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Kingston, a leading memory vendor has just announced their first USB 3.0 flash drive almost a year later than the world first USB 3.0 flash drive in Nov 2009. This is understandable as it takes time for the market to accept and acknowledge all the new technologies before they go into mass production with much affordable price. Today let us have a deep dive on Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 flash drive.
(updated with G2 version on 18 July 2011 which comes with greater speeds)
Kingston Technology Company, Inc. is the world's independent memory leader. Founded in 1987 with a single product offering, Kingston® now offers more than 2,000 memory products that support nearly every device that uses memory, from computers, servers and printers to MP3 players, digital cameras and cell phones.
With global headquarters in Fountain Valley, California, Kingston employs more than 4,500 people worldwide. Regarded as one of the "Best Companies to Work for in America" by Fortune magazine, Kingston's tenets of respect, loyalty, flexibility and integrity create an exemplary corporate culture.
G1 Version (Sep 2010)
G2 Version (May 2011)
Package & Contents
Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 comes with Kingston's traditional packaging way where the flash drive is kept inside the sealed transparent container; simple & neat. Nothing else is given for Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 except a Y-dongle USB cable for gaining more power; just like 2.5" portable HDD.
Besides that this Y-dongle can be used as a cable extender too since Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 comes with bulky chassis. Five years warranty is given for Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 which is pretty sufficient and we believe it will get replaced with bigger capacities or newer technologies.
(updated on 18 July 2011) Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 G2 comes with the similar packaging just like the previous version but cable extender has been removed; not really an issue if this drive is being used on USB 3.0 device as adequate power will be provided. Besides that Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 G2 is also come with five year warranty and Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 G1 version has been discontinued.
A Closer Look on Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0
The only reason for upgrading to USB 3.0 flash drive is its blazing speed but USB 3.0 flash drive is still yet to be widely used in the market due to its high price. Theoretically USB 3.0 technology is 10x faster than USB 2.0 technology but it will be around 3x faster in practical USB flash drive usage; 80MB/s for reading and 60MB/s for writing.
As we mentioned previously Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 is their first USB 3.0 flash drive and three capacities are available at this moment; 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. Kingston DataTraveler 3.0's dongle is quite giant than others with 73.7 x 22.2 x 16.1 mm dimension; hopefully the next version will be fitted into a smaller chassis.
Heat is one of the major concern for USB 3.0 flash drive and to minimize this issue Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 comes with aluminum chassis for better heat dissipation. White plastic material was added along the aluminum chassis to enhance the design as well as cost reduction; one stone two birds.
Although Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 comes with separated chassis cap but its design allows the cap to be fitted at the end of the dongle so that the cap will not be misplaced accidentally. There is a lanyard loop at the end of Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 for user to keep the flash drive in a much convenient way.
One way to identify USB 3.0 device easily is this 9-pin blue connector where a genuine USB 2.0 device will come with 4-pin black connector. For your reference, we have compared the physical size between Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 and Kingston DataTraveler 2.0 side by side; it is bulkier but hopefully it can performs much better.
If you have no idea what kind of capacity you should go with then you may refer to this table which is provided by Kingston. For a 32GB flash drive, it can store up to 6000 10MP photos, 6000 MP3 songs or 2700 minutes of video. Currently 8GB and 16GB are the two of the best value capacities to go with due to its great demand.
Kingston is a world leading memory vendor and they have huge number of flash drives; from entry till high end or slimmest till most secure. This reference table is good for you to filter out the most suitable flash drive for your daily usage.
(updated on 18 July 2011) The first version of Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 was announced on Sep 2011 with rated read/write speeds at 80/60MBps and eight months later Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 G2 was officially announced with greater performance; 100/70MBps. The improvement is mainly due to the new native controller chip on Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 G2 which boosts up the performance about 15 - 35%. In term of physical and design, Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 G2 is totally identical with the version 1 hence customer should be extremely careful to make sure do not purchase the old stock unless it is much cheaper and indicated by the salesperson that it version 1 model; "G2" wording is available to distinguish them.
Installation, Testing & Performance
For your information, USB 3.0 flash drive is fully compatible with USB 2.0 technology but you will not able to get the blazing speed of USB 3.0 technology. Same with our previous USB 3.0 flash drive, we have gotten an EliteBook 8540p from our partner to test out the Kingston DataTraveler 3.0. Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 is neither come with any Turbo speed utility nor encryption tool hence basically it is ready to service once it is out-of-box; truly plug and play.
Notebook: HP EliteBook 8540p
Processor: Intel i5-520M @ 2.40GHz
Memory: 4GB DDR3 1333MHz
Hard Drive: 250GB 7200RPM
Display: 15.6" diagonal LED-backlit HD anti-glare
Graphic Card: NVIDIA NVS5100M 1GB DDR3
Optical Drive: DVD+/-RW Double Layer SuperMulti Drive
Router: TRENDnet TEW-639GR
Monitor: Dell 22" Wide Screen LCD
Speaker: Edifier R501
Mouse: SteelSeries Ikari Laser
Mouse Pad: SteelSeries QcK+
HeadSet: Arctic Sound P311
Operating System: Window XP Pro SP3/Win 7 Pro
Ambient Temperature: 27 Degree Celsius
We have tested Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 in USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 environments and attached chart is the average reading & writing speeds that we have gotten. As you can see Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 is definitely much faster than USB 2.0 flash drive; around 2 ~ 3 times faster. With such amazing speeds, Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 just requires around 2 minutes for copying 1GB data file and it will be around 5 minutes for USB 2.0 flash drive. Such promising speeds are very important especially when the multimedia files are getting larger and larger nowadays. Unlike other USB 3.0 flash drive, Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 doesn't generate much heat as others hence it is expected to have longer life span in theoretically.
(updated on 18 July 2011) In order to show the performance differences between Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 G2 and its version 1, here are the benchmarking results that you may refer to. With these results, we can prove that Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 G2 is definitely faster than its previous model where the obtained read and write speeds are about 115MB/s and 67MB/s effortlessly. This is incredible and good news for those plan to get a unit of USB 3.0 flash drive.
Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 might not be the fastest USB 3.0 flash drive but it is definitely able to deliver the expected speeds without any problem. Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 is currently priced quite expensive than standard USB 2.0 flash drives but if you own a notebook/desktop with USB 3.0 connectors then we do not see why there is hesitation to get such blazing speed flash drive. Futhermore Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 comes with five years warranty which is definitely able to be protected before it get replaced.
+ Greater speeds than USB2.0 devices
+ Strong & durable Aluminum housing
+ Minimal overheated problem
+ Comes with 5 years warranty
- A bit bulky
- Not cheap
(updated on 18 July 2011) With the Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 G2, we have to admit that it is one of the most faster USB 3.0 flash drives that we have tested so far especially the awesome write speed; much competitive than the previous version. Performance is the only key difference between G1 and G2 versions hence Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 G2 is definitely a much better buy since both of them are having similar suggested retail price and Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 G1 had been discontinued. The bulky size and expensive price could be the only concerns when considering Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 G2 but these are not the deadly issues and Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 G2 is definitely worth for it; a reliable brand with top reputation.
Thanks to Kingston for providing this sample for us to review.
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