Kingston Technology has become the latest storage vendor to ship a flash drive based on USB 3.0 speeds with early performance tests suggest the new drive is lighting fast.
The whole point of USB 3.0 is that it boosts performance on any hardware but the new-generation DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G2 is still hugely impressive.
Coupled to a Freecom USB 3.0 card, the 16GB version made light work of a 600MB directory transfer, reaching write sustained transfer speeds of around 20MB/s (*). The same directory written to a USB 2.0 flash drive struggled to reach a fifth of that speed. Read speeds for the same directory were hard to estimate they were so fast.
The bottom line: USB 3.0 is worth having for any USB stick user reading or writing large files on a regular basis because it will save a heap of time. The exact transfer rate will depend on the hardware used, please note. The important thing to notice is the ratio when compared to USB 2.0.
What about price? Kingston’s DataTraveler isn’t cheap. The 16GB drive costs £40.10 (approx $64) plus VAT, the 32GB £60.15, and the 64GB £110.70, considerably more per gigabyte than a portable USB 3.0 drive although it does come with a basic 5-year warranty against failure.
Another problem with USB 3.0 right now is that it still, amazingly, isn’t standard on many laptops and PCs, which means (in the case of a PC) adding a card. In the case of a desktop machine, that puts the interface at the back of a PC in an awkward place.
It’s worth mentioning that even when plugged into a USB 2.0 slot, the drive was still around three times faster than a USB 2.0 drive in the same slot which suggests that there is more to the boost offered by this product than higher throughput. The DataTraveler will be faster even for users without a USB 3.0 port.
“The growing number of platforms and computers supporting the USB 3.0 standard, as well as the benefits of the single chip controllers that allow better compatibility and performance, are helping drive the adoption of USB 3.0 technology,” said Kingston product marketing manager, Jim Selby.
One thing the DataTraveler doesn’t offer is encryption, which is a shame, although there are a number of free utilities such as Truecrypt to perform this in software for users who need it. Once the company has combined integrated encryption with the drive’s underlying performance, this will be an even more compelling product.
(*) The speed will depend on the system the drive is used with - some will get higher rates.