USB flash memory drives are now part of our lives. Smaller and with a capacity higher than floppy disks, these devices are the perfect replacement for the old floppies. This time we brought four new models from Patriot (Xporter XT), ATP (ToughDrive), Corsair (Flash Readout) and OCZ (Roadster) and added them to our previous roundup, so we are comparing 13 different USB flash drives. Who is the winner?

Here is the full list of the USB flash drives we included in this roundup:

All of them are USB 2.0 and you may ask what is the difference between them besides their capacity. Well, there are a lot of differences. Geil David 100, OCZ Rally, Patriot Xporter XT and ATP ToughDrive use dual channel technology, achieving a performance higher than other models included in this roundup. Also, these four companies claim they have the fastest USB flash drive around, so we will be able to say which product is really the fastest one available on the market today.

Patriot Xporter XT and ATP ToughDrive use a rubber body making them waterproof and shockproof, imitating the idea introduced by Corsair with their Flash Voyager more than one year ago. But please remember what happened to our Flash Voyager after a while using it.

Patriot Xporter XT 2 GBFigure 1: Patriot Xporter XT 2 GB.

ATP ToughDrive 1 GBFigure 2: ATP ToughDrive 1 GB.

OCZ Roadster doesn’t compete for performance but for portability. It is one of the smallest USB flash drives around. To reduce its size OCZ soldered its flash chip inside its USB connector. The plastic body you see is just a protection.

OCZ RoadsterFigure 3: OCZ Roadster, closed.

OCZ RoadsterFigure 4: OCZ Roadster, opened.

Corsair Flash Readout also does not compete for performance but for innovative design. It is the first flash drive to carry a LCD display, which shows you the available space in the drive, in MB. You can also customize its label by just renaming the drive label on Windows. It also displays a pie chart with the amount of free space. What is most amazing is that this display doesn’t require any battery to work and it keeps turned on even when it isn’t connected to a PC.

Corsair Flash ReadoutFigure 5: Corsair Flash Readout.

Let’s now see the performance of the selected USB flash drives. To read more about the other models, read our May 2006 USB Flash Drive Roundup.


Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.