Revised Softwares For Testing USB Keys

Few pc users employs usb drives to transfer big files. Well, this normal since usb key offer higher storage capacities. So how to choose an usb key and how to test its reading-writing capacity and how to be sure if the usb key is not fake i.e. ‘oversize capacity’. This is important since such low quality usb keys can corrupt your files or you may lose data stored on them. MLC(Multi-Level Cell) NAND chip based drives are slower to write but cheaper per GB. Whereas, SLC (Single-Level Cell) is better, but why more expensive? SLC memory has the advantage of faster write speeds, lower power consumption and higher cell endurance.

There are two parameters to consider when testing a usb key.

  1. File benchmarks:  This calculates the read and write rates of files of various lengths to the Flash drive based on the amount of time the operation took.
  2. Low-level Read/Write benchmarks: This measures the read and write performance of the Flash drive.

Internet search reveals some interesting freewares to undertake some usb key benchmarks, here you can find some of them.

  1. Check Flash : Is a freebie program that helps user to test and format. Download Check Flash
  2. HDSpeed : It’s portable and the read/write results show up as a graph and also as real values. Download HDSpeed
  3. Crystal Disk Mark : Crystal Disk Mark can carry out sequential read/write tests (i.e. read/write data in order) or random 4KB/512KB reads/writes or text copy. Download Crystal Disk Mark
  4. Disk Bench : All it does is copies a file from A to B, times the time it took, and deletes the file from B again. Disk Bench
  5. USBDeview : It’s  portable and also gives other infos. You can get  a web page to read more about usb key test results. Download USBDeview
  6. Victoria for Windows : Victoria has a lot of useful features. Download Victoria for Windows
  7. DataMarck : The measured data can be uploaded from the software and compared to the benchmark database. Download DataMarck.
  8. Disk Speed : Disk Speed reports the linear read transfer rate, the random read transfer rate and also the access time of the drive. Download Disk Speed
  9. HDDScan : HDDScan is a program for low-level HDD diagnostics. Download HDDScan.
  10. USB20CV (USBCommandVerifier) : Full and Low-speed USB devices for conformance to the USB 2.0 Device. Download USB20CV.
  11. H2testw : The software program works by writing, reading and verifying test data that is written on the selected device. Download H2testw
  12. SiSoft Sandra Removal Storage Benchmark : Admirable job of measuring  drive performance. SiSoft Sandra Removal Storage Benchmark
  13. ATTO Disk Benchmark: Several options are available to customize your performance measurement including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode with the option to run continuously. Download ATTO Disk Benchmark
  14. h2benchw : The benchmark itself measures interface transfer rates, access times, data integrity, zone measurement…. Download H2Bench

To choose a decent fast usb key look at the  X speed rating for read and write, and whether it states SLC or MLC. For Vista you would be best off with an SLC chipped product with at least 150X. You’d be surprised how many high speed USB drives fail this test. Some difference between FAT32 and NTFS is clearly felt when the Flash drive is used for Windows Vista ReadyBoost.

Finally, do take note that you need at least 100 MB of free disk space in order to successfully make these speed tests.

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