While all three of our USB flash drives might share similar specifications and prices, they have proven to deliver completely different performance. We're going to focus more on our custom file read, write and copy tests since they reflect real-world performance.
When reading or copying data, Patriot's Supersonic is hands down the fastest. Given Patriot's claimed read performance of 100MB/s, this shouldn't be too surprising. To be honest though, when sitting these drives side-by-side I was sure Patriot had written a check that the Supersonic simply wouldn't be able to cash, the drive quickly proved me wrong.
Patriot's drive crushed the competition in our ISO file read test, offering speeds of 116MB/s compared to the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 at 83MB/s and the Nobility N005 at 79.6MB/s. Although the gap wasn't quite as wide, the SuperSonic maintained its lead in both our game and program read tests, as well as two out of three file copy tests.
That's not to say the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 didn't hold its own, however. Kingston's drive clearly had an edge in our write tests and it even jumped ahead of the SuperSonic during our program copy test. Unfortunately for AData, the Nobility Series N005 ranked low in seemingly every real-world USB 3.0 test, occasionally being outperformed by drives operating at USB 2.0 speeds.
Although some of its performance deficit is offset by the fact that it's around 25% cheaper, we believe AData's Nobility Series N005 64GB represents a poor value given its weak write performance.
With the Nobility N005 out of the running, we're left with the Patriot Supersonic and the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0, both cost $200 and pack a serious punch. The two flash drives are roughly the same length and width, but the DataTraveler is about twice as thick (0.63" versus 0.33") and consequently heavier (25g versus 15.8g).
We also noticed that the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 is considerably hotter than the Patriot Supersonic USB 3.0 when plugged in. Even at idle before using the DataTraveler it became very hot. This is also the case with the smaller 32GB and 16GB drives as well. Although the Patriot Supersonic 64GB does get warm, we found it was always much cooler than the DataTraveler.
With performance, size and thermals all favoring the Patriot Supersonic 64GB, we can comfortably say that it gets our vote as the best USB 3.0 thumb drive we've tested thus far. Without scaring you away from the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 we can honestly say it's a close second, but we feel for the same money Patriot is providing a slightly better product.
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