While the benchmark results may seem underwhelming when compared to some of the more recent drives we have tested like the Barracuda XT, the feeling goes away as soon as you remember that we are testing an external drive! USB 3.0 has delivered internal performance in an external case that should be as common as USB 2.0 is now by the middle of next year. We are already starting to see motherboard makers like GIGABYTE implementing USB 3.0 in their latest designs and looking to build new X58 chipset boards with USB 3.0 included. Just like with USB 2.0, we should start to see add-in boards with the new standard and exciting new products that can take advantage of the new standard.
Of all the external enclosure manufacturers, I didn't expect Buffalo to be the first company to actually get products on the market. Seagate, Western Digital or one of the motherboard manufacturers would have been my first guess, but it appears that Buffalo Tech pulled it off and delivered the first consumer USB 3.0 enclosure.
The Buffalo HD-HXU3 is constructed very well, much better than any of the enclosures that are sold without a drive that I have tested. Their implementation of USB 3.0 works very well and we didn't experience any issues with the unit at all. When it comes to cost, the MSRP looks a little steep; our 1TB model should be available soon for around 199.99 USD. Since most 1TB HDDs are available for less than 80 Dollars, you are paying a premium to have the latest technology. To take advantage of USB 3.0 you are also going to need a motherboard with USB 3.0 or at least a PCIe USB controller card and that will also raise your initial cost of ownership.
In the long run USB 3.0 will be more widespread than eSATA and within a year nearly all new PCs will have USB 3.0 onboard, even though Intel will not have it built into their chipsets until 2011.
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