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Tag Archives: USB 3.0

ioSafe Rugged Portable Reviewed. Verdict: The Only USB 3.0 Drive That Can Survive A Shotgun Blast


By Paul McCollum

ioSafe has made a name for itself by creating hard drives that can withstand all manner of natural disasters. By survive, it means that once you extract the internal disk from the charred or flooded rubble, all your data should still be there, even if your house or office isn’t. It’s the personal computing version of an airplane’s ‘black box’. Until lately, these indestructible vaults were meant to be nailed down or chained in place with security cables. The extra material required to insulate the drive from water and fire adds a great deal of bulk.

ioSafe’s Rugged Portable drive is meant to be a more travel-friendly version of the ioSafe SoloPRO. It is much closer to the same size as standard external hard drives, but it can easily fit into a laptop bag or carried in one hand from place to place. Being a much smaller drive, ioSafe did have to trim off some of the protective features, yet the drive still managed to survive in all three durability tests: water immersion; fire; and blunt force (basically, shooting the drive with a shotgun). The Rugged Portable also came out on top in the real-world performance test, thanks to the 2.5″ Seagate 7200-rpm drive and USB 3.0. Read a detailed review at Everything USB to find out if all these features and performance warrant the high cost per gigabyte.

[ ioSafe Rugged Portable Drive Review @ Everything USB ]

LaCie FastKey Reviewed. Verdict: Speed Certainly Does Come at a Price

By Paul McCollum

Following Kingston, PQI and Super Talent, LaCie has also jumped onto the USB 3.0 bandwagon with its FastKey. Bearing a strong resemblance to the IronKey drive, the $499 FastKey USB 3.0 flash drive keeps with the company’s tradition of devices that are easy on the eyes (and pricey). A smooth metallic exterior and a slim form factor make the FastKey a nice conversation starter. The cap and body are lightweight and metallic, giving the feel of a smaller drive. However, the above average width may cause problems blocking adjacent USB ports.

While the FastKey is slightly larger than most flash drives, it packs a whopping 120GB of storage. With this amount of storage, speed is a necessity. What good is 120GB of space if it takes an hour to fill it up? For FastKey’s real world performance, you can expect a read rate of 125MB/s and write of 85MB/s, provided you have a fast internal drive to match the speed. So, it will take about 16 minutes or so to copy everything from this thumbdrive to your PC.

Not all flash drives are built the same, even those as bold to call themselves an Express or Blaze are deceptively slow. When selecting a flash drive, pay close attention to the actual speed rating of the memory as opposed to the version of USB that they support. Full details on how well the LaCie FastKey lives up to its name can be found at Everything USB.

[ LaCie FastKey Review @ Everything USB ]

Seagate GoFlex 1.5TB Portable Drive Reviewed. Verdict: Perfect Match of Size and Speed

By Paul McCollum

Portable hard drives have been an indispensable tool for data backup on the go. Seagate has stayed in the forefront of this market for a number of years and the company has recently outfitted their drives with the GoFlex interchangeable interface adapter to make their drives future-proof. The latest 2.5″ GoFlex model has 1.5TB storage, and the choose-your-own connector drive now comes with the USB 3.0 adapter and includes a standard mini-USB 3.0 cable. Other connection kits including eSATA and Firewire 800 which can be purchased separately for maximum performance based on your available connections.

The 1.5TB FreeAgent GoFlex is vast and fast but gives up some of its svelte form to pack on the extra gigabytes. The extra bulk is only noticeable in comparison to other drives of the same ilk but under most circumstances, you will never notice the 0.25″ or so of extra thickness. Performance metrics put this drive well above USB 2.0 drives and significantly above previous USB 3.0 drives. Performance data and other details are all covered in an in depth review at Everything USB.

[ Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1.5TB Portable Drive Review @ Everything USB ]

Nexcopy 16 Port USB 3.0 Duplicator

Nexcopy USB 3.0 Duplicator (Image courtesy Nexcopy)
By Andrew Liszewski

The most practical use for a USB duplicator like this is to speed up the process of copying corporate info to a bunch of promotional USB flash drives you intend to give away at a trade show. If you’ve decided not to just let an outside company do it, whether for cost or security reasons. And thanks to the Nexcopy SSUSB160PC’s support of USB 3.0, that copying process will go even faster now. Assuming of course you’re using USB 3.0 flash drives.

But what company is already giving away USB 3.0 flash drives as promotional/informational items? And where do I find them? There were still companies at CES, arguably the most tech-friendly of trade shows, distributing their press kits on plastic discs! So I find it hard to believe that USB 3.0 flash drives have reached the point of being an affordable promotional item. The duplicator does become a little more useful if you’re looking to clone a pile of USB 3.0 external hard drives for your traveling sales team or something, but with a price tag of $1499 I’d say it’s probably smarter to just drag your feet for another year when these are more commonplace and a lot cheaper.

[ Nexcopy 16 Port USB 3.0 Duplicator ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]

ioSafe SoloPRO Fireproof USB 3.0 Drive Reviewed. Verdict: Speedy as it is Secure

iosafe solopro usb 3.0 drive
By Ian Chiu

In certain situations and environments, physical security is going to be paramount in your data backup and recovery plan. Maybe you are a SOHO business, or just have a lot of precious data that you want to be sure will survive no matter what natural disaster hits your home! For situations like this, nothing beats offsite storage. Sadly, this is not an option for everyone, and as strange as it may seem some services offer barely above the “dial-up connection” transfer speed levels. So, an alternative is fire and water proof storage solutions.

One such example, which is not only durable (and yes we tried our best to kill the darn thing!) but is also fast is the ioSafe SoloPRO USB 3.0 hard drive. This bad boy not only boasts fire protection of 1550ºF for 30 minutes (meeting the ASTM E119 specifications) and is waterproof (though only the hard drive as the unit WILL be dead after water immersion), it also boasts a USB 3.0 interface. This combination makes it as fast as an internal hard drive would be while still being much more durable in case of bad things happening to your environment. As a nice little bonus ioSafe even includes free data recovery service if their device does fail (first year only, with extensions of up to 4 more years available). On paper, it sounds awfully tempting as peace of mind is priceless.

How does it fare in real life? The 1TB Hitachi hard drive is not exactly going to win any speed contests but was found to be more than “good enough”. The only real down side is its price of $249 for only 1TB of space, which makes this solution a tad pricey for some people’s budgets. Everything USB has the full review.

[ ioSafe SoloPRO USB 3.0 Hard Drive Review @ Everything USB ]

Seagate GoFlex Desk 3TB External Drive Reviewed. Verdict: Bigger is Better


By Ian Chiu

As with most things in life: BIGGER is BETTER when it comes to portable storage and no company knows that better than Seagate. They were the first to come out with single 3.5″ form factor monster 3TB hard drive and what better way to put all that space to use than in an external storage solution?!

With a very reasonable footprint that is no larger than previous models, the 3TB Seagate GoFlex Desk is a marvel of engineering. The ultra dense platters of the 3TB hard drive contained within gives this drive the potential to be just as fast as it is good looking. Sadly, its stock configuration is less than optimal as Seagate has hobbled it with the down right ancient USB 2.0 interface. Luckily, where it is a GoFlex drive the interface can easily be upgraded. When you combine USB 3.0 bandwidth with this drive, the potential of the GoFlex 3TB is fully leveraged. But you have to be willing to pay the price all that space and speed demand! Is this price worth it? Only you can answer that question for yourself. Everything USB has the full review.

[ Seagate GoFlex Desk 3TB External Drive Review @ Everything USB ]

Kingston Data Traveler Ultimate 3.0 Flash Drive Reviewed. Verdict: SuperSpeed Going Mainstream

By Ian Chiu

More and more companies are starting to catch on to the fact that the SuperSpeed interface is a veritable godsend for flash drives. When you remove the bandwidth bottleneck that was really the only thing keeping flash drives back what you can get can be astonishing; as you can get power & performance that still can fit in the palm of your hand!

The latest company to bring out a USB 3.0 flash drive is Kingston (following Super Talent) with their Data Traveler Ultimate 3.0. Compared to the older Data Travelers, this new model’s official speed of 80MB/s read and 60MB/s write are a much needed improvement, but the write speeds are a tad on the low side when compared to competitors in its price range. Luckily, its above average read speed does make up for some of this shortcoming and only you can really decide if it’s the perfect match for your needs or not. Everything USB has the full review.

[ Everything USB - Kingston Data Traveler Ultimate 3.0 Flash Drive Review ]

Asus U3S6 USB 3.0 / SATA 6 Hybrid Card. Verdict: A Killer Upgrade


By Ian Chiu

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a brand new motherboard with integrated USB 3.0 ports; yet, many want to take advantage of the theoretical tenfold increase in speed the new copper interface has to offer.  For this burgeoning market many manufacturers have started to offer small add-on cards which can upgrade an existing rig to USB 3.0.

Sadly, not all of these add-on cards are created equal as there seems to be two separate and distinct types: PCI Express x1 and PCI Express x4. The latter seem to be the better choice if the ASUS U3S6 is any indication.  This particular board packs in not only two USB 3.0 ports, but also a pair of SATA 6GB/s ports.  It’s a killer combination with one caveat – the U3S6 isn’t an optimal solution unless your existing motherboard is on the extremely short ASUS approved motherboard list. If you disable the SATA 6, the USB 3.0 ports will most definitely work, and you can expect speed up to 245MB/s with a USB 3.0 SSD. For under $30, it’s a price that is hard to beat.

[ Everything USB - Asus U3S6 USB 3.0, SATA 6 Card Review ]

Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 USB 3.0 Drive Kit Reviewed. Verdict: USB 3.0 Should Have Come Sooner

By Ian Chiu

[ The following article is syndicated with permission from Everything USB ]

USB 3.0 is here. While not everyone has immediately hopped on the bandwagon yet, several major motherboard and storage manufacturers have been actively pushing out SuperSpeed USB devices, and one of them is Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 Performance Kit. Bearing an ambitious name, the BlackArmor PS 110 is one of the industry’s first portable USB 3.0 2.5″ drives. The kit – backed by a generous 5-year warranty – comprises of a 7,200-rpm 500GB drive that now becomes the performance bottleneck instead of the USB interface; a single-port USB 3.0 ExpressCard/34 card; an auxiliary power cable; and a backup software suite.

Obviously, what makes this drive so special is the speed. The on-board USB 3.0-to-SATA bridge chip boosts average performance to consistently high between 60 to 95MB/s. This is up from 30MB/s range registered by USB 2.0 FreeAgent Go. A review by Everything USB confirmed that the BlackArmor PS 110 USB 3.0 is indeed the bottleneck as a 3.5″ 1TB drive inside a WD My Book 3.0 easily bumped speed even further to 110MB/s. Keep in mind BlackArmor PS 110 3.0 is only first generation product. So it could take a year or two before the potential of USB 3.0 is fully realized. Read on for the full review for all the benchmark data and usability test results.

[ Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 USB 3.0 Review @ Everything USB ]