The tests we’ve just carried out allow us to name the highest-performance flash drive. It is Buffalo Ultra High Speed Flash Disk RUF2-S4GWH. Although it is not the best in read speed, being a little slower than the 4GB model from Corsair in this respect, it makes up for that by its very high write speed. Its overall performance is higher than that of any of its opponents, so we hail it as the absolute winner. Second place goes to the Super Talent USB Flash Drive. The read and write speeds of this drive are both impressive. Third place is shared by the Corsair Flash Voyager CMFUSB2.0-4GB and the Patriot Xporter XT PEF4G200USB. Besides them, we should also acknowledge good performance of the ATP ToughDrive AF4GUFT1BK, A-DATA PD7, and Corsair Flash Voyager CMFUSB2.0-8GB. Any of these flash drives will make a good buy. Note also that the two models from the same series, but with different storage capacities, performed differently in our tests. The 4GB Corsair Flash Voyager is almost everywhere faster than the 8GB model.
After naming the leaders of this review, we should also name the losers. Some drives have been too slow at writing and sometimes also slow at reading. The TwinMOS Mobile Disk Z4 turned to be the absolutely slowest drive in both. This product in its current implementation cannot be recommended for purchasing. Hopefully, the situation will improve in the future solutions. Unfortunately, the RiDATA Mini Spin Ezdrive performed poorly in our tests, too.
We’d like to specifically mention the largest flash drive in this review, the OCZ Mega-Kart OCZUSBMGK-16GB. It boasts an impressive storage capacity and has quite satisfactory speed characteristics. Besides the capacity, it features a very original exterior design.
Finally, we’d want to say a few words about compatibility of the tested flash drives with ReadyBoost technology available in the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system. Our preliminary investigation by means of IOMeter showed that quite a lot of flash drives had a sufficiently high random read speed, but none of them could show an acceptable speed of random writing. The final verdict will be said by Windows Vista itself which incorporates a special quick performance test for flash drives. The results of this and other Windows Vista-related tests will be published in the second part of the roundup.
The flash drive manufacturers’ websites: