This week-end I managed to get my hands on a Corsair Survivor USB 3.0 32Gb flash drive, what to do with it if not a review? The unit is designed to withstand being submerged 200 meters under water, that translates to roughly 450ft and if you’ve ever been snorkling, you know that anything beyond 30ft is about out of reach unless you’re Capitaine Cousteau. It’s also encased in a cylindrical capsule made of aircraft grade aluminium, plastic and two rubber bumpers on either side so with this flash drive, you’ll be able to back your car up onto the capsule and not break it.
The flash drive feels very sturdy when it’s in the metallic cylinder it comes in. Once opened it reveals the actual flash drive which sadly, is clearly not waterproof nor crashproof. In fact once opened, the flash drive itself appears quite ordinary if largely oversized and I think that’s going to be its biggest problem, the size.
It is huge.
You could fit three normal USB flash drives in the cylinder, 12 if you’re stuffing some Verbatim Tuff’n'Tiny flash drives, and that pretty much sums up the sheer size of it. Having said that however, it’s to be noted that the unit feels lighter than expected, probably because it’s mostly hollow.
In terms of performance it was slightly disappointing although everything else I’ve tried that was USB 3.0 was also disappointing. I tend to blame the peripheral manufacturers for this and I’ll explain in a second but first the test.
I used a PC with a USB 3.0 chipset and tested using HD Tach. I set up a match between the Survivor (sorry I couldn’t resist linking it to their most popular song!) and my fastest USB 2.0 flash drive, a Patriot Exporter XT.
The Survivor beat it hands down by a score of 83.82MB/s to 33.9MB/s (read) and 42.91 MB/s to 12.41MB/s (write) which shows the bandwidth available to USB 3.0 is lots more than USB 2.0.
Now the ussue I have with USB 3.0 is that it seems every peripheral manufacturer, and their moms, have begun slapping triggerhappily their products with USB 3 SUPERSPEED claims that are then obscured by the fine print. For instance, Sony’s Microvault’s package reads USB 3.0 SUPERSPEED up to 120MB/s read speed!
And then, at the bottom, near the edge of the packaging, using a microscopic font invisible to the naked eye: “120MB/s read speed achieved in our test lab under specific cryogenic conditions and by using quantum computers, a cheerleader carrying several voodoo dolls and other Indian trinket good luck charms. Also the file we read was entirely made up of Usain Bolt so actual results may vary.”
They do. The Microvault tops out around 70MB/s read.
Yeah. So my final thoughts on the Survivor? It delivers great performance for a flash drive but consider the following: We’ve been asked by the various USB 3.0 marketing teams to expect 400MB/s speeds out of USB3 so where is this 400MB/s performance?
Like most other promises made by new technologies supposed to replace a previous one, the expected results, and reality, are quite far apart.
The other issue with the Survivor is that, like I pointed out to my friend who allowed me to burrow the drive, it’s great to know that the next time you’ll go to “The Nautilus” you’ll be able to bring 32Gb of data with you safely.