USB 3.0 thumb drive speeds vary widely, here's a quick and easy way to test them

Posted Aug 14 2012 (updated on Apr 6 2013) in
  • Benchmark
  • Productivity
  • Storage
  • Windows
  • Consider giving this simple site a try yourself,
    usbflashspeed.com
    where you can see user-contributed test results for many thumb drives.  See also a nice review of the site over here.

    For me, I made sure I had the latest/recommended USB 3.0 2.1.32.0 driver installed for my tZilla laptop from here, then simply downloaded the free benchmark utility from:
    usbflashspeed.com
    which takes only a few minutes to run (no install necessary, just extract the 3 files and launch the exe). It even auto-uploads the results. ATTO Benchmarks I got were similar, but this was so much easier to publish. Not the most scientific or trustworthy results, since you don't know what USB controller, firmware, and driver were used for the tests, or if the drive was freshly formatted and healty. But it's still a good way to get some idea if the results roughly match the states specs on Amazon or NewEgg.

    Now I know which of these 3 drives I had laying around that I'll be using for my Windows 8 RTM installation tomorrow (even in a USB 2.0 port, those USB 3.0 devices that score highest here will fare better during the intense reads during OS installs).


    1) Transcend JetFlash 8GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model TS8GJF700

    www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820208565
    usbflashspeed.com/29246

    20-208-565-02
    TRANSCEND-JetFlash
    TRANSCEND-JetFlash-ATTO

    2) Team Color Turn 8GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive (Purple) Model TG008GE902V3

    www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820313091
    usbflashspeed.com/29233

    20-313-091-TS
    TeamColor8GB
    TeamColor8GB-ATTO

    I saved the best one I have tested for last, Read is 79.04MB/s, Write is 44.65MB/s:

    3) ADATA N005 Pro 32GB** USB 3.0 Flash Drive (Gray) Model AN005P-32G-CGY

    www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820211575
    usbflashspeed.com/29245

    20-211-575-TS
    ADATAN005
    ADATAN005-ATTO

    Yeah, it's big, it's ugly, but it's also fast!


    Feb. 04,  2013 Update:
    Ah, progress. Speed goes up, price falls down.

    4) Ventura Plus Series USB 3.0 Flash Drive 16GB

    www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=MKNUFDVS16GB+
    usbflashspeed.com/29246

    Check out this Mushkin MKNUFDVS16GB, for $23.95 on Amazon, or the bigger brother MKNUFDVS32GB for $36.73 on Amazon.

    There's certainly cheaper USB 3.0 flash drives these days, seen on Newegg and Amazon. But for what you loose in write speed and cost with the Mushkin, you gain in read speed. If booting recovery media is your goal, then this fits the bill, since that's mostly reads. My testing was done with a Lenovo W520 Laptop's USB 3.0 port, using Windows 8's built-in drivers.

    You'll see my 16GB drive testshere:
    usbflashspeed.com/35413

    then head on over the main leaderboard here:
    usbflashspeed.com

    and apparently this little drive isn't the only Mushkin up there today, but it's the fastest:
    usbflashspeed.com/device/19256

    Mushkin-Ventura-Plus
    usbflashspeed-mushkin-16gb-4f2b04f0d3207b619aa4f77f374f0d86
    Mushkin-ATTO-Diskbench-results
    muskin-16gb-10dff6c4700231805eb477252704b682