Today the need for the transportation of data from A to B is more important than ever and in recent years manufacturers have been squeezing more and more storage into smaller and smaller products, to the point where one small key sized item can replace thousands upon thousands of sheets of paper. Slowly these devices have become indispensable, not just in the work place but in the home and every day life, and have even recently been finding their way onto our key rings.
One of these products is the OCZ Roadster, a tiny USB flash drive allowing users to carry masses of information in a form that wont get scratched or cracked. Granted, USB flash drives aren't that new, nor are they as fool proof as they were first portrayed to be but this particular drive has something invaluable up its sleeve: its size...
"The OCZ Roadster is the ideal solution for anyone seeking ultimate portability with their personal USB flash drive; In addition, the Roadster's small footprint means you'll never have to unplug surrounding USB ports to make room, a common problem with many oversized competitor drives. Users can access files stored on the Roadster from the convenience of any USB port thanks to True "Plug and Play" functionality. Instantaneously play music, view images, or open files as if the Roadster was an onboard hard drive."
• High Speed USB 2.0 • Certified True Plug and Play (Compatible with MAC OS X) • Foldable for compact transport • Designed to be small and functional • Compatible with: Windows: 98/98SE/Me/2000/XP Linux: Kernel 2.4 or later Mac: OS 9.0 or later • 3 Year Warranty Accessories
• OCZ Accessory Strap
OCZ have always been at the forefront of innovative memory solutions and this certainly looks to be no exception but, as with all products that pass through Overclock3D, the Roadster will be put through its paces in a series of benchmarks before an outright conclusion is formed. Read on and see how this micro flash drive is packaged and how it fares in HD Tach and SiSoft Sandra testing.
OCZ Roadster 1GB Flash Drive Page: 2 Packaging
All of OCZs products tend to be packaged in fairly flashy but effective containers, with the Roadster being housed in a relatively robust blister pack. The packaging is backed with a bright printed insert with all the essential information. Perfect for a retail outlet.
The text on the front of the package is perhaps a little dense, holding the products back in terms of jumping off the shelf at you but nevertheless the package still retains the good looks synonymous with OCZ.
While the contents of the package seen above may seem minimal, there really isn't much more that could be offered to the everyday user due to the plug and play nature of flash memory. The cable included comes in very handy if you don't want to reach round the back of the computer constantly or cant fit the drive alongside other USB plugs.
Today very little difference is available in the appearance of flash drive, most people can recognize a flash drive regardless of make or model. The drives tend to be largely seperated by size, both storage and physical dimensions. The latter being the Roadsters prominent feature. The looks of the roadster are pretty minimalist, there are no LEDs or transparent sections and a black and grey colour scheme used.
As you can see above, the Roadster couldn't really be much smaller without doing away with the protective plastic body of the drive, even then very little space would actually be saved. The folding mechanism goes through a full 180 degree rotation without the tiny sprung (seen in the second photo above) clip attached. With the clip attached however the USB plug cannot fully fold out, leaving it awkward to fit alongside occupied USB sockets. It would make a lot more sense in my eyes to have the attachment ring on the other end of the plastic cover. The strap included, and indeed the metal rings used to attach it are robust and well made, a factor essential to its survival alongside several keys.
For me one of the best things about this design is the lack of any form of cap to be misplaced or lost. The entire product is one piece, this, in my eyes, increases the drives durability and overall feel of quality. Extending the USB plug can be slightly fiddly but no more so than putting the cap back on a standard flash drive.
For the following benchmarks I used two well known programs, SiSoft Sandra and HD Tach. Most will be familiar with the result displays of both programs, nevertheless, both sets of screenshots can be enlarged and are pretty self explanatory.
Overall the Roadster isn't exactly fast in comparison to a lot of other flash drives on the market but is more than adequate for a drive of its capacity. As the benchmarks show, the Roadster attained a speed of 1037 operations per minute, an edurance factor of 8, a burst speed of 10.3MB/s and a random access time of 103ms - 105.4ms. For those of us seeking performance over size, the OCZ Rally2 may be a better option.
OCZ Roadster 1GB Flash Drive Page: 4 Conclusion
As I've already said, OCZ have always been at the forefront of innovative memory solutions and the Roadster is no exception. While it may not be as fast or store as much as other flash drives, the Roadster is the ultimate in storage mobility. It's robust, it looks original and it's small, very small. For those who don't need to carry round masses of data and want something discrete the Roadster is ideal. For those who need that bit of extra storage, OCZ offer a vast range of equally original and high performing drives such as the Rally 2 and the Mega Kart.
Retailing at about the £20 mark, the Roadster is a fair bit more per megabyte than an every day flash drive but if portability and compactness is what you want then its a price well worth paying.
Pros: • Very compact and portable • No cap to lose • Robust and functional
Cons: • Can be fiddly to open • Doesn't open fully with clip attached