Thanks to the good people at Buffalo I have been looking at a couple of their products over the past few weeks.

The first of these the HD-WLSU2 : DriveStation™ Duo is the latest incarnation in a range of external storage devices that Buffalo have provided over several years.

As the name suggests this unit contains two drives and is available in both 2.0TB and 4.0TB configurations – although as this is a RAID drive you may not be able to use all that space depending on your configuration and  if it is configured as RAID1 ,like the demo device was out of the box, then you will only see half that capacity but with the benefit of being able to survive a drive failing.

One of the really nice things about this drive is that like most of Buffalo’s products it is ready to go as soon as it is unpacked. This new version supports both USB 2 and eSata and it really is just the case of choosing which of these you are going to use plugging in the relevant cable ( note you can’t use both at once ) and plugging in the power supply to get it working. 

Another nice feature is that the DriveStation will detect if your computer powers down and also power down itself – this could be a very useful Power Saving with a Media Center or HomeServer.

Build quality is excellent with a very solid feel. The drives are fitted in Hot Swappable bays behind the easily removable front cover. No tools are required to change a drive – very useful in an emergency.

The hardware RAID system which supports RAID 0 and RAID 1  seems excellent and did survive my test live pull of a single drive to simulate a failure. It rebuilt the RAID array itself once I reinserted the disk.

The supplied drives seemed very quick and quiet. In fact the unit I had was almost silent in operation.

The drive was supplied with a plethora of utilities from a to be expected RAID configuration utility to a less expected RAM Disk tool. Along the way a couple of programs to speed up disk copying are included. This TurboCopy utility uses a memory based cache to speed up copying and really does seem to work – I got about a 30% increase in copy speed. The great thing is this utility works with any drive in your system not just the Buffalo one.

One slightly annoying thing with the Buffalo toolkit for MediaCenter users is that the toolbox window it creates on start-up  can end up above the Media Center screen and partially obscuring it. The easy work round is not to start the toolbox at start-up as it seemed to be not required for the tools to run.

Another quite strange thing is you cannot configure the RAID setting unless the drive is connected by the USB port. If it is connected by eSata you cannot change the settings.

One final plus point for this unit and a really nice addition from Buffalo is that an eSata adapter bracket for your PC is included in the packaging allowing you to add an eSata port if you have a free internal Sata port. Very impressive.

The supplied backup tool from NovaStor works very well and once setup is truly fire and forget.

So what did I think overall. For the prices I have seen this retail at it, is a very good package. Having out of the box RAID capability with the ability to hot swap the drives in case of failure is fantastic. In fact the average user wouldn’t even need to have a clue what RAID was to use the drive. The inclusion of some very useful software and the eSata bracket are very nice touches and the device is very well built. I would have no hesitation in thoroughly recommending this unit.


Feature list from the Buffalo website:

  • Quick swap – 2 drive, 2 bay Direct Attached Storage
  • Achieves transfer speeds of up to 225MB/s with eSATA
  • Supports RAID 0, 1 and standard
  • Removable front panel – to quickly and easily replace faulty drives
  • Multiple connectivity with 3Gbps and 480MBps USB 2.0 connections
  • Easy to use – simply plug and play – no drivers required
  • Drive pre-formatted for immediate use
  • Eco-friendly – AutoPower feature turns the drive on and off with your PC
  • Server & PC Backup – Compatible with Windows Storage Server 2003/2008
  • A total backup solution – complete with NovaStor NovaBACKUP Business Essentials
  • SecureLockMobile™ encrypts your important personal data, preventing unauthorized access
  • Available with 2TB and 4TB capacities

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