A USB key, aka thumb drive, is a must-have item for any hardware-fixing performance junkie, and now that USB 3.0 versions have arrived we all want the fastest one we can get our sweaty digits on. To find out which key holds the combination to our hearts, we put four models with top-tier specs through their paces. Since most of them don't come with any extras, they will be judged primarily on straight-line speed and overall usability. May the best key end up on your keychain!
Note: This article was taken from the December 2013 issue of the magazine.
Three USB hard drives: WD My Passport vs Toshiba Canvio Plus vs Adata DashDrive Elite
There are times when a USB key can’t handle the action we’re throwing at it and we need something bigger to step in and get the job done. Like a police officer calling for backup, it’s at these times that we summon a USB 3.0 hard drive. This latest batch of drives offers something for everyone, from WD’s huge 2TB jobbie to Adata’s super-thin, sexy little thang. Toshiba’s 1.5TB drive is thrown into the mix, too, for folks looking for a basic, affordable, high-capacity solution.
Note: This article was taken from the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
It’s commonly understood that if you can run Thunderbolt, you probably also snack on Beluga caviar, wear a Patek Philippe watch, and vacation in a country only rich people know about: Grenyarnia.
Not so, actually. Thunderbolt apparently doesn’t require you to smash the piggy. This is no more apparent than with Gigabyte’s Z77X-UP4 TH. What the TH stands for we don’t know for sure, but we’re guessing it has some relation to Thunderbolt, which the Z77X-UP4 TH has in spades.
It’s hard to believe you can get a board with not one, but two Thunderbolt ports for under $200.
If you’ve been thinking about building a new Ivy Bridge system, you’ve no doubt been drowning yourself in X79 reviews over the past few weeks. If you fit that description, Intel has one more board that should catch the attention of anyone who plans to build a high end rig. The DX79SR Extreme edition will be positioned above the DX79SI and DX79TO, and will carry a price tag and feature set to match.
If you were bummed like most of us that Intel’s shiny new P55 chipset didn’t include USB 3.0 and SATA 6.0 support, Asus's new U3S6 should make you happy.
For a mere 30 smackers, the U3S6 card gives you two USB 3.0 ports and two SATA 6.0 ports in a PCI-E card. The card has three primary components: an NEC D720200F1 USB 3.0 controller, a Marvell 88SE9123 SATA 6.0 controller, and a PLX PEX8613. The PLX part is the same chip the company uses on its SATA6 boards to helps ameliorate a problem with the P55 chipset.
More photos, details and our analysis after the jump!
According to some recent news, one of the first companies creating silicon for USB 3.0 is claiming that one of their USB 3.0 systems on a chip can be used in concert with external storage devices to provide transfer rates of up to 500Mbit/second.
USB 3.0 has been designed to handle transfer speeds of to 5Gbit/second, a sizeable increase when compared to the 480Mbit/second that USB 2.0 offers. “You’re pretty much communicating through a straw,” stated Gideon Intrater, vice president of solutions architecture with Symwave. “USB 2 was good as long as you had 100GB on your hard drive, but now it’s just way too slow.”
The new system on a chip, which was developed with external storage in mind, can supposedly offer performance faster than SATA. According to reports, said chip will allow speeds as high as 500Mbit/second thanks to its RAID 0 support. System builders will be able to take advantage of this feature by installing two external drives that can be addressed at the same time, offering faster data reads.
Still, we’re going to have to wait for USB 3.0 to make its debut.