Corsair Flash Voyager 32gb Review Page: 1
Introduction 
 
Corsair are best known amongst the enthusiast community for their high performance gaming memory, the Dominator series. However, today we will be looking at something with a very different purpose, in the form of a USB flash drive.  Storing data on solid state chips rather than platters means that flash drives are far more compact, yet still offer a reasonable amount of storage space, as well as being far more resilient to the occasional knock.
 
For today's review, Corsair sent us a 32gb Drive, although a variety of drives ranging from a lowly 4gb all the way to an impressive 64gb are available. Unfortunately Corsair don't list any specs for these drives on their site, instead only offering information on how many files each drive can store. Here is a piece of such information taken from the Corsair site.
 
  
 
The figures don't really tell you an awful lot about the drive, but if you have a large selection of photos or videos that you would like to back up, the table could be rather handy. There isn't a lot we can say about the drive without any concrete specs from Corsair, so it only seems fair that we begin our examination of the drive. Head on over to the next page for the product pictorial. 


Corsair Flash Voyager 32gb Review Page: 2
Packaging and Up-Close
 
The Flash Voyager came packaged in clear blistered plastic, holding the drive and contents securely in position, and also preventing any tampering during transit. The drive itself is held on the front of the package, with a little compartment around the back holding the accessories; a USB extension lead and a Corsair Lanyard. The blister pack didn't appear to offer very much protection against damage to the drive, but it arrived in full working order none-the-less.
 
Corsair Flash Voyager Packaging Corsair Flash Voyager Bundle
 
The drive itself is made out of a thick rubber, giving a satisfying grip in the hand and also making it very good at bouncing if dropped onto a hard surface, such as the floor. The drive uses a turquoise/black colour scheme, with 'Flash Voyager' written down the side of the drive in a bright yellow. The Cap for the drive holds the Corsair logo, whilst the back of the drive has Corsair's web address. Towards the rear of the drive is a little activity LED, which flashes blue when the drive is active.  
 
Corsair Flash Voyager 32gb Drive Corsair Flash Voyager Port 32gb Back 
 
The cap removes with a reassuring amount of force, so will hopefully stay attached and avoid the annoyance of finding it missing when you return home from a day out. The USB connection itself is held firmly in place, and doesn't wobble or flex in any way. My only criticism is that there is nowhere to store the cap when using the drive, something which the OCZ drive here did very well.
 
Corsair Flash Voyager Port Un-capped 
 
 The included USB lead serves its purpose well, and can extend a USB port by around 50cm. The wire itself looks similar to woven foil, and gives a nice metallic effect to the cable. The included lanyard clips to the end of the flash drive with ease, and although it may not get you many fashion points, it serves its purpose well and keeps the drive secure around your neck.
 
Corsair Flash Voyager USB extension  Corsair Flash Voyager 32gb Lanyard  
 
Overall, the externals of the drive serve their purpose well; They protect the internal circuitry and are also aesthetically pleasing. The drive has a nice solid feel, and is also functional and easy to use. It's good to see rubber casing used, rather than the plastic that so many other flash drives use. This make it much better at absorbing shocks, which should make your data even more corruption resilient. 


Corsair Flash Voyager 32gb Review Page: 3
Test Setup 
 
During today's testing we will be comparing the Flash Voyager to the OCZ Throttle, as well as a generic USB flash drive picked up from a trade show. To make all the results comparable the tests were all run on the same machine, the specifications for which can be seen below:
 
Intel Q6600 G0 2.4ghz,
MSI P45D3 Platinum,
4gb Corsair DHX 1600mhz DDR3,
Gigabyte 4850 1gb,
Samsung F1 1tb Boot Drive,
OCZ ModXstream 500w PSU,
Custom Water cooling,
Vista Home Premium x64
 
HDtach
 
Our first port of call for testing was HDtach. The program allows us to test the read speed of each of the drives, making it easy to compare the drives side by side. We ran the longer of the two tests available in the program, 32mb zones, on each drive and then compared the read speed, burst speed and latency of each drive.
 
 
 
 
Impressively the Voyager managed to outperform the OCZ throttle in the HDtach tests, although it is worth noting that the Throttle was connected through USB, rather than the far superior eSata interface which it also offers. The generic USB drive, as expected, was a clear mile behind in terms of read speed and a full 15mb/s behind the Voyager. The Voyager also held on well when comparing average and burst reads, with only a small difference between the two.
 
Random file Write 
 
Write speeds tend to be the Achilles heel of any flash based drive. Write speeds can vary depending on the type of memory used, SLC or MLC and the controller used to control the memory. To see how well each drive performs in a real world test, we downloaded a copy of 3d Mark Vantage, which is around 420mb in size. We then used a stop watch to see how long it took for the file to be written to each of our flash drives, with the times quoted in seconds. 
 
 
As you can see, the Corsair drive really struggles here, falling behind the OCZ Throttle by quite some margin. Fortunately for Corsair, the Voyager does still outperform the generic USB drive by an absolute age. Looking at the results it would seem that the Throttle's USB controller is bottlenecking it in the read tests, but has less of an effect on writes. The Corsair's controller on the other hand manages the reads much better, but the drive seems to struggle in comparision with the OCZ on the writes.     


Corsair Flash Voyager 32gb Review Page: 4
Conclusion 
 
Having read the last page, you're probably expecting the conclusion to be quite so-so, since the performance was not particularly mind-blowing.  However, something you really need to bear in mind when buying a USB drive is the enclosure itself. The OCZ Throttle for example, delivers similar performance through USB, even more when connected with eSata, yet costs around the same price. So, why buy the Corsair? Well, if you were to drop the drive in a puddle for instance, or tread on if by accident, I know which drive I would have my money on to keep your data intact. The thick rubber casing of the Voyager is one of the best I have used; and while not bomb proof,  you really do get the feeling that breaking it would be a fairly difficult affair.
 
Priced at £63.61 from Novatech its around the same price as other branded 32gb drives. The Voyager may not be truly outstanding at anything, but neither does it have any major weaknesses. The 10 year warranty is massively reassuring; we'll probably be carrying around 10tb USB finger nails by the time the warranty runs out.  Some people may want something with more bells and whistles, but if you are looking for a solid performer that won't let you down, then look no further than the Flash Voyager.
 
The Good
+ Attractive casing
+ Feels solid, and should survive daily wear and tear
+ Rubber as opposed to plastic casing
+ Included lanyard and extension cable
+ Fast read speeds
+ 10 year Corsair warranty

The mediocre
* Write speeds are a little slow
* Nowhere to store the cap when drive is in use

The Bad
- Zilch
       
 
       
Overclock3d would like to thank Corsair for providing today's review sample. Discuss in our forums here.