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Appeared on: Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Corsair TurboFlash 1Gb

1. Introduction

Corsair is a well known and established memory manufacturer. With the arrival of Windows VISTA, Corsair announced a new series of USB flash drives that are able to take full advantage of Microsoft's new ReadyBoost flash technology concept to help improve system performance. Although adding system memory (RAM) is often the best way to improve your PC's performance, Corsair's TurboFlash for Windows Vista ReadyBoost can improve system performance by keeping data that the system can quickly store and retrieve to maximize PC responsiveness.

Corsair's TurboFlash is validated by Microsoft to be fully Windows ReadyBoost compliant and works on all versions of Windows Vista. Corsair's TurboFlash also provides reliable encrypted protection of the data stored on it to prevent inappropriate access.

- Corsair TurboFlash USB Drive 1GB

Corsair announced the new TurboFlash Family of ReadyBoost capable USB drives back in January 2006. Corsair’s TurboFlash takes full advantage of Microsoft’s new ReadyBoost flash technology concept to help improve system performance for Windows Vista. Data stored on a flash memory device can be accessed much more quickly than data kept on the hard disk. Corsair’s TurboFlash also provides reliable encrypted protection of the data stored on it to prevent inappropriate access. TurboFlash is validated by Microsoft to be fully Windows ReadyBoost compliant and is compatible on all versions of Windows Vista.

Backed with Corsair’s 10-year warranty and on-demand customer support, the new TurboFlash products are currently available through Corsair’s authorized distributors, resellers, retailers and e-tailers worldwide. The introduction MSRP for the 512MB and 1GB TurboFlash are $16.99 USD and $24.99 USD, respectively. These kits will be made available in Q1’07.

Corsair Part Number / Density:

- Features

2. Retail package

- Retail Package

The Corsair TurboFlash USB drive with 1GB capacity can be bought at the retail price of €27. The price is almost double that of other USB sticks having 1GB capacity. The retail package is plain:

There is no way to open the package without first breaking the security shield. This way you know you are buying a brand new product:

Let's now examine the TurboFlash USB Drive:

And this is the USB stick after removing the protective cap:

3. The Tests

- Tests

In order to test our Corsair TurboFlash USB 1.0GB drive, we used two systems:

And the second system is based on the Intel C2D

Under Windows XP, we were able to test the RAW performance of the Corsair TurboFlash 1GB USB Stick

Below are the test results. As we can see, an almost flat line in the performance of the device for both reading and writing functions.

The USB stick was able to read data at 35MB/sec, while its writing performance was somewhat slower at 15MB/sec.

Under Windows Vista, we used Sisoft Sandra 2007 XI SP2 for the two available tests:

Physical Disk Benchmark

Flash Disk Benchmark

4. Windows VISTA ReadyBoost

- Windows VISTA ReadyBoost

Under Windows Vista, the AutoPlay function gives you the opportunity to enable the ReadyBoost function.

Obviously, using the maximum possible space on your USB device will give the best results:

After enabling the ReadyBoost function, we ran several tests to see what kind of change we would see in our test system:

Without ReadyBoost

With ReadyBoost

In the memory bandwidth test, we saw some increase in the results. But how is this change reflected in our system? The most obvious would be to measure if ReadyBoost can help us decrease our Windows Vista load time. So we measured, several times, the amount of time needed, from the POST screen until Vista fully loads. The difference between the two (with and without the ReadyBoost function enabled) was very small 1~2 secs in all cases. This leads us to the conclude that probably for systems with 2GB and higher on board memory, ReadyBoost won't help you much. In cases where a system has very low on board memory, say 512MB, we expect to see some improvement in performance.

5. Conclusion

- Conclusion

Corsair's new TurboFlash series is able to utilize a new feature found under Windows VISTA called "ReadyBoost" flash technology. From our tests, we didn't see any significant improvement in the various tests (HDD performance or loading times), at least with our setup (2x1GB). It's very possible, that systems with lower main memory setups, like 512MB or 1GB, could benefit from the low access times provided by the USB drives.

This USB stick can reach 35MB/sec reading and 15MB/sec writing performance, fast enough compared with other similar products. There is a 10 year warranty that backs this products, ensuring you will be covered for many years. The retail price is around €27 or US$24.99, which is almost double that of other offerings for 1GB USB drives. But this flash drive comes with support for Windows VISTA "ReadyBoost" technology.

If you are a VISTA user with low main memory, this product may offer some performance improvement as some reviews have shown. If you want the best price/storage ratio, Corsair also has other products to offer in this price range with higher capacities.

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