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On The...Torture Rack? LaCie's Unbreakable USB Thumb Drive

On The...Torture Rack? LaCie's Unbreakable USB Thumb Drive
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An Unbreakable USB Key?

Today we have a set of test lines up that are certainly not par for Tom's Hardware: we're putting LaCie's XtremKey through hell and back. This USB key is marketed as being very sturdy: “With its impenetrable shell, the LaCie XtremKey is a USB key that’s extremely durable, with industrial-strength protection. The XtremKey is constructed with zamac, a metal alloy composed of zinc, aluminum, magnesium, and copper.

The Tom's Hardware staff prides itself on in-depth testing. And impenetrable is a mighty strong word to use in a marketing document. So, we decided to torture this USB key to see just how robust it really is.

First, a note on performance: LaCie claims a 40 MB/s read speed and a 30 MB/s write speed, but we measured (on the 16 GB version) 38 MB/s (which is still very good) and 12 MB/s (note that LaCie claims only 15 MB/s for the 8 GB version).

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  • 24 Hide
    alikum , October 13, 2010 6:37 AM
    jupiter optimus maximusWhy not try get a gun a shoot the LaCie USB drive and see if it is able to stop a bullet? If so, i will buy right away...

    And chain them together and use as bullet proof vest?
  • 24 Hide
    cangelini , October 13, 2010 8:06 AM
    Had this been performed in the US (our French team wrote it), you *know* I would have taken as much California-legal firepower to it as possible. Ever since that "CPU Shootout" two April 1sts ago, I've been itching to put a few more rounds into hardware.

    Call it payback for pre-production components that keep me up late at night troubleshooting...
  • 22 Hide
    winner4455 , October 13, 2010 6:23 AM
    Wow, I found it amazing how much a regular drive could handle.
Other Comments
  • 22 Hide
    winner4455 , October 13, 2010 6:23 AM
    Wow, I found it amazing how much a regular drive could handle.
  • 16 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , October 13, 2010 6:31 AM
    Why not try get a gun a shoot the LaCie USB drive and see if it is able to stop a bullet? If so, i will buy right away...
  • 24 Hide
    alikum , October 13, 2010 6:37 AM
    jupiter optimus maximusWhy not try get a gun a shoot the LaCie USB drive and see if it is able to stop a bullet? If so, i will buy right away...

    And chain them together and use as bullet proof vest?
  • 6 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , October 13, 2010 7:21 AM
    you forgot the washing machine test (my usb stick has been through twice and survived) and the run over it with a lawnmower test (again my usb key survived!)
  • 22 Hide
    ta152h , October 13, 2010 7:39 AM
    Next time use a better acid. Nitric Acid will dissolve many things normal acids can't. Of course, Hydrofluoric Acid would work quite well on just about anything, although not a strong acid.

    I would strongly recommend one more test. Let a goat eat it, and see what happens. The damn things eat cans, so they have a chance against this thing. If the goat displays unusually good memory a little while after eating it, you'll have your answer.
  • 8 Hide
    jj463rd , October 13, 2010 7:48 AM
    Some thermite with an igniter will do it in.So will some R.D.X. with a #8 blasting cap too.
  • 24 Hide
    cangelini , October 13, 2010 8:06 AM
    Had this been performed in the US (our French team wrote it), you *know* I would have taken as much California-legal firepower to it as possible. Ever since that "CPU Shootout" two April 1sts ago, I've been itching to put a few more rounds into hardware.

    Call it payback for pre-production components that keep me up late at night troubleshooting...
  • 5 Hide
    jasperjones , October 13, 2010 8:38 AM
    ^^^ lol
  • 6 Hide
    arkadi , October 13, 2010 9:06 AM
    What next? You guys will test computer rigs? That i want to see ^_^
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , October 13, 2010 9:17 AM
    Why would you pick a control only to swap it out for non-identical other... not very scientific method; they may be similar but not the same.

    The experiment does show the durability but not in any kind of legitimate quantitativeness; I ended more annoyed at this article than informed.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , October 13, 2010 9:55 AM
    The regular drives stood up to the test amazingly well! And here I was, worried about mistreating my drive.

    On the other hand, the LaCie drive is no less impressive either. That thing's probably indestructable. Unless you nuke it.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , October 13, 2010 10:58 AM
    (1) I had an Imation USB drive in the slot while reformatting a hard drive to reload Win XP. Unfortunately, the PC brought up the USB rather than the HD partition, and it did not survive reformatting. Dead as a dodo.

    (2) Are you auditioning for Mythbusters?
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , October 13, 2010 11:17 AM
    They should give it to the "Will It Blend" guy. If it survives that I'll be impressed.
  • 4 Hide
    simontay1984 , October 13, 2010 12:21 PM
    You should've tested it with thermite. It burns at around 2000 degrees C.
    Nothing that brainiac has ever tested has survived. For US readers, brainiac is a science program in the UK. Thermite vs safe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a2OeWS3G-A
  • -9 Hide
    Anonymous , October 13, 2010 12:44 PM
    I bet a microwave could do the job you guys couldn't! :-)
  • 0 Hide
    adaman2576 , October 13, 2010 12:57 PM
    simontay1984You should've tested it with thermite. It burns at around 2000 degrees C.Nothing that brainiac has ever tested has survived. For US readers, brainiac is a science program in the UK. Thermite vs safe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a2OeWS3G-A

    +1 for brainiac. They don't show that enough in the US. Way better than mythbusters.
  • 1 Hide
    soulrider4ever , October 13, 2010 1:01 PM
    would love to see how the IronKey holds up to these tests in comparison.
  • 3 Hide
    C00lIT , October 13, 2010 1:10 PM
    Got a 2gig Cruzer Titenium that is now 5 years old that has always been on my keychain.

    Montreal Canada so dropped in water, slush, snow and pavement.
    USB Keys are quite unkillable unless you get their weakspots.

    Mine got killed by my friend stepping on it when it was plugged into the computer... Tho I opened it and welded the connector inside back in place... still running perfectly.
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