the LED glows a different color depending on the how the hard drive is connected.
Green when connected to a Mac using USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 interfaces.
Blue when connected to a Mac capable of USB 3.0.
The Buffalo external hard drive blinks blue or green when it is working (depending on the USB interface).
Red when the Buffalo Drivestation Axis has been set up in its encrypted guise. This is a mode supported on Windows PC’s only.
Mac users have the option of setting up the Buffalo hard drive to encrypt its data when the drive is formatted through the Mac OS software – Disk Utility.
Buffalo DriveStation Axis Velocity Hard Drive Capacities
The range starts with a 1TB external hard drive
goes up to a 2TB external hard drive,
the Buffalo 3TB external hard drive (the version I am reviewing here),
And there are DriveStations in 4TB, 6TB and 8TB options.
A wide choice with the larger disk capacities appealing particularly to those with large photo farms, video editing or HD video’s to store.
With the Buffalo 3TB sized drive proving to be particularly popular.
Fan Less Design
Buffalo DriveStation features a fan less design for quieter operation, a boon for people who want minimum background noise aside from their music.
It is always useful to know what others who have actually purchased the drive think.
Take a look at the Amazon Reviews on the Buffalo DriveStation desktop 3TB USB 3.0 external hard drive to get an idea of what been said about it. Click on the link and scroll to the end of the page to read the reviews.
Most users who have left a review are happily using their DriveStations.
What is in the Box
- The Buffalo DriveStation Axis Velocity
- Quick Setup Guide
- USB 3.0 Cable
- Power Adaptor
I’ve included a link to the Quick Setup Guide here so that you can take a look at it ahead of deciding on your purchase.
And a link to the User Manual supplied on the DriveStation so that you can take a look at that also.
On the hard drive is a Formatting Guide –
a PDF document, which you may find useful to look at ahead of making your choice. I’ve included that here for you.
Buffalo 3TB Fast Drive Speed
The Drivestation Axis Velocity internally has a 7,200 RPM hard drive which in terms of consumer grade drives for the desktop is a fast hard drive.
The Axis performed very well for a drive of its class in our tests.
Expect that when you are using a Mac with the faster USB 3.0,port, the data transfer speeds should be in the region of 100 mbytes per second. Three to four times faster when compared to a Mac using a USB 2.0 connection.
Buffalo DriveStation 3TB Physical Connection to a Mac
The Buffalo 3TB external hard drive comes by default with a USB 3.0 interface. The interface is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 as per the USB standards. One thing to bear in mind.
You may have a Mac with a USB 3.1 port, and the very newest Mac’s all have Thunderbolt ports (USB C).
The Thunderbolt (USB C) port protocols are compatible with USB 3.0 and for that matter USB 2.0 but the connections are physically different.
To connect to a Mac with a Thunderbolt (USB C) port you will need to source a Thunderbolt, Apple USB-C to USB adaptor cable.
Once you have one of those you’ll be good to connect away and use the Buffalo external hard drive on your Mac.
I have an article on the site that has pictures of the different USB ports available on a Mac and their connections if you are unsure of what you have and would like to take a look – link to connecting up a hard drive.
Set Up of the Buffalo DriveStation on your Mac
The Buffalo DriveStation Axis comes preformatted to FAT32 for plug and play connectivity to a Windows PC.
FAT32 is an MSDOS format file system that your Mac can read but cannot write to. But don’t worry about that and I’ll tell you why in a second.
The Mac will see the Buffalo external hard drive when it is connected.
Your Mac needs to be powered on and up and running before you connect the DriveStation Axis Velocity.
The Drivestation will appear as an icon on your desktop.
Double click on the drive’s icon and a finder window onto the drive will open up. You should see two pre-installed files.
The User Manual and a Formatting Guide.
So that you can look at them if you want to later, copy these two files onto your Mac before you start the process of setting up the hard drive for the Mac.
Select the files in the finder and copy them into a finder window in a directory on your Mac, or even onto the Desktop if you want to temporarily store them there.
The Buffalo Drivestation Axis will need to be reformatted to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system before you can use it on the Mac to create folders on, or copy or paste your file onto or
to use as a backup drive with Time Machine.
This takes a short time and is done by using the command on Mac OS called Disk Utility.
The Drivestation can also be formatted to ExFAT so that it can be shared as a whole drive between a Mac and a PC or
You can if you want, partitioned the Drivestation up so that certain parts of the drive can be shared between a Mac and a Windows PC or
certain parts to act as a Time Machine backup if you wish to do that.
Perfect for a drive with a large capacity and fast performance.
This is all easily done and I have several articles on the site detailing how to this. They are;
“How to connect an external hard drive up to your Mac“. Covers the few minutes it will take you to format the Buffalo Drivestation 3TB.
“How to Backup to an External Hard Drive“. The article describes how to connect a drive up to Time Machine.
“External hard drive for Mac and PC that’s Interchangeable” explains how to Partition up your Buffalo Drivestation Axis.
All the documents have pictures and a video to watch that shows you how super quick and easy this is.
Even for the technically challenged.
One last thing – Unplugging The Buffalo External Hard Drive
And indeed any external hard drive you have connected to your Mac.
Don’t unplug the drive while the LED light at the front is blinking Blue or Green showing the drive is being accessed by your Mac.
You risk corrupting the information on the hard drive. As is the usual procedure with all external hard drives connected to your Mac. If you want to disconnect the drive, eject the drive first so that the Mac writes all that it needs to down to your external hard drive.
Right click on the icon of the Buffalo Drivestation on your desktop and select Eject.
Buffalo DriveStation Axis Pre-Installed Tools
The choice of the Buffalo DriveStation desktop USB 3.0 as an external hard drive is a reasonable one for Mac owners.
Offering a good solution for fast, easy backups.
Although it is a little pricier than other hard drives in its class in part due to the Buffalo software tools that come preinstalled on the hard drive. (Buffalo Backup Utility, Turbo PC, EcoManager, Secure Loc, Drive Encryption) Great if you are a Windows user, unfortunately these tools are not supported on a Mac.
Of course you may decide to use them for your Windows PC if you have set up the Buffalo Drivestation Axis Velocity as a shareable external hard drive.
- Range of drive capacities from 1TB up to 8TB
- Fast transfer speeds with USB 3.0 connectivity
- Stylish design with versatile placement (horizontal or vertical)
- The included Buffalo tools are Windows PC only
- No Thunderbolt connectivity. USB 3.0 connectivity available onto the newer Mac’s via a Thunderbolt (USB C) to USB 3.0 adaptor cable
The Buffalo DriveStation Axis Velocity 3TB is a excellent performing hard drive with first-class capacity options for Mac computer users offering straight forward installation and use.
And there you have it, and congratulations for sticking with me to the end. You now have an appreciation of the good points, the things to bear in mind and be in a better position to decide whether the Buffalo Drivestation Axis Velocity is the external hard drive for you.
If you are still undecided and would like to see some other options, do feel free to take a look at some of the ones I consider worth a good look at here on the site.