Memonex Race R310 16GB Flash Drive Review

Indybird - 2010-08-14 15:15:15 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: Indybird   
Reviewed on: September 8, 2010
Price: TBD

Introduction:

These days, everyone who does anything on a computer has a flash drive. The fact is, until (or if) we switch over to 100% cloud storage, computer users will always need to carry some data around with them. The formula for your basic flash drive hasn’t changed much since they first became popular. Things they all have in common are USB interface, small form factor, somewhat durable casing and perhaps a loop to wear it on your keychain or neck. What they lack in innovation they make up for in increasing performance and smaller sizes. Back in 2004, my 256MB flash drive cost me $45. Now $45 will nab you around 32GB! Not to mention that 32GB will read and write files five times as fast.

Today I have the Race R310 16GB Flash Drive. This is the latest stick from Memonex, suppliers of all things memory and storage related. This USB 2.0 drive combines large storage and high performance into a small and sleek package. Let's see how it fares in the already crowded flash drive market.

Closer Look:

The Race R310 comes in a fairly standard and dreaded small plastic clamshell package. From the front, you get a window view and basic introduction to the flash drive. Along the bottom of the box you have icons representing all of the uses for the flash drive. Around the back you have the basic specs in 11 different languages, system requirements in English, specifications in English and some sort of hazardous elements table in what I assume is Japanese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside the package is the flash drive all by itself. No accessories. Taking a look at the flash drive, it is quite attractive. It has a rounded dark chrome exterior with a minimalist design. The Memonex logo and “16GB” text are subtly displayed in a very light text. From this side you can see the small loop to attach your keychain or lanyard. All of the dark chrome pieces feel and appear to be made of metal. The USB cap, unfortunately, is not attached to the stick in any way and being somewhat small, could easily be lost.

 

 

 

Now that we are familiar with the drive itself, let's see how it stacks up in the performance department.

Specifications:

 

 

All information courtesy of Memonex @  http://www.memonex.com/RaceR310.asp

Testing:

To test the performance of the Memonex R310 flash drive, I’ll be using three benchmarks. Flash Memory Toolkit, SiSoft Sandra and real-world file transfer times. To start off, I’ll be using the free demo version of Flash Memory Toolkit. The tests here will consist of a low-level read test to determine the average read bandwidth of the drive and a file benchmark to test the average read and write speed of different file sizes.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Drives:

 

Read Speed - Low Level Benchmark:

 

This test determines the average read speed of the flash drive. The results are in megabytes per second along with the flash memory multiplier speed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Memonex Race R310 remains fairly middleground here, nothing too ground breaking performance-wise.

 

 

Testing:

Read and Write - File Benchmark:

The second test in Flash Memory toolkit is the file read and write test. The results are a read and write speed in kilobytes per second for five different file sizes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Memonex R310 had some mixed results in these tests.  For the most part, the write speeds remained below average, while the read speeds remained about mid-ground.  

Testing:

Read and Write - File Benchmark:

The first test in SiSoft Sandra is its own read and write file test. Here, files from 32kb to 256mb are tested and results are in megabytes per second.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endurance Benchmark:

The second test in Sandra is the endurance benchmark. Files are written to specific sectors multiple times, multiple sectors in a row and random sectors. The final average write speed is produced in kilobytes per second

 

 

The results here are the most interesting yet. In the 32kB file tests the R310 is on par for write, but actually takes the lead in read.  However, moving to the larger file sizes, we see that it is back firmly in the middle. In the endurance benchmark, the Race blends in with somewhat random appearing results for repeated sector rewrite and random sector write.  However in the sequential sector write, the drive takes a solid lead, besting the Sandisk Cruzer by over 100kb/s.

Testing:

Write - File Benchmark:

The final test is the simple file transfer time test. Here I copy files of varying sizes (10MB, 100MB and 500MB) from the root of the system drive to the root of the flash drive. Using a stopwatch, I record the time between the release of the click dropping the file through to the transfer finishing with the file selected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After all of the synthetic benchmarks placing the Memonex R310 firmly in the middle ground these tests came as a shock to me.  In the 10MB and 100MB file transfers the R310 comes in second behind the OCZ Rally 2.  In the 500MB it comes in third, being just two seconds slower than the Kingston DataTraveler.

Conclusion:

The Memonex Race R310 16GB flash drive proved to be (albeit just barely) above the average flash drive in quality and performance. Holding it in your hand, the Race R310 feels solid and looks very sharp also. In the performance field, it doesn’t skimp. The synthetic benchmarks put the drive just above average in speed. It was in the real world transfers however that the R310 really shone. The drive came in second or third to high end flash drives, putting its performance pretty high.

It wasn’t all perfect however. The write speeds typically seen on the synthetic benchmarks were definitely less than desirable but, the main issues were with its physical design and package. The first problem is that it has a completely detachable cap. It's not an exaggeration to say that most people lose their detachable caps, so it is unfortunate to see one here. The second is that no lanyard was included despite it having a small loop for one. This is pretty standard fare in a flash drive package so it was kind of disappointing not to see one here.

Overall the Memonex Race R310 proved to be a decent mid-range flash drive. Unfortunately, it's not yet carried by any retailers and no MSRP is shown, so I’m not quite sure how good of a value it would be. It has a cool design and great real world performance, but some benchmarks and physical oversights keep it from being perfect. So, instead I’ll say that the Memonex Race R310 would be a good deal if it had a mid-range price to match its overall package.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: