PQI intros USB 3.0 64GB flash drive

By Matthew ยท 15 replies
Dec 29, 2009
  1. We have covered an assortment of USB 3.0-equipped hard drives, motherboards and more, but PQI's next-generation USB flash drive is among the first of its kind. The company's Cool Drive U366 boasts a peak read speed of 97MB per second (no write speed is mentioned) and will be made available in capacities of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB.

    Read the whole story
  2. Well yes I am waiting for the first of the year to put together a new computer. I want to try to go for a Core I7 with USB 3 and try not to break the bank. Never seems to fail that as soon as I commit to a Mobo that in a few weeks the next best thing is out.

    Oh well that's computers Mike
  3. Timonius

    Timonius TS Evangelist Posts: 647   +58

    While I would love to get a new USB 3.0 flash drive and a mobo that can handle it I'm afraid it'll be far beyond my reasonable affordability. I'm not exactly an early adopter.
  4. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,673   +1,105

    They look really nice nice but i'm sure that by the end of 2010 we'll a more mature USB3 devices market in which the prices will be lower and we'll have a lot more to choose from. I'm going to wait till then.
  5. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,673   +1,105

    PS: i need a edit button cuz in the morning i make a lot of mistakes when writing
  6. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    USB 3 flash drives are completely and utterly useless. Flash media is far too slow to make any reasonable use of USB 2.0, let alone 3.0.
  7. That would depend entirely on the chips used and implementation. Don't forget that super fast SSDs are also based on flash chips.
  8. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 839   +29

    USB 3.0 looks great and so does the new SATA, but I'm going to wait a while until I jump into either one. Probably looking at maybe late 2010 before I think about build another computer or rebuilding either of mine. I just built my main computer less than a year ago. Right now I'm saving for a PS3 and a new monitor :p.
  9. Zeromus

    Zeromus TS Booster Posts: 227   +7

    Going lazy and getting a usb 3.0 pci-express hub instead, that is if you have enough slots. Most media center computers only have one :(
  10. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 529   +7

    I am actually delaying purchasing a new desktop for the time being. To many new standards coming out that i don't know exactly how they will play out for me at the moment (USB3.0/ SATA 6GB/ DirectX11, etc). I am going to put any "computer" cash into some better monitors - although maybe i should wait for display port monitors to become more prevalent ;-)
  11. USB 3.0 is going to be one of the fastest adopted technologies ever, and it's going to kill eSATA, Firewire and Fibre Channel dead.

    Obviously 97MB/s, if correct, is comparable to low end SSDs or the very fastest spinning platter drives, so if they meet this specification, it's absurd to complain that existing USB2 flash drives, which never had to go any faster than 480mbps, would not go fast enough to exploit USB3. Access speed is entirely a function of how parallel the chip access is, more simultaneous access channels equals more speed. Obviously these pretty little drives will be very expensive because they're the first out, but by the end of this year they will be a commodity item and probably you will pay the same percentage premium that you do now to get small USB2 5V flash drives vs. big USB2 5V spinning-platter drives (don't compare to power-pig drives with wall warts which are cheap because they're clumsy/bad for many purposes including laptop and media playing). What is that price premium, about double? You can already get USB 3.0 enclosures for not much more than USB 2.0 enclosures and fit any SATA-3 (3gbps) drive in them, and there's no way a spinning platter can go 3gbps so these are as fast as any non-SSD will get. Gigabyte is putting USB 3.0 on its whole product line, and so on, and has even boosted the power on it to a (non-standard) 1.5A (standard is 0.9A) to avoid needing separate USB2 cables just for power to the drive.

    Don't buy a motherboard without USB 3.0 on it, or you will be buying an add-in PCIe 4x card like ASUS' (two USB 3.0 ports and two SATA6G ports for US$66).

    The fact that ASUS has this card suggests it will also be first out the gate with a router that has dual USB 3.0 ports on it to exploit their AiDisk/DDNS NAS technology. It might even be configurable as a RAID1 or allow multiple routers to automatically mirror. When they bother to turn on the full 5GHz and 2.4Ghz capabilities of the Broadcom BCM4718 chip they are already using in the RT-N16 (which is useless for NAS because of two USB 2.0 ports as its only storage option) they will need those USB 3.0 ports and also need to team the gigabit LAN connections (and yes ASUS already sells motherboards with dual Gb LAN connections that team) to provide a combined 2gbps wired and 600mbps (both modes of wireless-N) per router. Considering the advantages of keeping two USB 3.0 backup drives in different physical places over the dangers and complexity of trying to configure a NAS proper (have fun getting your data out when it's the NAS board rather than the drive that blows), and the relative easy of software syncing/mirroring and the reliability of being able to just unplug a USB 3.0 drive from either router and plug it into a computer directly, expect ASUS to sell at least one of its USB 3.0 routers to everyone who buys a USB 3.0 / dual GLAN motherboard from them. They'd be absolutely nuts not to bundle these and push their advantages (gigabit LAN teaming, USB 3.0 syncing/mirroring using AiDisk, DDNS, redundant access points for 5GHz and 2.4GHz to maximize coverage area). This is what I will be doing myself by 2010Q4 with two of the next ASUS router (or the one after that) and the first ASUS dual teaming GLAN mobo that comes with a top-flight IGP that supports OpenCL and using the IGP port with discrete cards doing GPU processing only when required (this saves an astonishing amount of power, nVidia's Hybrid-SLI does it better right now but ATI is leading in terms of getting its GPUs to cooperate for higher end graphics tasks and they also have EyeFinity 3-monitor support).

    People who have that kind of configuration will also want to keep absolutely vital and personal data on a little 64GB USB 3.0 stick like these, possibly sticking one of them into each router port and mirroring the truly private personal data onto each. Then when you leave for a while, you simply take both of them out, hide one in a fireproof place, hang the other on your neck, and let your ASUS routers suck down data as fast as they can while you're gone - since they run FTP/BT servers while your computer remains off.

    The fun part is that all this will probably cost $80 each for the two routers, $140 for the new teaming dual GLAN motherboard, $66 each to upgrade your old computers for USB3, maybe a hundred for USB3 drive enclosures for your slower SATA-3gbps drives (replaced by say three nice new SATA6gbps SSDs for under $100 each) to become the NAS drives attached to the router(s) and that's only $1000 before you fill out your new box (with even faster SSDs to saturate the 6gbps x 2 RAID0 link). Do it this way and you'll still have 2-gigabit access to your data (teaming dual gigabit LAN ports cost peanuts to add, if you don't have 'em) which is faster than eSATA (in theory) but superfast 6/12 Gbps RAID access to OS and cache. If you don't think 2gbps is fast enough for your media files, buy a USB 3.0 drive enclosure that has HDMI output (H.264 decode, HDCP encode) for media files - these come with a remote as well - just for your TV.

    By the end of 2011 any small office not keeping all its data on a NAS at least this fast/capable and not using USB 3.0 for all externally attached drives (forget eSATA, it's dead meat due to no power on the cable and no speed edge over NAS and a speed lag vs. USB 3.0 because eSATA6G came too slow) including probably the little flash drives, and not capable of supporting wireless and VoIP devices at a full 2x 300mbps on both bands (by then people will be routinely sticking two wireless transceivers in laptops) is going to be firing its administrator. 2010-2011 is one of those plateau points when you need to buy the latest stuff (USB 3.0, SATA6G, dual teaming GLAN, H.264 hardware decode, hybrid IGP GPU teaming, dual 5GHz and 2.4GHz wireless-N, wireless-N phones and headsets) so you won't have to worry about technology shifts again for ten years. Yes, ten years. If you buy that now, you can relax until 2020. Why?

    10Gb LAN is still so expensive ($700/port) and four-GLAN motherboards still unavailable with desktop type features that it will be probably three or four more years (2014, 2015) before this 2Gb backbone and dual band wireless-N and simple-sync backup drive configuration is really surpassed for a sane price. It will not be "obsolete" for a damn good while after that, because even 3 screens of 1080p can be filled with only 120mbps throughput if they are fed with encoded H.264 and decoded only at or near display devices. So expect it to be 2010 before 10Gb ethernet (and by then it will be powered ethernet at enough wattage to run almost everything without a wall wart) becomes a dominant solution in small office/SOHO.

    So, given all that, anyone who thinks USB 3.0 is useless or will be adopted slowly is basically a dummy. Buy the spec above late this year or early in 2011, and laugh at their slow can't-keep-up-with-HDMI USB2 sticks and drives. Or, as we'll call them then, sticks and stones.
  12. Ahem. The above poster is full of beans. "You'll still have 2-gigabit access to your data" is obviously wrong if the dual wireless links can combine to double the data rate, so can the wired ones; If you had two routers hooked up each with their own teamed GLAN connection to the other router, plus a teamed GLAN connect to a PC or to another (dumb, no NAS, maybe print server though) four-port gigabit router that teamed two PCs (think of this as a splitter), you'd have TWICE the data rate, up to 4 gigabit non-streaming access to your data (2gbps per stream), if the data drives on each router were really synchronized. You might have to use some more formal mirroring solution (yes you can mirror over 2gbps connections, that's faster than RAID went for the first 20 years of its existence). If you could implement RAID 1+0 on that configuration you could get the full 4gbps in a single stream, minus ethernet overhead.

    So maybe the LAN described would be good until 2022 not just 2020. ;-)

    If every home LAN freak bought exactly this configuration and ignored hardware RAID NAS (and it's many problems) to pound out a good solution using iSCSI soft RAID over teamed gigabit LAN, you'd be able to plug in any drive from any RAID 1, 0, 1+0 to any other iSCSI RAID anywhere and clone your old config to a new one with a newer drive as the mirror. None of the issues of parity bits with RAID5 and RAID6. Fun.

    But no, people are stupid and will buy expensive NAS SATA RAID and then cry when the board blows on it and they can't read a thing off it even if they buy exactly the same model they had, which they can't.
  13. Actually the above poster is more full of beans than the first. To get a 4gbps connection you'd have to have 4 GLAN ports and you'd have to team them all together, and you would have to add cards to most PCs to do it (not unreasonable if 2GLAN + 2 USB 3.0 + 2 SATA6G all comes on one card for $80 by the end of 2010), but the first poster ruled that out and was talking about every machine having 2GLAN ports not 4GLAN. But if every box has both 5GHz and 2.4GHz wireless-N simultaneously, that's another 600mbps so 2.6gps is the theoretical limit if everything cooperates.

    In this thread the more interesting question is whether a USB 3.0 stick as fast as this one, nearly 100MB/s, is the only boot drive you should bother with on a PC. Then you are taking your whole environment with you all the time, who needs SSD RAID0 on SATA6G (if you do, add it, but only as a cache, copy the whole OS from the USB 3.0 stick every time you boot and don't count on a RAID0 to live long).

    Everything else on this network can also be incrementally upgraded. Start with the two routers as specified with a teamed 2xGLAN connection between them to make a 2Gb backbone. Connect each of the four computers (the theoretical LAN the first poster explained) with a single gigabit connection. If that's not fast enough for your 1080p media files playing back to your HDMI TV/monitor, get a drive enclosure that supports HDMI directly and connect it directly to the TV/monitor (you get a remote too) and connect that to the gigabit network - just cache anything you might want to watch on the computers onto a local drive, this is easy to set up using various media environments including Media Center, etc..

    If you have some application that needs to suck more than 2gbps of data at once, put a single 4xGLAN host box to run that server in the middle of the backbone talking to both wireless routers and their data, migrating the data that really requires > 2gbps to that host. Everything else still talks to it at 1gbps but if you need 2gbps you can split the 2xGLAN teamed signal with another 4-port GLAN router, a cheap one, and still support two PCs per wireless-N router.

    All this is still cheaper than 1. data loss 2. NAS hardware failure 3. RAID 5 or RAID 6 solutions 4. 10Gb E.

    The main reason to want 10GbE is not to have to run two cables to every box, which could be very nasty.

    In practice a lot of users will be teaming both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz wireless-N signals at 300mbps each with the single gigabit connection they can get through existing wire, theoretically that's 1.6gbps. G.hn networking will also get very cheap very fast (G.hn over existing AC wiring is destined to be ubiquitous) so in theory you can get another gigabit G.hn subnet on each of your AC wiring (power supply converts it to a gigabit-ethernet-type signal and probably it can be teamed with the GLAN), plus another on cat3 and another on coax, all without having to run any additional wire. So if you have cat5 or cat6 already run but only one strand to each important room, but you have a phone jack, cable TV and AC power in that room you can actually consider teaming each one with a gigabit to get that 4gbps, 5gbps if you have two cat5s.

    Even ignoring ethernet and using only G.hn through the three existing-wire media, even ignoring wireless, you can get 3gbps into every room in the house that ever had phone and cable TV. And it's not clear that G.hn will really be limited to 1gbps per wire type, coax and AC wiring in particular are pretty thick cables and could carry more than that. Existing DSL solutions put more than a gig onto cat3 also. So it might never make sense to deploy 10Gb ether in the home, it might always be better to rely on whatever wire's already installed and team the signals using G.hn.

    The only real edge for ethernet is the powered kind (802.3at) because it can get rid of all the wall warts and reduce the number of cables to one per. USB3, I have to disagree with the first poster, isn't a slam dunk because it's power is inferior, so bad Gigabyte had to boost the spec on day one. Powered ethernet can provide up to 30W of power to each device at voltages from 1 to over 80 VDC, but USB 3.0 is limited to less than 5W. This means a lot of drives are going to have to run USB2 cables just to get another 0.5A and boost the limit to 7.5W, which is why Gigabyte went to 1.5A on day one. But it's still 1/4 the power of powered ethernet with a much shorter cable. So for devices under one gigabit or that need longer wire, G.hn and powered ethernet (which has already eaten the VoIP, security camera and fixed access point wireless antenna businesses) have a huge edge over USB3. Notice: One gigabit is 125MB/s, so even these 100MB/s USB drives could fall in this category, no reason they can't run over powered ethernet too.

    The techs that are definitely dead I agree are eSATA, Firewire/1394, Fibre channel, and the 100mbps ethernet switch. USB2 will carry on for ages because of the many slow/cheap devices already using it. Internal SATA drives will just go into USB 3.0 enclosures or RAID configurations. SATA6G may never catch on with the ordinary user if USB 3.0 delivers, but speed freaks should like 12gbps SATA6G RAID0.

    What would be really cool is to stick your whole environment on these USB3 sticks and boot up any PC with it, but that's really only going to work under Linux, because Microsoft cripples its OS so very horribly.
  14. Super Talent claims its 64GB USB 3.0 drives transfer at 320MB/s, for $400.

  15. USB 2.0 has a 480Mbps transfer rate, or 60 MB/sec. Even the fastest flash drives don't come close to this, so while I'm aware it's possible, as is the case of SSD hard drives, I'm skeptical. If they could do it, why not max out 2.0? Often the rated speed and the actual speed of flash drives is not the same, and these are likely no different.
  16. oh boy usb 3.0 raid with a bunch of cheap small usb 3.0 thumb drives. Oh no 2 drives got unlugged. What fun! Windows 7 boot in 1 second.
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