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OCZ in a FLASH

 

We thought it would be fun to test and detail the similarities and differences of several products that fit in this genre of “flash drive” in one single review. Please join us as we explore the performance, intricacies, and issues with the: OCZ Rally2 2GB USB 2.0 Dual Channel Flash Memory Drive, OCZ Roadster 1 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive, and the OCZ 2GB 80X Secure Digital Dual Memory Card.

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INTRODUCTION

The portability of information and data have become extremely important issues in just about every aspect of today’s computerized world. This information can take many forms ranging from photos and files to highly detailed or encrypted security scripts. It is certainly no secret that many of the larger companies in the quest to keep their information secure have chosen to give their key personnel USB flash drives which must first be inserted in their workstation to gain access.

USB Flash drives ranging in size from 256 MB to a whopping 8 GB are not limited to business use either! Think of the removable memory you use daily in your digital camera, cell phone, and PDA just to name a few, they’re generally all flash style memory modules in one form or fashion. Please don’t confuse flash drives with some of their mini hard drive counterparts which began to appear on the market several months ago. Flash memory is actually an EEPROM chip that stores the data electronically, has no moving parts, and is much more impervious to data loss through damage than these mini spinning disks are.

We thought it would be fun to test and detail the similarities and differences of several products that fit in this genre of “flash drive” in one single review. OCZ Technology, one of the largest and most prestigious memory manufactures in the world, agreed with this concept and sent us three of their newest generation flash products to the review. Please join us as we explore the performance, intricacies, and issues with the: OCZ Rally2 2GB USB 2.0 Dual Channel Flash Memory Drive, OCZ Roadster 1 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive , and the OCZ 2GB 80X Secure Digital Dual Memory Card.

OCZ: The Company

Entering the memory market in August 2000, OCZ Technology was built around the determination to manufacture the best high speed DDR and RDRAM. OCZ was founded by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts, and our commitment to the end-user has not digressed. OCZ Technology has been an innovator in many areas. We were the first manufacturer to make Dual Channel optimized memory available to the public, which originally took advantage of nVidia’s Twinbank or Dual DDR architecture, found in their nForce chipset. We have now taken that technology and tailored it for the Canterwood, and Granite Bay chipset’s. OCZ developed and was the first to implement ULN technology, which has been a critical element in our manufacturing process for some time. We at OCZ diligently work to improve communication with CPU and motherboard chipset manufacturers prior to the release of their products. Only in this manner can we fine-tune our memory’s SPD settings, ensuring a synergistic relationship between the memory module, memory controller, and microprocessor. In today’s rapidly evolving semiconductor industry, such communication is not simply research, but a necessary component of our manufacturing process.

At OCZ we have one primary goal, and it is to make sure that every customer is 110% satisfied. Every employee at OCZ is dedicated to accomplishing this goal. Our engineers are constantly developing the fastest and best performing products. Our finance department works every angle to bring customers our product at the best price. Our marketing department ensures all the information needed to make an informed purchase is available and presented in an easy to understand format. The technical support department constantly studies and tests the latest hardware to be as informed as possible to help you with any issue you may have. Our customer service department is filled with customer satisfaction fanatics who will refuse to let you be unsatisfied.

FEATURES & SPECIFICATIONS

OCZ Rally2 2GB USB Flash Drive

Product Description:  The OCZ USB 2.0 Rally2 Flash Drive is the sleeker and more ergonomic version of the original Rally. The redesigned Rally2 features a more stylish housing accompanied by a new signature OCZ ultra-bright orange status LED and still houses the renowned OCZ dual channel technology that made the first Rally the choice flash drive among enthusiasts. Thanks to the implementation of leading edge Dual Channel technology, the Rally2 puts data transferring in the fast lane and leaves the competitors in the dust.

Specifications

  • High Speed USB 2.0 Certified
  • True Plug and Play (Compatible with MAC OS X)
  • Dual Channel Technology
  • Available in 512MB, 1GB, 2GB and 4GB capacities
  • Dimensions: 2 5/8″(L) x 5/8″(W)
  • Aluminum Chassis
  • Orange LED Status Light
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Accessories:   lanyard and USB extension cable

Blazing Speed:   up to 28MB/s (read), 15MB/s (write) as tested by OCZ with the 512MB version of this drive.

OCZ Roadster 1 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive

Product Description:  The ultra-portable “Top-Down” design of the OCZ Roadster makes data storage and transferring easier and more portable than ever. Best of all, there is no cap to lose with the OCZ Roadster’s modern design. Unlike other convertible drives the Roadster remains ultra portable thanks to a very compact profile that manages to put all the memory components into the connector alone. The OCZ Roadster is the ideal solution for anyone seeking ultimate portability with their personal USB flash drive.  In addition, the Roadster’s small footprint means you’ll never have to unplug surrounding USB ports to make room, a common problem with many oversized competitor drives. Users can access files stored on the Roadster from the convenience of any USB port thanks to True “Plug and Play” functionality. Instantaneously play music, view images, or open files as if the Roadster was an onboard hard drive.

Specifications

  • High Speed USB 2.0 Certified
  • True Plug and Play (Compatible with MAC OS X)
  • Foldable for compact transport
  • Designed to be small and functional
  • Compatible with:
    • Windows: 98/98SE/Me/2000/XP
    • Linux: Kernel 2.4 or later
    • Mac: OS 9.0 or later
  • 3 Year Warranty
  • Accessories:   OCZ Accessory Strap

OCZ 2GB 80X Secure Digital Dual Memory Card

Product Description:  OCZ’s unique SD Dual cards introduce the ultimate convenience of an SD card and USB adaptor in one unit. Unlike conventional SD memory, OCZ SD Dual converts into a high-speed USB 2.0 connector eliminating the need for an independent card reader to transfer or view pictures or data on any PC. OCZ SD Dual appears to be an average flash card at first glance but with a quick removal of the protective cover, the card is ready to plug directly into any USB port. This card is ideal for high performance digital cameras, MP3 players, PDAs, GPS units, and more! Store and transfer everything from photos, music, and videos in virtually all your favorite digital devices.

Specifications

  • Available in 80X and 133X Speeds
  • Dimensions: 32 x 24 x 2.1 mm (L x W x H)
  • Official Secure Digital™ (SD)Compliant
  • High-Speed USB 2.0
  • Write-Protection Switch
  • Lifetime Warranty

CLOSER LOOK

Packaging

All three of the products that we’re testing today come securely packaged in OCZ’s trademark plastic enclosures.


OCZ Rally2 2GB USB Flash Drive – Packaging

OCZ Roadster 1 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive – Packaging

OCZ 2GB 80X Secure Digital Dual Memory Card – Packaging

OCZ Rally2 2GB USB Flash Drive

The Rally2 Drive in its styling is not unlike many other USB drives on the market. Remember unless you’re trying to make some type of fashion statement the performance and durability of the product are its most important features. The Rally2 has a extremely solid feel to its aluminum housing. We chose not to test that durability like some reviewers have done with other products by rolling over them with trucks or running them through the spin cycle in the washer in their favorite pair of jeans. Suffice it to say we believe it will hold up to anything you might throw at it in your normal daily activities. Apparently so does OCZ as its covered by a lifetime warranty.


OCZ Rally2 2GB USB Flash Drive

OCZ Rally2 Drive & Bundled Accessories

Rally2 Drive – Bright Orange LED

Rally2 Drive – Tipping Its Hat

CLOSER LOOK

Roadster 1 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive

The Roadster 1 GB USB flash drive is ostensibly perfect for anyone wanting to carry the most data possible in the smallest package. As alluded to earlier this drive houses all the electronics in the USB connection head and will hold an incredible 1GB of data in that small space. While certainly not as durable as the Rally2 Drive, the Roadster offers an amazingly potent product in an almost unbelievably small package. This product would be absolutely perfect for use in situations where you need a flash drive to securely admit you into a larger system and don’t want the size of the Rally2. This certainly does not preclude its use for any other tasks in which you’d use a more normal sized flash drive.


OCZ Roadster 1 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive

Roadster Drive – Opened at 90° Angle

Roadster Drive – Fully Opened

Roadster Drive – Fully Dressed

OCZ 2GB 80X Secure Digital Dual Memory Card

Leave it to OCZ to come up with the novel idea of adding USB connectivity adding incredible dimmension to this SD card. You could conceivably pop it in your digital camera and take some photos, move it to your voice recorder to narrate your thoughts on the photos you just took, and finally move the card to your Trio or Blackberry and transmit all this data from the field to your boss in the office. This concept virtually eliminates the need for a card reader should your only use for the SD card be in the photography realm. It’s also available in both 80X and 133X to give the fastest speed possible for whatever your use happens to be.


OCZ 2GB 80X Secure Digital Dual Memory Card

SD Dual Memory Card – USB Uncovered

SD Dual Memory Card – Full Functionality

TESTING

Test Platform
Processor Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo
Motherboard ASUS P5W64 WS Professional
Memory 2GB of Mushkin Redline XP2-8500 DDR-2
Drive(s) 2 – Seagate 750GB Barracuda ES SATA Drives
Graphics XFX 8800 GTX XXX
Cooling Noctua NH-U12F CPU Cooler with Panaflo M1A 38mm Fan
Power Supply Zippy 6850P 850 Watt PSU<
Case Lian Li G80 Custom Case
Operating System Windows XP Pro SP2

Tests/Benchmarks

  • HD Tune v. 2.52
  • ATTO Disk Benchmarks

Testing Methodology

We will be testing each of the OCZ flash drive products in comparison to one or more other products in the same category using the results obtained from the captioned tests/benchmarks. The only exception will be the tests run with the OCZ 2GB 80X Secure Digital Dual Memory Card, while we will of course test the card’s performance while directly connected to USB 2.0 we do not have another card that has these capabilities. For that reason we will test the OCZ SD Card in a card reader as well. Each test will be run three times and the highest report results/graphs will be reported.

TEST RESULTS

The first set of tests will pit the OCZ Rally2 2GB Drive versus a Sandisk Micro Cruser 2GB Drive.


OCZ Rally2 2gb Drive – HD Tune

Sandisk Micro Cruzer 2GB Drive – HD Tune

OCZ Rally2 2gb Drive – ATTO Disk Benchmark

Sandisk Micro Cruzer 2GB Drive – ATTO Disk Benchmark

The OCZ Rally2 drive is the obvious winner in this test running off and leaving the Sandisk. The read and write speed claims by OCZ for the 512MB version of this drive are almost matched in ATTO Disk Benchmarks by the 2 GB version of the drive we are testing.

TEST RESULTS cont.

The next set of tests will challenge the ability of the OCZ Roadster 1 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive versus a Sandisk Mini Cruzer 512MB Flash drive. The Sandisk is a full-sized flash drive, but it’s the closest thing to a match we had available.


OCZ Roadster 1gb Drive – HD Tune

Sandisk Mini Cruzer 512MB Drive – HD Tune

OCZ Roadster 1gb Drive – ATTO Disk Benchmark

Sandisk Mini Cruzer 512MB Drive – ATTO Disk Benchmark

The Roadster 1GB drive is not the fastest out there especially in HD Tune. We see significantly better results in ATTO Disk Benchmark. Personally I believe given the architecture of this drive it performs amazingly well.

TEST RESULTS cont.

The final set of tests will compare the performance of the OCZ 2GB 80X Secure Digital Dual Memory Card to that of a Sandisk 2GB Secure Digital Ultra Memory Card. Initially we’ll run both of our benchmarks with the OCZ card attached to the USB 2.0 port of our test rig, we’ll then do the comparison with both cards being tested in a Sandisk 5-1 card reader.

USB Tests


OCZ 2GB 80X SD Dual Memory Card – HD Tune

OCZ 2GB 80X SD Dual Memory Card – ATTO Disk Benchmark

Card Reader Tests


OCZ 2GB 80X SD Dual Memory Card – HD Tune

Sandisk 2GB SD Ultra Memory card – HD Tune

OCZ 2GB 80X SD Dual Memory Card – ATTO Disk Benchmark

Sandisk 2GB SD Ultra Memory card – ATTO Disk Benchmark

These tests are quite impressive for the OCZ 2GB 80X SD Dual Memory Card when it is directly connected to the USB port. There is however a significantt improvement when this card is connected to the test rig using the Sandisk Card Reader; especially in its write speed. The OCZ 2GB 80X SD Dual Memory Card equates itself quite nicely with what on paper appears to be a a faster SD card. In HD Tune the OCZ product literally smokes its Sandisk counterpart. In ATTO Disk Benchmarks the Sandisk SD card is slightly at writing while the OCZ SD card is significantly faster at reading. Overall I would call this a nice win for OCZ in this test.

CONCLUSIONS

Since this is a review of three separate products that all fit into the Flash Memory category we will have score, pros and cons, and our final words on each product.

OCZ Rally2 2GB USB 2.0 Dual Channel Flash Memory Drive

The OCZ Rally2 Drive is one of the nicest flash drives to date I’ve had the pleasure to review. It rates among the fastest of all the current flash drives on the market currently. It is nice slender design and a rugged aluminum skin. It has a lifetime warranty and best of all it can be purchased for around $55 USD which is the cheapest I’ve seen as a retail every-day price for any 2GB flash drive. Best of all it’s made by OCZ! I rate it as the best deal currently available for a product in this category.

 

Pros:

+  Incredibly fast
+  The price is right
+  Extremely durable framework
+  A real lifetime warranty

 

Cons:

-  None!

Final Score: 9.5 out of 10; and the prestigious BJorn3D Golden Bear Award.

OCZ Roadster 1 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive

The OCZ Roadster 1GB Drive offers an extremely small framework at an extremely affordable price of around $20 – $25 USD. It is not the speed burner that its big brother is nor is it as durable, but for someone that needs simple storage to carry discreetly from point A to point B it’s perfect. Speed is not a key issue to non-enthusiasts, they simply want a product that will perform as advertised. I envision this product also being an excellent match for a USB security key where again speed is not a key factor. The Roadster is unique and will appeal nicely to the general market and a niche market of computer enthusiasts.

 

Pros:

+  Small and lightweight
+  Easily stored and carried
+  Excellent for security use as a USB based key
+  Excellent for simple storage functions where speed is not an issue
+  3 year warranty
+  Very affordable
+  No cap to lose

 

Cons:

-  Slower access time
-  Not as sturdy as I’d like
-  Much slower Read and Write than it’s big brother
-  No activity LED

Final Score: 8.0 out of 10; and the BJorn3D Seal of Approval.

OCZ 2GB 80X Secure Digital Dual Memory Card

The OCZ 2GB 80X Secure Digital Dual Memory Card of all the products I tested surprised me the most. It not only serves all of the functions that an SD card is intended for, it can additionally be used as a memory add-on (where applicable) or storage for any device with a USB interface. This card can be purchased for around $50 USD and has the OCZ Lifetime Warranty. This has to be again the the cheapest retail every-day price I’ve seen for any 2GB SD card; and this one has two interfaces. It has replaced my current SD card as my card of choice in my Nikon Digital SLR. As in the scenario I alluded to in the “Closer Look” section of this review; the card can be easily switched between a multitude of devices, garnering information from each. Bravo OCZ!

 

Pros:

+  Dual USB and Secure Digital Interface
+  Much faster than the 80X rating
+  Eliminates the need for a card reader, but functions even faster with one
+  Functions as a memory addon (where applicable) or storage for any device with a USB interface
+  Lifetime Warranty
+  Write protection switch
+  The cap covering the USB interface is not easily dislodged

 

Cons:

-  None noted, performed completely as advertised!

Final Score: 9.5 out of 10; and the prestigious BJorn3D Golden Bear Award.

Members & non-members alike, we invite you to discuss this and other Reviews on the Bjorn3D Product Discussion forum…

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