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The sad state of USB Flash Drives by themarkymark

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· @themarkymark · (edited)
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The sad state of USB Flash Drives
![image.png](https://ipfs.busy.org/ipfs/QmdGAhgjUaSGiKsenZZ5gyGnuvbwp92FVMgp5SSKdSmbXp)

I have a lot of USB flash drives, I mostly use them for installing operating systems, creating boot disks, and for Raspberry Pi projects.  

I've always had an intolerance for slow storage devices.  USB flash drives have always been problematic. There are literally no good choices for USB Flash drives unless you spend an insane amount of money.

You can find 16GB+ USB flash drives for around $5, the technology has become a commodity.  Most users have no idea what they are getting when purchasing USB Flash drives.  You order a USB 3+ flash drive and think you are getting a USB 3+ flash drive, but in most cases, they are worse than USB 2 transfer speeds.

I have around 10+ USB flash drives on hand.  

# Why so many?

As I said the main reason I use USB flash drives is for booting.  I like to keep the following images on a USB flash drive for the various systems I run and I help with for my family.

* Windows 10
* Windows 8
* Ubuntu Workstation
* Ubuntu Server
* Linux Mint Workstation
* Hackintosh UniBeast
* Acronis Boot Restore Disk
* Custom Recovery disk with Anti-Malware/Security Tools

Then I have a few for any rare data transfer I need to do, testing new things like I am currently playing testing ProxMox & FreeNAS.  I also will use them on Raspberry Pi devices at times.  I also have a lot of Micro SD cards for Raspberry Pi devices.

The difference between a good flash drive and a bad one is huge, a slow flash drive can be as much as 50x slower.  Cheap USB flash drives can also be unreliable.  If you want to use encryption then this becomes an even bigger problem (which you should if you take personal data outside of your home).

The thing is, you never know what you are buying.  They rarely state the transfer speeds and many times they quote theoretical transfer speeds based on the USB 3 spec and not actual speeds.

Check out a few examples:
https://i.imgur.com/MjZFItv.png
https://i.imgur.com/6haif5x.png

**I had a few of these in the past, and they are atrocious.**

https://i.imgur.com/7xpr67u.png
https://i.imgur.com/Sllde2K.png
https://i.imgur.com/b5aLaz9.png

Check out the review about **Write ProtectedMode**, this is a common problem on Sandisk devices that brick devices when they detect a fault. 

If you want a USB flash drive that doesn't suck, you usually have to buy **Extreme** versions, to get true USB 3 speeds and even then it's nowhere near what's possible.

The other problem, in my case I only need 8 GB flash drives 98% of the time.  Pricing typically makes that the worse option to get.

https://i.imgur.com/mAgyvUS.png

Who wants a bunch of 64GB flash drives.  

https://i.imgur.com/M7uY1tv.png

When you get into the extreme editions, it gets even worse.  You are forced into higher versions and the prices rival external hard drives.

The real problem is the average flash drives you see available being insanely slow without any clear details on their performance.   Luckily on Amazon, it is fairly common for people to run Crystal Disk or ATTO benchmarks and provide screenshots in the reviews.  If you ever order a flash drive on Amazon, always check the reviews for these benchmarks or **you never know what you are getting**.  

If a flash drive says it is a USB 3, it doesn't mean a thing.  There are USB 3 flash drives like the Kingston Daa Traveler that make USB 2.0 flash drives look like SSD drives.

**All images are from Amazon product pages or reviews**

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vote details (251)
@cryptoclient ·
nice post ..love you
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@andrewgenaille ·
They add up... and a lot of them just sit around with one or two files on them

Posted using [Partiko iOS](https://partiko.app/referral/andrewgenaille)
👍  
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@schlafhacking ·
if you really want reliable and sane USB sticks, do real research. That includes the controller chip and its firmware. Have debug capability in case you need it. Or just make regular backups :p
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@funbobby51 ·
Thanks @fulltimegeek
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@ddrfr33k ·
Ah, the dark underbelly of the flash media industry. There's lies, there's damn lies, and then there's flash drives.
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@graylan ·
I stillhave a 256mb flash drive i still use that was made in 2004. You can't store anything but pictures on it though, or maybe some text documents. Files got so big. It is a good quality flash drive though, from staples to last this long. I guess because now only a number of companies own all the factories for the chips, they just make crappier products to make you buy more.
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@rishi556 ·
If all you care about is storage, microsd cards are even cheaper. I got a 64 gig card from amazon for $19 with same day shipping.
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