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Busbi Bolt 16GB USB 3 Flash Drive Review

August 31, 2011 4 comments

Busbi Bolt USB 3 / USB 2 16GB Review

The Busbi Bolt is a USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 compatible flash drive.
Today I’m reviewing the 16GB version and testing the speed in USB 2 and USB 3 mode.

Busbi Bolt 16GB USB3

First Impressions

I can’t tell you much about the Busbi brand, but it’s probably just a repackaged OEM device, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If the memory chips and the controller are good enough, why should it matter who fabricates them?

The Bolt feels robust and light when first released from it’s blister pack. The surface on which the Busbi logo is printed has a different feel from the plastic outer, it’s almost rubberised, and tactile enough to provide grip when inserting and removing.
There is a brilliant blue LED that also illuminates the transparent base. The base houses a metal loop for a lanyard, although one is not supplied.

Gallery

#1 – Retail Front

Retail Package Front

#2 – Retail Rear

Retail Packaging Rear

#3 – Blue Illumination

Blue Illumination When In-Use

Free Space

Windows detected the drive without requiring drivers, my system runs windows 7.

Windows shows the drive as a 14.9GB capacity.

16GB is 14.9GB Free Space

This is the same for every device, it is not a fault with your drive.

A device advertised at 16GB is actually 16 billion bytes or 16,000,000,000 bytes.
On your packaging somewhere is should say 1KB equals 1000 Bytes.

In reality, 1KB is 1024 Bytes, so your real capacity is less. To calculate what size you should get, take your 16 billion Bytes, divide this by 1024 to get the number of Kilobytes.
Divide again for Megabytes, and again for a Gigabytes.. 14.9011..

Speed Test

On the back of the packaging, Busbi claim this drive will operate at of 20MB/sec read and 10MB/sec write through USB 2 and they claim 50MB/sec read speed and 20MB/sec write speed through USB 3.

USB2 - 20MB/10MB sec USB 3 - 50MB/20MB sec

The Software

The software I’m using to test the Busbi Bolt has changed in version only, from previous flash drive tests.
The physical way in which the drives are tested is relatively unchanged – a file is written to the drive and verified, and the read and write speeds are calculated.

You can download the test software yourself, from the following locations.

CheckFlash by Misha Cherkes version 1.16.2
Barts Stuff Test version 5.1.4
Crystal Disk Mark version 3.0.1b – available in 32 bit and 64 bit versions.

The test system is a custom-built i7 930 with 6GB ram, running windows 7 x64.
The flash drive is formatted to NTFS to allow a full drive read write test.
FAT32 has a file size limit of 4GB
.

Check Flash – USB 2

Check Flash is set to complete 3 passes of the Small Pattern Set read write test.

#1 – Nearing end of 2nd cycle

Check Flash coming to end of 2nd cycle.

#2 – Check Flash finished 3rd cycle

Check Flash Finished Testing

Our final values for USB 2 testing with Check Flash are 32.94 MB/sec read and 17.94 MB/sec write.

Check Flash – USB 3

Check Flash is set to complete 3 passes of the Small Pattern Set read write test.

#1 -Check Flash 1st cycle

Testing USB 3 In-Progress

#2 – Final Check Flash results

USB3 - 52.76MB/sec read 18.02MB/sec write

Our final values for USB 3 testing with Check Flash are 52.76 MB/sec read and 18.02 MB/sec write.

Where To Buy?

Shop through Quidco for cashback at Play.com. Right now, the Busbi Bolt is only £15 from Play.com with free delivery.

or use code DSTORE10 at Currys (UK) for 10% off and free delivery.

£13.49 with 10% off and free delivery

Seen a better offer? Post a comment!

Sandisk Cruzer Edge – Flash Drive Review

April 18, 2011 19 comments

There are several flash drives available in the Cruzer range, the Micro, the Slice and then the Blade. Now meet Edge, the latest addition to the line up.

First Impressions

The Edge feels plasticy and very light when first released from it’s blister pack. There is, however, a very nice solidity as you open and retract the USB connector.
I don’t think this will easily pop out in a pocket or if it’s dropped.

On inserting the Flash Drive into the USB port, i found you really needed to keep you thumb firmly in place to stop the connector retracting, and this was made more difficult by the nature of it’s small size when there were other drives or cables in the adjacent slot. I found it awkward to keep the connector fully extended during insertion, and I had the very same issue with the Cruzer Micro.

Gallery

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Free Space

On insertion, Windows detects the drive at 7.45GB capacity.. A device advertised at 8GB is actually 8billion bytes or 8,000,000,000 bytes.
Divide this by 1024 to get the number of Kilobytes, divide again for Megabytes, and again for a Gigabytes.. 7.45

7.38GB Free Space

Add on the file system overhead, and useable capacity is 7.38GB.

Speed

First testing shows the Edge has a slow write speed, but with a faster Read speed.

Our first test is CheckFlash 1.16 in Logical Drive more, this is an operating system independent test that writes directly to the flash drive.

CheckFlash - Logical Drive Test

Second test, with CheckFlash again is Temporary

CheckFlash 1.16 - Temporary File Test

Results

Test Program - Read MB/sec - Write MB/sec
Check Flash Logical    - 18.45       - 4.70
Check Flash Temporary  - 18.50       - 4.52

Average Read & Write - 18.48 - 4.61

Compare this to the Cruzer Blade review, and there is only a marginal decrease in Write speed, (Blade 5MB/sec average,) and the Read speed has increased by about 2MB/sec.

Flash Review – Sandisk Cruzer Blade – One Year On, An Update

February 24, 2011 2 comments
Cruzer Blade upright rear-view

Sandisk Cruzer Blade 16GB

I’ve been using the flash drive almost every day, and today, I’m writing an update to the original Sandisk Cruzer Blade review – I’m going to run some of the same test software and it’s the same flash drive but I want to see what a year of read and write cycles has done to performance..

The original review used CheckFlash, Barts Stuff Test and Crystal Disk Mark to compare the performance of the Cruzer Blade against the Cruzer Micro I was replacing. There were some complaints originally about comparisons with different sized drives and of different models, so this review looks only at the read / write speeds of the Cruzer Blade and how a year of usage has affected performance.

The software I’m using to test the devices has changed in version only, the physical way in which the drives are tested is relatively unchanged – a file is written to the drive and verified, and the read and write speeds are calculated.

You can download the test software yourself, from the following locations.

CheckFlash by Misha Cherkes version 1.16
Barts Stuff Test version 5.1.4
Crystal Disk Mark version 3.0.1 – available in 32 bit and 64 bit versions.

The test system is a custom-built i7 930 with 6GB ram, running windows 7 x64.
The Cruzer Blade is formatted to fat32.

Check Flash

Check flash was run using the ‘temporary file’ option, on a fat32 file system, this limits the maximum file size written to 4gb, which should be enough for an accurate test result.

Check Flash 16.47MB/sec Read 4.96MB/sec write

Crystal Disk Mark

Crystal Disk Mark test 17.27MB/sec Read and 5.38MB/sec Write

Barts Stuff Test

BST creates a temporary file on the drive and performs a sequential write test with verify to determine average read and write speed.

BST averaged 16.4MB/sec read and 4.70MB/sec write

H2TestW

And new for this review is h2Testw – a program written by a German computing magazine for determining if your flash drive really has the capacity the drive controller is reporting to the operating system.
For example, if you have what appears in Windows to be a 32gb flash drive, but physically it’s only a 4gb memory chip, this program will detect errors in copying data beyond the capacity of the drive, alerting you to the fake capacity and preventing data loss..

As part of this process, it also determines read and write speed of the device.

h2testw 16.1MB/sec Read 4.98MB/sec Write

So the Cruzer Blade achieved a final value of 16.1MB/sec read 4.98MB/sec write in this test.

Conclusions

The software tools used to determine flash drive read and write speeds vary in terms of ease of use, and software build quality.

I would rate the Barts Stuff Test program the lowest quality in terms of programming and user interface. During testing, it crashed at the 4gb hardlimit for the fat32 filesystem – it failed to take this into account when starting the test.

Crystal Disk Mark is the most comprehensive test program, testing random and sequential write modes in different block sizes and queue depth. For a simple average read / write speed test it’s overkill.

I find CheckFlash is the most useful program for me, as it shows a pictorial representation of the process, indicating wether faults have been found during the test, althought a downside is the user interface for selecting options – it’s a little untidy.

So, from the results gathered from our 4 test programs, we can average our results into an overall read / write speed for the Cruzer Blade in fat32.

             Read MB/sec - Write MB/sec
Check Flash - 16.47      - 4.96
Barts ST    - 16.40      - 4.70
Crystal DM  - 17.27      - 5.38
h2testw     - 16.10      - 4.98
Average     - 16.56      - 5.00

So we can see, for the 16GB cruzer blade, average Read speed is 16.56MB/sec and average Write speed is 5MB/sec.

In real terms, this means the average time taken to write  a 1GB file, (1000MB,) to the Cruzer Blade would take approximately 200 seconds, or 3 minutes 20.

If we compare this set of results to the previous round of testing, we can see the old test results were a lot less grouped, with very low read speed reported by CheckFlash and possible incorrect average write speed from BST. Here is the original output from CDM.

Cruzer Blade Fat32 CrystalDiskMark

Cruzer Blade Fat32 CrystalDiskMark

The average sequential read speed of 17.23MB/sec and write speed of 5.047MB/sec very closely match the latest results and indicate no significant loss of performance over the year.

The drive is still very slow, with prices for the 16GB around £14 with delivery it’s cheap enough, but my advice? Spend your money on something with better performance.

For good price/performance, try the SuperTalent USB 3.0 8GB or 16GB drives for super 67MB/sec read and 23MB/sec write speeds. For those with USB 2 only, yet looking for a high speed drive, try the 32GB Corsair Flash Voyager GTR with 34MB/sec read and 28MB/sec write performance. Costly, at about £60, do NOT be tempted by the cheaper GT version.

These read / write speeds are manufacturers claims and I have not tested or verified them as such.

Flash Review – Sandisk Cruzer Blade

March 12, 2010 45 comments