Peripheral and storage vendor Buffalo this week became the first in a soon-to-grow list of companies actually shipping USB 3.0 compatible devices, with the introduction of an external hard drive and Blu-ray burner. Available in 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB capacities, the former debuted as the DriveStation HD-HXU3 and should provide data transfers at rates around 130 MB per second.

In theory, the latest standard enables speeds of up to 4.8 gigabits per second -- which would work out to about 625 MB/s -- but so far USB 3.0 storage products don’t come close to their theoretical maximum. Compared to current USB 2.0 devices, however, Buffalo's external HDD should still provide a nice speed boost for those who push around large chunks of data. The HD-HXU3 comes with Memeo's AutoBackup software for Windows or Mac systems and will be priced at $199.99, $249.99, and $399.99, respectively, depending on capacity.

Additionally the company has unveiled what should be the fastest Blu-ray burner to date, a 12X Blu-ray burner with support for USB 3.0. At full speed, this means a 25GB Blu-ray disc can be written in 11 minutes. The drive can also record low-cost Blu-ray LTH (Low-to-High) discs at 6X, rewritable BD-RE discs at 2X, and DVDs at 16X and 8X for single and dual-layer discs respectively.

While the DriveStation HD-HXU3 is available to U.S. customers now, Buffalo plans to ship the new BR-X1216U3 Blu-ray burner at the end of December to its Japanese audience at a price equivalent to $451. The company is also releasing a two-port USB 3.0 PCI card, so users can upgrade their desktop PCs to support the new spec.