Saturday, August 25, 2012

Silicon Power Blaze B10 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Rating: 1 out of 5
Pros: Cheap, decent capacity
Cons: Inexcusable, abysmal speed. Thin and brittle plastic housing

I picked up this Silicon Power Blaze B10 16GB Flash Drive on Newegg during one of their Shell Shocker deals for $10.99 with free shipping. It seemed like a pretty good price for a USB 3.0 flash drive to me, and all of my other flash drives were only USB 2.0. Only two of the computers in the house support USB 3.0, but I figured when I needed to copy stuff to or from one of those computers this would be a lot faster than using one of the USB 2.0 drives so I really wanted to pick one up. Since this one was a good price, I decided to give it a shot even though I had no experience with Silicon Power products in the past.
It's a pretty standard sized flash drive, measuring just under .5" thick, .75" wide and 3" long. It feels like it is made out of really cheap, thin plastic and has a cap that could be easily lost. It has rounded corners and a hole for a lanyard or key chain on the end of it. The USB plug itself is blue instead of black because this is a USB 3.0 drive, which is nice because if I forget which drive was the fast one I could tell at a glance (not withstanding the fact that it says 16GB_3.0 on the front).
The whole drive is black except for the "futuristic geometric pattern" which is really just a series of angled lines. These lines are mostly Turkey Blue in color when the drive is cool, and they turn Blaze Red when the drive warms up for any reason (contact with skin, normal operating, getting placed in the heat). It doesn't take a whole lot of temperature to make it turn colors, and in fact it has sat here red most of the time on my desk because of the 90ºF temperatures lately. The activity LED is also red, which is only noteworthy because I think the LED in every other flash drive I have is blue.
The drive comes formatted with the FAT32 file system and has a capacity of 15,502,147,584 bytes (14.4GB). It's fast enough to be used by Windows ReadyBoost even when plugged into a USB 2.0 port. These benchmarks were taken using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1c and the default settings. As you can see from the following benchmark the USB 2.0 performance is pretty good when it comes to reading data, but the write speed is abysmal and very disappointing.
USB 2.0
Seq Read: 34.73MB/s
Seq Write: 20.78MB/s
512k Read: 33.98MB/s
512k Write: 3.600MB/s
4k Read: 5.287MB/s
4k Write: 0.179MB/s

Well it can only get better by plugging it into a USB 3.0 port right? That's the whole reason I picked this particular drive up anyway, so lets give it a shot. If it's fast with USB 3.0 then I'll be happy with the drive for this price and it should serve its purpose well. The drive advertises up to 70MB/s read speed and up to 20MB/s write speed, so let's see how it fares.
USB 3.0
Seq Read: 43.77MB/s
Seq Write: 20.69MB/s
512k Read: 42.43MB/s
512k Write: 3.555MB/s
4k Read: 7.001MB/s
4k Write: 0.150MB/s

What?! Yep, I had to verify that it was indeed plugged into one of the USB 3.0 ports and then I had to run the test a couple more times just to make sure. It's just nowhere near the speed it should be, and in fact is the slowest flash drive I've tested to date. Absolutely horrible speed all around, except in the sequential read and write tests where it had an average score. The sequential speeds are the least important too, as it's not often all of your data is going to line up sequentially so you're much more likely to get speeds closer to the random 512k or 4k random speeds on average.
So what can I say about the Silicon Power Blaze B10? Stay away. Even for the low price tag I picked it up for during Newegg's Shell Shocker deal it was absolutely not worth it. What possible purpose could you have in picking up a USB 3.0 drive that is slower than most USB 2.0 drives? Sad and disappointed is what I am; this flash drive gets a 1-star rating from me and I don't recommend it to anyone for any purpose.

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