ATP ToughDrive Review

Propane - 2008-08-09 14:49:22 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: Propane   
Reviewed on: August 13, 2008
Price: $27


USB drives today are like floppies of yesterday. We use them for everything, from moving small files from one computer to another, to storing applications that are customized to your liking. Almost everyone has one, and there are many different options for them. You can get them in all sorts of colors, from many different companies, and with very different styles - just like the floppies of yesteryear came in different colors.

ATP has produced a set of drives called the ToughDrive. The particular version of the drive I am reviewing is camouflaged, 2GB in size, and has a key ring included. Additionally, the ToughDrive is advertised as waterproof and shock proof, making it ideal for people who are on the go, and need something durable to store their data. The modest 2GB size is enough for most people, and its small physical size keeps the option to put it on a key ring open.


Closer Look:

The drive arrived in a shipping box, but was otherwise unprotected; it has a hard plastic shell with a desert camouflage design printed onto it. Its cap comes off to reveal the actual USB connector, and the key ring has a nice latching system to allow the drive to be quickly taken off the keychain and put back on. The hard plastic body gives it a feel of rigidity, and makes me feel like it would be able to withstand a decent amount of abuse before failing.






To test the ToughDrive, I will use a program called FlashMemoryToolkit to run several tests on the drive and record the results. As the name implies, this software is specifically designed to test flash memory, which is exactly what the ToughDrive is. All of the tests I am going to perform here are available in the free version of FlashMemoryToolkit, so if you currently have your own drive and want to see how the ToughDrive stacks up, you have that option. Finally, since the name of this flash drive does have "Tough" in it, I will submerse it in water and toss it around a bit.


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. The result of this was that the average read rate was 21.5MB/s and the X factor was 146X.








Read and Write - File Benchmark:








Durability Testing:

To test the toughness of the ToughDrive, I submerged it in a cup of water for almost an hour, and threw it against my floor several times.

After each test, I plugged the ToughDrive into my MacBook Pro and it started right up with no problems. This left me pretty impressed, since it was under water for such a long amount of time, and I had quite a bit of fun throwing it around.


Even though it didn't post the best results, for a flash drive, these are pretty good numbers - especially when the manufacturer is marketing it more as a durable drive, as opposed to a blazing fast one. Additionally, write times are very fast, which is nice if you only have to hand off files to other people.


To be honest, I am having trouble coming up with how to conclude this article. This is a very standard USB drive, without many special features that would make me recommend it over any other drive to one of my friends. The one added feature that makes this drive appealing is that it is intended to take some abuse. The SIP (System in Packaging) design makes the ATP ToughDrive waterproof, shock proof, and dust proof; pretty hefty claims in this day and age, but the testing backed that up. The clip used to attach the ToughDrive to your belt loop, back pack, or key ring appears fairly stout, and should make this drive a little easier to keep around. I know that I have lost more than my fair share of drives due to poor clips or attachment methods. Almost everyone that has used a computer has a flash drive, and for most uses, is happy with the one they have now. The only reason's I can see why someone would want to get this drive is if they need a new one and it is the best deal, if they enjoy the camouflaged look, or if they are concerned they will be putting the new drive in dangerous situations. The ToughDrive doesn't provide blazing transfer rates and has a cap that can easily be lost, both of which are somewhat disappointing, but not of the greatest concern to most users. All in all, this is not just an ordinary flash drive, but is just as useful as almost any other drive on the market, and has the added benefit of some extra durability to keep it from getting destroyed.