The Buffalo DriveStation Duo is an extremely well-built external drive, housed in a tough black polymer casing that looks good. Alas, it is a bit heavy at 2.9 Kg.
Internally, it has two 250 GB SATA hard drives, 7200 rpm. The drives can be configured to work in three different modes: RAID 1 (250 GB with Reliability), Full Capacity Spanning (appearing as a single 500 GB drive for Maximum Storage), and also Normal mode (Default), where you are able to use the two hard drives independently (appearing as two separate 250 GB drives). A Windows-based utility lets you configure these modes. A little indicator at the front displays the power and individual activity status.
The Duo supports both USB and FireWire400, and there are two types of FireWire connectors-4-pin and 6-pin. You can daisy-chain more such units, but the physical design of the unit is not such that you can stack these one over another. FireWire800 is lacking.
The performance of the drive is not stellar by any standards, and it was, in fact, one of the slower ones in its category. It took 55 seconds for a 1 GB file to copy to the drive; a GB of assorted data took 69 seconds.
The Memeo Backup software that accompanies the drive is versatile, and can automatically back up your files and folders to a wide variety of destinations such as hard disk, removable drive, FTP server, Network Places, iPod, and Memeo Internet Disk (a service provided by Tanagra Inc. for Memeo Backup users, where you can back up data to a secure, private area on their servers). Secure Lock Ware is the other bundled application, which uses 256-bit AES encryption to encrypt your data.
The Duo lacks appeal for system administrators who need to take frequent backups, because of its slow performance, but the appropriate price and the software bundle seem to save its day-just about.
500 GB (2x250 GB SATA); 7200 rpm; Seek time: 11 ms; Interface: USB 2.0, IEEE1394a (4-pin and 6-pin); software: Memeo Backup, Secure Lock Ware; Dimensions: 221 mm (H) x 163 mm (D) x 99 mm (W); weight: 2.9 kg