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A-Data Nobility N005 Flash Drive (16 GB)

Nine USB 3.0 Flash Drives For Road Warriors
By , Achim Roos

The Nobility N005 is not a new product; it was launched last fall. The grey aluminum case is well-made and fits perfectly to the drive. There are versions with 16, 32, and 64 GB of capacity, boasting write rates of up to 55 MB/s and read rates of up to 85 MB/s.

A glance at the specifications, unfortunately, reveals that the performance of the lower-capacity offerings is pretty bad. We tested the 16 GB model, which promises a write speed of only 22 MB/s and a read rate of 60 MB/s. Surprisingly, our tests with h2bench2 returned 28.5 MB/s when writing and 71.1 MB/s when reading. In the combined reading/writing test, the 14 MB/s data rate is faster than the average in this roundup.

Such performance is impressive in the context of pricing. After all, the 16 GB model starts at a modest $45 or so. As you already know by know, though, don't trust a manufacturer's performance data blindly. In this drive's case, the effective performance is actually higher than A-Data's specification. However, the company's Web site claims 280% more performance than USB 2.0 for the N005. This is actually a gross exaggeration, because starting from USB 2.0’s 30 MB/s, that would effectively mean 114 MB/s. It probably meant 2.8 times higher performance.

A note for power-users: the I/O performance of the N005 is very modest. So, while it is suitable for transferring large amounts of data, performance crashes considerably when working with small chunks of data.

The Nobility N005 is a thumb drive with a removable cap to protect the USB connector.

280% faster? This can hardly be the case. The factor of 2.8 is correct, but A-Data can truthfully claim only 180% higher performance.280% faster? This can hardly be the case. The factor of 2.8 is correct, but A-Data can truthfully claim only 180% higher performance.

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