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Summer 2006 Memory Stick Fashion Show

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August 16, 2006 12:08:48 PM

The market is flooded with Flash memory products - how do you choose? We took a look at 12 cool solutions with capacities ranging from 512 MB to 8 GB.
August 16, 2006 12:48:23 PM

Very good review. The SuperTalent Fireball thing performs great, I just wish they'd change that cheesy fireball. No offense, but I prefer something more, eh, formal. I'd pick the tiny OCZ drive if it performed better, it is reminds me of the Motorola Razr: Tiny and it is "hip", but it falls rather short on performance.

Since asthetics are rather important on these drives, I wish you included a picture of the drives next to their names in the benchmark...It makes it easier to pick which one then having to go back to the find the page where it was and compare it to another after you see the benchmarks.

I'm kind of scared of those non-flash drives, aren't they prone to vibrate or get damaged when you drop them? What about magnets? Or are they protected from that? 1" 8GB is cool, but it has its cons, which to me, outnumber the pros. What about power consumption? Does that thing chug power like an OC'ed P4? Heat?

I've got to learn more about this U3 thing. Sounds like a very interesting program. Would solve many techs from carrying 15 CDs with diagnostic software, just this one drive with all of them on there. And he could have a few good, recommended anti-virus software programs that he could give to his "client".

Excellent round-up and keep up the good work!

~Ibrahim~
a b } Memory
August 16, 2006 3:34:23 PM

Never heard of super*talent...but hey it sure works good...

Good review
Related resources
August 16, 2006 3:53:27 PM

Ugh! I cannot believe the Sandisk Cruzer actually got top marks from Tom's when clearly the Crucial Gizmo Overdrive 2gb got the top overall. Look at its average (3rd highest access, highest read, 3rd highest write).. bloody no-brainer. I have the OCZ Rally 2gb and damn I look at its benchmarks there and am dumbfounded.. Damn man its a joke how bad it is over the Gizmo 2gb! Ughhhh! :?

Hope someday we can get 8gb the size of the current 2gb. I can dream..Then again.. 25gb would be nice.. :wink: hehe.. Maybe in 10years..
August 16, 2006 5:03:26 PM

What the gawd damn!!?!!? 8O 8O 8O 64gb Flashdrive the same size as my current OCZ 2gb Rally? WOW! $2799 though but wow.. that has got to be a fake but I guess its not. Wow!
August 16, 2006 5:56:35 PM

All flash memeory drives are extremely robust. I have accidentally washed a number of different of flash drives in hot water then dried in a clothes dryer (I left them in my pant pocket) a number of times and have absolutely no problems, even cheapo freebie drives. So water resistance is no issue, and ruggedness is only a matter if you want to step, chew, or drive over you flash drive.
August 16, 2006 6:03:37 PM

I've been waiting to order my 1st usb flash drive. This review got me motivated and I just ordered the Super Talent Fireball 2gb from NewEgg. Despite it's cheezy appearance, I opted for performance and price. Not to mention it has a lifetime warranty. I actually think the flames help it stand out should you drop it on the floor or especially in grass.
August 16, 2006 7:50:12 PM

"a few impressed us with U3 software pre-installed."

Ok, as a network admin at a University, I have to say, you guys are overlooking a HUGE problem with U3. On machines that are locked down to prevent user software installation, the U3 enabled drive will try to install software EVERY time it's plugged in. What's worse, you can't get rid of it even by formatting the flash drive; it's stored on a ROM area of the drive stored as CDFS, so it auto-runs. Bad, bad bad. U3 even have a software removal tool on their website that doesn't work, yay. There's a way around it, but man. I hate that software. Just be advised if you buy one.
August 17, 2006 1:23:33 AM

One thing I think is over looked is how to carry the thing. I like to keep it on my key ring but I don't want to have my keys hanging off my drive while I'm using it.

I have Lexar Sportser that I think has the best solution of this but is is a monster in size compaired to some of the new stuff. Also it only comes in 1 GB.
August 17, 2006 1:33:30 AM

THe solution is to get a credit-card drive, but the 100MS(HOLY CRUD!) access on the PQI is - I would have eviscerated it in the review. Those times are unacceptable for any storage device. That's slower than a floppy drive.
August 17, 2006 2:00:10 AM

Hmm, I noticed that you guys overlooked a very nice flash drive in the Patriot XPorter XT. I have a 2GB model and it is very, very fast- I see 20-22 MB/sec transfer rates on this stick.
August 17, 2006 10:01:18 AM

I bought a U3 drive because it looked interesting... but you can only run special U3 programs on it, and if you don't like any of the ones on offer, you can't uninstall U3 and revert to a dumb flashdrive. Drives don't support U3, they are U3.
August 17, 2006 9:36:40 PM

Quote:
I ordered this yesterday.


I think I am going to like it, 2GB, with password protection.
SHOCK proof and water resistant, also with 5 yr warranty
something that can be thrown around. and don't have to worry about it getting wet.

http://www.imation.com/products/flash_devices/usb_flash_clip.html


You should perhaps check the Amazon review on that thing. Seems very fragile and too easy to disassemble. Just not 100% sure if it is the same one though.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-images/B000F1...
August 17, 2006 10:51:40 PM

hmm
thanks for posting that.
just did'nt click that it could be that bad. :( 
mine is shipped anyways..so time will tell.
August 18, 2006 10:59:08 AM

Quote:
"a few impressed us with U3 software pre-installed."

Ok, as a network admin at a University, I have to say, you guys are overlooking a HUGE problem with U3. On machines that are locked down to prevent user software installation, the U3 enabled drive will try to install software EVERY time it's plugged in. What's worse, you can't get rid of it even by formatting the flash drive; it's stored on a ROM area of the drive stored as CDFS, so it auto-runs. Bad, bad bad. U3 even have a software removal tool on their website that doesn't work, yay. There's a way around it, but man. I hate that software. Just be advised if you buy one.


you should looking for WinXPE or miniPE XT.It's work fine with locked down machine you can use many program on it, just in case you don't know it.


Hmm
I just buy this one, it's very small and nice(for me...)
the dealer in here(Thailand) test it and here is the detail

Model Kingmax USB2.0 FD (S-Stick)
Connector USB 2.0
Capacity 1 GB
Access rate Read Speed > 18.5 MB/sec (Max)
Write Speed > 11.5 MB/sec (Max)

Size 34mm(W) x 12.4mm(L) x 2.2mm(T) (jusy imagine how small it is)



it may not equip with U3, may not fastest but it's small enough to put it in your wallet.

http://www.kingmaxdigi.com/product/superstick.htm
take a look and tell me if there are something you don't like about it.
I just want some opinion.

sorry for my english :p  I'm in Thailand.
August 18, 2006 3:36:51 PM

Hi there - welcome.
The more I think about it...its just a memory stick.
and pretty much aynthing should get the job done as long as it works.
August 20, 2006 10:00:26 PM

Quote:
All flash memeory drives are extremely robust. I have accidentally washed a number of different of flash drives in hot water then dried in a clothes dryer (I left them in my pant pocket) a number of times and have absolutely no problems, even cheapo freebie drives. So water resistance is no issue, and ruggedness is only a matter if you want to step, chew, or drive over you flash drive.


i've done the same thing. and the drive keeps on ticking...

very impressive.
August 24, 2006 5:28:27 PM

This is the 2nd review I have seen where the Reviewer reported slow speeds by the OCZ Rally. I have the 2 Gig version and it is much faster that what is reported on both reviews.

I mean this thing writes and writes fast. I did not see what kind of files they were copying, large, small, blend, etc. Some people copy just large files, some copy a lot of small files.

Has OCZ answered as to why there product would be this much slower in tests but not the real world? I have used pen drives back when the biggest was 32mb. I currently have a 1gb PNY Attache and the OCZ is at least 300% faster using the exact same computer and USB Port.

Inquiring minds want to know.
September 5, 2006 8:26:09 PM

I just bought a 1 GB Sandisk Cruzer after reading this article.

Comments:

The retractable connector is a plus. I keep losing caps.

First time trying out U3. I updated it and the installer does give a choice as whether you want it automatically started up when you plug in the stick :D 

You have to re-run the installer if you change your mind.

I didn't know the slider also doubled as a lamp...kinda distracting. :?

Having been through floppies, zips, cdroms, and dvds, flash is hands down best. :) 
September 14, 2006 3:51:41 AM

Looking for a low cost 8GB drive.

We use virtual machines at work and I would like to be able to bring them home, but I can't hook up my laptop to the primary domain at work and my connection is too slow when I log in from home. These VMs are 4GB-10GB unzipped.

The cheapest thing I have found is the US Modular 8GB Monstor USB Portable External Drive which is $70 after rebates at some sites like Buy.Com. This is a mini disk drive at 4200 RPM. I have seen reviews of the 4G version that talk about slow data transfer.

I have also found the A-Data 8GB flash drive for $135. But the tests Tom ran on the 4GB version indicate Slowwww write speeds.

Thoughts on which to get?

Or another drive?

Other ideas for getting the data home?
October 27, 2006 8:08:50 PM

Hi,

Would it be possible to get the wa test have been made (because i ve seen result can vary by 10 factor between 1Gb*1file and 1Gb*1000 file).

I am looking for the fatest key (for the moment the best would be according to complete test large and small files OCZ rally)

Thank for all this great test.
October 29, 2006 12:18:03 PM

Quote:
There is another application coming up for USB Flash memory products: Windows Vista will allow swapping main memory content to an available USB Flash drive to speed up application responsiveness. Given that Windows Vista will introduce a smart application prefetch mechanism called SuperFetch, having as much available memory as possible will be important. While a USB Flash memory device will not allow a system to outperform PC configurations with multiple gigabytes of physical memory, it can certainly help to speed up application switching if multiple programs are being executed. Given that memory sticks are available at less than $30, this investment really can make sense.


I've read that Flash memory isn't especially good for multiple rewrites and would wear out quickly if used as a swap drive. Is this no longer true (has it ever been?), or will most (all?) USB sticks gracefully mark worn-out blocks bad and while it's effective size will diminish it will anyway last "long enough" to be a good idea?

I have looked for non-flash USB sticks since I need a USB swap stick for a NAS that will run Slimserver for a Squeezebox, but not found any. But maybe a standard Flash stick would work then...?
October 29, 2006 5:56:26 PM

Based on what i have read, (to install linux swap on a compact flash card), it depends on the file system used. Some seem to be dedicated to flash memory in order to avoid problem with life time...
October 30, 2006 5:59:03 AM

It also seems like Flash memory can stand a much higher amount of rewrites than a few years ago. I read in a 6 year old article that the standard then was a lifetime of 100,000 rewrites, and better quality memory had been starting to up the ante to 1 million. A lot seems to have happened, maybe we now are up to around 100 million which would make it usable as a swap. But I never see any specs for that on USB memory sticks, they want us to believe they last forever.

The Vista application for USB sticks is a bit different, since it will cache applications which then wil stay on the stick. Few writes, a lot of reads. Faster than HD only because of fast seek times and "leaving the HD alone to do other stuff" - USB2 still isn't very "hot" at transfers.

Waiting for eSATA flash memory sticks and internal SATA flash solid-state disks...
!