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Thread: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Grubbster's Avatar
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    Default Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    I am looking for information and reviews on USB drives. Does anyone have a link for any forums or sites with info? In particular I am looking for reviews on what are good ones and which ones to avoid. I can find information here and there, but no good sites. TIA

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    * The Arctic Moderator * Sigman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    Jumping in here, I'd be interested in folks comments & experiences with the U3 drives and their portable apps as well.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    If you're referrring to flash memory sticks, aka thumbdrive, jumpdrive, etc.; the kind without a spinning disk drive, they're all generically detected as USB Mass Storage devices. If they get detected they generally work, if they don't they go back to the store.

    The Sandisk Mini Cruzer series has always been reliable for my use/abuse, though the last one that I received was under the Memorex brand. None have really failed to do what they're supposed to (which isn't much.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Grubbster
    I am looking for information and reviews on USB drives. Does anyone have a link for any forums or sites with info? In particular I am looking for reviews on what are good ones and which ones to avoid. I can find information here and there, but no good sites. TIA

  4. #4
    *Flashaholic* IsaacHayes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    I uninstalled the U3 software on my sandisk mini when i got it. I didnt even try out the u3. heh. I just wanted more space and didn't bother with it.

    Sandisk is a good brand btw, I've been happy with them. Speeds have been acceptable.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    Newegg.com has a lot of customer reviews of different models.

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    Flashaholic Sable's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    There are some excellent sites out on the Intertubes for exactly what you want...


    The best of them is Tom's Hardware Guide

    Another is Dan's Data, although he can be less technical at times, but much more entertaining.

    If you're willing to do a little digging, [H]ardOCP is a good start, too.

    Anandtech is a really good one, although I haven't visited them lately.

    Ars Technica does gadget reviews occasionally.

    There's lots others that I've left off...but if you want a quick review, I like the Sandisk Cruzer Minis. High capacity, robust, and reasonably quick.
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    Flashaholic* Grubbster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    My main problem has been with Lexar Firefly drives. I have had two over the last month. One quite working after one week and the other was so slow, I could not even use it. The wait for it to write was an eternity. That one went back to Lexar for replacement. It will be delivered tomorrow.
    My reason for posting was to see if there were any places to get info before I sink money into another one.
    Thanks for the replies. Keep them coming.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sigman
    Jumping in here, I'd be interested in folks comments & experiences with the U3 drives and their portable apps as well.
    I have a Memorex drive that had U3 on it. I removed it and am using software from Portableapps.com instead. I like its format better.

    Thanks for the links Sable. I will check those out.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    I have three thumb drives with U3. The latest is a 2gb, Sandisk titanium. The U3 technology is really pretty amazing. It does take up a small amount of space in a seperate partition on the drive, but it's not too big that I want to uninstall it. It is really nice knowing that I have standard features on my thumbdrive such as: password protection, virus protection and a browser with my favorites, and I can take them with me to whatever computer I use. There are numerous free programs for U3 devices which can be downloaded from the U3 site. Since the programs are being run from the drive, they can be slightly slower than directly from the computer, but a key feature is the fact that when running from U3, you aren't leaving any traces of files or browsing history on the computer that you are using.

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    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    I've been very happy with the two SanDisk Cruzer Titanium drives I have. Both feature retracting connectors so I don't have to worry about losing an end cap. I uninstalled the U3 software on the 2GB unit and have installed the software from PortableApps.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    Sandisk Cruzer Mini for me

    Brendan

  11. #11

    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    I have a BUNCH of Sandisk's... No problems.

    Beware of Lexar flash drives if you're running XP. I have one that froze me up but good, come to find later that they are known for having issues.

    Dutch

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    Flashaholic* matrixshaman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    Got a couple Sandisks and a PNY Attache. PNY never had any problems. Sandisk Micro seemed okay until I put a bootable Linux on it then it would only boot half the time. I had to scandisk it everytime before booting to get it to boot. Seemed flaky at other times too (512 MB). Got a Sandisk U3 1GB that has been fine and in general I think Sandisk is quality but there is such huge competition in this market and memory in general that the manufacturers are really pushing things to the limit - very thin profit margins = making them as cheaply as possible while maintaining fair reliability. I use to follow Sandisk in the stock market /\/\/\/\/\/\/\
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    Flashaholic* bobisculous's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigman
    Jumping in here, I'd be interested in folks comments & experiences with the U3 drives and their portable apps as well.

    I had a 512mb SanDisk mini for some time with U3 installed. I thought it was really handy. Install all kinds of programs on that thing and your ready to go. 512mb is kinda small anymore so I have since upgraded to the 2GB titanium version of the Sandisk Mini and love it even more. So sturdy and well built. Highly recommend it. Now with even more memory, I do not mind throwing OpenOffice perhaps, and a few other larger programs on it. Its been very stable for me. Leaves no footprint on the machine you use it on. If you are going to get a mini, spend the extra few bucks and get the titanium version for sure, as its definately worth the extra money.
    Sandisk prices just recently dropped. The 2gb titanium mini is $43 on Newegg.

    As far as reviews, Newegg will definately be your best bet. It is what made me happy with purchasing the drive I have, along with all the parts inside my computer.

    -Cameron

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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    I have a 512MB Cruzermini, 1GB Cruzer micro and a 1GB Kingston datatraveller. All works fine for the past year. As long as the OS recognized it and accepts it properly the first time you plug it into your computer, it should work fine. I actually bend the plug on my cruzermini while trying to pull it out of the USB port once but it still works...

  15. #15
    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    I have used Sandisk, Lexar, and PNY flash drives. I am happiest with Sandisk. Currently I use a Sandisk Micro. I have a few in 1GB and 2GB flavors, and they have full U3 support.

    I have also heard that M-Systems Disk-on-Key is good, but that was a while back and may be outdated information. They were one of the first to bring flash drives to the market, I believe.

    Sometimes you can find reviews of flash drives on TomsHardware.com, too. I remember a shootout comparison from awhile back.
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    Flashaholic* abvidledUK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    Apple mac...problem.

    Sold as compatible, it was, apart from Filenames.

    Whilst iMac allows various characters, USB stick don't.

    So having renamed many files, I gave up and returnd USB stick for refund.

    Can't remember exactly which, but certainly / was not allowed.

    @ too I think.
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  17. #17
    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    Quote Originally Posted by abvidledUK
    Apple mac...problem.

    Sold as compatible, it was, apart from Filenames.

    Whilst iMac allows various characters, USB stick don't.

    So having renamed many files, I gave up and returnd USB stick for refund.

    Can't remember exactly which, but certainly / was not allowed.

    @ too I think.
    This is due to filesystems incompatibilities. Apple's OS X uses HFS+, which allows for the use of certain characters. Windows usually uses NTFS or less frequently, FAT32, nowadays. Pretty much all USB sticks are formatted in FAT or FAT32 as to ensure compatibility with multiple operating systems, as FAT32 is one of the most universally compatible filesystems around.

    This is not a problem of the manufacturer. On FAT filesystems '\' is used to delimit directories, and on HFS+ ':' is used. Thus, these characters (amongst others) are restricted in file names and should be avoided in naming files.

    HFS+ places less restrictions on what symbols can be used in filenames than FAT32 does, and so when trying to copy from HFS+ to a FAT-formatted drive, you can run into problems. Since I often work cross-platform, I strive to maintain conservative filenames that do not use symbols excessively.
    Last edited by carrot; 02-08-2007 at 02:22 AM.
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  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Trashman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    I've got a Corsair, a couple of Emprex brand, and a couple of Sandisk Cruzers. I would recommend all of them! As far as the U3 goes...I've left it on both Cruzers, so far. I like the built in anti-virus. You can scan any computer you plug it into, which comes in handy when using friends' computers that you just know are loaded to the hilt with crap! Some people still aren't sure if they really need anti-virus or not! I have run into a problem with the U3 drive, however. It doesn't work properly if you've got NetFramework 2.0 installed. (I think it may not have worked at all.) I ended up uninstalling NetFramework 2.0 (which was needed to run a certain application). I even think NetFramework 1.1 makes it so that the U3 software doesn't load automatically, sometimes (most times?). That's ok, though, because the drive is still fully functional with NF 1.1 (needed to run another particularly useful app).

    Read/Write speed is something you might want to look into. They're not all created equally.

  19. #19
    * The Arctic Moderator * Sigman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    Just loaded PortableApps on a 1gig USB, looks pretty nice! Thanks, I'm looking forward to checking it out.
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    Flashaholic* Grubbster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    Sigman, you may want to check out theinfobox.com also. They have a lot of freeware applications for USB drives. They are all categorized nicely. They are not hard to add in with the portableapps stuff.

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    * The Arctic Moderator * Sigman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    Thanks Grubbster...on the way to check it out as soon as I log out here. I hope I didn't take your thread too far off topic? My apologies if I messed the thread up!
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  22. #22
    Flashaholic* Grubbster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigman
    Thanks Grubbster...on the way to check it out as soon as I log out here. I hope I didn't take your thread too far off topic? My apologies if I messed the thread up!
    No problem. I am becoming really interested in these things and am interested in getting and sharing any info available. There are some really cool ways to set these up and use them. I have only scratched the surface so far. Truecrypt is a great way to encrypt your files if you are interested in that. I don't keep sensitive (financial) info on mine, but I do keep a lot of password information that I would not want in the wrong hands.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    I like my Kinigston DataTraveler II plus Migo edition. It's much cheaper than SanDisk and it might be faster. Kingston advertises its speed (13 MB/s write, 19 MB/s read) but SanDisk doesn't.

    It doesn't have U3 but maybe Migo does the same thing. Anyway I don't have much use for Migo at this time.

    I do like the DataTraveler part though. I have a small encrypted partition where I keep my passwords.

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* Frenchyled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    I have a Sandisk USB 2GB Cruzer Titanium U3 and I want to tell that I am very happy with it !!
    I really like the U3 functionalities..because I have all my profiles with me for :
    Opera 9.1 + Widgets (all links+ passwords)
    All my email accounts (I have 5)
    Gaim (inlcuding all my accounts and history)
    Antivirus
    Antispyware
    A copy of "my documents" folder
    Totalcommander
    etc...
    It is really nice to get all these informations with you in a such small key !!
    And the Titanium cruizer is one of the quickest in data speed transfer.

    IT's possible to include all the portable apps that you can find at this link :

    http://portableapps.com/

    Here is a link on how to include these applications on an U3 compatible device :
    http://www.elitenews.org/2006/05/ins...art-drive.html

    But if you don't want U3, you could buy any USB key and install portablesapp applications too !!!
    What I like the much is the possibilities to synchronize outlook and "my documents folder" with your desktop PC...

    And now a Titanium 4GB U3 USB key are available for $140 !!

    http://www.sandisk.com/Products/Cata...ash_Drive.aspx
    Last edited by Frenchyled; 02-08-2007 at 06:23 AM.

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    Flashaholic* PhotonBoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    Is it difficult to remove the U3 software from a USB stick that comes with it? Are there instructions in the documentation that comes with these? I've been avoiding sticks that come with the U3 software preinstalled.

    On a different tangent, I'm aware that you can use sticks with up to 4 GB of memory to speed up Windows Vista; it can use the stick instead of reading system files from the slower hard drive. (BTW, I have no plans for upgrading(?) to Vista for quite a while, if ever.)

  26. #26

    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    *
    Last edited by macforsale; 08-30-2007 at 06:17 PM.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    I have a couple of those thumb drives that take a SD card. They are sometimes useful but they are slower than molasses in February. I don't know if it's the drive or the SD cards. It takes over 1/2 hour to write 512 megs of data.

    For moving data from one computer to another, I now use my Kingston DataTraveler. Faster than greased lightning.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    *
    Last edited by macforsale; 08-30-2007 at 06:17 PM.

  29. #29
    Flashaholic RebelRAM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotonBoy
    Is it difficult to remove the U3 software from a USB stick that comes with it? Are there instructions in the documentation that comes with these? I've been avoiding sticks that come with the U3 software preinstalled.
    Very easy to do. We bought a bunch of the SanDisk Micros at work and they came with U3. Fortunately SanDisk offers a removal tool.
    http://www.sandisk.com/Retail/Default.aspx?CatID=1415

    I don't know if this removal tool works on other brands with U3, I have only tested it on SanDisk drives.

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* matrixshaman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for info on USB memory sticks

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotonBoy
    Is it difficult to remove the U3 software from a USB stick that comes with it? Are there instructions in the documentation that comes with these? I've been avoiding sticks that come with the U3 software preinstalled.

    On a different tangent, I'm aware that you can use sticks with up to 4 GB of memory to speed up Windows Vista; it can use the stick instead of reading system files from the slower hard drive. (BTW, I have no plans for upgrading(?) to Vista for quite a while, if ever.)
    Easy as Pie - you can just format the whole drive IIRC - you don't even need their removal tool (but I'm sure that works fine too). It might be a second partition - forget what I did but it wasn't hard at all. Set mine up to boot Damn Small Linux (only 50 Megabytes includes browser, email nice GUI and about everything you could need). I added Opera and Wine so I can even run some Windoze proggies. With the USB drives getting as big as they are I've even thought of installing a limited size XP on one. Very cool gizmo's.
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