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USB 2.0 Flash Drives (Read 12695 times)
Rad
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USB 2.0 Flash Drives
Aug 8th, 2008 at 1:51am
 
After recently being wowwed following RAM upgrade (to 2-GB), I am now curious about adding a USB 2.0 Flash drive (or two).

I know Vista has a feature (called Ready Boost) that lets you use up to 4 GB flash drive as

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReadyBoost

Quote:
ReadyBoost is an operating system feature included with Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system. It works by using flash memory, USB 2.0 drive, SD card, CompactFlash or any kind of portable massive flash storage as a drive for disk cache.

ReadyBoost is also used to facilitate SuperFetch, an updated version of Windows XP's prefetcher which performs analysis of boot-time disk usage patterns and creates a cache which is used in subsequent system boots.

But I have WXP. Anybody know if XP can be used like this?

Do you guys have these things? How do you use them?

They are pretty cheap .. 32-gig stick for $90 (free shipping):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220261
 
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Pleonasm
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Re: USB 2.0 Flash Drives
Reply #1 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 7:27am
 
Rad, to the best of my knowledge, ReadyBoost is available only with Windows Vista.
 

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Re: USB 2.0 Flash Drives
Reply #2 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 4:07pm
 
I read the following review at Newegg for one of their 16-GB flash drives:

Quote:
Pros: its big. 16G is big.

Cons: There is no way this thing is 150X or 180X. Flash mem's speed X rating is derived from the old original CD rom drives. that is 150KB/s per X. so 180X should get about 27MB/s. 150X about 22MB/s I'm getting about 1MB/s right now. Yes I'm on USB2 and not a USB1.1 port.

Other Thoughts: I'm pretty disappointed. I thought 27MB/s would be almost as fast as a notebook harddrive and possibly faster given the lack of seeks. I'm running a VMWare image off of it right now and it is DOG SLOW. I have not seen an OS run this slow in many many years.

This is what I was thinking of doing (running a WMware image). Any insight on getting my VMware images to run zippy-fast?

Here's the page: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N82E16820220253

See review titled "no way is this 150 or 180X" on/at: 8/1/2008 7:15:48 PM

Here's another interesting review, same page:

Quote:
Pros: The drive is definitely faster than the other flash drives I have used in the past. The idea of having 16GB in a drive that is the same size as my 1GB thumb drive is also GREAT! I have partitioned the drive to have 5GB windows storage (programs and such) and the rest of the drive for a linux distro (5GB Suse, 2GB swap and the rest for VMware). Works like a charm. I love being able to carry my home computer in my pocket. No issues so far.

Quote:
Pros: First off, this drive is FAST. The reviewers before me ran benchmarks proving it, I would recommend formatting to NTFS using a utility, it gets even faster. This drive WILL format to NTFS if you use the right utilities, for some reason the windows format tool doesn't play well with this drive.

Quote:
Pros: I partitioned the unit into 3 partitions. I run one as FAT32 with PortableApps that I can just drop into any Windblows Machine... and the other two partitions run full blown Linux installs... Fedora 8 (soon to be 9) and Backtrack3. I can power off the local machine, plug this in, boot up and change the boot order to boot from the USB... then, it's like I'm sitting at my home computer... It's great cause I use this at work to 'bypass' some of the IT safeguards and browse the net as I please... also am not afraid to access my personal email or type in passwords or things... None of the history is stored on the local machine!!! What the routers log is another story.... but.... what no one monitors, no one needs to know.

Quote:
Other Thoughts: Results of testing the Patriot XT 16GB. Operating system is Windows Server 2008, computers Dell PowerEdge Server models 1800 & 2900 and interface USB 2.0. Software is QuickBench and Microsoft's file copy. QuickBench tests used file sizes of 20-100MB. The file copy was 6510 small and medium sized files which totaled 1.53 GB in size. FAT32 testing with QuickBench: Patriot XT Read 24.9 MB/sec Write 16.6 MB/sec. NTFS testing with QuickBench: Patriot XT Read 24.9 MB/sec Write 19.4 MB/sec. Writing 6510 files totaling 1.53 GB with MS file copy: Patriot XT started with 9.35 MB sec and progressively decreased to 1.79 MB/sec. Rate than increased to 2-3 MB/s Total copy time was 540 seconds for an average write rate of 2.83 MB/sec.

Quote:
Pros: HD Tune 2.54 benchmark Transfer Rate Min:14.2MB/sec Max:33.3MB/sec Avg:32.5MB/sec Access Time:1.1 ms Burst Rate:27.8 MB/sec CPU Usage:5.2% vs my pqi 2gig intelligent stick 2.o plus Transfer Rate Min:.8MB/sec Max:17.8MB/sec Avg:10.4MB/sec Access Time:126.8 ms Burst Rate:11.4 MB/sec CPU Usage:1.6%

Quote:
Other Thoughts: From my quick tests, it's almost the same speed as the 8GB XT and the 16GB blue corsair (writes ~1.5MB/sec for 2000 files totalling 1GB). Overall, decent speed for a 16 Gigger. Although, many 4GB and 8GB drives get 3MB/sec for the same files. It will write 10MB/sec for large files. Reads at 30MB/sec.

Quote:
I reformatted to NTFS. My real-world tests show about 27.5MB/s read speed, and about 10MB/s write speed.

Quote:
Pros: Based of reviews I was getting mixed results with Read/Write speed. Drive is consistently reads between 30-33MB/sec and writes at 13MB/sec. Tested HDTACH, HDTUNE as well as TeraCopy.
 
 
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Nigel Bree
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Re: USB 2.0 Flash Drives
Reply #3 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 4:39pm
 
That complaint you quoted is about the USB interface speed, not about the media; that person is not getting USB2 regardless of what they think.

I run VMWare images off USB2 hard disks and they are perfectly tolerable. For a notebook, either USB2 or FireWire drives can work, but it's important to bear in mind that the point of the exercise is to use storage that's faster than a 5400rpm notebook drive (so think about a larger enclosure, with power and cooling for a 7200rpm drive at least)! Either USB2 or FireWire or eSata (in order of preference from worst to best) works for this, and all those interfaces are fast enough that you can most of get the benefit of the faster drive in the external enclosure.

I don't personally own much of the larger type of Flash memory storage - unfortunately all this kind of gear is still pretty expensive down here, more than I can spend on myself. We do have some at work in the QA labs but a) it's Saturday morning, and b) it's all in use anyway testing our next release.

So, right now I'd be sticking with a hard drive enclosure; I need hard-drive capacities anyway since I don't run just one VM, but a lot of them and the hard-drive enclosures are way cheaper at those sizes and I'd expect they will be for awhile. The crossover point is coming, but it's a ways away yet.
 
 
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Re: USB 2.0 Flash Drives
Reply #4 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 4:44pm
 
Quote:
The crossover point is coming, but it's a ways away yet.  

What do you see as the cross-over point. Nigel?

I have a 500-gig external 7200-rpm USB 2.0 drive (Seagate).
 
 
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Re: USB 2.0 Flash Drives
Reply #5 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 4:45pm
 
Quote:
unfortunately all this kind of gear is still pretty expensive down here

Can you have friends stateside buy and send to you? .. like an importer for yourself and friends? .. would that work? Or would the shipping be too expensive?
 
 
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Re: USB 2.0 Flash Drives
Reply #6 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 5:25pm
 
Quote:
all those interfaces are fast enough that you can most of get the benefit of the faster drive in the external enclosure

Uh, are you saying an external drive is "comparable" in SPEED to a Flash drive (memory)?

Speed (I thought) was the whole reason for going Flash. If it is not WAY faster, it would make little sense for me to get some. (USB HDD would yield far more capacity/$)
 
 
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Re: USB 2.0 Flash Drives
Reply #7 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 8:31pm
 
Rad.Test wrote on Aug 8th, 2008 at 5:25pm:
Speed (I thought) was the whole reason for going Flash.

Nope. The point of things in Vista like ReadyBoost or hybrid drives is not raw performance, but power management.

Laptops, especially given things like Vista's gargantuan memory footprint, have real problems with power consumption. Although hard disk power management works well to some extent, laptops don't really get to do the equivalent of regenerative braking when spinning HDDs down. They suck power to keep 'em spinning and it sucks seconds (and even more precious juice) to spin 'em up. Hence the push to hybrid devices which promised to make this hurt less.

Flash memory costs no power when you're not accessing it, unlike DRAM, and even when you're accessing it uses not a huge amount. So, it's worth using it as cache in a laptop almost regardless of how slow it is if the alternative is spinning up a hard drive that you could leave idle. But if you are able (or have to) to keep a drive spinning, that's almost always better than current flash for raw speed.

Incidentally, take a look here.

The other small advantage of flash is that there's not the same penalty for seeking the heads you get on hard drives, but that's less of a win than you might think because filesystems and programs have been tuned and tuned and tuned for decades to be really really good at not generating random access patterns.

The point of all the work on SSDs is to get better performance without hard disks for environments where hard disks are by their nature problematic, either due to lack of mechanical ruggedness (for portable and mobile devices) or due to the need to manage power consumption. What you should be comparing a full-SSD device to is not a 7200rpm 3.5" hard disk, but a 1.8"-type like say this one. What matters for many applications of such things is balancing that W/Gb consumption figure against capacity and the one-time cost of the device itself.

 
 
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Nigel Bree
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Re: USB 2.0 Flash Drives
Reply #8 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 10:45pm
 
Rad.Test wrote on Aug 8th, 2008 at 4:45pm:
Can you have friends stateside buy and send to you? .. like an importer for yourself and friends? .. would that work? Or would the shipping be too expensive?  

Well, this leads to a lengthy digression.

First, it's important to bear in mind the distinction between market exchange rates to compare the "value" of things, and an approach which looks at actual prices - measuring at purchasing power parity, most famously demonstrated by The Economist in its Burgernomics index, which isn't entirely serious but not entirely lighthearted either.

But there is also a similar issue which arises in labour, which means that pay rates for equivalent work are different in different countries too. This also varies by industry so it's hard to point at a good-quality data series on this, but for instance pay at many multinationals is set using survey methods to compare pay rates in bands between countries. I believe the end result is that Symantec gets quite a good deal: at market exchange rates we're paid something in the range of about 25% more than developers in India in the same "bands", and I think it's overall (roughly) at 75% of US rates at the market exchange rate of the currencies (leaving aside the question of personal choice of location, and assuming the band assignments are correct - which they aren't, but that's the way the game is played).

Now, the burgernomics index (which is still a useful one) plays to New Zealand's strength, so the PPP readings of discretionary purchases of high-tech or other manufactured goods don't read the same. Cars, for instance.

Let's take my dream automobile (the one I at least had a hope of one day affording, so I annoyed the wife quite a bit dreaming about one before I turned 40 - kinda given up on it now): a Nissan 350Z. According to Yahoo, US average MSRP of a base 6-speed manual is USD 28,510 versus (NZD 71,000 from Nissan NZ including 12.5% sales tax which is about USD 50,000 at current market exchange rates.

In terms of actual end affordability though, that figure is also affected by the relatively lower wages here, differences in tax structure and the amount of money consumed by non-discretionary expenses (food, utilities, rent/property taxes, and the like). Adjusting back for wage structure makes the equivalent price in a USD 66,000-USD 75,000 band, which makes it a pretty major luxury purchase.

[ The end result is that NZ doesn't have a very large new-car market. Most cars in New Zealand are actually (being right-hand drive) purchased in Japan as second-hand vehicles at the age when they start failing mandatory emissions tests and can no longer be legally driven there. So they crate 'em up and ship 'em here. I know very few people who have ever owned a genuinely new car. ]

Electronics such as TVs, computers and the like aren't quite that extreme, but still spendy. A brand new Sony 40V4000 series TV is USD 1,500 MSRP, NZD 2,800 MSRP (i.e., USD2,000 at market exchange rate, USD2,500-3000 adjusting for wage differentials) even though the shipping distance from the actual point of manufacture is lower to get here.

The thing is that with cars, the differential on a single item is enough to make it worth shipping (containers on boats being comparatively efficient). To achieve that with electronics you're shipping small items that either need expensive shipping methods (FedEx/UPS rates via air = ouch), or be rugged enough to ship via plain old surface post.

The net result is that, since we're talking about a) luxuries rather than the necessities of life, it's better just to do without, especially when b) electronics get cheaper at a staggering rate. Yeah, I'd love one of those HDTVs (and PS3, and time to play the games), but it's better to be patient and wait and save.

Especially when there is also the issue of retirement saving to deal with, same here as everywhere (hard to value precisely, see this Economist note on this, but still an assload of money).
 
 
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Nigel Bree
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Re: USB 2.0 Flash Drives
Reply #9 - Aug 12th, 2008 at 7:50pm
 
Since I mentioned retirement savings as an issue above, I thought I'd toss in a link to today's entry in the Economist Book Club which has reached Milton Friedman's discussion of how such things affect policy. Thoughtful, as always, and the post just before it also ends up taking on Friedman's policy legacy as well.

Since I'm throwing out linkage, fierce genius and raging lunatic Richard Stallman got half an hour of interview time on New Zealand National Radio this weekend. Kim gave him a pretty easy ride, and it's the same old tired half-truths that are the stock in trade of his pseudophilosophy, but the opening section on the Printer and "no locked doors" at MIT are useful in understanding the background to his world view.

Nothing of any genuine value was said there, of course, whereas the very next interview that day with James Flynn, for whom the Flynn Effect is named, is rather better and more informative. Recommended!
 
 
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Re: USB 2.0 Flash Drives
Reply #10 - Aug 22nd, 2008 at 6:26pm
 
On the subject of Flash Drives....(like the title of this thread)
I'm glad that competition has forced the prices down as the drive sizes continue to go up.  My own FD collection ranges from 64 meg up to 8 gig.
I use the little 64 meg drives to Boot to Ghost and PM8 and the bigger ones, my 6 gig and 8 gig for Ghost backups of my C: drive. (XP)

I just bought an 8 gig PNY Flash drive for less than I paid for a 4 gig drive, a year ago.  I keep this new 8 gig drive for the express purpose of doing Ghost backups without having to sacrifice a DVD or take up a hard drive.

I'm curious though, what flash drives are selling for in other parts of the world.  Huh

I recently visited a "Comp USA" store and saw huge bins of 1 gig Flash Drives for $9.95 ea.  I think that's about what I paid for my first 64 meg drive, a couple of years ago.

I thank God and HP for that little utility that makes a Flash Drive Bootable.

I'm doing this post on my Dial Up ISP, because Tropical Storm FAY has my Satellite ISP DOWN, due to the heavy cloud cover.  Cheeeech!

Y'all have a great day now, Y'hear?
The Shadow (damp in Florida)
 
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Re: USB 2.0 Flash Drives
Reply #11 - Aug 22nd, 2008 at 9:52pm
 
TheShadow wrote on Aug 22nd, 2008 at 6:26pm:
I thank God and HP for that little utility that makes a Flash Drive Bootable.

Linkage?
 
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Re: USB 2.0 Flash Drives
Reply #12 - Aug 30th, 2008 at 7:03pm
 
I recently purchased a SanDisk Extreme Cruzer Contour USB Flash Drive (16GB), and it is fast:  rated at 18 MB/sec for write, I’m seeing 16-17 MB/sec.

The sliding cover that retracts into the body to reveal/expose the USB connector is very nice (replacing a standard flash drive cap).
 

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Re: USB 2.0 Flash Drives
Reply #13 - Oct 1st, 2008 at 11:23am
 
Rad wrote on Aug 22nd, 2008 at 9:52pm:
TheShadow wrote on Aug 22nd, 2008 at 6:26pm:
I thank God and HP for that little utility that makes a Flash Drive Bootable.

Linkage?

By "Linkage" do you mean "Where do I get that program?"
I can tell you it's from HP.

It's called the "HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool, Ver 2.1.8"

Give this location a try.  Works for me!
http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=197

This is actually a later version than the one I've been using.
I'm downloading the newer version NOW!

The Shadow  Cool



 
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Re: USB 2.0 Flash Drives
Reply #14 - Oct 1st, 2008 at 11:34am
 
What does this utility do, exactly?  You should be able to boot of most any flash drive formatted with FAT, assuming you have a BIOS that supports it.  Most computers made in the last 5 years should support it.  Am I missing something?
 
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