Articles: Memory

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The manufacturers have made some progress since we last tested USB flash drives in our labs. Almost all major brands have mastered dual-channel memory controllers and large-capacity memory chips. With the ongoing introduction of “thinner” tech processes into flash memory manufacture, the cost of chips is getting lower at such a fast rate that Moore’s law may look retarded in comparison. Talking about absolute capacity records, Pretec has recently announced a USB drive that can store as much as 16 gigabytes of data!

But for our today’s tests we took drives with a decent and popular capacity of 1GB from such renowned firms as Apacer, A-Data, Kingston, OCZ and Transcend. The last brand is represented by four drive models.

Now let’s learn more about the drives to be tested.

Testing Participants

Apacer Handy Steno HT203 200x 1GB (AP-HHR1002D2G)

This model continues the Handy Steno HT203 drive family. It doesn’t differ externally from its predecessors, marked as 133x.

The long case of the drive is made of transparent plastic and is originally shaped. The cap on the USB connector is attached to the case with a thin metal clip. The yellow LED indicator of operation mode is located in the case, closer to the middle. Some design nuances can be mentioned here: the case extends towards the side opposite to the connector, making it easy to fish the drive from the pocket. The wire clip facilitates the process, too. The big length of the case may not be very convenient, though, and the glossy plastic surface of the drive doesn’t look so fine after having been in your fingers a while. Your fingerprints will be too easily readable on it.

What distinguishes this drive from its predecessors is its increased data-transfer rate. It is marked as 200x. The manufacturer specifies a max read speed of 30MB/s and a max write speed of 18MB/s. The Handy Steno HT203 series includes models with a capacity of 512MB, 1GB, 2GB and 4 GB. The drive supports USB 2.0.

The accessories include an elegant USB cradle, a multilingual quick start guide, and a miniature CD.

The CD contains a driver, a user manual and Flash Disk Utility. The latter can be used to format the drive, make it bootable, compress files on it or protect them with a password.

The average retail price of this device is $40.

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