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 USB Flash Drives

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Esq
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Joined: 22 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:22 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hey All

I hear alot of rumours etc about usb flash drives failing after x number of thousand/million flashes?

Any thoughts?

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Mugatu
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Joined: 13 May 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:30 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Well, there are reams and reams of stuff out there that speculate on whether many electrical products are "built to fail" at a certain point... it would explain why my mobile phones only ever seem to last 1 year before wierd things happen.
I'm not sure I believe it really, I guess we'd have had proof by now from a digruntled ex worker from Sony for example.

In any case, surely you don't use your flash drive that often do you? Shocked
They can be pretty cheap to buy, so it wouldn't really bother me if mine failed after a few thousand uses.

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Esq
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Joined: 22 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:41 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

i leave it basically permanently plugged in and have it backed up.

however i do store my study stuff on there, so just wondered.

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The Man
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:52 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

First answer from Mr. Google

http://www.chuckstr89134.com/newsltrs/015.htm

I did not read it so no idea if it answers you question.

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Mr Tambourine Man
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:22 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I bought one a couple of months ago that died two weeks later. And another was faulty from the start. Both replaced by the store without question.
They're cheap enough that I'm not that bothered if they fail after the guarantee period.
The data on them is more important as far as I'm concerned, so it's backed up.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:52 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I've had only 1 die on me so far, but being a Corsair, it was lifetime guarantee so they replaced it for free. I also back it up on my desktop so I was only inconvenienced for time. Keep in mind as advanced regular desktop hard drives are, they will not last forever either. Just like anything pc, I would stick with quality name brand units.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:36 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The drive WILL eventually fail, all flash memory technology have a limited amount of write/erase cycles, this is a result of how they are built. Typically each "cell" in your flash chip can be rewritten about 100,000 to 1,000,000 times. However, most file systems in use today on these chips doesn't distribute the write operations evenly across the chip, so typically specific parts of the chip get chowed down early, and then the entire memory chip is basically dead.

In high-end devices you typically use file systems with build-in wear leveling, such as JFFS1/2 or CramFS. These distribute the write operations evenly, and thus greatly prolongs flash life. This is used in devices such as routers and network cameras.

However, for your typical USB flash drive, there are alot of other hazards, such as physical stress, liquids and electrostatic discharge or crappy USB hosts. If you want something reliable I'd guess you should buy an industrial-grade device. Industrial computers typically run from Compact Flash cards with this rating. But they are prohibitively expensive.

On top of this, most semiconductor manufacturing typically yields several different levels of quality on the end products. These are rated and ends up as different products based on their performance. The difference between a Nvidia Geforce 8800 and a 8800GT is the number of pipelines and clock speed. Those devices that have faulty pipelines have those disabled, and ends up as a regular Geforce, while those with all pipelines intact ends up as the premium GT ones. I suspect the flash memory manufacturers does something similar, and those low-cost consumer-grade flash drives probably doesn't end up with top-of-the-line devices.
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Connie L. Gus
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Joined: 07 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:25 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I use 16 G compact flash cards with wear leveling. Its too cool as I can pull out even deleted files. The wear leveling firmware controls the processor in USB flash drives by Corsair. I have no idea what the other manufacturers are doing.
I got a new 2 G. pen USB flashdrive on Saturday. The pen unscrews to access the USB connector. Its also has a video camera and microphone hidden under the pen clip. Here is a link to someone's Youtube taken with it. It date and time stamps all video and is of course a USB flashdrive.

http://www.youtube.com/user/re500bullet

I will use it the next time I am at the airport looking at a scammer holding up a sign asking for Phil MyKrakin. What is amazing is Moore's Law in action with USB flash drives. My rechargeable USB flashdrive with travel charger, USB extension, nice pen, case and built in camcorder was delivered to the door for $22.00 US.

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