We've tested a couple different USB flash drives at
PCSTATS recently and the main spec you'll want to watch out for is
peak read and peak write speeds for the 256MB test. These are
the numbers that manufacturers quote to sell their USB thumb drives. Not all PCs have USB2.0 ports, so actual performance speeds can differ greatly
between computer systems.
SiSoft Sandra 2009
Sandra is designed to test the theoretical power of a complete system and individual components. The numbers taken though are again,
purely theoretical and may not represent real world performance. Higher
numbers represent better performance. The best results for each column are
|Sandra 2009 Multi-Filesize Read / Write
( higher numbers are better
|PQI Intelligent Stick
|Kingston DataTraveler Elite
|Supertalent "the Godfather"
|| 17.07 MB/s
With the Supertalent Luxio operating in its AES-256
Encryption state data speeds aren't significantly changed from the default state where data is
stored unencrypted. At its peak, for the 256MB tests, data is
read at 29MB/s and written at 17MB/s. When encryption is disabled, the peak rates are exactly the same.
The CD 1x rating is equivalent to 150kB/s, so this translates to a maximum read
speed of 203X and write speed of 116X. Smaller capacity USB drives tend to operate quicker in the
small file size tests.
Selling Security to Data Travellers
USB drive encryption is smart insurance for the day you
accidentally loose 64GB of confidential data. Whomever finds your lost USB
drive has access to all of it, to do with as they please, unless it's encrypted in some way. The method Supertalent have adopted
with the Luxio 64GB USB drive may be 256-bit AES encryption,
but the company provides no specifics on how it is implemented.
In PCSTATS tests with the Luxio, the encrypted drive
partition displays in Windows Explorer as an unformatted and unformattable
drive. Only after the SecureLock application is run can the data on it be
accessed. It's hard to say whether the drive tables are encrypted, or all data
within them. I won't
hazard a guess. PCSTATS did apply data recovery tools like
OnTrack's Easy Recovery in an attempt access data on the
encrypted drive partition, current and deleted, but nothing came up.
Data read speeds peaked at 29.87MB/s and write speeds at 17.07MB/s, both well in line with
the manufacturer's listed speed rating of 30MB/s or 200X. As a 64GB USB
drive the SuperTalent Luxio is
fine; it transfers files quickly to-and-from the host PC and has a solid feel to it. PCSTATS
tends to treat USB drives as pretty utilitarian devices around here, so in
deference to one's personal opinion on fake wood gain plastic and glossy coatings, I don't think these things are particularly significant yard sticks to
measure the Luxio by.
Aside from its 64GB memory capacity and data transfer speeds, the
Luxio sells itself with AES-256 encryption. The Luxio's encryption capabilities are
not sufficiently robust to provide user confidence in them. We would not store data
in the encrypted state on any device that failed to recognize a correct password, particularly under the threat of sudden
death (automatic formatting).
Supertalent's 64GB Luxio USB drive retails for about $140USD ($150CDN) (model STP64GLXWU) , about par for a similar capacity
USB drive. As a USB drive alone, it's fine. It's implementation of data security
in the form of AES-256 encryption is is extremely buggy, unreliable and at worst
completely circumventable and pointless. If you've read this PCSTATS review in
hopes of finding a
new personal storage drive to replace an old USB key that's no longer large enough,
I hope we've made it clear that Supertalent's Luxio and SecureLock software do not deliver reliable data security in the least. Not recommended.
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