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Which flash drives do you recommend if any?

Posted on 2014-11-20
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Last Modified: 2014-11-22
Here are a few different 16GB and 32GB flash drives.
Based on the model numbers and brand name which one would you recommend and why? The Sandisk 16 because of the retail price being $39.99?
Which one would you least recommend? The $5.99 one just because the price is low?

Base the decision on ease of use in a Windows based pc such as Windows Vista or higher. As well as all the other factors needed to be considered for a flash drive.

The 4th photo has a Lexar 32GB savings of $30.00.

The contents will likely be photos, text documents, music and video files.

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Question by:nickg5
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dbrunton earned 100 total points
ID: 40456576
I'd get a number of the $5.99 ones.  Reason:  Low price.  And I'd back up to both drives because when one dies the other one is still available.

If you buy the other drives you only buy one.  If it dies then you've lost everything.  With two cheap drives you can afford to lose one.

<<Base the decision on ease of use in a Windows based PC such as Windows Vista or higher. The contents will likely be photos, text documents, music and video files.>>

All these above factors are irrelevant.  Drives do die.
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by:nobus
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recommendations :
i have used for years a Sony 8 GB drive - works faster than most
i have also 4x Datatraveller 16 GB from Kingston, and 1x 64 GB Datatraveller - which work fine on  USB 3
i have also several smaller sticks - never had a problem with these either

summary : buy the cheapest, unless you want to look at their transfer speed :
http://usb.userbenchmark.com/
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by:rindi
ID: 40456843
The only reasons to buy more expensive USB sticks would be:

a) If you need it to work with Windows To Go, a portable version of Windows 8.x that can be used if you have a volume license of Windows 8.x Enterprise. Windows To Go only works with certain sticks from certain manufacturers, and those will therefore also be more expensive than normal sticks.

b) If you need built-in encryption, which some sticks include.

Otherwise go for the cheapest you can get.
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by:Dr. Klahn
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ID: 40456865
Flash drive lifetimes are much shorter today due to multi-level cell storage.  Previously one bit was stored per cell and as the cell noise level rose due to reuse, the bit could still be recovered.  Now multiple bits are stored ("MLC Technology!") and the lifetime is much shorter due to less ability to differentiate data from noise.

The difference is striking.  In second-generation CF chips using SLC, the rewrite limit was up around 100,000.  In modern flash drives using MLC, the rewrite limit can be as low as 1,000.  This is eased by wear-leveling algorithms but the lifetimes are still much lower.

It is nearly impossible to find SLC technology in high capacity drives.  So you might as well buy the cheapest drives that are fast enough for your purpose because they won't last forever.
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by:Aaron
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If you are going to be putting photos and video on their go ahead and get 32GB or 64GB sticks. You would be amazed at how quickly they fill up with video. In my experience a standard resolution video from lets say iTunes would be 1.2GB and as high as 2 GB while a HD video is generally 2-3 times as big. Again this depends on if you're watching lord of the rings or a 65 min chick flick.

Have you considered an external drive? Most are very small and compact while being fairly fast and the ammount of data would be way higher (500GB - 2TB instead of 32GB) and you can find 1-2Tb for under $100 on newegg often enough.

Here is an example of 1TB for 49$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822145966

And this one is "wireless attached storage" which is pretty awesome concept if you aren't familiar with it you should take a look though it is kinda self explanitory in the name. At the moment they tend to cost 2-3x as much from what I have seen but depends on your budget.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822233002
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by:nickg5
ID: 40457326
Aaron:
What is "TB?"

The Lexars in photo 3-4 are USB 2.0.
The higher cost Lexar in photo 2 are USB 3.0. They are a much higher cost.
What is the difference between 2.0 and 3.0.
Nobus refers to a 3.0 as well.

4 of the Lexar S50, 16GB $5.99 only gives me 64 total
3 of the Lexar S50, 32GB $9.99 are slightly more and a total of 128.

I don't think Windows To Go will be involved.

We need to keep photos of all items in the house in case of a catastrophic fire for insurance reasons. Also text which are list of all items in the house, photos of trees being healthy.
After that maybe 150 music files and maybe 20 video files.

Lifetime being short is not good. The home contents photos need to be preserved long term. We could assume the data on the flash drive is good 2 years after the load the data and an insurance claim arrives only to find out the data traveler died a week earlier.
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by:rindi
ID: 40457373
USB 3 is much faster than USB 2 is but your PC would also need USB 3 ports for that to come into play. Only newer PC's have USB 3 ports. Usually you can identify USB ports by their blue color.
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by:Aaron
ID: 40457388
TB = Terra Byte or 1,000 GB= Giga Bytes

For your needs I think you should go with my first recomendation. It is cheap and will have all the storage you want. If this is in case of emergency you might want to keep it at a separate location if you have family or friends house who could hold it... If you wanted to do this then just buy two they are cheap enough.

Here is the link again:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822145966
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by:rindi
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If it is supposed to be for backups, I'd also not recommend using USB sticks, but rather a USB dock like below:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816856104&cm_re=usb_dock_hard_drive-_-16-856-104-_-Product

then get several cheap, normal HD's which you can drop into the dock for the backup, and then rotate between them. That is much more reliable than a stick, and has more capacity.
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by:Aaron
ID: 40457458
Bare drives are about the same cost as the external drives though and a docking station is just one more thing for the user. In fact external drives are often on sale for less and they are enclosed so they are not exposed to dust and then if you want to recover something from one of the two drives you don't need to get another docking station. (which has to connect and reconnect to the drive itself which I personally would rather reconnect a usb cable that can be replaced than endager the drive itself). Those are just some concerns with it however that option is viable as well.
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by:rindi
ID: 40457501
Dust normally isn't a big problem for disks, and in my point of view you are more flexible with a dock, as you only need one, and they take either 2.5" and 3.5" disks. Standard internal disks are generally much cheaper than a finished USB disk is, and you could even use 2nd hand disks for that. You don't need perfect high quality disks for that as long as you get several of them (which is one of the most important rules for backups, never just have one backup).

USB sticks and also finished USB disks are more meant for carrying along for convenience, so you have the data with you when you aren't at home. They aren't meant for long term safe storage.
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by:nobus
ID: 40457550
usb 2 speed  = 480MB/s - usb 3 = 10 as fast
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by:Aaron
ID: 40457568
The drive I posted is USB 3.0 in case you were wondering Nick
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by:dbrunton
ID: 40458093
We need to keep photos of all items in the house in case of a catastrophic fire for insurance reasons. Also text which are list of all items in the house, photos of trees being healthy.

After that maybe 150 music files and maybe 20 video files.

So find out how much that is in Gb.  When you know your required size then you determine if you need 8 Gb or 16 Gb or what.

You don't need USB 3.  You won't be accessing this on a continuous basis so you don't need USB 3 speed.  USB 2 is good enough.

Cheap flash drives are good enough but NOT one.  Two or three and kept in different locations, one in the house (fireproof and dry container) and the others off site.  And check them every year.  You should be updating your photos and text documents for the house every year anyway.  This is STANDARD backup practice.
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by:nickg5
ID: 40458233
Here's one I can get in a couple days for $45.00.

It's USB 3.0.
The pc owned at the time may not have a USB 3 port (?) so a 2 to 3 adapter may be required.

http://www.staples.com/TOSHIBA-CANVIO-1TB-BASICS-PORTABLE-HARD-DRIVE/product_1337688
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by:Aaron
ID: 40458259
They are backwards compatible so you can use a 3.0 in a 2.0 that is why I always say to go with 3.0 so in the future you stay up to date. This is a fairly good buy I think you would like it. If you are really worried about the data get 2. Keep one at your house and keep the second one in a secure location (family members house). This is honestly the best time of year to buy them.
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by:rindi
ID: 40458484
I still suggest you get a dock and a couple of normal disks. The dock I linked to for example also supports USB3. Those finished products are meant for portability to take along with you, not for backup or archiving purposes.
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by:nickg5
ID: 40458826
dbrunton:
I'd get a number of the $5.99 ones.  Reason:  Low price.  And I'd back up to both drives because when one dies the other one is still available.

What does "die" mean?
The data stored is gone, or garbled, or half you can read and half you can not, or you insert them in the USB post and the pc does not recognize them at all much less totally empty, etc.

I doubt we will be using them over and over so no re-writing if any at all. Semi permanent storage.
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by:dbrunton
ID: 40458952
What does "die" mean?
The data stored is gone, or garbled, or half you can read and half you can not, or you insert them in the USB post and the pc does not recognize them at all much less totally empty, etc.

Any of the above.

If you've got two (three better) and the data backed up is the same on both and one dies, then the other is your saviour.  And you don't need expensive drives.  And if you're not writing frequently as your post indicates then they won't get worn out.
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by:nobus
ID: 40459044
the product you choose is fine, and since it does not have it's own power supply - i don't recommend to use it on USB 2  without using a powered usb hub
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by:nickg5
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