Not all USB flash drives are made alike. There are reasons why you can find el cheapo knockoff brand drives in the bargain bin, as well as seemingly similar flash drives for much more money. And this goes well beyond just having more storage.
And that's where we find ourselves today. In this USB flash drive shootout, we take a look at the difference between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, as well as the difference between having quad-channel and 8-channel. To help minimize other variables, we've stuck with just one brand: Patriot Memory.
Introducing the Competitors
So, what products are participating in this little competition?
Representing the contemporary USB 2.0 side of the equation is the Patriot Rage Xporter XT USB flash drive. For the USB 3.0 side of the equation, we have two entrants. We have the Patriot Supersonic 64GB USB flash drive with quad channel technology, as well as the Patriot Supersonic Magnum 64GB USB flash drive with 8-channel technology.
Patriot Rage XT 32GB USB 2.0 Drive
As a quick refresher, you get quad channel technology, a slide-out USB connector (no lost caps!), and a rubber coated housing that will protect the drive against minor daily abuse. The 32GB model used for this shootout sells for $69.99, while the 64GB version retails for $129.99.
Patriot Supersonic Quad-Channel 64GB USB 3.0 Drive
The first of our USB 3.0 competitors is the Patriot Supersonic 64GB USB flash drive. Like the Rage XT, the Supersonic boasts quad channel technology, but it takes on an entirely different form factor. Of course, USB 3.0 is also a sizable upgrade over USB 2.0.
Rather than use the rubber coated housing of the Rage, the Supersonic comes with an aluminum housing for shock resistance. It's quite thin and it uses a traditional cap, but the cap can't be clicked into the other end of the drive when not in use.
The 64GB Patriot Supersonic quad-channel USB 3.0 drive retails for $179.99.
Patriot Supersonic Magnum 8-Channel 64GB USB 3.0 Drive
Last and certainly not least is the Patriot Supersonic Magnum USB drive. It does the USB 3.0 thing and, like the Patriot Supersonic, it is also backwards compatible with USB 2.0. Unlike the Supersonic, though, the Magnum has 8-channel technology for faster read and write performance.
It also has an aluminum housing, but the Magnum is about twice as wide as the Supersonic. This can be problematic, since it's quite possible for this drive to block other ports on your computer. I guess that's the tradeoff for faster speeds.
The 64GB Patriot Supersonic Magnum 8-channel USB 3.0 drive can be had for $199.99.