The majority of USB flash drives found on the market will achieve a mediocre performance, even when they are from well know companies like Kingston. Only a few companies are really working to improve the performance of pen drives, like Geil, OCZ, ATP and Patriot. In fact we were really impressed by ATP and Patriot, two companies that are coming now to the USB flash drive scene and delivering two of the best products around.
ATP simply created the fastest USB flash drive on the market today, which is amazing coming from a company with no reputation on the flash USB retail market. Probably this roundup will help ATP to become better known.
Patriot’s Xporter XT is also a terrific product, achieving the same reading performance as Geil’s David 100 but beating Geil’s product on writing speed.
So we are giving our “Golden Award” seal to ATP ToughDrive 1 GB and to Patriot Xporter XT 2 GB and we will keep our seal to Geil David 100 256 MB, as these are the three fastest USB flash drives around today. If we were looking for the fastest USB drive around, our choice would be among these three products. OCZ Rally was the fastest USB flash drive for a while, but it is time now to OCZ to launch a fastest product. We wouldn’t buy a Rally drive today.
Also, in the past we recommended Corsair Flash Voyager. Forget about it, as both ATP ToughDrive and Patriot Xporter XT also have a rubber protection but providing a far better performance. The funny part is that Corsair was the one that invented the rubber protection.
Why bothering with performance? Think about this: on a 2 GB part you can store the equivalent of three CDs – a huge data capacity. What is the point of having this colossal storage capacity available if transferring data will take forever?
Of course performance isn’t everything. Other companies are providing different features. If you are looking for something small, you could take a look at OCZ Roadster and ATP Petito (not included in our roundup) or even Kingmax Super Stick (which is very thin). And if you are looking for something innovative, Corsair Flash Readout is really great as you can see through its LCD display how much storage space is still left inside the drive without needing to connect it to a PC. Kingston provides a built-in hardware-based encryption engine on DataTraveller Elite and U3 technology on DataTraveller U3 Smart. It is really a pity that these devices don’t have a great performance.
If you aren’t a performance geek and are looking for specific features found on those other models, they can be a very good choice for you.