USB Flash Drive Durability Questions

I've got floppy disks that I've had for over 10 years and I was just wondering what are the life limitations of a simple keychain USB drive.  4GB, etc.
How long do they last?
Are they as sensitive to magnetism as floppies?
What are their physical limitations?
Are some brands better than others
brothertruffle880Asked:
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dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
Much of what you want is here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_flash_drive#Advantages_and_disadvantages

How long do they last?  See link

Are they as sensitive to magnetism as floppies?  No sensitive.

What are their physical limitations?  See link.  Generally they have a limited number of write cycles that can affect life usage.  

Are some brands better than others?  Yes.  Quality of components (memory life cycles).
TxTurboCommented:
It really depends on the type and quality of the USB flash drive you're using.  While they are not sensitive to magnets, the average USB connector will degrade to an unusable point after about 1,500 connections.  As for the flash memory degrading to an unusable point, it depends on the type of memory.  Most drives use MLC memory which is good for about 10,000 write cycles (10,000 flips between 0 and 1 per bit).  The more expensive SLC memory has 10 time that at about 100,000 cycles.

So let's say you get a drive with MLC memory and connect it twice a day it should last about 750 days or 2 years before the connector wears out.

I use flash drives on a daily basis for backup purposes, but I also sync that backup to an online backup service and store it on servers on opposite ends of the company campus.  So I know that data isn't going anywhere despite the best efforts of my USB drive to die.

As for brands, it depends on the individual drive.  As with every mechanical device, manufactures have multiple versions (cheap and not-so-cheap).  I recommend doing the research online before making a purchase to see what others have to say.

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RartemassLife CoachCommented:
Most of your questions have been answered except for brand comparison.

Going off personal experience I would rate Sony as the best. i have been using the same Sony 2Gb drive for the last 4 years without any issues. Family and friends have also used Sony USB drives without issue.

On the other hand I've had a lot of issues with Transcend devices losing/corrupting files, as have other I know. This was a couple years ago so hopefully they fixed they issue with new models, but I don't want to take the risk.

In general stay away from the USB drives on eBay that are high capacity for a low price (esp from China). My brother-in-law got a heap of these and all of them corrupted data if it was more than 40% full.
nobusCommented:
you can compare the usb drives with usb testers, and you'll find a big difference in speed between models, and brands.
i also have a Sony 8 Gb which is fast for now; but with usb 3 coming it will be outdated soon...
here 5 diags/testers :  http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-lightweight-tools-to-check-the-speed-of-your-usb-flash-drive-windows/
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