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Appeared on: Saturday, December 10, 2005
OCZ Rally USB 2.0 Flash Memory


1. Introduction

OCZ in August 2000 entered into the memory market, manufacturing DDR and RDRAM. OCZ manufactured the first Dual Channel optimized memories, which originally took advantage of nVidia's Twinbank. OCZ offers a wide range of memories including CPU Cooling Products and Memory Sticks.

In the following pages, we will have a closer look at one of its latest products, the OCZ Rally High Performance USB 2.0 (Dual Channel) Flash Memory Drive with 1GB available data storage capacity.

OCZ Rally High Performance USB 2.0 (Dual Channel) Flash Memory Drive Retail Package

- Features

- High Speed USB 2.0 Certified
- True Plug and Play
- Dual Channel Technology
- Blue LED Status Light
- Up to 25MB/s (read), 17MB/s (write)
- Aluminum Chassis
- Keyring
- Lanyard
- USB extension 0.5m

 

Model OCZ Rally High Performance USB 2.0 (Dual Channel) Flash Memory Drive
Dimensions 2 5/8"(L) x 5/8"(W)
Warranty Lifetime Warranty
Compatibility Windows 98SE / 2000 / ME & XP
Mac OS 8.6 to 9.2 & 10(X) or higher
USB 2.0 or 1.1 compatible
Capacity 1 GB digital storage capacity

 

According to OCZ:
The OCZ Rally can store vital documents, presentations, images, music and more in an ultra sleek pocket-size drive. Access your files without having to disconnect other USB ports to make room. A glowing blue LED at the base of the drive signals high speed transfer activity from start to finish. The OCZ Rally Flash drive is designed to be the fastest, most reliable USB flash memory drive, and makes use of the latest technology and comes backed with a limited lifetime warranty.


2. Performance Tests

We test the performance of the OCZ Rally 1GB USB 2.0 memory stick and compare it to the Memorex TD (TravelDrive) 1GB USB 2.0, using two well known benchmarking utilities, HD Tach and Sisoft Sandra 2005. All tests were made under WinXP with a USB 2.0 compatible motherboard (Abit A8N Fatal1ty series).

HD Tach Results



In the reading tests, the OCZ Rally reported 14.5MB/s and the Memorex TravelDrive 17.4MB/s, whilst in writing, the OCZ Rally reported 24.7MB/s and the Memorex TravelDrive 10.5MB/s. The difference between the two isn't that great in reading, but in writing the OCZ memory offers more than double the throughput of the Memorex.

Sisoft Sandra 2005 SR1 Results

Sisoft Sandra has two sets of tests.

The "File system" which tests how your drive(s) and controller(s) compare to other devices in a typical system:

· Read Test: Buffered, Random, Sequential
· Write Test: Buffered, Random, Sequential
· Seek Test

The "Drive Index" mark is a composite figure representing an overall performance rating based on the average of the read, write, and seek tests, and file and cache size. The Drive Index is intended to represent drive performance under typical use in a PC. A larger number means better performance. The weighting of the results is not equal and represents the distribution of different files sizes as used on these devices (obtained through field research).

The Drive Index achieved by the OCZ Rally is 18MB/s, 3MB/s better than the Memorex TravelDrive at 15MB/s.

The "Compact Flash" typical usage model for these devices is File operations, such as Writing a file to the device, reading a file from it, and deleting a file. This benchmark exercises the devices in terms of these operations (to measure the “raw” cluster level performance of the device, it is recommended to also test it by means of the File System Benchmark module). The following characteristics are measured for each of the four representative file sizes of 512 Bytes (representing a minimal single data cluster file), 32kB, 256kB and 2MB. The weighting of the results is not equal and it represents the distribution of different files sizes as used on these devices (obtained through field research). For each of the four file sizes, a Combined Index is then calculated, stating the combined performance in terms of Combined Operations Per Second, with respect to a mix of write, read and delete operations.

Combined Device Index: is a composite figure representing an overall performance rating based on the average of the Combined Index figures over the four file sizes. (Higher is better, i.e. better performance).

Endurance Factor: is a figure representing the Wear and Life Expectancy of flash devices; this is obtained by dividing the average performance (normal condition, i.e. sequential write) to the lowest performance (high-stress condition, i.e. same block re-write). It measures the relative improvement of endurance caused by the wear leveling or flash management algorithm; the absolute endurance of a device (i.e. its expected life-time) is directly dependent, in addition to this Endurance Factor, on the nominal manufacturer rating of maximum erase/reprogram cycles, which is typically 100,000+ for SLC and 10,000+ for MLC devices. (Higher is better, i.e. longer life-time for the device)

The OCZ Rally achieved a higher combined operations index as we would expect, due to it's higher performance rating seen in the previous tests. The higher Endurance Factor though was clocked in by the Memorex TravelDrive USB stick, which if these figures are accurate, indicates that the Memorex TravelMate has a life time expectancy 4 times greater than that of the OCZ USB stick.


3. Final Thoughts

The need for constant backups and file sharing has made USB memory sticks the perfect solution for everyday use. As the need for larger data storage keeps growing, so does the capacity of memory sticks. In this review, we had the opportunity to try out one of OCZ's latest products, the OCZ Rally USB 2.0 (Dual Channel) Flash Memory Drive with 1GB storage capacity.

Looking back at the test results, the general feeling is that the OCZ Rally is fast, primarily when writing, but the Memorex TD according to Sisoft Sandra's endurance factor test, proved to be a far more robust solution (longer lifespan).

A minor disadvantage is the lack of a password protection system.

At the time of this review, the OCZ Rally USB 2.0 (Dual Channel) 1GB Flash Memory Drive was priced at US$64 from pricegrabber.com

OCZ Rally USB Flash Memory Drive

- The Good

- High writing performance
- Stylish design and dimensions
- Includes USB2.0 extension cable
- Uses both USB1.1 and full USB2.0 interface
- Dual Channel Technology

- The Bad

- No password protection
- Low endurance factor in Sisoft Sandra tests

Retail Package
Design/Build Quality
GUI/Use
Performance
Value For Money


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