16gb USB Drive Comparison – 17 Drives Compared


Yep, I’m at it again, this time I’ve got an assortment of 16gb USB drives, 17 of them in total from many different companies. I went and did a bit of searching and collected some of the more popular drives out there today, along with many others as well. I think we’ve got a nice representative sampling overall, we’ve got Sandisk, Verbatim, PQI, Kingston, OCZ, Patriot, Ridata, Imation, HP, Adata,Corsair, Memorex, Super Talent, PNY and Transcend in this little roundup.

I’d like to thank DSCF6598


kingston datatravelerkingston hyperxmemorexocz diesel

ocz throttlepatriotpny16pqi

ridatasandisksuper talenttranscend


and just for your information my system basically consists of:

Intel C2Q9650 CPU

8gigs OCZ Ram

EVGA NF680i SLI Motherboard

Windows Vista Ultimate x64

Ok, now onto the testing phase.

First up is SiSoft Sandra 2009 Sp2 Removable Storage Benchmark.

Combined Device Index: is a composite figure representing an overall performance rating based on the average of the Combined Index figures over the four file sizes. (Higher is better, i.e. better performance)

Endurance Factor: is a figure representing the Wear and Life Expectancy of flash devices; this is obtained by dividing the average performance (normal condition, i.e. sequential write) to the lowest performance (high-stress condition, i.e. same block re-write).

It measures the relative improvement of endurance caused by the wear levelling or flash management algorithm; the absolute endurance of a device (i.e. its expected life-time) is directly dependent, in addition to this Endurance Factor, on the nominal manufacturer rating of maximum erase/reprogram cycles, which is typically 100,000+ for SLC and 10,000+ for MLC devices. (Higher is better, i.e. longer life-time for the device)

In the following graph the higher scores are better, I’ve arranged the chart from worst to best according to how SiSoft Sandra scored them:



The top five as we see according to SiSoft Sandra are OCZ, Sandisk, Super talent, Patriot and Imation.

Here’s a closer look at the test, specifically the 256MB Files test, here we can see how Sandra scored the Read Performance and Write Performance of the drives. The chart is arranged using the Write Performance as the reference, worst to best, and of course higher is better.


As we can see we’ve basically got six drives tied for first place in this test.

Now, I’ve got Diskbench test up next, but I’ve done it a bit different this time, since there’s quite a few it gets a bit crowded, so I’ve broken the individual tests down into separate graphs. Also I added another test in here as well, I figured since these were 16gb drives, I would thrown in a nice large file transfer test as well, I used the Windows7 ISO file weighing in at 3.15GB. I also used the same 350MB .AVI Video file that I always use as well.

Diskbench is nice in that it tells us the actual times and transfer rates to complete the tasks of Copy To or Write To the USB drives, Read From and Copy From as well. I run these three tests on my USB drives because they are the most common things people are going to be doing with their USB drives.

First up is testing with the 350MB .AVI Video file, lower scores are better as they are shown in seconds. The first test is for Copy To or Write To the USB drives.


As you can see the OCZ Throttle drive has the fastest write time for this size of file, coming in three seconds faster than the closest competitor. The other fast drives all come it at around 20 seconds to complete the task which is very good overall. We can also see the Adata and Sandisk drives are over one minute, not that good really.

Next test is Read From, this test simulates reading a file from the USB drive, again it’s in seconds so lower is better.


Here we see a bit of rearranging going on with the ordering, with the top drives coming in at around 11 seconds.

Next test is the Copy From test, this gives us the time it takes to copy from the USB drive to my hard drive.


The ordering here is close to the Read From test but not the same, still though the PQI drive is number one.

Now here are the transfer rates for the tests in MB/s, so higher scores are better or meaning faster.

First graph is showing the results for the Copy To or Write test:


Clearly the OCZ Throttle is a fast drive coming in almost a full 3MB/s faster than the nearest competitor. Though 16 and 17 MB/s isn’t bad at all either, it’s nice and fast.

Next graph is Transfer Rates for the Read From test, higher is better of course:


Over 30 MB/s is good, very good actually for a USB drive, and we see quite a few hit 30 and above in this test.

Finally we have the Transfer Rates for Copy From:


Again over 30 MB/s is good, hitting 32 MB/s and above is even better as we  can see a few are able to accomplish, most of the drives though aren’t too bad in this area really.

Ok, now for the last set of tests using Diskbench, this is where I used the ISO file that is 3.15GB in size. Same tests here, Copy To, Copy From and Read From, but I decided to only show you the times it takes, and not the transfer rates as they are pretty much the same as the other test, but seeing the actual time to do something can sometimes tell us more than seeing the transfer rates, at least I would rather see the times to do something, it’s easier to understand.

First up again is Copy To or Write to the USB drives, lower scores or times are better.


Over two minutes to copy the file to the USB drive for all of them, with the OCZ Throttle coming is number one here again, with a good 20 seconds better time. The main reason I wanted to show this is that things change with file sizes, the ordering of the drives has changed with the larger file as opposed to the smaller file transfer. Some drives got better when transferring the larger file, while others performed worse.  The Patriot drive got worse, while the HP drive got better, the Kingston HyperX got worse, and so did the Verbatim drive. The PNY drive was actually in 12th place on the 350MB file test, here we see it moved up a few spots to number eight on the list.

Next is the Read From test:


Again the OCZ Throttle drive is number one, still the top five drives are all very close in performance for this test. Again the ordering has changed from the 350MB file test.

and finally here’s the results for the Copy From test:


and yet again the OCZ Throttle drive is in the top spot, and one thing has remained the same for all of the tests I think, the worst is still the worst no matter how you look at it… anyone want a Transcend drive?….

Seriously though, if I had a choice of these drives it would be the OCZ Throttle, but then again it might not be. Yes it’s the fastest of the bunch, but it’s a hybrid drive, it’s got both eSATA and USB connections on it, and to use the USB connection you need to carry a small USB cable with you with mini-USB connector to plug into the Throttle, to me that’s a bit of a hassle really. The next choice would be tied between the Kingston HyperX and the Patriot Exporter XT drive, both are fairly fast and both have good qualities in their construction as well. Then again why would I bother with 16gb drives when I’ve got 32gb and 64gb ones on hand?

If I’m looking for a USB drive, the first thing I look at is the Copy To or Write speeds, this is what is most important to me, the next thing would be the Copy From speeds, as for me what I do most is put data on it, then take it off, reading from the drive is not that important to me really. So it all depends on what your priorities are concerning USB drives, the results are here, you can judge for yourself which is best for you.

If I had to give an ordering for the top three drives, taking everything here into account ,including my preferences, it would have to be the OCZ Throttle coming in first with the Kingston HyperX in second, the Patriot Xporter in third. Those are the ones that I would buy personally.

I hope you enjoyed this, I had fun doing it, I’ve got an even larger one in the works as well, but it’s going to be a bit different, so be on the look out for that within the next couple weeks.

  45 comments for “16gb USB Drive Comparison – 17 Drives Compared

  1. Lazz
    March 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Great testing methodology for the most part.. if you standardize these tests, you’ll of course be able to add drives to these resuts fairly easily and could eventually have the definitive flash drive data set.

    I’d love to see the performance of the Corsair GT drives, they’re supposed to be some of the fastest out there. They look identical to the regular drives, except the side plastic is bright red instead of blue.

    Also, the corsair Survivor drives would be interesting as well. Lots of people like the idea of a ruggedized thumb drive, but if the performance is terrible would skip it.

    Looking forward to your next round of tests!

    March 29, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Anyway it is a good test. One important matter that the people who test for the comparative studies ignore to compare the best model from one mark
    Ex: I use Corsair 16 Go version GT the red one and the blue one.
    It is not the same. Please ask the constructer to send the best of their products or the person try to select the best product!!


  3. gronimo
    April 2, 2009 at 9:42 pm


    In your test , I see a usb key named HP USB FLASH DRIVE v125W, but i searched on the Web and I see the same ref, ‘HP USB FLASH DRIVE v125w’, with a lower case ‘w’.

    However, on the box there is noted that the write up to 4MB/S…..

    Can you give me the correct ref, or a screen of the box of this key hp.


  4. AllanG
    April 4, 2009 at 1:59 am

    Your the best… I have been surfing the web looking for this information… great that you have it … sad that few of the computer magazines I get (Laptop, Computer Shopper) don’t do as good of a job. Kudos and thanks.

  5. Patriot Xporter
    April 6, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Great test! But Im really in doubt which drive to get: Patriot Xporter XT 16GB or OCZ Rally2 16GB?
    Please let me know which you think is better because on other sites i read that rally2 has worse write speed and in your test it outperforms the specs :S

  6. romath
    April 17, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks for the series of very helpful articles for someone looking at USB flash drives. I wish technogog was as clear and systematic on their main pages. One of the things I noticed from a fairly quick go-through of the articles is that as a group smaller drives are faster than larger ones. That’s why for someone searching for a 8 or 16gb drive, this last article was needed. Looking at this article, if Write to/Copy to USB drive speed is primary, and it is for me, then it seems that the HP should have been among the top picks. The 8gb is selling for about $18 at Amazon and the 16gb for $34 at NewEgg. The other choices seem harder to find and much more expensive.

  7. KW
    April 19, 2009 at 1:32 am

    Why does my USB fill up — to full — with many files all sized at 14849 kbs (filenames are a “o” with a line through it vertically) and all dated July 8 1980? It makes this large USB mostly unusable and unreliable. It’s a Ridata 16 Gig and bought two of them. Both filled up way too fast and wouldn’t store directories with many pics in them. Fryes sold both of these defective drives to me — crap!

  8. KW
    April 19, 2009 at 1:34 am

    (continued) I also can’t delete the files. It creates empty directories, small directories sometimes that are full for no reason and then vanish. This Ridata (both of them) put my data at risk because they gobble and fill the data. Then a drive that fills with big unusable files that won’t delete wrecks the rest of the data backed up on the USB flash drive.

  9. Kevin Grieves
    April 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Congratulations, this post was selected to appear on the latest Blog Carnival of Computer Help and Advice – http://bloodycomputer.blogspot.com/2009/04/16th-carnival-of-computer-help-and.html

  10. Oxyd
    April 29, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    @ gronimo and romath re. HP USB Flash Drive v125w 16GB
    (Reference P-FD16GB-HPV125W-BX)

    After reading this review, I decided to buy the HP v125w – BIG MISTAKE!
    The USB Drive reviewed must be the only one of its kind…

    The performances given in the HP datasheet available in the following document are extremely accurate (read SLOW) – http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c01726915.pdf
    These are manufactured by PNY, and it’s obvious now that the author was extremely lucky to get one performing that well. The model I have is P-FD16GB-HPV125W-BX. Now that I have the reference number, I googled and even discovered that there is even much cheaper than what I paid (£35) – gutted…
    FYI, the 4GB version has write speeds that are twice slower (should have never offered my gf to get one too when I ordered) :-s
    And yes, this “subtlety” is also visible in the HP specs datasheet, which is good. For once, you can really believe the manufacturer’s specs 😉

    Here are my own benchmark results based on a Core 2 Duo T7700 with Vista 64:

    * Sandra 2009 SP3a (see chart number 2 above for reference):
    16B version – 256MB Files Test: Read Perf = 5 (21.33MB/s), Write Perf. 2 (8.53MB/s)
    (Gf’s 4GB version – 256MB Files Test: Read Perf = 5 (21.33MB/s), Write Perf. 1 (4.27MB/s) )

    * DiskBench – Copy To – Transfer rate – 364MB (see chart number 6 above for reference):
    16GB version – 11.060 MB/s
    (Gf’s 4GB version – 5.660 MB/s)

    * DiskBench – Read From – Transfer rate – 364MB (see chart number 7 above for reference):
    16GB version – 23.220 MB/s
    (Gf’s 4GB version – 19.447 MB/s)

    My opinion: stay away from these, except if they are really cheap.
    I hope this helps

  11. microwiz
    May 13, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    The specific statistic I find interesting is in the first graph (the only place where there’s a finding like it) – the SiSoft Sandra 2009 Sp2 Removable Storage Benchmark gives the Sandisk Cruzer Micro 16GB a Combined Index rating of 4861, putting it just one spot off first place, but most every DiskBench test following shows it finishing in the bottom three! Any idea what happened…?

  12. Chuck
    June 14, 2009 at 1:38 am

    Thanks so much for writing this! I was having a really hard time finding reliable data on these drives. After considering costs, and selecting the patriot xporter, I noticed my old drive (which I accidentally broke) was a 1GB patriot xporter. It treated me well in the past, glad to see it’s successor is still a bargain when it comes to performance.

  13. dozer
    July 11, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    ya know, I hate these long “stick out” USB keys.

    I can’t figure out why the mfg’s don’t make a nifty right-angle one that lays flat along the side of the laptop when it’s plugged in…

    • Pete
      June 24, 2011 at 1:16 am

      because it may cover up the other ports on your laptop.

  14. Mat
    July 22, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Excellent article. This is very thorough testing. If you don’t want any of the 16GB flash drives i’ll be happy to take them off of your hands as I don’t have 32GB and 64GB flash drives!

  15. samiz
    August 25, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    About the HP v125w 16GB flash drive:
    after reading through the graphs here, i’ve also thought that this drive was a top choice because of its performances and lower price than an OCZ or a Patriot; so i bought one from pixmania at 34euros (i live in france).
    After my purchase i came back here to read the comments – especially Oxyd’s one – and i was afraid of having made the wrong choice performances-wise.
    However, despite the generic (i guess) tech specs’ pdf available on HP site, i made my own tests with DiskBench and was relieved 🙂

    – drive ref. P-FD16GB-HPV125W-BX (same as Oxyd), seemingly manufactured by PNY
    – test system: core 2 duo E8500, 2x 1GB ram, XP SP3 (32bit)
    – Copy To test: ~15 MB/s for files ranging from 150MB to 700MB and ~16 MB/s for larger files (1GB to 2.2GB files tested)
    – Read From test: ~29 MB/s for small files and ~39 MB/s for bigger files

    I bought this 2 days ago (august 2009) so maybe they improved…?

  16. samiz
    August 25, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    I wanted to test further my HP v125w to compare with the technogog’ results and so downloaded Sandra 2009 SP4:
    – Combined Index: 3869
    – Endurance Factor: 1.0 (very bad? how the hell is this calculated anyway?)
    – 256MB Files Test: Read Perf = 7 (29.87MB/s), Write Perf. = 4 (17MB/s)
    We can see that the drive technogog tested has similar performances, so it’s definitely not one-of-its-kind; maybe it depends where the units are built? or test system OS ?

  17. Trepsul
    August 28, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Here’s to the mysterious HP V125W. Apparently Samiz and Oxyd are using HP’s European version, the one ending in -BX.

    The story from the other side of the pond, for the P-FD16G-HPV125W-FS is not as nice:

    350mb transfer takes 49.6 vs. 20.54
    3.15 gb takes 7:02 or about 402 sec. vs 173 sec.

    Flash Memory Toolkit Benchmark has a File Benchmark of 3050 – 3581 kb/s and a Low Level of 6.4mb/s min 10.3mb/s max

    Lucky Europeans (myself am one as well but live in the US currently), you got the good chips in the HP drives. Mine goes back to the store and will buy another 16gb brand, will let you know about real world results.
    System is WinXP SP3, intel c2d , 3gb ram…

  18. Trepsul
    September 4, 2009 at 1:38 am

    The replacement was an OCZ Diesel 3CAGBUF2M01V1K-OC 16GB drive.
    Here are the results:

    350mb transfer = 50.2 vs. 24.21 (results from the graphs above)
    3.15gb transfer = 410 sec. vs. 203 sec.
    File Benchmark = 2193 – 3084 KB/s
    Low Level Write = 6.2mb/s to 8.8mb/s

    SisoftSandra 256mb file = Read 17mb/2 – Write 4.2mb/s

    From the results, this drive is slower than the already slow HP 16gb drive tested just above.

    I’ve tried on a different system, I thought it was my rig’s fault, it’s even slower on others.
    Compared to a crappy $5 Kingston 8gb flash drive that’s faster for example File Benchmark 3590 – 4538 KB/s, this is totally unacceptable, back to the store it goes as well.
    I’ll probably think twice before choosing another brand from the charts above, since I’m not able to replicate anything.

  19. wongnog
    October 31, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    This is a great post, but you really should standardize how you report your benchmarking. It’s really confusing how sometimes you rate them by time and others by transfer rate. It makes it impossible to compare the transfer rates for small files vs large files in this report.

  20. Dan
    January 19, 2010 at 3:29 am

    Hey. I feel that micro SD cards with the tiny USB adapter are all but a replacement for the basic USB drives. How about next time add a couple of those, with different speeds/prices, to the mix for comparison?

  21. Ecks
    January 26, 2010 at 12:27 am


    I’m guessing the Sandisk was much better than the other with small file sizes, but worse with large file sizes. All the specific results given above are for large medium and large files. For Sandisk to have a better average speed, it must have really whipped through the small ones

  22. Hoon
    April 25, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    I have patriot XT 16 GB. I’m really dissapointed at the speed. I like my old 2GB sandisk titanium better as it feels much more snappy. It actually does work much faster on smaller files. Patriot XT 16GB is only good for larger movie files. But then for such large files, I just use an external WD 320GB passport 2.5″ HDD. I really wish the USB flash manufacturers make more quick and better quality drives. And why are they all so fat? They really need to trim down the size.

    @samiz ,
    how the heck do you get 39 MB/sec transfer speed from USB 2.0? USB 2.0 is capped around 30MB/sec. I don’t think the test you did is correct.

  23. May 12, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Very Nice Comparison on 16GB USB drives.

  24. Steve
    May 29, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Most of these benchmarks involve file copying. Therefore it depends on how the USB drive was formatted. FAT32 or NTFS. What cluster size was used?

    To get rid of this cluster size problem, you should use a test of *raw* read/write speeds directly to the device (i.e. block read/write). Also give model numbers.

    If you want to compare ‘real world’ file read/write times, format them all using the same program or utility first.

    Also, the flash write speed depends on whether the flash memory is ‘clean’ (all FFs) or not. To write to flash memory, the controller needs to read a block of flash memory, alter the sectors that you want to change, and then write the whole block back again. If however the block of memory is ‘clean’ (as with a brand new stick) then all the controller does is simply write the new data to the stick (no read cycle first).

    As there is no easy way to ‘clean’ a stick. You should fill up all sticks with 16GB of data first. This makes sure that all the memory is marked as ‘dirty’ before you benchmark.

    This may explain the varying results?

  25. Kenny Murray
    August 22, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    I did some rather unique tests also with various forms of flash devices. what is mostly discussed above is the typical day to day stuff, and mostly related to overall throughput (speed).

    What I can tell you is that not all of these can go through the extreme situations or circumstances that I will outline… I never tested all the devices mentioned above…

    I selected various devices to see how rough of physical circumstances could be done and still have a working drive that would work and retrieve data.

    Sticks are used for school… they can often end up in the napsack, and get soggy… or they can also be left in a pair of jeans, and end up down in the bottom of the washer…

    The result… well that depends… maby it can be like your cellphone… maby your lucky and dry it all out good, and it still works.. Maby it does not…

    I had to select to use various products, for my own personal use, and in many situations I need something that is going to work for me regardless of the situation or circumstances.. obviously a good backup, is a solution to everything…

    What I found was that some SD cards are basically waterproof.. same holds true to MOST microSD cards… But not Sticks in general…

    The Best ‘Stick’ that i could find was the Verbatim Tough N Tidy… In relation to the Physical Aspects… I spoke to someone at Verbatim before I bought one, and was doing some dev and had to choose a device for the task required..

    When I told him what I do with my MicroSD cards, and told him what I was going to do with the Verbatim product, he did not really know what to say…

    First the device was loaded with data… which is typical, and could be later tested for signs of failure…

    the device was water tested… Tested and verified..
    Then the device was Frozen in water and made a popsicle in a cup with one..
    Melted from a Block of ice… Wiped off, and Tested…
    Perfect Operation…

    Then for the next test…

    It was boiled on top of the stove in a pot of water…
    The pot was boiling Dry…

    The chip was removed from the water… and let stand to cool… it was too hot to touch with the bare hands from a Boiling pot of water.

    it was then wiped off… still very warm… and then tested…

    Tested and seems to be working 100%
    various data tests ect preformed.. All perfectly fine..

    The device was again Wiped, Reloaded, Wiped Reloaded… ect…

    No Problems what so ever…

    thats my personal expierence, and I test all products that i use to do a job very through. Including accidental issues such as described above…
    Stuff happens… and it will most likely happen to you… Soggy Napsacks, Forgotten Laundry your wife put in the washer while you were sleeping in on saturday.. Cars caught in Floods on the way to work.. Anything is possible…

    within reason…

    I think freezing chips, and unthawing them is a bit extreme…
    So is boiling them in a boiling pot of water on the stove.

    of everything thats out there, sure some stuff is nice and cheap and also fast..

    Verbatim Tough M Tidy is what you wana use.

    My stuff is Industrial applications as well as also Marine Applications.

    My stuff works… does yours??

  26. John
    August 23, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I bought verbatim store n go 16gb usb drive hi-speeds for its size and to overcome the issue of lost caps. What I got was size and a flimsily made device that had the key ring attachment fitting break off with in the first year. I have used USB flash drives for years always used them on my keys and never had this before. Verbatim have rejected replacing it saying ware and tair, so if you what to attach one on your keys look for another product as verbatim flash drives are not up to the job

  27. Rog
    August 26, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Could you do boot speeds with a linux distro like ubuntu? I really don’t care about file transfer, but boot speed is critical for those who boot.

  28. November 10, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    the throttle and hyperx are no longer available, and the xporter xt has been replaced by the Rage… time for an update?

  29. Marie Walsh
    November 23, 2010 at 7:26 am

    Sorry, I am impressed but confused. All I want is for my USB is to record TV programs from my new 119cm/47inch HD TV. How long will the various “GB’s” record [eg 2/4/8/16gb’s] ? As the bigger the GB is -there are VERY big price increases – so please help a confused 58 year old. Thanks

  30. mona
    August 30, 2012 at 8:31 am

    all, I have a 10 inch laptop and I
    recently took a 16
    GB Shining Bright Color Slipper Shaped U Disk Silicon USB Flash Drive Memory –Orange
    and I recently formatted my
    laptop with my memory stick in it, now when I try to use it says “you have to format it”, after I do the format it’s still not working . What should I do?

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