Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you've undoubtedly seen small USB drives, about the size of a car key, that you can use to transfer data from home to work, or home to school, or to a client. The biggest problem with these pocket-sized devices is their pocket-sized storage capacity. I have in my hands the Soyo SlimEX Platinum drive from Soyo Group, whose 20 GB capacity is nothing to sneeze at.
It really hit me how mainstream USB drives had become a few weeks ago when I was in my favorite office supply store to buy some school supplies for my son. I was standing in line at the register, and they had a small tub sitting on the counter, the same kind that may hold bubblegum or candies in a drug store. However, this bin contained literally hundreds of Flash drives. They weren't packaged, wrapped, or anything. The drives were just sitting in a grab-bag style on the counter for anyone to grab.
These drives each held 512 MB. I couldn't beat their $4.99 price tag, so I bought a few of them, on impulse. These weren't my first USB drives. I already own a few ranging in capacity from 128 MB to 2 GB. I've seen USB Flash drives as large as 16 GB on the market, but they're a little on the pricey side ($140). In comparison, the 20 GB Soyo SlimEX Platinum costs around $90 (that's $50 cheaper than the smaller Flash drive), but that's not where the benefits stop.
USB flash drives are NAND-type flash memory data storage devices integrated with a USB (universal serial bus) interface. NAND memory has no moving parts, and is therefore a very strong platform for transporting files, since it is relatively impervious to bumps and drops. The problem with NAND memory is that even though most flash drives are USB 2.0 compliant, they cannot take advantage of the 480MB/s transfer rate the USB 2.0 specification allows due to technical limitations inherent in NAND flash. The fastest drives currently available use a dual channel controller, although they still fall considerably short of the transfer rate possible from a current generation hard disk, or the maximum high speed USB throughput. Typical overall file transfer speeds are about 3 MB/s. The highest current overall file transfer speeds are about 10-30 MB/s.
Enter the Soyo SlimEX Platinum. This drive does not consist of NAND flash memory; it is a very rugged and compact hard drive. This being the case, the Soyo SlimEX Platinum can take full advantage of the USB 2.0 specification and transfer data at the full 480MB/s.
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