Mushkin Ventura Pro 32 GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review
Reviewed by: Indybird
Reviewed on: November 15, 2011
It doesn't seem like long ago when we first saw ads promoting 10 MB hard drives as all the storage we would ever need. Nowadays, even photos taken by our mobile phones require nearly 10 MB by themselves. While it has become much easier for manufacturers to develop higher density data storage mediums, they have become a higher priority than faster data interface standards. Unfortunately for end-users, non-portable storage PCI-Express and SATA III solid state drives are already pushing the limit of memory storage speed. On the portable side, it is a slightly different story; eSATA III never really caught on for flash drives and PCI-Express has been out of the question for obvious reasons. Luckily, the latest USB standard, USB 3.0, has caught on as the new all-purpose data interface standard. With its theoretical transmission rate of 5 Gbps, it makes an ideal choice for next-generation, ultra high capacity flash drives.
Here today, we have Mushkin's latest high-end flash drive offering; the Ventura Pro 32 GB. The Ventura Pro boasts 120 MB/s read and 70 MB/s write, definitely placing it in the upper-tier of USB 3.0 drives. With all-aluminum housing and unique features, such as wear leveling, the Ventura Pro 32 GB has the potential to be a great deal for $65.
The Mushkin Ventura Pro 32GB USB flash drive comes in a typical clamshell package. I am glad they opted for the clamshell instead of the more standard blister packaging for ease of access. On the front, you'll find the Mushkin logo and a basic list of features. Around the back, there is a more comprehensive feature list and a graph detailing the performance difference between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0.
The Ventura Pro itself has a smooth, satin-black finish that not only feels good in your hand, but presents a sharp appearance. The front has a tastefully-sized Mushkin logo, while the other side displays the model name and capacity. The flash drive has a well-balanced weight, thanks to the aluminum body, which also adds shock resistance. Mushkin also elected for a removable cap piece. Unfortunately, it does not provide any sort of water-tight seal, leaving no real advantage with regards to design choice. The Ventura Pro's USB connector is the now-standard light blue. This is due to the fact that USB 3.0 is expected to a have a slower adoption rate, and may therefore be difficult to differentiate alongside the common black USB 2.0 ports on PCs.
Now that we've physically examined the drive itself, let’s move onto its detailed specs and benchmarks!
Mushkin Part #:
MKNUFDVP32GB (32 GB)
MKNUFDVP64GB (64 GB)
Mushkin Ventura Pro USB 3.0 Flash Drive
Certifications / Safety:
FCC / CE / RoHS
2 Year Limited Warranty
.35” (D) x .77” (W) x 2.87” (H)
.90 cm (D) x 1.98 cm (W) x 7.3 cm (H)
- USB 3.0 Compliant
- Backwards Compatible with USB 2.0
- Optimized Data Flow
- Wear-Leveling Functionality
- Up to 120 MB/s Read
- Up to 70 MB/s Write
- Aluminum housing for added durability and shock resistance
All information courtesey of Mushkin @ http://www.mushkin.com/Digital-Storage/Flash-Drives/MKNUFDVP32GB.aspx
To test the performance of the Mushkin Ventura Pro 32 GB USB 3.0 Drive, I will be using a series of utilities designed to benchmark its abilities. The first utility is called Flash Memory Toolkit, which has a free demo available. This utility consists of a low-level read test that checks memory bandwidth on the device and a write test of varying file sizes that examines the drive’s performance at saving information. The next benchmark will be the SiSoft Sandra benchmark, specifically the Removable Storage test. To get a real-world look at the performance, I will record the time it takes to write custom files to the drive; the same files we use for WinRAR benchmarks in our other reviews. All thumb drives will be formatted before testing and plugged directly into the motherboard using a port on the rear I/O panel.
- CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965
- Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE
- Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD Pro/USB3
- Memory: Mushkin Redline 997013 4 GB DDR3-1600 MHz
- Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 6970
- Power Supply: NZXT Hale90 750 W
- HDD: 1 x Seagate 7200.11 750 GB SATA w/ 32 MB Cache
- Optical Drive: Lite-On DVD-R/W
- OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Read Speed - Low Level Benchmark:
This is the first benchmark from Flash Memory Toolkit. This test outputs an average speed in megabytes per second and the access time in milliseconds.
The Mushkin Ventura Pro bests the Patriot SuperSonic in the USB 3.0 Read tests, but falls behind in the Write tests. In addition, its USB 2.0 performance is notably slower in both tests.
Read and Write - File Benchmark:
The second benchmark in the Flash Memory Toolkit is the file read and write test. It will give us a speed in KB/s. The program presents five different files sizes of 1 MB, 2 MB, 3 MB, 4 MB, and 5 MB, though we will be using every other file size. Once again, a higher result is better.
The Ventura Pro is neck and neck with the Patriot SuperSonic in all Read tests, but is markedly slower in most of the Write tests, especially when running USB 2.0.
Read and Write - File Benchmark:
SiSoft Sandra also performs a read and write test, though its file sizes can vary from 32 KB to 256 MB. All results are written in MB/s. Higher is better.
In addition, the endurance benchmark tests the speed at which the thumb drive writes to specific sectors.
Again, we see Ventura Pro trade shots with the Patriot Supersonic in providing the top read performance, though it still falls short in write speeds. Strangely, USB 3.0 performance on the Ventura Pro falls behind USB 2.0 performance of other drives in some tests.
Write - File Benchmark:
The final benchmark involves our custom OCC test files. These are the same files used for the WinRAR benchmarks in our other reviews. The measure time in seconds begins from the moment the file copy is commenced, to the moment the 'copying' window disappears. A lower score means a better result.
The Mushkin Ventura does very well in real-world tests when using USB 3.0. It handily beats the Patriot Supersonic, even at maxed bandwidth usage in the 1 GB file transfer. USB 2.0 performance is still unfortunately lagging behind the two other Patriot drives in most of the tests.
The Mushkin Ventura Pro proved to be a very capable USB 3.0 flash drive. The USB 3.0 read speeds were the fastest we've seen in several of the benchmarks, while the write speeds remained competitive to the other tested high-end USB 3.0 drive. The fast transfer speeds compliment the 32 GB capacity perfectly, though it wouldn't take long to fill the drive up if you were so inclined. Physically, the drive has a very simple, yet attractive design. The surface of the drive is protected by a satin-black, smooth-aluminum casing which, in addition to looking sleek, is designed to provide shock resistance. Another welcomed feature, though not necessarily rare, is the inclusion of a lanyard loop which allows you to put the drive on a keychain or, dare I say, a lanyard.
That said, the drive isn’t all perfect. My main complaint is one area that matter most; backwards compatibility. Chances are, this drive will find itself plugged into many USB 2.0 ports and unfortunately, the performance is just not there. In addition, I found the drive getting nearly too hot to touch during periods of extended reads and writes. I would have to assume, however, that the aluminum design is preventing the drive from getting even hotter. The largest weakness is the less-than-desired separate cap piece, which is very prone to getting lost. Mushkin attempted to make up for this by allowing you to mount it onto the back of the drive while it is in use, though this cannot be done in conjunction with the use of a lanyard. In that regard, Mushkin unfortunately does not include a lanyard in the package either. However, I would consider this more of a minor oversight than a glaring issue.
Overall, the use and testing of the Mushkin Ventura Pro 32 GB USB 3.0 flash drive was favorable. In regular use, I find myself commonly transferring larger files, which is where this drive excels. My biggest personal annoyance was the cap and lanyard situation, though it should not be a deal breaker. The design, if nothing else, looks and feels good. On top of that, it provides shock resistance and perhaps even temperature dispersion. Ultimately, the Mushkin Ventura Pro proved to be a very well-rounded and high-performance 32 GB flash drive. For around $65, I have no trouble recommending it to anyone.
- Very fast USB 3.0 transfer speeds
- Sleek matte-black appearance
- Aluminum shock-resistant housing
- Activity light
- Lanyard loop
- Mediocre USB 2.0 transfer speeds
- Separate cap piece
- Cannot mount cap and lanyard at the same time
- Gets hot after sustained used
- No lanyard included