ATP EarthDrive Review

Propane - 2008-08-12 20:12:14 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: Propane   
Reviewed on: August 18, 2008
Price: $23

Introduction:

More and more people these days are realizing that we are doing some pretty bad damage to our environment - whether it's the cars we drive, the electricity and water we use, or the emissions we release into the atmosphere. The good thing, however, is that we are realizing it, and so are major technology corporations. Intel and AMD are both producing low power CPU alternatives, motherboard manufacturers are looking to adhere to ACPI standards, and many others are taking steps toward becoming more "green."

One of these companies is ATP. They have come up with the EarthDrive, which uses a compound called PLA - Polylactic acid -  which is biodegradable, and comes from fermented corn (so does beer), instead of traditional materials. The version of the EarthDrive that I will look at today is 2GB in size, and uses the "slide" method of protecting the USB connector. Hopefully in ATP's quest to go green, they kept high standards for the quality of their product, because that's exactly what we're going to find out!

 

Closer Look:

The ATP EarthDrive comes in a small plastic container, with information about the drive, the company, and their goals with the EarthDrive printed on the front and back. The packaging is easy to open, which is a nice change from similar packaging other devices might come in.

 

 

The top part of the drive lists the capacity and is white in color. There's also a slider along the top which, when pushed, reveals the USB connector and gives you access to the drive.

 

 

The back of the drive is all black in color, and has green ink on it, showing the company's name, the drive's name, and the EarthDrive logo.

 

Finally, the EarthDrive comes with a single accessory: a small clip and loop which appears to allow the drive to be put on a keychain. The string used in the loop part felt somewhat flimsy to me, however.

 

Let's take a look at the specs and features of the EarthDrive.

Specifications:

ATP Part Numbers

AF1GUFE1BK, AF2GUFE1BK, AF4GUFE1BK, AF8GUFE1BK

Capacities 1GB to 8GB
Connectivity High Speed USB1.1 / 2.0 compliant
Indicator LED Light Indicator
Preloaded Software Drive Partitioning, Password Protection
Data Retention 10 years
Length 35.7mm +/- 0.20mm
Width 23.3mm +/- 0.10mm
Thickness 10.31mm +/- 0.20mm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Features:

Testing:

To test the EarthDrive, I will use a program called FlashMemoryToolkit to run several tests on the drive and record the results. All of the tests I am going to perform here are available in the free version of FlashMemoryToolkit, so if you have your own drive and want to see how the EarthDrive stacks up, all you have to do is go download the software.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Drives:

 

Read Speed - Low Level Benchmark:

The first test is the low level read test. This will give us a speed in megabytes per second, and an X factor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read and Write - File Benchmark:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Durability Testing:

The ATP EarthDrive uses a manufacturing process called "System in Packaging" that, according to ATP Electronics' website, "encapsulates all exposed components and points of failure." This means that the drive should be very durable and waterproof. I'm sure you all want to know if this SIP process works, so I dunked the EarthDrive in water for about an hour. After I let the drive dry off (so I don't burn up my own USB ports), I plugged it into my laptop, and it came right up with no problems. Now, you no longer have to worry about ruining your flash drive if it goes through the washer - but you probably shouldn't put it through the wash, just to be on the safe side.

 

Software:

The drive comes with a trial copy of CarryItEasy, an application which can be used for the synchronization of files and email. In my testing, everything worked well, but it appears that each computer you want to use the software on, you must install it. Also, it will only work for 30 days before you need to buy it, so don't get this drive for the software, because you'll end up having to buy your own anyways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion:

The ATP EarthDrive is really aimed at a different crowd than most flash drives these days. Instead of shooting for the hip crowd by covering the drive in hot colors and fancy designs, it aims for the environmentally conscious crowd, which is growing very fast every day. The drive's speeds are pretty respectable, though not blazing fast; but, for most users, it will be plenty fast for all of their needs. While not the overall fastest drive in our testing, the EarthDrive did come in a strong second in the trials. Also, the SIP technology used to manufacture the EarthDrive makes it water resistant, shock resistant and dust resistant. This should impart peace of mind where you need it, especially if you spend a lot of time around water, or bounding around the mountains. For most people, this drive will do an excellent job, and let the owner know that they are doing something to help the environment. All in all, this is a pretty cool drive, but from a technical standpoint, the SIP technology makes this drive eco-friendly - for its recyclable nature - and a solid performer.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: