USB 3.0 flash drive - Is it worth it?

macnewbbie

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Nov 5, 2006
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Hello.
Im looking into getting a new flash drive and i was going to get a 32gb one but then i saw that for the same price i could get a 3.0 flash drive, but with 16gb. I never used any usb 3.0 flash drive before and i only have laptops and devices with 2.0, so considering that, is the speed difference between 2.0 and 3.0 used on a 2.0 port worth it to get a flash drive with half the storage capacity?

Sorry if it seems like a simple (or dumb even) question, but i never used 3.0 flash drives and i don't know much about it and if its worth getting considering i don't have 3.0 ports.

Thank you
 

macnewbbie

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Original poster
Nov 5, 2006
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Thanks for the reply!
So considering that and that its a flash drive and that i don't even have 3.0 ports i probably wont notice much difference ( especially since i always used 2.0 anyway). I think i will just buy the 32gb 2.0 instead of the 16gb 3.0, at least i have double the storage space.
 

Intell

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Jan 24, 2010
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Typical USB 2 flash drives have a maximum speed of 12 megabytes per second. Even the cheaper USB 3 flash drives have max speed of around 45MB/s. This is enough to provide the full 30MB/s to a USB 2 port. Having used a USB 3 flash drive with my 2007 Blackbook, I can say it is much, much faster and well worth the money. In fact, most USB 3 devices are designed to be used on faster buses and because of this will usually saturate a USB 2 bus. Instead of having to only make USB 2 look better than USB 1.1.
 

macnewbbie

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Original poster
Nov 5, 2006
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Well... since you don't have 3.0, there won't be a difference at all.....
I thought that even with a 2.0 port a difference could be noticed. I didn't expect the same speed as a 3.0 of course but i had the idea it would be a faster than a regular 2.0 flash drive.

Intell, after reading your post im confused on what to pick again lol That seems to be a good speed diference between the 2.0 and 3.0(Even if not the full speed that a 3.0 is capable). I guess i could live without the 32gb and use a 16gb, its just the price is the same and i would get more storage, thats why im not sure on which one to pick.
 

pknz

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Mar 22, 2005
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Typical USB 2 flash drives have a maximum speed of 12 megabytes per second. Even the cheaper USB 3 flash drives have max speed of around 45MB/s. This is enough to provide the full 30MB/s to a USB 2 port. Having used a USB 3 flash drive with my 2007 Blackbook, I can say it is much, much faster and well worth the money. In fact, most USB 3 devices are designed to be used on faster buses and because of this will usually saturate a USB 2 bus. Instead of having to only make USB 2 look better than USB 1.1.
Agreed.

My USB flash drive (Patriot Supersonic 32GB) has higher read/write speeds then your average USB 2.0 flash drive. It was noticeably quicker even when connected to a USB2.0 port.

To me it was worth it.
 

macnewbbie

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Original poster
Nov 5, 2006
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Again, thanks for all the feedback!
I need to think about it because having more speed would be great to transfer files or when playing movies, but i just need to see if 16gb will be enough because i don't want to spend much money, they are both around 15$ ( the 32gb 2.0 and the 16gb 3.0).

So just wondering, do you guys think its worth getting a 3.0 flash drive (16gb) or go for a 2.0,32gb flash drive? The price on them is exactly the same, i would say the 2.0 would be cheaper because it has higher capacity,but they are really at the same exact price. What would you pick?
 
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Badrottie

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May 8, 2011
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So just wondering, do you guys think its worth getting a 3.0 flash drive (16gb) or go for a 2.0,32gb flash drive? The price on them is exactly the same, i would say the 2.0 would be cheaper because it has higher capacity,but they are really at the same exact price. What would you pick?
It depends on what you want to do with flash drive? For video or pictures? If the video that I want to watch, I would go to bigger capacity. I have 1 16GB for pictures to work with photoshop between Windows 7 PC and MBP and 32GB for movies to watch on both computers. :apple:
 

macnewbbie

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Original poster
Nov 5, 2006
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It will be mostly for movies, but to have one or two there because i usually remove them after i watch them. I might also use for some files or programs.
My current usb 2.0 8gb works well with most computer and the media center i have in my bedroom but the home cinema i have on the living room has some problem and sometimes the video image and sound slow down and lags, which can be fixed by pause it for a bit. Could that be because of the speed of my current flash drive or the actual home cinema player? I was thinking it because of the flash drive and that something with higher speed could help.

By the way, the flash drive im consdering to get is a lexar s73 ( 16gb - 3.0) or the lexar s70 ( 32 - 2.0). Just in case anyone has/had one or tried it before and could give a feedback on it would be great.
Thanks for all the help!
 

mayuka

macrumors 6502a
Feb 15, 2009
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So considering that and that its a flash drive and that i don't even have 3.0 ports i probably wont notice much difference ( especially since i always used 2.0 anyway).
I just got a Sandisk Extreme USB 3 flash drive (the basic 16 GB model) and put the Mountain Lion install image on it. Booting from the flash drive just takes a few seconds on my Macbook 2008. Compared to a normal USB 2 flash drive it is still faster because the built-in controller is optimized for data that is scattered through-out the drive. In sequential read (copying big movie files, ...) you won't notice a difference. For seldom occasions those USB 3 flash drives are really faster. Though, how often do you install a new OS X? Two times a year?

I ordered the Sandisk USB 3 flash drive to use with my new Macbook Air 2012, which I ordered over a week ago and which still hasn't shipped. :mad: Apple has gotten slow. Maybe they're checking my teacher status...
 

macnewbbie

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Original poster
Nov 5, 2006
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Right now i haven't made osx installs because im using a windows laptop ever since my macbook started having hardware problems and theres not much that works on it anymore so i use it as a desktop.
I don't do many installs from usbs though, i have tried w8 and ubuntu but thats about it. The main use would be just to transfer files from one computer to other and mostly movies.
I found some reviews on the flash drive s73 ( 3.0) and some mention a good speed difference even in 2.0 ports ( which is all i have), but others say the difference is not that noticeable and that is not as fast as other 3.0, so that got me confused. But looking at the storage capacity of them, for me 16gb would probably be enough but the fact that for the same price i could have a 32gb and have the option of not having to worry about space on the flash drive would be good also, so that and the fact they have the same price is what makes it hard for me to decide.
 

mayuka

macrumors 6502a
Feb 15, 2009
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If there is a difference on USB 2 it will probably be writing speeds. They are much lower than reading speeds, especially on devices with low capacity. Most USB 2 drives today deliver faster writing speeds than 30 MB/s, thus you won't notice much differences as they are capable of delivering more speed than the USB2-bus can handle. The bottleneck is the bus in this case and not the drive.

Just read the specs of the flash drive.
 

takeshi74

macrumors 601
Feb 9, 2011
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Sorry if it seems like a simple (or dumb even) question, but i never used 3.0 flash drives and i don't know much about it and if its worth getting considering i don't have 3.0 ports.
Worth is always highly subjective, regardless of topic. People would probably consider whether or not they have USB 3.0 ports in determination of worth but some may consider it to be worthwhile if they're upgrading soon to something with USB 3.0 or if they just want to attempt some measure of "future proofing". Others could have other reasons/considerations. It's really your call to make based on your specific needs/wants. Is capacity more important than speed to you? Has speed been an issue with your existing flash drive(s)? Do you anticipate any changes to your needs/wants? These aren't matters with one-size-fits-all answers.

I found some reviews on the flash drive s73 ( 3.0) and some mention a good speed difference even in 2.0 ports ( which is all i have), but others say the difference is not that noticeable and that is not as fast as other 3.0, so that got me confused.
You can't exceed the speed of the USB port on your computer but if you've been using flash drives that are slower than the USB 2.0 limit then, yes, you can see a performance improvement. It really depends on what you've been using and what you're looking to buy. Flash drives aren't all identical as far as transfer speeds are concerned even if they're of the same USB revision.

Look up the limit on USB 2.0.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Serial_Bus (usual Wikipedia caveats apply)
USB 2.0: Released in April 2000. Added higher maximum signaling rate of 480 Mbit/s (effective throughput up to 35 MB/s)
Look at the transfer speeds of the flash drive you're looking at.
http://www.lexar.com/products/lexar-jumpdrive-s73-usb-30-flash-drive
up to 45MB/s read and 20MB/s write
You'll run at whichever is the lowest. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In this case you can expect 35MB/s read and 20MB/s write at best. Again, that also assumes that Wikipedia is correct. I'd suggest corroborating with more reliable sources.
 
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mmomega

macrumors 68040
Dec 30, 2009
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My Patriot supersonic magnum 64GB drive is plenty quick for storage on the go.
220 MB/s reads and 135 MB/s writes on my '12 MBA 13".

It does its job quite well.

I recommend checking it out if you can.
 

macnewbbie

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 5, 2006
159
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Worth is always highly subjective, regardless of topic. People would probably consider whether or not they have USB 3.0 ports in determination of worth but some may consider it to be worthwhile if they're upgrading soon to something with USB 3.0 or if they just want to attempt some measure of "future proofing". Others could have other reasons/considerations. It's really your call to make based on your specific needs/wants. Is capacity more important than speed to you? Has speed been an issue with your existing flash drive(s)? Do you anticipate any changes to your needs/wants? These aren't matters with one-size-fits-all answers.


You can't exceed the speed of the USB port on your computer but if you've been using flash drives that are slower than the USB 2.0 limit then, yes, you can see a performance improvement. It really depends on what you've been using and what you're looking to buy. Flash drives aren't all identical as far as transfer speeds are concerned even if they're of the same USB revision.

Look up the limit on USB 2.0.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Serial_Bus (usual Wikipedia caveats apply)


Look at the transfer speeds of the flash drive you're looking at.
http://www.lexar.com/products/lexar-jumpdrive-s73-usb-30-flash-drive


You'll run at whichever is the lowest. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In this case you can expect 35MB/s read and 20MB/s write at best. Again, that also assumes that Wikipedia is correct. I'd suggest corroborating with more reliable sources.
Thank you for the reply and detailed explanation :)
I can't complain much about my current flash drive ( its a toshiba u2m 8gb), but i wouldn't mind if it was quicker to transfer files but i think its among the acceptable rate for 2.0 ( i think it reads at around 20mb and writes around 7, don't remember the exact values).
I think the 16gb would be enough because i dont think i would fill a 32gb flash drive with my usage and increase speed would be good, even if not to the full capacity of 3.0. I don't plan on upgrading since i got this computer 10 months ago but if i get an increase to around the speeds you mentioned it would already be great.

My Patriot supersonic magnum 64GB drive is plenty quick for storage on the go.
220 MB/s reads and 135 MB/s writes on my '12 MBA 13".

It does its job quite well.

I recommend checking it out if you can.
I just looked that flash drive up on google and it seems to a nice one, i actually have a good impression from that brand but i didn't really want to spend much on the flash drive ( the ones i have been looking at are around 15$).


I went by the store today and i was really more inclined to the 16 gb 3.0 but then my doubts were (kinda of) solved - they were both out of stock lol Apparently they restock them a couple of days ago and they are already out of stock =/ the promotion is still going for some more weeks, so i will just have to check out the store or call to see if they have it.
 

mmomega

macrumors 68040
Dec 30, 2009
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I checked reviews from various sites and the Patriot was one of the top contenders under $100, there were 2 other brands faster but the price was $120+.

When I went to Fry's I was actually secretly hoping it would be out of stock because I knew I would buy one if it was there.... 1 left so I had to buy.

Glad I did, I love this drive.. it is quite a bit larger than most flash drives I've had, width-wise it is 1 1/2 times that of my USB2 drives.
 

macnewbbie

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 5, 2006
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So, after some more time waiting for the store to get more stock on the flash drives i got to do some more research and think and thought i would share my decision with you that helped me out.
I have been using my current flash drive ( 8gb 2.0 flash drive) and i realize that i do need better speed more than space and the 16gb will be enough. While doing some more research on other affordable 3.0 flash drive i found a store near me that has the kingston data traveler elite 16gb 3.0 around the same price as the lexar 3.0 that i seen before and the kingston seems to be not only a more reliable brand but the reviews on it are good and most importantly, the speeds and even in 2.0 reviewers got writing speeds at about 25mb, which is a big improvement for me since i only get around 5mb on my current flash drive.

So, im going to pick the kingston data traveler elite 3.0 16gb because of the speeds and the fact that kingston seems to be a good brand and reliable.
By the way, does anyone has this flash drive that can give some feedback? I have read reviews and opinions on it, but i think feedback on a product is never too much.

Thanks for all the help!
 

ocean2026

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2013
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Flash Drives USB 3.0 vs 2.0

The price differences are extreme. If i only want to transfer files from a mac with 3.0 USB to a USB 2.0 now and then is there that much difference?