Flash Drive or External Hard Drive? Speed is key...

Hello all,

I am looking to purchase either a USB Thumb/Flash drive or an external USB hard drive but can't find information on how the two compare. My purpose for the drive is to hold backup files that range from 4gb to 8gb. I will need to move the drive between computers frequently.

Speed is the deciding factor here. I don't want to wait 10-15 mins to write or delete an 8gb file if I don't have too.

So which is faster - a thumb drive or an external hard drive? The products I was looking at are:

Patriot Xporter XT 32GB Flash Drive


Western Digital My Passport Essential

If anyone has another sugestion that will suit my needs I'm all ears :)

Thanks in advance..
7 answers Last reply
More about flash drive external hard drive speed
  1. I think the WD passport will be much faster. Both use usb 2.0, but the transfer rate of the passport is faster.
    If speed is that critical, look for an external hard drive with a E-sata interface, or a firewire interface.
  2. I was thinking Firewire because my main computer has it but the other computer's I'll be unloading the backup files too usually don't have firewire - only usb 2.0. So firewire is not an option here.

    Also, as far as the external hard drive option - I need to make sure it can be powered by the usb port and not have to plug it in.
  3. The external hard drive will be faster for large files, the Patriot Xporter will be faster for a whole bunch of tiny files.
  4. They are both as slow as molasses.
    Patriot Flash

    justin - Decent drive

    Pros: Large capacity of 32GB. Read speed is fast. 22 ~ 24 MB/s

    Cons: Write speeds are 4 ~ 9 MB/s. The 150X thing is somewhat deceitful. I checked on the internet and after LOTS of googling I found one page that said 150X was average of 22 MB/s read AND write. That is NOT the case. I emailed Patriot to find out the exact speeds prior to ordering this drive but didn't get a responce until after I had already placed the order. I was impatient. Here is an image of the benchmark tests I ran myself:

    Other Thoughts: Email received from Patriot: Dear Justin, Here is that information: Max Read Speed 22 ~ 24MB/s Max Write Speed 4 ~ 9MB/s We thank you for choosing Patriot memory. Josue Estrada Patriot Tech Support 47027 Benicia Street Fremont, CA 94538, USA Tel: (510)438-8573 E-mail: josue@patriotmem.com
    Using a USB 2.0 connection, we were able to write a 5GB file to the drive in 6 minutes and 20 seconds, or 13.5 MBps,
    LAPTOP Magazine - Western Digital My Passport Essential (160GB)
  5. The Passport will be interface limited, so if it was 13.5MBps, it was probably a limitation of the computer it was connected to. I've seen USB2.0 external drives running around 30MBps, give or take, and that's about what I'd expect.
  6. The popular choice these days is eSATA. You can buy an external drive housing and add a SATA drive to it. The one I recently got has eSATA and USB 2.0 so you can use either one. It also comes with necessary cables to port one of your SATA headers out the back of the computer so having an eSATA port on the motherboard is not a must.
  7. I wanted to do that but I need to be able to move it around without having to plug it into an outlet. Are there any that can get enough power from usb? eSata is out of the question because it will have to interface with some older computers.
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