HDD Killers

Corsair Flash Voyager 8GB USB Drive

Posted on Friday 13 October 2006

Recently (22nd September) Corsair released an 8GB flash memory USB pen drive. Well, on the 25th I headed right over to Dabs and ordered me one. Last week it arrived.

Drive properties, a whopping 7.73 GiB of space.

So what’s the big deal? Yeah, the capacity is quite large, but there are external HDDs that reach the great heights of 1TB. Well the truth is that the drive doesn’t really have much going for it.

Apart from it’s size of course, this thing is absolutely tiny.

Oh, and the speed, this dual channel flash drive has really high read/write rates, the read rate is approaching the maximum you can expect to get from the USB interface.

And don’t forget the batter-proof, durable design, this drive is coated entirely in rubber to absorb any knocks it may be subjected to, unlike most other pen drives that are plastic and can crack or break. It’s even water resistant, not that I’m about to test that theory.

So OK, I’ve told you about it, but maybe I’m somewhat biased. Here’s some evidence to backup what I’ve said.

First of all, the tinytude, here’s a snap I took (with a crappy fixed focal length camera, sorry).

Drive next to a ruler, phone, box of chewing gum and a HDD, it's the smallest.

Fun fact, the pen drive and HDD in that picture are both of a similar capacity. The pen drive stands at 8,305 MB (7,920 MiB) and the HDD at 8,455 MB (8,063 MiB). I’m willing to bet that the pen drive has higher read/write rates and much lower latency too. Gotta give the HDD a break though, it was made in 1999.

OK, so now you can see just how small the drive is, how about the read and write rates? Well Corsair quote the read rate to be 33MB/s (31.5 MiB/s) and the write rate to be 19MB/s (18.1 MiB/s). However the read rate just doesn’t seem to be accurate, in my testing I found that the read rate is actually a lot lower, whereas the write rate is almost spot on.

I ran HD Tach on the drive to see how it performed, the resultant graph was reasonably flat (compared to what you get from a HDD) with a very slight general downward trend. I’m not really too sure why the drive is slower towards the end, but there you go. Here’s a screen shot of the output, as you can see, the average read speed was 26.9 MB/s (25.7 MiB/s), quite a bit lower than the figure Corsair gave. Bad corsair, no cookie for you.

HD Tach is all very well and good, but what about an actual copy and paste operation? I amassed 12 large files in a folder on my desktop that would fill up all but 2MB of the drive, and began a timed copy and paste operation to the drive. Then once it was done, I copy and pasted all the data from the flash drive and timed that too. Here is the raw data:

Data size: 8,302,852,442 bytes

Time to write: 441 seconds
Time to read: 325 seconds

Therefore the average write speed came out at 18.8 MB/s (18.0 MiB/s) and the average read speed is 25.5 MB/s (24.4 MiB/s). As I said earlier, the write speed compares favourably with the 19 MB/s in the specs, but the read speed falls far short of the claimed 33 MB/s. Now, 25.5 MB/s is still pretty damn fast, more than twice as fast as a 100 Mbps network connection, so it’s still a great product, but it’s just not nice to be lied to. Corsair have inflated the read speed on the specs by almost 30%.

How about the price then? At the time of writing it’s currently for sale on Dabs at £117.87. That works out to be £14.73 / GB, which seems about average for flash drives in the UK. However what you’re getting is a high performance, high capacity flash drive from an excellent and well established manufacturer.

My conclusion? Well this is an excellent product, it’s very small so it’s easy to carry around and/or lose, whichever is your preference. It also has a huge capacity, thereby making it easy to carry all your pr0n around with you and leaving nothing for your wife/girlfriend/parents to find lying around on your PC.

If you’re in the market for a flash drive and you don’t want to be waiting around all day for what should take just a couple of seconds, I can definately recommend this drive, or in fact any of the Corsair Voyager series.

    Friday 13th October 2006 | 11:36 pm
    Daniel's Globally Recognised Avatar

    The tip looks somewhat like a bottle opener. I do hope it can open bottles. Otherwise– wasted opportunity.

    Saturday 14th October 2006 | 12:11 am
    David's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Sorry to disappoint, actually, no I’m not, I’m quite happy to. Perhaps you weren’t clued when I said, “this drive is coated entirely in rubber.”

    That loop at the end, as if you couldn’t guess, is just so you can attach the drive to a keychain or something.

    Sunday 15th October 2006 | 2:51 am
    Paul Jr's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Fine and dandy, but I need more… MORE!!! BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    …okay, I’m done now.

    Friday 20th October 2006 | 7:19 am
    rhsunderground's Globally Recognised Avatar

    we used to have a “laptop” with a “massive” 20mb hd. my, how times have changed.

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