Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Data Storage

Hi-speed USB2 Flash Drive Round-Up 264

An anonymous reader writes "Ars Technica has a USB 2.0 Flash drive review featuring 8 drives from different manufacturers. What's so interesting about the review is that not all Flash drives are created equal. Some have very unique features while some are clearly better than others. They also took a detailed look inside one of the drives as well as put two drives in a RAID-0 array (a la Mac OS X). Now that's cool!"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Hi-speed USB2 Flash Drive Round-Up

Comments Filter:
  • Which is which? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @01:14PM (#9327333) Homepage
    Um...hi-speed vs fullspeed...which one's the gimpy one again?

  • by Adriax ( 746043 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @01:14PM (#9327340)
    This [] is quite a big geekier if you ask me.
    Striping floppies to get better speed and storage...
  • by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @01:23PM (#9327427)
    I've put my Viking through the washer and dryer twice and it still works nicely.

    The case has a vent in it, so water definitely passed through it.

  • OS X Raid Array (Score:4, Interesting)

    by INeededALogin ( 771371 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @01:24PM (#9327436) Journal
    Gotta love it. Remember this guy []. He used USB floppies in pretty much the same manner. I actually emailed him because I was curious about portability(traveling kind). Apparently all the raid information is stored on the drives so the entire raid array could be plugged into another machine and would work with no problems.
  • MRAM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AnwerB ( 255422 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @01:26PM (#9327457)
    NAND Flash is what's making this possible. It's denser and faster than NOR Flash.

    If you haven't heard of MRAM, that's definitely another technology to be on the lookout for. According to IBM and Infineon Technologies, it's supposed to start shipping this year.

    Basically, it has the density of DRAM, 15ns access time, and doesn't loses it's state even when powered down.

    Google turns up some articles: here [], here [], and here [].
  • by YetAnotherName ( 168064 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @01:27PM (#9327461) Homepage
    Regarding the SanDisk Cruzer Mini, Ars Technica mentions:

    Unfortunately, we were unable to ascertain the type and strength of encryption.

    Apparently, even the product packaging neglects to mention it. Neither is it listed on SanDisk's website. It could be as simple as rot-13 or as complex as multiple cascading one-way secure pads with quantum elliptical entanglements. Do you dare probe further to figure out what it's doing? Certainly not; you could well violate the DMCA.
  • almost there (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nizo ( 81281 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @01:27PM (#9327465) Homepage Journal
    Now all we need is a small motherboard, lcd display + keyboard + network card, and we have a nice (cheap?) QUIET portable xterminal.
  • by kyoko21 ( 198413 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @01:31PM (#9327507)
    Well, for those that are interested in the 'bulk' data, you can pickup a 1GB SanDisk Cruzer Mini for only $162 after an instant rebate... as terid=1956584/search=1gb%20usb

  • Fuji flash drive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chiph ( 523845 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @01:42PM (#9327621)
    I've had a 256mb Fuji for 18 months now, and a 8mb DiskOnKey [] for 2 years before that (the Fuji is a re-branded DiskOnKey drive). The complaints from Ars Technica are only valid if you keep your flash drive on a lanyard. As I can't stand anything hanging off my neck (too much like a tie!), I keep mine clipped to my keyring. I've never had it come unclipped, nor have I lost the drive part (the clip is on the cover, not the drive itself). In fact, having the clip on the cover is very useful, as I can leave it connected to my keyring while the drive is in use.

    I'm surprised the review didn't cover performance under GnuPG and PGP -- I keep my keyrings on it, as well as my Quicken backups. Plus tons of room left for mp3s to listen while at work. The SiSoft benchmarks are nice, but I'd like to know how slow/fast they are relative to an IDE drive.

    Chip H.
  • by AnswerIs42 ( 622520 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @01:50PM (#9327696) Homepage
    My Cruzer fell out of my pocket once.. and by the time I found it again, it had been driven over a few times.

    That was 9 months ago and it is still humming along nicely... gouges and all.

  • by DroppedAtBirth ( 776511 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @01:59PM (#9327799) Homepage
    Can you dual boot a bootable USB drive? Sounds like a fun way to waste a few hours....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2004 @02:16PM (#9328006)

    I noticed that some of these flash drives have "write protect". However, I noticed that some manufacturers claim that Linux cannot use the write protect functionality:

    " When you put the write-protect switch to "ON" position, you cannot write any file or data into the device. You still can view and read the files and data in the device. You can switch the "Write-Protect" switch even you do not disconnect the device. Due to Linux OS limitation, the write-protect switch will not work on-line."

    Flash drive manual []

    But I see in status messages when people plug in the flash drives that it says "write protect is off".

    Does anyone have experience with these products in Linux and whether write protect works with the flash drive connected?

  • pqi (Score:3, Interesting)

    by austad ( 22163 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @02:17PM (#9328026) Homepage
    I wish they had tested the PQI Intelligent Stick []. It's the smallest drive around and looks pretty sweet. Pricing isn't bad either if you look on Froogle.

    I guess I could always pick one up and return it if it sucks. But really, how much could it possibly suck as long as it works? I can't imagine I'm going to get horrible transfer speeds with it.
  • Re:Win95 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Halvard ( 102061 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @02:20PM (#9328062)
    Actually, Win95 OEM SR2 was the first to support USB without third party support. It's commonly called Win95B.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2004 @02:26PM (#9328118)

    I actually got in to discussion today about people wearing usb sticks in a neck strap.

    Seems like there would be a considerable market niche for stylish sticks. None of the drives I've seen look ugly but it would be nice to see some real variety. Something little bit more unique.

    So does anyone make something "special"..?

  • Re:pqi (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mclove ( 266201 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @02:58PM (#9328442)
    I have two, they seem quite fast (significantly faster than my Lexar JumpDrive 2.0 anyway, though this is very unscientific) and have been very reliable so far. Plus you can get a little USB drive holder for them that gives you a belt clip and a more standard USB connector (though I haven't encountered a computer yet that won't work with the built-in one) - even in the holder they're still smaller than most other USB drives.

    The one problem I've found is that they can be kind of difficult to carry around safely - you'd think that the small size would be an advantage, but without any good way to put them on a keychain it's really not. And they're sufficiently thin (and the plastic casing sufficiently weak) that I'd be a little worried about carrying them around without a sturdy plastic case, which sort of defeats the whole purpose of having a drive that small. Oh, and they're very very easy to lose.

    Still, if you're willing to treat them like you'd treat SD cards or other such devices, they can be a great way to carry around a lot of data in a really tiny package. It's just that for everyday tasks of backing up and shuttling data around you might be better off with something larger and more durable.

  • by kyoko21 ( 198413 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @03:28PM (#9328712)
    With the 1GB, you can download the est.fa.gz [] file which is all the sequences of all human ESTs in Genbank deposited as of 4 Nov, 2003. (Now you can carry your own copy of DNA with you). Only a whopping 958MB.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2004 @03:35PM (#9328780)
    How about selling something like Knoppix on a USB drive? It'd boot faster, fit in your pocket, not need a CDROM drive, allow for customization by being re-writable, and you could keep some of your data files on it. Even better, if you eventually decide that you don't want to use Knoppix, you get a handy USB drive...
  • Re:MRAM (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AnwerB ( 255422 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @03:47PM (#9328886)
    > but would the usb port be able to supply enough juice

    MRAM stands for magnetic RAM, so it takes no energy whatsoever to keep it's state. It only needs energy to read and write, and even if this is happening at an astoundingly high 5% duty-cycle, it's still only a fraction of the energy required to run other forms of RAM.

    MRAM is very good for things like cell phones and handhelds.
  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @04:10PM (#9329145)
    I've played around with a number of different USB1.1 and USB 2.0 flash drives, and one thing that I was looking for when I read this article (yea, I read it) was the real size of the different devices. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to have been covered.

    You would think that if it's a 256meg drive then you would know the size, 256 megs, right? But marketing has struck again, I've found that 32 meg drivs I have actually seem to have about 30 megs of space on them, and vary by drive. A 64 meg device is also short several megs (as are some flash cards I have). I would have found it really handy if the reviewer had bothered to tell us how much space each of these devices really delivers.

  • by echo ( 735 ) <(gro.tekcubeht) (ta) (ohce)> on Thursday June 03, 2004 @04:59PM (#9329605) Homepage Journal
    In Linux this is totally possible as the software raid stuff would store the raid configuration on sector 0 of the drive.

    I've done this sort of thing with CD-Rs..

    CD-ROM RAID Howto []

Lend money to a bad debtor and he will hate you.