A couple of weeks ago I went to Fry’s to buy a copy of Trend Micro Internet Security which would be free after two rebates. I really try not to buy anything else at Fry’s because if it isn’t on sale, it usually isn’t a good deal. However I have been looking to upgrade my Lexar Firefly jump drive that I raved about a couple of years ago. My rule is I don’t like to spend more than $10 on a thumb drive. They had a bin of Kingston Data Traveler 110 thumb drives with 2 GB of memory for only $9.99, so I bought one. That’s four times as much memory as the Firefly. It’s a decent drive, but bulky compared to the Firefly. The USB part slides out so it doesn’t need a cap, but it has to be connected to my keychain when I plug it in and it blocks adjacent USB drives due to the large size.
Naturally, the following weekend Fry’s advertised a 4 GB Firefly for less than $10 after rebate. I looked up the Firefly on Amazon and there were a lot of complaints about it being slow. If I was going to be moving 4 GB of data, I didn’t want that data to move slowly. So I decided to run a test. I moved a 344 MB video file (appropriately enough, an episode of the TV series Firefly) to the Firefly and timed how long it took: 129 seconds. Then I measured how long it took to copy the file back to my computer: 40 seconds. So the write speed was a lot slower than the read speed. Next I tried the Kingston drive and got 57 seconds for writing and 19 seconds for reading. That’s more than twice as fast. At work I have e-mail archives that are about 2 GB and I need to bring them home for a backup. That would be 12.5 minutes on a Firefly and only 5.5 minutes for the Kingston. That’s a big difference. It seems like these speeds should be posted somewhere. So here they are (in megabytes per second) [USBDview results in square brackets]:
|Lexar Firefly 512 MB||2.67w||8.61r||[ 2.39w 7.48r]|
|Kingston Data Traveler 110 2 GB||6.04w||18.12r|
|Corsair Flash Voyager 8 GB||5.17w||22.40r|
|60 GB Archos||0.98w||7.65r|
|20 GB HD Enclosure||7.83w||18.13r||[11.29w 18.06r]|
|Microcenter 4 GB||3.51w||19.13r||[ 2.80w 20.07r]|
|OCZ Diesel 8 GB||6.62w||19.13r||[ 9.68w 17.56r]|
|Emtec C400 16 GB||9.83w||14.96r||[ 9.14w 15.64r]|
|Kingston SE9 16 GB||6.43w||14.02r||[ 6.43w 16.97r]|
|Simpletech 320 GB hard drive||22.96w||22.96r||[19.01w 31.82r]|
|32GB SanDisk removable||22.96w||[10.81w 21.82r]|
I decided that as much as I like the form factor of the Firefly, I didn’t want to wait so long and so I didn’t get the 4 GB model.