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OEM 5GB USB Pen Drive

Today Geeks gave us a chance to look at this OEM 5GB USB pen drive. Will it earn a place in my computer repair technician toolbox? Until recently I haven't had much use for USB drives. Since most of the files I move usually are at least 640 MB (Read audio CDs but shh! nobody tell the RIAA) I needed a minimum of a 1 GB drive to suit my needs and in the past USB flash drives with that much capacity were much too expensive for my tastes as well as pocketbook. A collection of smaller USB drives wasn't going to do it for me, either, after living with a 14 floppy copy of Windows 95 (13+boot disk) for a while. I realized that I was getting too old, lazy, and plain disorganized to play multi-disk Sneakernet anymore. In the meantime, I had taken to using a Ximeta NetDisk which certainly fulfilled my needs but it wasn't exactly shirt-pocket-portable, either.

Seagate Pen Drive

The packaging here is one of the more unusual I have seen because inside the plastic clamshell is what looks to be a gift box. Inside that you will find a carrying strap, velour pouch, user's manual, USB 2.0 cable, and of course the USB pen drive itself. The users manual makes mention of a driver CD but that wasn't included in the kit I received. I guess that means Windows 98 and other OS users are out of luck. Since this particular drive is an OEM model as mentioned above I am a little short on specs and white paper info. What there is here comes from the user's manual. Device manager identifies this as a ST650211 CF USB device; if you Google that you will find this item to be a 5GB Seagate CF drive.

Seagate Box

Specifications:

USB 2.0 compliant
USB 2.0 data transfer rate:
480Mbps/12Mbps/1.5Mbps
Testing data transference:
Read: 13,969KBytes/s
Write: 13,401KBytes/s
LED display
Power indicator
Environment:
Temperature: 0 to 50 C
Humidity: 5% to 95%

As I removed the pen drive from the box and rotated the USB connector 180 degrees preparing to plug in the USB 2.0 cable to the unit, and then into the back of my PC, I noticed that the top corner of the cover of the pen drive was either very loose or sprung. Upon further investigation I noticed the whole top cover was loose, not just the corner. Whether or not this will affect the drive's function or not we will have to see. The problem, which is most pronounced when rotating the USB connector, certainly indirectly creates some questions about the long term reliability of this unit. After all, if the cover falls off, the unit's PCB will be exposed. That is not exactly the situation you want to be in with an item that was designed for travel.

Seagate Side

Test System Specs:

AMD A64 3200+ O/C 2.5GHZ (250X10) 1.475v
ASUS A8N-E Motherboard
1024MB Kingston Hyper-X PC4000
Western Digital 160 GB SATA HD
BenQ DW1620 DVDR
XFX GeForce 6800 GS (485/1100)
Thermalright XP-120 HSF
OCZ ModStream 520W PS
WIN XP Home - SP2
Direct X 9
Det 81.85

Benchmarks:

Seagate Graph     Seagte Graph

Not at all the results that I was expecting. I guess that is why we run the benches instead of just choosing a winner based on our expectations. I re-ran these tests several times, and I am really surprised that the HD based pen drive did not score better here than it did.

Conclusion:

At the start of this review my intent was to judge between the older solid state USB flash drives and the newer micro HD based USB pen drives, such as the one we reviewed today. This issue has proved harder than I had imagined. On the one hand, there is no denying the appeal of the extra capacity of the HD USB pen drives, which are readily available as large as 8GB; and although some newer USB flash drives in this price range are now available with a 2GB, that still seems small compared to the capacity of the HD USB pen drives. On the other hand, the traditional USB flash drives seem much faster in my limited benchmarking--as well as based on my everyday personal file transfer and backup usage. So, in a nutshell the choice is size vs. speed. Although I am concerned about the loose hinge on the unit I received, this is not a flaw of its micro hard drive design, rather, a poorly designed case. Since the HD USB pen drive is mechanical in nature it probably won't stand up to the same beating and overall abuse as a solid state USB flash drive. All things considered I would say the USB flash drive wins (barely) the right to stay in my toolbox.

Pros:

  • Large capacity
  • Good price
  • Nice presentation

Cons:

  • Slow access
  • Drive cover badly sprung
  • Windows XP only

I would like to thank Geeks for providing us with the 5GB USB pen drive for review. A complete list of their USB drives can be found here. As often happens when OEM items are reviewed, they come and go out of stock. At the time of writing this is the case, they do though have another OEM 5GB pen drive quite similar to the one I reviewed for 72 usd at the above link.

Geeks

Added: September 16th 2006
Reviewer: JimAdkins
Score: 7  
Related Link: Seagate
Hits: 5965
Language: english

  

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