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Kingston DataTraveler ReadyFlash Review
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The new Windows Vista operating system introduces an interesting new technology called ReadyBoost. What ReadyBoost does is make use of a USB flash drive to cache data from the hard drive for faster accesses. It works like virtual memory, but uses the flash drive, instead of a hard drive.

This has given the USB flash memory industry a boost in sales and an opportunity to differentiate their products. Before ReadyBoost, the USB flash drives were becoming mere commodities, sold mostly based on price and looks. Now, manufacturers have an opportunity to market a new kind of USB flash memory drive - one that supports Windows Vista's ReadyBoost technology.

This is because ReadyBoost requires a different type of flash memory drive. Even performance-grade flash drives may not meet ReadyBoost's performance requirements. Performance-grade flash drives focus on high-speed sequential reads and writes. However, ReadyBoost requires flash drives that focus on high-speed random reads and writes. Hence, the proliferation of ReadyBoost-capable USB flash drives.

Today, we will be taking a look at Kingston's new ReadyBoost-capable USB flash drives - the DataTraveler ReadyFlash. They currently have two models - DTR/1GB and DTR/2GB, differentiated officially only by their rated capacities of 1GB and 2GB respectively. But we will put both of them to the test and see if there's more to them than just the difference in capacity.

We will also take a look at their high random transfer rates. Kingston claims these drives have a random 4KB read speed of 5MB/s and a random 512KB write speed of 3MB/s. This is almost twice the minimum required by ReadyBoost. But can they really hit such high numbers? Let's find out.


The Package

The Kingston DataTraveler ReadyFlash drives come in a small retail package with the drive clearly visible through the clear plastic front. The package isn't sealed, which is great because it is easy to open and can be reused. Always a plus point in our book.

The back of the package has some, largely pointless information on the drive. Even the label on the upper right corner only tells us the drive's serial number and that it was made in China. Yeah, what isn't made in China these days anyway?

As far as current flash drive packages go, the Kingston DataTraveler ReadyFlash package is pretty standard. That means it comes with nothing but what's absolutely necessary. In this case, expect to find only the following items :

  • One Kingston DataTraveler ReadyFlash flash drive
  • One keychain lanyard
  • One cardboard insert

That's it. There's nothing else inside. That's not to say that Kingston is stingy, but there's really nothing useful you can add to the package. Probably the only thing that some users might appreciate is a USB extension cable for PCs that do not have front USB ports.

Some may like the keychain lanyard, but we don't. As small as the DataTraveler ReadyFlash is, it really isn't a suitable addition to your keychain. We prefer the full lanyard with a detachable loop that many other flash drives ship with.

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