USB flash drives are a dime a dozen these days, right? Well, they are a little more expensive than that, but how cool is it that you can get 1GB of storage capacity that's smaller than a pack of gum for like $20-30? Pretty soon you'll see these great little gadgets in vending machines for a dollar, especially considering that everybody and their mama sells them. When there are so many different offerings from so many companies for the same basic product, you could just buy the first one you come across. That path will fail to earn you any geek cred, though, so we recommend doing a little research and decide what you want in a flash drive (biggest capacity, best security, smallest dimensions, etc). We also recommend sticking with reputable brands, like Kingston, Corsair and OCZ.
Admittedly, flash drives had gotten kind of boring, but when they started hitting 4GB and bigger, they piqued our interest again. Now, you can get 8GB and 16GB flash drives, so we were interested to see what the market has been cooking up these days. In this USB flash drive roundup, we will take a closer look at the features and performance of a 4GB OCZ Rally2, a 16GB OCZ Mega-Kart, a 1GB Kingston DataTraveler ReadyFlash, and an 8GB Corsair Voyager GT.
All of these drives, except the OCZ Mega-Kart, have the typical USB flash drive form factor that you are probably already familiar with (think of a 5-piece pack of gum). The OCZ Mega-Kart deviates from this shape and instead tries to look like a thick credit card. Additionally, the OCZ Mega-Kart is the only one of the four drives that doesn't boast support for Windows Vista's ReadyBoost feature, which is supposed to boost performance, especially in low memory situations, by using the flash drive as cache. The main area that ReadyBoost provides improved performance is when starting applications. With ReadyBoost, applications often start up more quickly, especially if you only have 512MB or 1GB of system memory.