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Author Topic: USB 3.0 stick - anyone taken the plunge?  (Read 4757 times)
MilesAhead
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« on: February 08, 2011, 06:03:00 PM »

Some USB sticks are showing up as USB 3.0. I'm just curious if anyone has sprung for one. If/how you liked it etc..

The prices seem to be dropping into the somewhat reasonable range. If over $50 can ever be reasonable for a key chain gadget.

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40hz
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2011, 06:49:50 PM »

I'm a big advocate & user of portable apps and task oriented USB collections.

But I'm still waiting untill it hits a $2/Gb "everyday price" point.

Once it does, however, I'm all over it!  smiley
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MilesAhead
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2011, 08:02:50 PM »

I'm a big advocate & user of portable apps and task oriented USB collections.

But I'm still waiting untill it hits a $2/Gb "everyday price" point.

Once it does, however, I'm all over it!  smiley

Thanks for the reply. Please update if you find a deal with price/performance/design sweet spot. smiley

The last thumb I bought was similar to this model 'cept it was 16 GB:

http://www.newegg.com/Pro...ve-_-20-235-053-_-Product

The write speed wasn't too bad. About 8 to 11 MB/s I think. But I hate the "sliding guts" design. I have to jam my thumb against the stop to plug it in and unplugging is pulling on mere plastic. I know it's not gonna' last long.

edit: the only one I saw at newegg that meets your $2 per Gig price point is an A-Data. I have a few A-Data USB 2.0 but they are not known as high performace.  Although none has broken apart on me yet. smiley

Here's a link to the A-Data USB 3.0 model:

http://www.newegg.com/Pro...aspx?Item=N82E16820211521

« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 08:11:14 PM by MilesAhead » Logged

f0dder
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2011, 08:12:15 PM »

I can't see why you'd need a 3.0 USB stick - 2.0 caps out at a theoretical ~60MB/s, and I haven't seen a single stick that even approaches that. Marketing weasels: I hate them.
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- carpe noctem
MilesAhead
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2011, 09:05:55 PM »

I haven't spent a lot for them.  But looking around at the ads and reviews the write speeds seem to be rated rather low with the USB 2.0 models.  The USB 3.0 model I linked to claims 18 MB/s write speed which seems fairly quick for a cheapie thumb. If I use it with my WD set top box, it's only going to read via USB 2.0 anyway, but it's a drag writing the video file on at < 8 MB/s using the cheap 2.0 models(assuming they really are backward compatible and I can plug into a USB 2.0 port in the WD player.)

« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 09:09:13 PM by MilesAhead » Logged

f0dder
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2011, 06:40:14 AM »

18MB/s is perfectly attainable with a 2.0 plug - I think one of my corsairs reach ~20MB/s for reads.
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- carpe noctem
MilesAhead
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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2011, 03:59:57 PM »

18MB/s is perfectly attainable with a 2.0 plug - I think one of my corsairs reach ~20MB/s for reads.

None of the USB 2.0 thumbs in my price range have claimed anywhere near that for write speeds.  That Verbatim one is the fastest I have and I think it's really about 7 MB/s write. USB 3.0 as it gets common will write way faster. I'd like to have one to see how they handle the connector.  The one in the link, the connector sure looks like USB 2.0.

But until I have USB 3.0 ports instead of 2.0 it's on the back burner.  The USB 3.0 I have are mostly occupied with docking stations.

I run across "USB 3.0 slow" on boards.  I think 100% of the time the guy complaining about it being slow does not have USB 3.0 on a PCI express card, but built into the motherboard.

In any event, if I thought it would be convenient to copy a video onto a key drive for a quick watch it's way too slow to tolerate the copy.  It's easier just to swap drives in the docking stations.  Eliminates most use I'd have for a key since I don't jump around to dozens of PCs carrying a portable toolkit of utilities.

Plus the thing still feels like a novelty to me. I have a hard time believing the things won't break with moderate use. Just too flimsy.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2011, 04:02:42 PM by MilesAhead » Logged

f0dder
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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2011, 04:26:47 PM »

USB 3.0 as it gets common will write way faster.
No, it won't - it comes down to the speed of the flash memory on the pendrive. Again: I haven't seen a single usb2 pendrive that even comes near saturating the usb2 bandwidth.
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- carpe noctem
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2011, 05:42:34 PM »

I haven't seen a single usb2 pendrive that even comes near saturating the usb2 bandwidth.

I haven't seen a USB HDD that's come close to saturating USB2 bandwidth since the nForce2 Ultra400 days.  Used to get 50-60MB/s on those, on all the chipsets I've tried since, (Intel, ATI, nvidia, VIA), it's more like 20-30MB/s - where did they go wrong?
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MilesAhead
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« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2011, 05:49:15 PM »

USB 3.0 as it gets common will write way faster.
No, it won't - it comes down to the speed of the flash memory on the pendrive. Again: I haven't seen a single usb2 pendrive that even comes near saturating the usb2 bandwidth.

I doubt you will.  Why try to max out obsolete technology? It's like waiting for the 100 MB fast floppy drive to arrive.
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f0dder
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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2011, 02:00:33 AM »

USB 3.0 as it gets common will write way faster.
No, it won't - it comes down to the speed of the flash memory on the pendrive. Again: I haven't seen a single usb2 pendrive that even comes near saturating the usb2 bandwidth.
I doubt you will.  Why try to max out obsolete technology? It's like waiting for the 100 MB fast floppy drive to arrive.
I don't see what USB3 adds to the table (which is relevant to flashdrives) except a higher theoretical throughput. And since existing drives aren't even close to saturating that, what exactly is the benefit from USB3 going to be, except marketing hype? I think it's a fair assumption that USB3 devices are going to be more expensive than USB2, in part because of R&D costs have to be recouped.

4wd: yeah, I've been wondering that as well - USB is a kinda sucky protocol for high-speed transfers, but I do get much worse speeds than the theoretical ~60MB/s, usually ~35MB/s for HDD enclosures.
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- carpe noctem
MilesAhead
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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2011, 08:42:06 PM »

The price point for USB 2.0 stuff is going to hit the cellar. So who is going to cram expensive chips into USB 2.0 when they can put them in USB 3.0 that's backward compatible?  People don't care about theoretical. They care about capacity and speed per buck.

USB 2.0 is going the way of the 5 1/4" floppy drive.
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« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2011, 05:23:08 AM »

You might be right, but that would only be because of marketing weasels, and not have anything to do with the technology.

OTOH, if USB3 parts are expensive enough compared to USB2 parts, we might see flashdrive vendors sticking with USB2. There really isn't any good reason to use USB3 parts for them.
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- carpe noctem
MilesAhead
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« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2011, 02:07:24 PM »

You might be right, but that would only be because of marketing weasels, and not have anything to do with the technology.

OTOH, if USB3 parts are expensive enough compared to USB2 parts, we might see flashdrive vendors sticking with USB2. There really isn't any good reason to use USB3 parts for them.

btw where are you seeing these USB 2.0 60+ MB/s reads? Do you have USB on an addon card? I'm wondering if it's like what I'm seeing with USB 3.0 where people are saying it's "slow" because they're not even getting ESata speeds out of them and have the USB 3.0 on the motherboard. I have off the shelf HP machines and the fastest USB 2.0 read I ever got was 24 MB/s(I'm talking external HD not a USB stick.)  With WD 6 Gb/s fast drives in USB 3.0 docks and SIIG USB 3.0 ports on PCI Express card, on my Quad the sequential reads are like 5 times faster for me than USB 2.0. Pulling a large video from a WD in a USB 3.0 dock often shows 130 MB/s read. It's as fast or faster on both machines than the system disk.

« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 02:10:28 PM by MilesAhead » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2011, 02:47:56 PM »

I'd like to see a video of the benchmark. Don't know if they're blowin' smoke, but Sharkoon is claiming 130 MB/s transfer speeds:

http://www.tweaktown.com/...b_s_write_rate/index.html

They also have an "economy" model that only writes at 83 MB/s

http://www.overclockersclub.com/news/27739/

« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 02:50:47 PM by MilesAhead » Logged

MilesAhead
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« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2011, 03:46:35 PM »

They got me on an impulse buy.  A-Data isn't a speed demon but I like them because they don't have the "sliding guts" design.  So far I haven't had one break.  I got this model:

http://www.newegg.com/Pro...02-_-20-211-522-_-Product

The one user review claims he got 27 MB/s write speed using USB 2.0 port. If I get 15 MB/s in a 2.0 port I'll be very happy.  USB 3.0s are in the back of the machines so it's not likely I'll use those except to benchmark it.

My next PC I'd expect to be USB 3.0 all around.
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f0dder
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« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2011, 05:00:47 PM »

Quote from: MilesAhead
btw where are you seeing these USB 2.0 60+ MB/s reads?
That is the theoretical limit, and you're going to see a lot lower speeds in reality because of protocol overhead. That said, even sucky onboard controllers can deliver 30MB/s (and onboard by itself is no excuse for bad performance - in theory it could perform a lot better than addon PCIe controllers). And the perfectly achievable 30MB/s USB2 rates are a lot better than what you see for most pendrives.

Don't confuse pendrives and external HDDs.
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- carpe noctem
MilesAhead
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« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2011, 06:41:21 PM »

Quote from: MilesAhead
btw where are you seeing these USB 2.0 60+ MB/s reads?
That is the theoretical limit, and you're going to see a lot lower speeds in reality because of protocol overhead. That said, even sucky onboard controllers can deliver 30MB/s (and onboard by itself is no excuse for bad performance - in theory it could perform a lot better than addon PCIe controllers). And the perfectly achievable 30MB/s USB2 rates are a lot better than what you see for most pendrives.

Don't confuse pendrives and external HDDs.

All I know is I can't get better than 24 MB/s out of my USB 2.0. I mention the external drive because I'm talking about a situation where the bottle neck is not the stick. If I have a drive capable of 100+ MB/s sustained reads and put it in a docking station plugged into USB 2.0 on my machine, I'm still only going to see 24 MB/s read(might hit low 30s peak for a couple of seconds but that doesn't do me any good.)  Plug the same drive into USB 3.0 docking station/port combination and I'm getting 120+ MB/s sequential reads.

So no matter how good a chip my new stick has, it ain't gonna' read faster than 24 MB/s on my machine. I just hope it writes at a decent speed.

It will be interesting to see how it benches and what I really get when copying on a huge vid.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 06:44:34 PM by MilesAhead » Logged

4wd
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« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2011, 07:22:16 PM »

btw where are you seeing these USB 2.0 60+ MB/s reads? Do you have USB on an addon card?

As I said above, the only time I have seen this kind of speed from any USB device is a 2.5" USB HDD connected to both my old nForce2 Ultra400 EPoX motherboard and a friends el-cheapo nForce2 Ultra400 motherboard.

They consistantly transferred at ~50-55MB/s using the onboard USB ports - I have not seen any USB device since perform as fast.

It almost made me want to swap my, (then), AM2+ machine for the nForce2 U400, (I gave it to the parents)........almost smiley

I've got a ASUS PCIe x4 USB3/SATA6 card plugged into the PC, just plugged my 2.5" USB2 HDD into it - still only managed ~31MB/s, (same drive that was giving me 50MB/s on the nForce2), another 2.5" USB HDD gave ~34MB/s.

Not a really good improvement considering the increased bandwidth of USB3, even though the HDD are USB2 I would have expected something better.

I really wish they had developed IEEE1394, (Firewire), as the standard for external storage, (50-60MB/s consistantly no matter what motherboard), and kept USB for mice, keyboards, fans, EL lights, missile launchers, etc.
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MilesAhead
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« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2011, 10:01:41 PM »

Yeah, I don't fully get what going on.  When I plugged my Seagate 500 GB USB 2.0 external into my USB 3.0 port it got about 18% increase in read speed.  I'm not up on all the chip set business but they are saying in some of these USB 3.0 stick articles some stuff about not needing a bridge chip in the high performance models.  I'm thinking the Seagate external drive must have a bottle neck in the Sata to USB internally because native USB 3.0 docking station just runs as fast as the internal drive you stick in the thing.

When USB 3.0 starts coming standard on towers then the info I'll have to find out is the benchmark for that system so I don't get stuck with slow port syndrome.

Just for grins I plugged in my Verbatim stick and got a benchmark of 12 MB/s sequential write on the USB 2.0 port. I didn't bother to copy a big file on. I think it drops to about 8 or 9 MB/s when you copy a gig file onto it. I'd like to get at least double that with the new stick if not a full blown 24 MB/s on the 2.0 ports. That would be worth it if I could copy an 8 GB .mkv onto the thing in reasonable time.  Although I'm not as psyched about plugging into USB 2.0 ports on WD set top box as when I got the thing.  It has 2 ports and already one has gone South.  Seems like they're at tad on the flimsy side. I use a 2.0 docking station to avoid plugging/unplugging. Seems like it's less wear and tear to just slide an internal drive in the dock.

The other wrinkle with the stick I just bought is there's supposed to be a software download for purchasers that includes a Windows7 VM.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 10:10:02 PM by MilesAhead » Logged

MilesAhead
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« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2011, 05:15:58 PM »

If anyone is curious I got the A-Data thumb drive today. It came formatted Fat32.  In my dual core PC plugged into a USB 2.0 port it got Crystal Disk Mark sequential read and write of 24 MB/s as expected as this seems to be the real-world max on my HP PCs.  Copying on a 1.4 GB video file at the end of the copy when Explorer tends to show the lowest number, it was still showing about 21.4 MB/s.

I plugged it into the SIIG USB 3.0 port.  CDM sequential read showed 74 MB/s and sequential write of 40 MB/s.  Copying on a 1.4 GB video file at the end of the copy it was still showing about 31.4 MB/s in Explorer.

For $2 a gig it seems like a good buy compared to others I have.  Physically it's narrow enough you should be able to plug into a USB 3.0 port even if the one next to it is occupied.  The cap has a little snap to it. It feels like it should endure a few hundred "on and offs" before it falls off anyway. I like it much better than the "sliding guts" design.

Only thing that may be a drawback for some is no LED indicator.  My first impression is very positive though.
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« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2011, 06:22:20 PM »

It came formatted Fat32.
Bummer ohmy But that's not something you can't easily fix.

If I'd need another thumb-drive I'd probably get one of those too, even without the LED indicator.
And I think it looks decent as well.

Thanks for the mini-mini-review.
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4wd
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« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2011, 06:35:14 PM »

It came formatted Fat32.
Bummer ohmy But that's not something you can't easily fix.

FAT32 is the base compatibility format, it'll work on Apple, PC, Linux, PVR, STB, Media Players, pretty much everything without doing anything - I've yet to see a flash drive that doesn't come formatted as FAT32.
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MilesAhead
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« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2011, 03:17:50 PM »

It came formatted Fat32.
...
And I think it looks decent as well.

...

I very much like the narrow profile. When I plugged it into my USB 3.0 port it didn't even touch the cable in the adjoining port.  Seems like they put some thought into the design.

edit: I didn't notice until I used it with my DVD player.  The cap snaps onto the butt end.  There's no loop for a lanyard but at least it gives a place to put the cap during use.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 01:40:34 AM by MilesAhead » Logged

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« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2011, 03:27:54 PM »

I recently purchased a usb 3.0 pocket drive from costco (seagate, 1.5TB, $130) and it performs incredibly well. I get about double the sequential write speed I did with my usb 2 drive (~25MB/s -> ~50MB/s) (and truecrypt was formatting it at 80MB/s. I also have a 64GB SSD in a USB 3 enclosure but I haven't started using it full-on yet.

Ehtyar.
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