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Data Storage Technology

USB Flash Drive Round-up 348

Adam writes "Ars has published a massive USB 2.0 Hi-speed Flash drive roundup, with 10 USB 2.0 flash drives that they've tested on three OSes. They rate the drives by performance, durability, and features/accessories (including the crappy software that no one uses). Definitely a good read for anyone who has recently sat on their USB thumbdrive!"
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USB Flash Drive Round-up

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  • Most people? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 23, 2005 @01:30PM (#12323502)
    From TFA:

    Previously, most people had no idea what a Flash drive was, but now you can be sure to find most people with even a basic Flash drive in their pocket or purse.

    Uh, no. Whoever wrote this must make a living pickpocketing or mugging geeks only.
  • by dattaway ( 3088 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @01:30PM (#12323504) Homepage Journal
    With the new flash readers as stock on most new computers, these may be unpopular by next year.
  • by EnronHaliburton2004 ( 815366 ) * on Saturday April 23, 2005 @01:33PM (#12323534) Homepage Journal
    What a lame comment.

    '10 days ago' isn't very old. The news is still relevent and interesting.

    The job of the editors isn't to repost news articles as soon as they happen like some RSS newsfeed.

  • Re:Most people? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vitamine73 ( 818599 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @01:55PM (#12323686)
    I do not believe the vast majority of undergraduate biology students to whom I teach are be geeks. Most of them carry these things in their pocket or backpack! Previously, the only people I knew that had one where geeks!

    If you use multiple computers to do your day's work, this is certainly an affordable and practical solution.. and people in this situation are doing it!

  • by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @01:56PM (#12323691)
    With the new flash readers as stock on most new computers, these may be unpopular by next year.

    Only among that miniscule segment of the population that only has to deal with computers made in the past year, year and a half and are only made by manufacturers that include a certain feature set.

    But seeing as how a USB key is a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a new computer or a flash drive for all my friends, I think I'll stick with that.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @02:01PM (#12323723)
    For the most part, all of these units are the same with only minor variation in features and performance.

    What I am looking for is a usb thumbdrive/fob/whatever that has strong anti-tamper security features. I'm talking about on the level of FIPS 140 Level 4 which, among other things, means that it probably encrypts all of its contents and if it detects an attempt to physically get at its innards, it erases the data. Note that levels 1 through 3 are all pretty much the same, but level 4 is a big leap up in protection from level 3.

    I need this to store all my drug deal accounts receivables,
    and to keep my wife and her electron tunnelling microscope from finding my pr0n.

  • by ashpool7 ( 18172 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @02:13PM (#12323809) Homepage Journal
    Why is it that none of them have write-protect AND are bootable? Both of those are pretty high features on any geek list.
  • by LurkerXXX ( 667952 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @02:47PM (#12324008)
    The iPod shuffle 1 GB is more expensive then every 1 GB drive reviewed.
  • Wha? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by switcha ( 551514 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @02:55PM (#12324054)
    Previously, most people had no idea what a Flash drive was, but now you can be sure to find most people with even a basic Flash drive in their pocket or purse.


    As long we're operating on anecdote, in my office of about two dozen folks, two have a Flash drive. If you add iPods in the mix (as a easy file transport device) we go to five people. I wouldn't say most people quite yet.

  • by xenocide2 ( 231786 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @02:55PM (#12324055) Homepage
    I picked up a PQI stick a month ago, and the 1GB has been working perfectly for me... It works on my Linux desktop (Ubuntu), our windows machine, and every Windows machine at work I've tried it on. The only problem I've had with it thus far is that it doesn't work in the Apple USB keyboard. Apparently it wants more power than the keyboard is willing to transmit. But it still works just fine plugged into the back of a g4 or the front panel on a g5 workstation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 23, 2005 @02:56PM (#12324064)
    How can such a blatant piece of disinformation be modded up?

    Simple, lots of Apple fans are moderators. :)

    I mean really, there are other combination mp3 player/memory stick devices out there as well. SanDisk [] has a nice line, for example, and they're cheaper than the iPod shuffle. Why not mention them? Because the moderators like Apple.
  • by johnw ( 3725 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @03:08PM (#12324125)
    The anwser is to keep the #1 standard of the past 20 years. Floppy drives were the standard, every PC had a floppy, you could take your disk and know with 100% certanty you could read the data.

    Man, what planet have you been living on? Have you tried using floppy discs lately?

    Floppy discs have never given you 100% certainty and these days it's probably more like 20%. I practically never use them and when I do it becomes a long and tedious search to find a disc and drive that actually work. The drives are little more than a token gesture on modern PCs and they're fast disappearing.

    A new standard for floppies would offer none of the benefits which you claim. No existing drive would read them. No existing media would give you this mythical new capacity. It would just be a completely new and incompatible option. It would also be far less convenient to carry around than the modern alternatives.

    Accept it - the floppy is dead. It was useful in its day but it's long since been superseded. The alternatives are just too overwhelmingly better.

  • not very good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by idlake ( 850372 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @03:12PM (#12324143)
    The iPod shuffle is a pretty lousy MP3 player and a pretty lousy USB storage device: it has no display and it keeps music and data files in separate areas.

    You can get lots of USB MP3 players that let you play MP3 files from the file system and that have a display.
  • Re:Whitelist (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lshmael ( 603746 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @03:16PM (#12324159) Homepage
    I fail to see how one game became "some of the newer arcade video games."
  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @03:18PM (#12324171) Journal
    Mobile phones used to be expensive and interesting, as well as useful for drug dealers who wanted to call Colombia for free, so they'd get stolen, especially if you left them visible in your car. But these days, at least in the US, nobody bothers them any more. Cell phones are cheap enough to make that you tend to get them free when you sign up for an overpriced cellular plan, or kids who can't afford that can get prepaid phones in the 7-11, so there's essentially no resale market except for the good ones (where you can also buy extremely cheap long-distance phone cards.) Perhaps the fact that the US is mostly not GSM affects that as well - you usually need to register the phone itself with the cellular company, so it's traceable, as opposed to simply popping your SIM card into a better phone. Since the crime has stopped paying, it's just not worth the trouble.
  • by oe1kenobi ( 601951 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @03:22PM (#12324188)
    Firewire is faster than USB 2.0 for hard drives, but flash-based devices have significantly slower access speeds than hard drives, so the speed of Firewire wouldn't be a factor.
  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @03:31PM (#12324248) Journal
    Now that most people are on the net and send email around instead of bothering with floppies, we'd finally gotten rid of the floppy-based virus as a relevant threat. But USB sticks are starting to bring it back. It's not as serious a problem as it used to be, since most people have anti-virus software, and most people move more bits around by email even if they have USB sticks, but it's non-zero, and it'll get worse as virus writers rediscover the opportunities. Good Times Ahead!
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Saturday April 23, 2005 @04:02PM (#12324400) Homepage Journal
    A USB drive with removable media makes good sense if you have other devices that take that kind of media. You can then use them for usb storage, or use the thing as a card reader.
  • by CProgrammer98 ( 240351 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @06:04PM (#12325065) Homepage
    why are the called thumb drives?
    I the UK, they're generally called "pen drives" (prolly cuz a lot of them have a pen clip on them for putting in your shirt pocket) or just "usb memory sticks" or simpley "usb drives"

    I'm trying to figure out why they would be called "thumb drives" but it's not coming to me...
  • by ZackSchil ( 560462 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @06:48PM (#12325283)
    The same reason firewire is slower on Windows than Mac OS X. I think it has to due with the USB2.0 drivers Apple wrote. For whatever reason (IO streamlining, CPU time, who knows) they made it run a bit slower. The transfer speed to total capacity ratio is high enough that it doesn't really matter though.
  • by Calroth ( 310516 ) on Saturday April 23, 2005 @08:35PM (#12325917)
    Unlike probably everyone else here, I've had my PQI Intelligent Stick for quite a long time - almost 3 years now (it's the purple USB 1.1 model, 128MB).

    In my opinion, the form factor is brilliant, and being able to keep it in your wallet is indispensable. It will literally always be near you, you don't ever think about it, unlike having to pick up and check the charge on your mobile phone, MP3 player, etc.

    However, due to having it with you all the time, and its small form factor, I reckon it's more suscepible to knocks, hits, etc., which cause data errors. (Although mine has never been through the wash - it stays in my wallet.) I got around these errors the cheap and easy way: by making multiple copies of important files on the disk.

    So, all you folks who have a shiny new I-Stick, treat it carefully and it'll stay good for a long time.

"I think trash is the most important manifestation of culture we have in my lifetime." - Johnny Legend