I call it a flash drive, but you might refer to it as a thumb drive or USB stick – it doesn’t matter. It’s amazing how much we use these things anymore without giving a second thought to how convenient they are. They’re getting larger and larger in capacity, which is a good thing, but the problem is that they’re not really fast enough for any serious recording work. Until now, that is. The really fast flash drive has arrived.
This flash drive is up to 16 times faster than your standard USB 3.0 drives and there are actually two companies that now sell them, but more on that later.
So why are USB 3.0 sticks so slow considering the very fast transfer rate of USB 3.0? Good question with a good answer.
Until now, none of the available thumb drives were able to take advantage of the speed of the interface format because of the speed of the components inside. The higher the speed, the more power it uses (which might mean that USB power won’t be sufficient) and the more heat it generates. So that was one limitation. Another way to get more speed is to use more components in parallel, but the small size of the stick made that a non-starter as well.
But now there’s a new generation of flash drive (and solid state drives, or SSDs, for that matter) that uses mSATA interface that makes a huge difference in speed. For one thing, an mSATA thumb drive is only slightly larger than a normal one, but the good thing is that it can be powered off the USB drive. It would defeat the purpose if you needed external powering, after all.
I know I’ve left you hanging here a bit with the explanation of what they are without introducing the suppliers, so here they are. The Other World Computing Envoy Pro Mini gives you 240G with SSD performance in your pocket (and there’s one with 480G capacity!). The other one is the MyDigitalSSD OTG, which has a variety of sizes as well. There’s a big difference in price here, as the Envoy sells for $169 while the OTG sells for $89.
I’ve purchased a lot from Other World Computing over the years and their products and service have been top notch, but I know nothing about MyDigitalSSD so can’t make a recommendation there. Either way, the price is pretty spectacular for what you’re getting.
All I can say is that it will be nice to finally have the ability to run a session off a thumb drive, or back up what you did that day really quickly, and then be able to take it home with you at the end of the night. I’d say that the really fast flash drive is here to stay.