Decent Read speed, abysmal Write speed 11/07/2013
This review is from: CORSAIR Voyager LS 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model CMFLS3-128GB
- Aluminum protective shell
- Self-retracting USB connector when 'closing' it
- Blue LED activity light is not obnoxiously bright
- 5yr warranty...is that a PRO?
- Potentially just a bit too bulky to sit it next to another USB stick if they were side by side (width-wise)
- While the self-retracting feature is nice, I still prefer physical caps to cover the interface. This particular unit only retracts it and then generally hides it behind the aluminum cover, but by no means is it enclosed. Look at the 3rd picture in the gallery above.
- Does not like all USB3 chipsets
- Significantly underwhelming write speeds. Overall average write speeds are in the 23-24MB/s ballpark. And if you work with a lot of files that are smaller than 256K, forget it! And if they're small files in a compressed format like JPG, ZIP, RAR? Hahahah! Just stop reading now because you'll be dead long before it writes 128GB of those file types.
- I'm suspicious of a 5yr warranty, meaning that it seems short. Why should these devices get such short warranties but their SDRAM gets a lifetime warranty? I can think of various reasons, none of which endow me with a sense of functional longevity for this device.
Thinking of "PROS" was a bit tough. There wasn't really anything to make it stand out from the growing field of higher capacity memory sticks.
And now the 'not so good' and outright 'bad' news.
I tested this on 3 different systems, each with a different USB3 chipset, all with the most current driver available from mfg. The stick was plugged directly into the motherboard slot or connector on the PCIe card. The following write/read numbers will be the average MB/s based on an evenly distributed sample set of files from 256K to 8MB.
PC1 is a Core i7 3930K, ASMedia USB3 chipset
Write: 25.23 --- Read: 101.62
PC2 is a Phenom II X4 975, NEC/Renesas USB3 chipset
Write: 24.06 --- Read: 114.68
PC3 is a Core2Quad Q6600, Fresco Logic FL1000 USB3 chipset
Write: 23.75 --- Read: 112.83
Average of those three sets of data... Write: 24.34MB/s --- Read: 109.71MB/s
On the Fresco Logic I was getting constant disconnect/reconnects. I have 6 other brands of USB3 devices and none of them exhibit this behavior on this controller. Although from what I can tell, as long as the drive was active, such as during benchmarking, it was fine in terms of not disconnecting.
So where does that leave us? Well, if we consider that the theoretical maximum data transfer on USB 2.0 is 480Mbit/s (60MByte/s), the read speed is definitely USB3-qualified, but it's barely working at USB2 speeds when you need to load this thing up with data. And therein lies the big rub for me. If I have 128GB that I need on a portable device, at speeds this slow, it's gonna be a one-time only gig because I don't want to wait more than once for that data to be written. And I think it's rare that MOST people truly have 128GB they're gonna store on a USB stick. Maybe for storing multiple, complete system images that have everything ready to go? Otherwise, I'll save a couple of bucks (and LOTS of time) by getting a 64GB SATA2 SSD and an external USB3 case, at the minor expense of not-quite-as-portable-but-still-pocketable size.
I have somewhat of a hard time finding a good place for USB sticks of this capacity. Yes, the size is nice, but when you objectively look at the situation, are you really going to fill all that space on a consistent basis? I don't think so.
I'd say that since the read speeds are decent, you could use this with ReadyBoost in the Win7/8 environment. But I'd still have a hard time deciding to use this instead of a smaller capacity USB stick. The only other use I can think of off the top of my head would be for long term storage instead of using Blu-Ray discs or (much more less-expensive per MB) conventional HDDs.
Overall this unit gets 3-eggs. The irritatingly slow write speed coupled with questionable functionality across all USB3 chipsets definitely take it down a couple notches. If I really needed this much external capacity, I'd kick in another $22 or so and get a 120GB SSD & a USB3 external case. (Example: N82E16820211602 + N8
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