The Complete Guide to Buying USB Flash Drives

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The Complete Guide to Buying USB Flash Drives

While everyone wants the biggest and best computer money can buy, the truth is that many premium models are simply too expensive for the budget of an average consumer. Furthermore, even these gigabyte monsters can only hold so much data, and users who like to download entire movies quickly find that even their high-end computer is running out of space. The solution to this digital dilemma is the relatively inexpensive flash drive.

A flash drive is a mobile digital storage device that lets users transfer and store data directly onto a memory drive. They are commonly sold in electronic stores and can also be found online on websites like eBay.. It is important to choose the best flash drive money can buy since these little gadgets can sometimes be the only link between saving precious data and losing it forever. When shopping for a flash drive, consumers need to pay attention to its size, durability, and speed.

How Flash Drives Work

A flash drive, also called a USB flash drive because it uses a USB (universal serial bus) port to attach itself to the computer, and is used for storing data. From the outside, it looks like a very simple device with its attachment port hidden underneath a cap that keeps it protected. On the inside, it holds a memory drive that can store a certain amount of data. The USB port allows this memory drive to communicate with another electronic device, allowing users to share data between different people and devices. Some consumers also use their flash drive to back up data, but due to the fragility of digital data this method is not recommended for long term use. Flash drives are very good at storing data for a short term solution.

Flash Drive Specs

Flash drives can store a variety of data at different speeds. Buyers need to examine carefully the specifications of a flash drive before they purchase one in order to avoid potential problems.

Capacity

Capacity refers to how much digital storage a flash drive uses. Some models start as low as 500 MB (megabytes), while other models go as high as 256GB. In practical terms, the average eBook uses around 200 MB of storage, while full-length films use between one and two GB. High definition films require twice that amount. Therefore, buyers who are planning to use their flash drive to store movies, and other large media files, need to look into purchasing models with extended capacity.

Bigger is not Always Better

Do not be fooled into thinking that a 128GB flash drive is better than an 8GB one. The 100GB drive is more expensive because it has a larger memory card, but this does not mean that it performs better. In fact, speed and integrity start to decrease in flash drives above 32GB simply because this is a lot of data for the card to handle. Digital storage on a flash drive does not last forever, and tends to degrade faster on larger capacity drives as opposed to smaller ones.

Durability

When it comes to buying flash drives, there are two main concerns about durability. The first is preserving the data so that it lasts longer on the memory card. The second is preserving the form of the flash drive so that it continues working.

The typical flash drive form is rectangular. The top of the drive comes off to reveal the USB plug inside. Flash drives are getting more creative as the years go by, and it is possible to find models in the shape of a favourite cartoon character, or emblazoned with the logo of a local sports team. No matter the design form, the flash drive needs to be strong enough to withstand being dropped or bent. If the USB port gets damaged, the drive becomes unusable. Therefore, the best flash drives are the ones made from the strongest metals.

However, there is another factor to consider. Protecting internal data is just as important as keeping the outside of the flash drive in working order. As mentioned above, internal data starts to degrade the longer it is stored on a memory card. Manufacturers try to find ways around this by adding features like dynamic wear levelling. While it sounds complicated, dynamic wear levelling simply means that all cells of the memory card are doing their part to store data, instead of having two cells stuffed with data while the rest remain empty. Flash drives sold with this feature tend to last longer since the more spread out the data is across different memory cells, the less likely it is to fail.

Speed

Flash drive speed refers to the USB connexion. There are currently two models on the market: USB 2.0 and USB 3.0..

Type

Seq. Read (MB/s)

Seq. Write(MB/s)

USB 2.0

32.18

29.46

USB 3.0

128.6

116.4

USB 3.0 drives are clearly faster than USB 2.0, and they command higher prices. Older computers lack a USB 3.0 port, but do not let this get in the way of purchasing one. The design of the USB 3.0 plug on the flash drive is backwards compatible, and can fit into a USB 2.0 port.

While USB 3.0 flash drives command blistering speeds, their technology is not always needed. Those who want a USB 3.0 drive have very large files, usually movie or other types of media that they need to download within a reasonable time frame. A USB 3.0 drive can do this four times faster than a USB 2.0 drive. On the other hand, all the consumer is looking for is a flash drive to store family photos that are a few MBs in size, a USB 2.0 drive should work just fine.

Security

People store all kinds of sensitive information on their flash drives, including credit card numbers and personal information. The last thing anyone wants to do is to have this data get into the hands of a stranger. Buyers need to always exercise safety precautions when using a computer, and this extends to flash drives as well.

Encryption

One way a flash drive can protect the data stored on it, is by actually encrypting the files. The most basic kind of encryption file provides protection by keeping the files locked unless the user can supply the correct password. Security levels get much more complex than this, and it is even possible to find flash drives that only work with fingerprint identification.

Warranty

A warranty guarantee protects the consumer against buying a faulty product. If a flash drive is purchased that does not work, or malfunctions within a specified period of time, the buyer gets a new flash drive free of charge. Keep in mind that it is only worthwhile to get a warranty if it is already included with the flash drive. There is no point in wasting extra money by purchasing an aftermarket warranty from the shop where the drive was sold. Also, while the warranty protects the drive itself, it does not protect the data stored within.

How to Buy Flash Drives on eBay

When it comes to purchasing flash drives, eBay has all of your bases covered. Even hard to find flash drives, such as the gigantic 256 GB version, are readily available on eBay. All a buyer has to do is know where to look.

The best place to begin is by typing 'flash drive&' into the search engine. Once all of the results are displayed, you can start narrowing down your choices. For example, if a 32 GB flash drive seems like the perfect size, then search for '32 GB flash drive'. You can repeat this process as many times as you want with different flash drive capacity levels. If speed is the thing you are after, try searching for a 'USB 3.0 flash drive'. It is also a good idea to combine search terms, such as 'USB 3.0 32 GB flash drive&' in order to return a narrow result list.

Be wary of buying a used flash drive. Overall, flash drives are not very expensive when new, so buyers do not see significant savings by purchasing a used one. Furthermore, since flash drive memory capacity degrades over time, buyers are not getting the full amount of memory that they paid for.

Conclusion

Flash drives are vital to keeping data safe and sound, even in the event of a computer crash. Users commonly use them for sharing files with friends, or even between different computers. They are also ideal for creating temporary backup files in the event of an emergency, and are incredibly useful both at work and at home. When it comes to purchasing the best flash drive money can buy, consumers need to study the device's capacity, speed, durability, and security.

Capacity refers to how much memory the drive holds, while speed governs how fast it transfers this memory from one device to another. Durable flash drives last for a long time to allow consumers to not have to worry about a new drive breaking down, while security features keep all information safe when it is on the drive. Customers can use eBay to explore all of the different options available, and find the ideal model that best fits their digital downloading needs.

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