OCZ Roadster 1GB Flash Drive

OCZ Roadster 1GBThis little gadget will immediately strike you as “cute”. However, don’t let looks deceive you, it is a solid drive and well constructed for carrying around in your pocket or on a keychain. It is smaller than the tin whistle you used to find in a box of Cracker Jacks and weighs less than a watch battery but can hold as much information as more than 682 floppy discs or 1.4 CDs. The drive is stylish, black and sleek looking with a fold-out USB connector that stashes away easily inside for safety.

About OCZ Technology:

“Entering the memory market in August 2000, OCZ Technology was built around the determination to manufacture the best high speed DDR and RDRAM. OCZ was founded by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts, and our commitment to the end-user has not digressed. OCZ Technology has been an innovator in many areas. We were the first manufacturer to make Dual Channel optimized memory available to the public, which originally took advantage of nVidia’s Twinbank or Dual DDR architecture, found in their nForce chipset. We have now taken that technology and tailored it for the Canterwood, and Granite Bay chipset’s. OCZ developed and was the first to implement ULN technology, which has been a critical element in our manufacturing process for some time. We at OCZ diligently work to improve communication with CPU and motherboard chipset manufacturers prior to the release of their products. Only in this manner can we fine-tune our memory’s SPD settings, ensuring a synergistic relationship between the memory module, memory controller, and microprocessor. In today’s rapidly evolving semiconductor industry, such communication is not simply research, but a necessary component of our manufacturing process.”

Specifications:

  • High Speed USB 2.0 Certified
  • True Plug and Play (Compatible with MAC OS X)
  • Foldable for compact transport
  • Designed to be small and functional
  • Compatible with: Windows: 98/98SE/Me/2000/XP
  • Linux: Kernel 2.4 or later
  • Mac: OS 9.0 or later
  • 3 Year Warranty
OCZ Roadster 1GB OCZ Roadster 1GB

This drive is really small; smaller than CF cards and even smaller than SD cards, except for the USB plug. It weighs about the same as a Sony Memory Stick. This makes it extremely convenient to carry with you anywhere. It does not require any software or drivers and can be used on any computer with a USB port. It does work with USB 1.1 as well but of course at the slower 12Mbps transfer rate instead of the 480Mbps you get with USB 2.0.

In the photo below you can see the actual size of the drive next to the AA battery.

OCZ Roadster 1GB

Testing & Performance
This is what counts; how well does it work and is it fast? Well, it is plenty fast but speed may vary from computer to computer because as with any data transfer process, speed depends on several factors that are not the same from one computer to the next. However the drive does perform reasonably fast for file transfers of various sizes unlike many flash drives. There is a significant speed difference though when transferring larger files over smaller ones; the larger the file, the faster the transfer. We tested the drive “real world style” by transferring 38 photographs totalling 143MB from the primary hard drive to the Roadster in just 20 seconds. That works out to be around 7.15MB (megabytes not megabits) per second. Next we mixed in 25 small text files totalling 94KB with the same photographs and tried the transfer again. The transfer took 20 seconds again showing no real slow down for the smaller files mixed in. When transferring the small text files by themselves, the result was instantaneous. The PC used for this test was as follows:

Pentium 4 660 3.6GHz 64-bit processor w/Hyper threading enabled
2GB DDR2 PC3200 400MHz CL3
Hitachi 500GB SATA II hard drive
Windows XP Professional SP2
USB 2.0

So the next step was to try the same test on an older computer with a slower processor and less memory. The specifications of the second PC are as follows.

AMD Athlon 2700+ 2.17GHz Barton Core
512MB PC2700 DDR 333MHz CL2.5
Maxtor 40GB ATA100 hard drive
Windows ME
USB 2.0

The results of the same file transfer on this PC shows that the computer hardware has much to do with overall speed, but it also shows the same results that the file sizes make little difference with the Roadster in real world application. The first test, 38 photographs (143MB) from the main hard drive transferred to the Roadster took 32 seconds. This comes out to about 4.46MBps. Adding in the 25 text files (94KB) with the photographs and transferring the files took 33 seconds which comes to 4.33MBps which is not much of a difference at all and can be attributed to the slower processor, slower hard drive and less memory (which was also slower than the first PC).

For a solid benchmark, we tested the drive with SiSoftware’s Sandra benchmark program. The results were as we assumed they would be showing an increase in transfer speed as the file size grows with a decrease in operations per second. This is typical of all flash drives; however, the Roadster appears surprisingly to be slightly on the slower end of the scale. But what the drive lacks in benchmarks it makes up for in size, real world application and in its ingenious design.

SiSoftware Sandra

OCZ Roadster 1GB Test Results

Benchmark Results

  • Combined Index : 937 operation(s)/min
  • Endurance Factor : 8.0
  • 512B Files Test : 1217 operation(s)/min
  • 32kB Files Test : 994 operation(s)/min
  • 256kB Files Test : 478 operation(s)/min
  • 2MB Files Test : 103 operation(s)/min
  • 64MB Files Test : 4 operation(s)/min
  • Results Interpretation : Higher index values are better.

Performance Test Status

  • Run ID : TESTPC01 on Saturday, November 11, 2006 at 2:29:55 AM
  • Processor Affinity : No
  • System Timer : 3.6GHz

512B Files Test

  • Read Performance : 7962 operation(s)/min (2123 kB/sec, 14x)
  • Write Performance : 468 operation(s)/min (125 kB/sec, 0x)
  • Delete Performance : 943 operation(s)/min
  • File Fragments : 1.0
  • Combined Index : 1217 operation(s)/min

32kB Files Test

  • Read Performance : 4840 operation(s)/min (2581 kB/sec, 17x)
  • Write Performance : 387 operation(s)/min (206 kB/sec, 1x)
  • Delete Performance : 938 operation(s)/min
  • File Fragments : 1.0
  • Combined Index : 994 operation(s)/min

256kB Files Test

  • Read Performance : 1697 operation(s)/min (7241 kB/sec, 48x)
  • Write Performance : 184 operation(s)/min (785 kB/sec, 5x)
  • Delete Performance : 936 operation(s)/min
  • File Fragments : 1.0
  • Combined Index : 478 operation(s)/min

2MB Files Test

  • Read Performance : 249 operation(s)/min (8499 kB/sec, 56x)
  • Write Performance : 42 operation(s)/min (1434 kB/sec, 9x)
  • Delete Performance : 799 operation(s)/min
  • File Fragments : 1.0
  • Combined Index : 103 operation(s)/min

64MB Files Test

  • Read Performance : 8 operation(s)/min (8738 kB/sec, 58x)
  • Write Performance : 1 operation(s)/min (1092 kB/sec, 7x)
  • Delete Performance : 229 operation(s)/min
  • File Fragments : 1.0
  • Combined Index : 4 operation(s)/min

Endurance Test Status

  • Operating System Disk Cache Used : No
  • Use Overlapped I/O : No
  • Test File Size : 32MB
  • Block Size : 512 byte(s)
  • File Fragments : 1

Endurance Benchmark Breakdown

  • Repeated Sector ReWrite : 37 kB/s
  • Sequential Sector Write : 34 kB/s
  • Random Sector Write : 3 kB/s

Drive

  • Total Size : 984MB
  • Free Space : 983MB, 100%
  • Cluster Size : 16kB

The only downside to the Roadster is its flagrant lack of security. If you loose this drive anyone can access your data on any computer with a USB port. A word of caution, don’t store anything you do not want others to find on it. Or simply… don’t loose it.

The tests show the Roadster to be more than capable of handling large or small file transfers at reasonably good speeds even for people with older computers. Our apologies to MAC users, but we did not have a MAC available to test the Roadster with.

This drive is so small and so lightweight that you would think it was flimsy and frail, but again do not be deceived by looks. The drive is solid and durable even though it is light. In fact, being so lightweight is in its favour when it comes to accidental drops. If you drop the drive while on your keychain with a bunch of heavy keys, the drive may become scratched from the keys or from bouncing on the pavement but it will most likely still work and without incident.

We tossed the drive down a flight of concrete stairs (strictly in the interest of science) and it bounced all the way to the bottom. Plugged it in and the data was in tact as well as the drive. I doubt most people will ever intentionally throw their Roadster down a flight of stairs, but if you do it will probably be just fine.

Another way flash drives meet an early demise is when accidentally bumped into when they are inserted to the USB port on the front of a computer. This is because most flash drives protrude straight out of the port just asking for someone to bump into them and break off the USB connector. The Roadster solves this problem by allowing you to fold it flat against the computer so it doesn’t protrude nearly as much as its competitors. In the image below, you can see how the drive is flush against the face of the computer. The drive folds smoothly and is not loose or too tight, and it only takes a hint of a fingernail to pull the USB connector out when you’re ready to plug it in.

OCZ Roadster 1GB

Conclusion
In conclusion, the Roadster is a very lightweight, durable, well-designed product and does well at handling large and small file transfers as well as a combination of the two. It’s reasonably fast and very stylish and can hold enough MP3 files to play high quality music for over four hours. I would recommend this drive to anyone who wants to be able to carry a gig of information, video, music or photographs with them wherever they go; however, I would not recommend it for business use where security is most important.

Pros:

  • Fast transfers
  • Fairly large storage capacity
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Very durable

Cons:

  • None

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