USB Flash Drives - What are the Specs?

USB-Flash-DriveDon’t you hate marketing? So much fluff, so little substance!

I am researching USB Flash Drives. One key specification is how fast they transfer data.

Don’t be fooled by USB 2.0 compatibility - inside, these devices are slow. They are up to ten times slower in saving data than reading it, although speeds are increasing. The older ones would be just as fast on USB 1.1, they really would.

When I am able to find the actual speeds of these devices, I will post them here. Mean while, here is what I have found out.

Looking at the corporate web pages for Verbatim, SanDisk and Simpletech , you won’t learn much. Take the Specifications forUSB-Flash-Drive-novelty-design Simpletech’s BonzaiXpress Flash Drive for example. It provides the capacity, which is useful, but then again it is already in the title of the web page, for example BonzaiXpress 4GB Flash Drive. They give the dimensions, but do you really need the dimensions to three decimal places? And the interface. Not relevant unless we know if the memory itself can go faster than USB 1.1. And the operating voltage! That’s a good one! Who cares? I’m an electrical engineer and even I don’t care! Either it is USB compliant, or it isn’t, and the operating voltage is part of that. If your laptop is pumping out 7.4 volts, fix your laptop, don’t look for a USB flash drive that operates at up to 8 volts! Oh, and the warranty. Well, that’s marketing, not a specification. Weird.

Besides, I’m pretty sure it was SimpleTech that cheated me out of a mail-in rebate. They didn’t honor it because the date it was entered into their computer was past the deadline. As if I care - I mailed it in plenty of time!

So this is a bit of a rant. Sorry about that! I’ll make up for ranting by posting useful specifications for flash drives if and when I come across them. Feel free to comment if you can provide any useful information about these devices.

By the way, USB drives are very useful if you are travelling.


For more information about what USB:

  • USB Manufacture’s association - Could be better, but does provide information about different transfer speeds. There are actually different logos for different certifications, but if explained on this website, I’ve not found it by quickly exploring.
  • Wikipedia, USB - Detailed information about the USB interface.
  • Wikipedia, USB flash drive - Mostly technical information about USB flash drives.


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