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Just What I needed to Add More Memory to My Desktop
on February 8, 2011
Bottom-Line: I couldn't ask for a better portable memory product than the "DataTranveler 8GB 2.0 G3 Flash Drive."
It has become a habit for me to carry at least one USB memory stick in my laptop backpack along with my laptop, both personal and business. I used to use Lexar Media USB Jump-Drive's exclusively, but my memory requirement quickly out-paced their ability to introduce new larger capacity memory sticks. So last year I switched to the Kingston DataTraveler 4GB 2.0 Flash Drive I purchased at Buy.com for a reasonable price, plus it had a rebate offer.
But, when my Windows 7 64-bit desktop recent show signs of running out of the 4GB of Ram I had installed, instead of purchasing more SDRAM I decided to take advantage of the Operating System's (OS) Ready Boost Technology and purchased Kingston "DataTranveler 8GB 2.0 Generation 3 (G3) Flash Drive" for a fraction of the cost of (4) more sticks of SDRAM.
Then Along Came an Even Smaller Chip:
Computer technology seems to move at a pace designed to keep us, the end user, always wanting for the latest and greatest, whether we need it or not. Every once in a while thought, there comes a product that revolutionizes the way we compute and share information. Such was the case with the introduction of CD/RW technology, and so it is with the advent of USB flash memory devices.
For the uninitiated, USB flash memory devices are small ultra-portable devices capable of storing from 32MB to a now astounding 64.0GB of memory storage in a single, very portable device. All are designed to transfer data via an available USB port; Note: though most of the older flash drives are backwards compatible with versions 1.1, 1.2, USB, the new devices for the most part are not. Most flash drives are designed to be carried on a key chain. That should give you an indication of their size and portability.
The "DataTranveler 8GB 2.0 G3 Flash Drive" is remarkably small (about 3 inches long), high capacity yellow and white USB Flash Drive with a storage capacity of 8.0GB (about 7.68GB after formatting). On one end of the drive is a male USB connector. Close to it large circular green LED that blinks when the drive is sending or receiving information. A color coordinated plastic cap covers the USB port end of the drive, and a small flimsy lanyard can be attached at the end of the drive. The lanyard has a small ring at the end that can be attached to a key ring.
There are no drivers to install, and the drive is compatible with both Windows Vista and Windows 7, as well as Mac OS X.
What is ReadyBoost?
As I stated in the beginning of the review, I purchased the DataTranveler 8GB 2.0 G3 Flash Drive in order to take advantage of Windows 7 Enterprise Edition's Ready Boost Technology. But what is ReadyBoost? It is a technology whereby you can increase the RAM capacity of the OS without having to install more SDRAM.
ReadyBoost--introduced with Windows Vista) is disk caching, pure and simple (remember Windows Swapfiles?; in other words nothing really new here), only instead of using a hard drive to cache data, Windows 7 can utilize removable storage such as USB flash drives, SD Media Cards, Compact Flash Cards, and the flash memory technology.
By utilizing a ReadyBoost-capable flash memory device for caching Windows 7 can service random disk reads with performance that is typically 80-100 times faster than random reads from traditional SATA hard drives. And that caching routine applies to all disk content, not just the page file, or system files like Dynamic Link Library's (DLL's).
When a ReadyBoost-compatible device is plugged in a computers' (or monitor) USB or media card reader, the Windows AutoPlay dialog box offers an additional option to use the flash drive to speed up the system; an additional ReadyBoost tab is added to the flash drive's properties menu dialog box wherein the amount of space to be used can be configured; denominations from 250 MB to 256 GB of flash memory can be assigned, and Windows 7 then creates a pagefile on the drive in that amount. Ready Boost also automatically compresses any data written to the pagefile with a 2:1 compression ratio, so that an 8GB cache could contain upwards of 16 GB of data.
Windows 7 can utilize up to (8) flash memory devices for a maximum of 256GB (512GB with compression) of additional memory. In order for Windows to use the device it must have at least 1ms or less access time; must be capable of 2.5MB/s access (read) speed, and; 1.75MB/s write access speed.
I love this drive! Light and transparent, the DataTranveler 8GB 2.0 G3 Flash Drive fits easily into my breast pocket or one of the numerous side and or interior pockets in my laptop case. But because the drive does not include a shirt pocket clip I cannot carry it that way, which is just as well. Unlike other drives I have had in the past the USB port cover fits snuggly on both ends; I have yet to lose one.
But, like I stated at the outset, I bought this drive specially to use with ReadyBoost, so out of the package I slipped it into one of the front USB 2.0 ports on my desktop computer. The DataTranveler 8GB 2.0 G3 Flash Drive easily met the ReadyBoost requirements and the resulting AutoPlay dialog box allowed me the set the drive up with the technology. I utilize 4GB of the available 8GB.
Windows 7 took less than a minute to create the cache file, afterwards the DataTranveler 8GB 2.0 G3 Flash Drive became just another drive letter the 3.55GB of available space to read and write from! A quick look at Task Manager did not detect any increase in physical memory and that is to be expected.
Be advised, that if you have a preponderance of mapped drives already on your computer, as I do, Windows XP may not assign your removable media the next open drive letter; this happen to me. If you insert the DataTranveler 8GB 2.0 G3 Flash Drive and get the message that new hardware has been found and is now available for use, but the device is not assigned a drive letter, you must go to Control Panel /Administrative Tools/ Computer Manager/ Disk Manager, to manually assign the drive letter.
I have created several Windows "Briefcases" (I love Windows briefcases) on the remaining space of DataTranveler 8GB 2.0 G3 Flash Drive into which I have "synced" all of my most important files from my work desktop. These are the same files I have available on my desktop via Windows "off-line files and folders." I routinely transfers files from my desktop computer to my workstation computer at home via the DataTranveler 8GB 2.0 G3 Flash Drive and some other flash drives I keep stashed away. And because the memory in the device is none-volatile, once removed from the USB port, your files follow you wherever you go. Nothing could be simpler; nothing could be easier; nothing could be more advanced!
I couldn't ask for a better portable memory product than the "DataTranveler 8GB 2.0 G3 Flash Drive." Small, affordable, lightweight, versatile, and extremely utilitarian, the "DataTranveler 8GB 2.0 G3 Flash Drive" is my new my new best friend. If you need a small, versatile, hi-speed, large capacity USB Flash Drive, look no further than this Flash Drive by Kingston Technology.