Patriot SuperSonic 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review

ajmatson - 2011-02-21 19:25:12 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: April 14, 2011
Price: $199.99

Introduction:

These days it is all about mobility. The average user looks at portability as a necessity along with speed being an equal component. For years manufacturers have been trying to squeeze the most out of their designs by using multiple flash chip designs in a dual and quad channel configuration. However, they were still limited by the interface technology. USB 2.0 has been the dominator for some time with the popular interface, but the limit of 480MB/s is just too slow for the massive amounts of data that we as end users are transferring in this fast growing time. End users want to have higher storage capacities without taking a long time to transfer the data.

USB 3.0 came on the scene a short time ago and has drastically changed the way we look at portable storage. With the new USB 3.0 specifications you can now transfer larger amounts of data quicker and more efficiently. With USB 3.0 you can transfer data up to 5Gbps speeds which allows transferring a gigabyte file as quickly now as it was to transfer a megabyte file when USB 2.0 was introduced. Since the inception of USB 3.0 we have seen more and more devices being built with this faster interface including thumb drives. One of those thumb drives is the Patriot SuperSonic series, which offers both a 32GB and 64GB version with read speeds up to 100MB/s and writes up to 70MB/s. This gives you larger portable storage with the fast transfer speeds of larger devices.

The particular model we are going to be looking at is the SuperSonic 64GB USB 3.0 drive model number PEF64GSUSB, which retails for approximately $199.99 currently. The SuperSonic drive is fully USB 3.0 compliant for faster transfer speeds and employs a quad channel design which maintains those speeds by writing data across multiple flash chips. If I don't have your attention yet, how about we dig right into the SuperSonic hardware design and start testing this little gem?

 

Closer Look:

The Patriot SuperSonic 64GB USB flash drive comes packaged in a black blister pack matching the sleek color scheme of the drive itself. On the front of the package there are the USB 3.0 logos along with a Quad Channel logo which are some of the main features of the SuperSonic drive. There is also the capacity which in this review is the 64GB version along with the maximum read and write speeds which are eye grabbing to say the least. On the rear of the package there are some more specifications of the drive along with some USB 2.0 to USB 3.0 comparison and read/write charts.

 

 

 

 

The SuperSonic Drive itself is sleek and black with an aluminum housing, which provides shock protection up to 15g keeping your sensitive data safe. On the front of the casing is the Patriot Memory logo and on the rear there is the SuperSonic logo with the 64GB capacity stamp. This particular drive uses a cap and does not have a retractile USB port, which means some of you may be losing the top to their expensive drive sometime, but this is definitely not a deal breaker. I particularly prefer to have a capped drive so it keeps out dirt and pocket lint keeping it safe. Looking down into the port you will see the plastics are colored blue instead of the normal white or black. This is to denote the USB 3.0 functionality of the drive and the increased speeds associated with the newer specification. Top all this off with a five year warranty and you have a drive that begs to be challenged.

 

 

 

Now that we have taken a close up look at the drive we can move on to the testing phase of the review.

Specifications:

Product Name:
Supersonic
Patriot Part #:
PEF32GSUSB (32GB)
PEF64GSUSB (64GB)
Description:
Patriot Supersonic USB 3.0 Flash
Drive
Certifications / Safety:
CE / FCC / RoHS
Product Warranty:
5 Year Warranty
Unit Dimensions:
.33” (D) x .75” (W) x 2.83” (H)
.85cm (D) x 1.92cm (W) x .7.2cm(H)
Unit UPC:
0815530010937 (32GB)
0815530010944 (64GB)
Packaging Dimensions:
.37” (D) x 3.9” (W) x 5.17” (H)
.96cm (D) x 9.96cm (W) x 13.1cm (H)
Packaging Type:
Blister Pack
Net Weight:
.035 lbs /15.9 gm
Gross Weight:
.059 lbs / 26.9 gm
Units per Master Carton:
40

 

Features:

 

All information courtesey of Patriot Memory @ http://patriotmemory.com/products/detailp.jsp?prodline=7&catid=81&prodgroupid=188&id=1040&type=23

Testing:

To test the performance of the Patriot SuperSonic 64GB USB 3.0 drive, I will be using a series of utilities designed to benchmark the drive. The first utility is called Flash Memory Toolkit, which has a free demo available and will be used to do the testing. This utility consists of a low level read test, which will check memory bandwidth on the device, and then a write test of different file sizes designed to show how well the drive performs at saving information. The next benchmark will be the SiSoft Sandra benchmark, specifically the Removable Storage test. Finally, to get a real world look at the performance, I will time how long it takes to write custom files to the drive. These custom files are the same ones we use for the WinRAR benchmark in 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.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Drives:

 

Read Speed - Low Level Benchmark:

This is the first benchmark from Flash Memory Toolkit. This test outputs a speed in megabytes per second and a "times" factor. For both scores, higher is better.

 

 

 

 

In this first series of tests the USB 3.0 interface of the SuperSonic drive tripled the read and write times over the USB 2.0 tests.

Testing:

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 uses five different files of 1 MB, 2 MB, 3 MB, 4 MB, and 5MB. Once again, higher is better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with the first set of benchmarks, the USB 3.0 interface far surpasses the limits of USB 2.0 speeds.

Testing:

Read and Write - File Benchmark:

SiSoft Sandra also performs a read and write test, however the file sizes vary from 32kB to 256MB. All results are written in MB/s. Higher is better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endurance Benchmark:

The endurance benchmark tests the speed at which the thumb drive writes to specific sectors. This time, results are in kB/sec.

 

 

 Throughout the Sandra tests the IOPS performance for USB 3.0 was much better than USB 2.0 allowing your data to transfer much quicker to your portable drive.

Testing:

Write - File Benchmark:

The last benchmark I will perform on our guinea pig is the writing of our custom OCC files. These are the same files used in the WinRAR benchmark found in other reviews. The time required is indicated in seconds. I will start the stopwatch at the same time as I click on 'copy' and stop it as soon as the 'copying' window disappears. So this time, lower is better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the file transfer test the USB 3.0 drive transferred the files quicker with higher transfer speeds. The SuperSonic even in a USB 2.0 port was still quicker than a comparison USB 2.0 drive using the same port.

Conclusion:

The Patriot SuperSonic USB 3.0 flash drive certainly lives up to its name. This is one quick drive that takes any of your files large and small and swallows them up begging for more. During the tests the USB 3.0 interface showed its true colors demolishing the former USB 2.0 specifications sometimes three-fold. I have used several USB 3.0 based external drives recently and enjoyed the faster transfer speed, but I was very impressed on what Patriot was able to do to such a small portable device - not only speed wise, but storage wise too. This review has focused on the improved performance, but factor in the impressive 64GB of on the go storage and you have yourself a winner. The drive is also backward compatible with USB 2.0, so if you are out and about and need to access the device from a computer without a USB 3.0 port, you will still be able to retrieve and store you data, albeit at a slower speed limited by the USB 2.0 port.

The one thing that worried me is when bench testing using the Flash Memory Toolkit, the drive casing became quite hot, too hot to touch at one point. While this did not happen during regular use, if you are doing a large volume transfer there is a possibility that your drive will heat up so I would use caution. The fact that the casing is made of aluminum could be the reason for the higher external temperature since the drive does employ a quad channel design on the inside and the case is acting as a passive cooler for the chips.

Overall, I was satisfied with the performance and storage capacity of the Patriot SuperSonic drive. This model retails at the time of this writing for $199.99, which is still a bit expensive for most users due to the price of flash chips, but average for a 64GB thumb drive with the added bonus of the faster USB 3.0 interface. If you are in the market for a high-speed high-capacity drive I recommend you look at the SuperSonic and never look back.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: