Kingston Technology DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review
By: Michael Phrakaysone
A name that is recognized among the entire technology industry is Kingston Technology. Having been founded in 1987 and having worldwide expertise in DRAM memory modules, flash memory, SSD’s and computer-related memory for over 20 years, Kingston Technology is just about in every device out there in some way shape or form. Being at the forefront of this industry means innovating at a regular pace and churning out the latest technology.
With the worldwide acceptance of the game changing portable USB flash drive, the market is highly competitive. Kingston knows this and has recently released their latest line of flash memory drives that run under the new SuperSpeed USB 3.0 standard. USB 3.0 support among industry leading companies and motherboard manufactures have been emerging at a steady pace within the past few months and now that it has been confirmed that AMD is the first to have certified native USB 3.0 chipsets within their Fusion desktop and notebook platfform, this has open the floodgates for everyone else to follow suit. Intel recently joined in on the action stating that they will implement USB 3.0, but only by 2012 in their Ivy Bridge offerings.
Today I have the chance to share with you my take on the new Kingston Technology 32GB DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 flash drive and see if this is worth your hard earned money.
About Kingston Technology
“Kingston Technology Company, Inc. is the world’s independent memory leader. Founded in 1987 with a single product offering, Kingston® now offers more than 2,000 memory products that support nearly every device that uses memory, from computers, servers and printers to MP3 players, digital cameras and mobile phones. In 2010, the company's sales reached $6.5 billion.
With global headquarters in Fountain Valley, California, Kingston employs more than 4,000 people worldwide. Regarded as one of the “Best Companies to Work for in America” by Fortune magazine, Kingston’s tenets of respect, loyalty, flexibility and integrity create an exemplary corporate culture. Kingston believes that investing in its people is essential, and each employee is a vital part of Kingston’s success.
Kingston serves an international network of distributors, resellers, retailers and OEM customers on six continents. The company also provides contract manufacturing and supply chain management services for semiconductor manufacturers and system OEMs.“
DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 Product Overview
“Kingston’s DataTraveler® Ultimate 3.0 features the latest technology for USB Flash drives, making it ideal for early adopters who want to take advantage of all the performance improvements offered by USB 3.0 right away.
This compact drive is the perfect solution for easily storing and quickly transferring all your documents, hi-res photos, music, games, HD video, and more. It’s exceptional speed saves time you need copying your feature rich content - leaving you more time to enjoy it!
Here are some great applications for the new DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0:
- HD video
- System and data backup
- Adobe applications (Photoshop, Premiere, Light Room)
- Movie downloads
- and many more...
USB 3.0 offers the same ease-of-use and plug and play capabilities as previous generations of USB technologies but with a performance increase and better power management. The included Y-cable makes this USB 3.0 drive backwards compatible with USB 2.0.
DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 is backed by 24/7 tech support, a five-year warranty and legendary Kingston® reliability.”
DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 Product Features and Specifications
- Capacities — 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB
- Requirements — SuperSpeed (USB 3.0) USB port for full compatibility
- Backwards compatible+ — use the included Y-cable to use DTU30 with your USB 2.0 ports
- Speed —
- When plugged to a USB 3.0 system:
- Read speed up to 80 MB/s
- Write speed up to 60 MB/s
- When plugged to a USB 2.0 system:
- Maximum specification performance (around 30 MB/s read and write)
- Colour — Glossy white with aluminium
- Dimensions — 2.90” x 0.87” x 0.63” (73.70 mm x 22.20 mm x 16.10 mm)
- Operating Temperature — 32° to 140° F (0° to 60° C)
- Storage Temperature — -4° to 185° F (-20° to 85° C)
- Practical — durable casing with a solid lanyard loop
- Warranty — 5 Years
The Kingston Technology DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 flash drive I am reviewing today is 32GB in size and comes in a white and gray color scheme. A one color fits all approach is taken with only the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 with no other color combinations available to choose from.
The DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 comes in a small clamshell package with the prominent Kingston Technology red, white and black color scheme displayed throughout. The actual USB flash drive is shown on the lower portion and you’ll notice off that bat the thick size of the flash drive because it’s not even close to even being slim and reminds me of the very first USB flash drives that were introduced, being big and bulky.
But you’ll start to notice that this isn’t your typical flash drive as you read the performance figures claimed by Kingston Technology. When plugged into an USB 3.0 system, you are able to achieve up to 80MB/s read and 60MB/s write speeds, which puts the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 into value SSD territory (besting those netbook PCIE SSDs) and on par with typical mechanical spinning hard drives.
Cutting open the package will reveal the following items...
- DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 32GB flash drive
- USB 2.0 Y-Cable
- Lanyard loop (no neckstrap)
- Instructions and information provided on the packaging artwork slip
Aside from the money aspect, I have no clue with Kingston Technology decided not to include a branded neckstrap. I can’t believe such a company would not do so. The more people see your branded logo around people’s necks with your own flash drives, the more people will remember the Kingston Technology name and be enticed to purchase one down the road. Instead they include a small little dinky lanyard loop without a neckstrap. To me this is a poot decision.
The DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 flash drive measures in at 2.90” x 0.87” x 0.63” and feels lightweight that you won’t notice the heft in your pocket or hanging off your neck, its unnoticeable in weight.
As mentioned before, the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 flash drive is offered in only one color scheme of white and gray. The look of this color combination allows the USB drive to look nice but not be a standout. I do like the touch given by the gray color because it mimics the look of brushed aluminum, which is always a nice look to have in any product.
On opposite ends of the front fascia the words ‘DT Ultimate 32GB’ are shown in black font/text.
On the very end of the DataTraveler USB 3.0 flash drive is the words ‘USB 3.0’ shown in clear format. Kingston Technology has placed a bright blue LED indicator light (power and activity) at this end and allows the USB 3.0 text to illuminate blue which makes for a nice show.
The whole exterior of this USB flash drive is constructed out of hard plastic material and looks to be durable enough for day to day tasks, although not as super durable enough as the Corsair Flash Survivor, in which you can run it over with a vehicle and have it come out still working. This is simply not that type of device.
The end cap comes off the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 with some force and clicks back on securely. A neat bit about the cap is that once removed, you can simply cap it on the other end for safe keeping such as that of a high-lighter pen.
Once the cap is removed, you’ll notice the signature blue color scheme going on inside the USB connector end and gold plated pins utilized throughout. Being backward compatible with USB 2.0, you’ll notice the pins in their standard positions along with added pins for USB 3.0 usage.
The supplied Y-cable with the Kingston Technology DataTraveler Utlimate 3.0 flash drive is for USB 2.0 situations where a certain computer/notebook’s USB 2.0 port does not have the amount of power needed to power the flash drive. In such cases you’ll notice that the drive either won’t power on or becomes unstable in any way. Although Kingston Technology wants to remain on the safe side, so they advise the customer to utilize the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 at all times with the Y-cable under USB 2.0 situations regardless if it works without for longevity and safe operation.
Testing and Results
The goal here is to verify if claims of 80MB/s read and 60MB/s write speeds can be achieved utilizing an USB 3.0 system under a number of different benchmarks. In this particular case testing was completed on an AMD FCH A50 Hudson M1 chipset with native USB 3.0 support out of the box. The synthetic benchmark CrystalDiskMark was used on both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 configurations to verify the manufacture rated speeds. No other USB devices were connected to the motherboard aside from the usual keyboard and mouse.
Under USB 3.0 operation the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 does have the ability of reaching the claimed values of 80MB/s read and 60MB/s write speeds. CrystalDiskMark indicates a sequential read speed of 88MB/s and sequential write speed of almost 67MB/s which are better than posted numbers. Equally impressive are the 512K random read and write numbers of 72MB/s and 57MB/s respectively. Anyway you put it, the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 is very quick.
The Flash Memory Toolkit benchmark is a good one to include because it gives a good indication of real world moving of files of different sizes. Here again we see validation that a write speed of over the declared 60MB/s can be had.
Reliability or any sort of errors were not of issue during my time with the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 flash drive. Everything worked wonderfully well and quick the way the flash drive was shipped. From the factory the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 comes pre-formatted with the FAT32 filesystem.
About the only negative observation against the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 would have to be due to its physical dimensions and being thicker than usual, once plugged into the USB port, you might not be able to put anything beside it.
The 32GB Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 flash drive can be found just under $100 in Canada and in the U.S. making it an affordable first USB 3.0 flash drive solution for new adopters of the standard.
The drive is much faster than USB 2.0 flash drives and that in turn helps reduce file transfer times that I’ve become accustomed to disliking with USB 2.0 offerings. Things are such substantially quicker with USB 3.0. And if you are forced to use the USB 2.0 aspect of the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0, it will be one of fastest USB 2.0 flash drives you will use. Round it off with a five-year warranty and the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 is one of the ones that should be on your short-list of considerations.
About the only negatives are in relation to its physical size and not being able to possibly plug another USB device beside it and the decision on not providing a neckstrap when you’ve only included a lanyard loop.
Other than that, I can fully recommend the Kingston Technology DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 flash drive to anyone looking for an affordable USB 3.0 solution that performs very well and will satisfy the needs of most people looking to move files over at a much faster pace.