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Which USB Flash Drive is the fastest?

USB flash memory test by Marek Mularczyk - you have been following my blog for some time, you know what I do. And as part of my training courses, I do a lot of transferring files between the computers.

So the other day as I was finishing training, I thought:

“How about running a test on different usb flash drives I have to find out which one is the fastest and use this one for transferring files to delegates’ machines?”

Here’s what I did:

For the test I used:

  • iMac computer running Mac OS X
  • iMac computer running Windows 7
  • Dell Vostro V131 PC running Linux Kubuntu.

As tested devices I used (shown on the image below):

  • 2GB Kingston Data Traveler drive
  • 8GB drive
  • 32GB drive

USB flash memory test by Marek Mularczyk -

USB flash memory test by Marek Mularczyk -

The first part of the test involved copying a 150MB folder with 85 files inside. The 2GB flash drive is the oldest of these three and I expected it to be the slowest.

Here are the results on iMac – Mac OS X:

  • 2GB drive – 18 sec.
  • 8GB drive – 11 sec.
  • 32GB drive – 5.3 sec!

As expected the 32GB drive was the fastest (it’s the newest, I bought it last year). I remember testing the 32GB drive when I bought it and I was very happy that it was achieving the promised speed of 8MB/s. In this case it went even faster as it copied 150MB of files in just over 5 seconds!

Next I ran the same test on the same iMac running Windows 7 (dual-boot). Here are the results:

  • 2GB drive – 14 sec (a bit faster)
  • 8GB drive – 4.6 sec (much faster!)
  • 32GB drive – 6 sec (a bit slower)

Now it was time for my Dell Vostro V131 running Kubuntu Linux. This test brought some unexpected surprise… Here we go:

  • 2GB drive – 14 sec (same as iMac)
  • 8GB drive – 5 sec (similar to iMac running Windows)
  • and here’s the surprise: 32GB drive – 1 sec!

Absolutely unbelievable! I couldn’t believe it! This was 6 times faster than the iMac! And people say that Mac computers are better than PCs…. ha ha ha…  😉

Then, I ran another test, this time copying one big file – 700MB file and there were some surprises…

Here are the results of the test on the iMac – Mac OS X:

  • 2GB drive – 2 min 41 sec.
  • 8GB drive – 19 sec!
  • 32GB drive – 22 sec.

Then, on iMac running Windows:

  • 2GB drive – 1 min 06 sec. (much faster than on Mac OS X)
  • 8GB drive – 22 sec (similar)
  • 32GB drive – 24 sec (similar)

Finally, on my Dell Vostro running Linux:

  • 2GB drive – 1 min 04 sec (the fastest!)
  • 8GB drive – 25 sec (similar)
  • 32GB drive – 25 sec (similar).

Because the devices were manufactured with 2GB drive being the oldest and 32GB drive being the youngest, we can see the difference in speed, especially when copying small files (the most important factor for what I use these drives for).

I am going to add to this post next week as I have just purchased a brand new flash drive – a USB 3.0(!) 64GB flash drive. Test results will appear here next week.

Enjoy the weekend and see you next week! I hope you enjoyed it. 🙂

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