Commonly known as USB pen drive, USB flash disks are portable, secondary storage devices that use flash memory for data storage. Their portability enables them to be used as plug-and-play devices and is fast replacing compact disks due to their great efficiency and easy recognition by a computer’s operating system. USB drives are faster and secure in file and data sharing.
USB drives use a multi-level cell (MLC) memory which is a program-erase technology, enabling its versatility to copy and delete data. Due to the MLC, the USB drive can be designed to hold a memory capacity from 8 megabytes(MB) to 2 terabytes(TB). However, the shelf-life of a USB drive depreciates with the use, that is, the more it performs copy-erase schedules the more it degrades.
The distinction between USB drives is based on the specification of the drive, which also dictates the durability and speeds of data transfer. The USB versions currently available include USB 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. USB 1.0 provides a data transfer rate of between 1.5 megabits per second(Mbps) to 12 Mbps and is the slowest and oldest USB version. USB 2.0, developed in 2000, is characterized by data transfer speeds of up to 480 Mbps. Also known as Hi-Speed USB, USB 2.0 has a boosted performance by up to 50 times.
The latest development launched in 2008 is the SuperSpeed USB 3.0(Best USB Suitable for Storing Large Video – How To Choose) developed to heighten data transfer rate and reduce energy consumption. The SuperSpeed USB has an increased transfer rate of up to 5 Gigabytes per second (Gbps) which is 10 times higher than USB 2.0. USB 3.0 has much-reduced power necessity when idle or active, and is backward-compatible with Hi-Speed USB.
SuperSpeed USB drives are thus the best USB flash drives with the maximum data transfer rates.
The care for USB drives should also be a consideration, as the MLC memory cells can be easily destabilized, damaging the drive. When in use, avoid exposing the drive to malware which completely destroys the drive.
Also do not reboot your computer with the drive attached. However, USB drives can retain data for long periods of time, can also be secured with passwords, and does not require external power supplies. Their small, light, and use of little power features enable their portability and easy use.
The big question of the “best USB flash drive” is then answered by the specific capacity, speed, value and security one requires. For movie lovers who enjoy watching high definition videos then have to invest a lot in size and go for the largest capacity of upto 128 gigabytes(Gbs) having in mind the transfer rates and the re-write capabilities of the drive. Large drives should also be the favorite for large data storage such as graphics, games and even massive document storages. However, your price range determines the size of your USB drive. For confidential files, password protected USB drives are the best option.
USB flash drives are developed and manufactured using the same technology. However, quality differs depending on the manufacturer and vendor. The commonly used USB drives are from manufacturers such as Hewlett Packard, SanDisk, Sony Corp, Kingston Technology Corp, Toshiba Corp, and Laxer Media Inc. These vendors ensure that the best drives with maximum capacity are handed with the best market prices.