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Corsair Flash Voyager USB 2.0 Corsair Flash Voyager USB 2.0: Corsair enters the flash drive market and released a rather unique product designed for people on the go.
Date: February 9, 2005
Manufacturer:
Written By:
Price: (512MB)

Corsair is a name that should need no introduction for regular readers of this site and other enthusiast hangouts. Long known for making high-speed, quality ram, they have supplied VL with gigabytes of ram modules which have mostly gained positive results from within our labs. Rather than sending more ram our way today, they fired over a new entry into their product line, their .

While flash drives are hardly unique in this day and age, we've wondered what took Corsair so long to release such a product since it does fall under their "memory umbrella". Seems Corsair did their homework and wanted to put out a product that addressed the concerns that flash drive users have voiced in recent years.

Features

" Plug & Play functionality in Windows® XP, 2000, ME, Linux 2.4 and later, Mac OS 9, X and later
" Drivers on CD for Windows® 98
" Lanyard, USB cable and driver CD included
" Supports sustained read spead of 19MB/sec
" Supports sustained write speed of 13MB/sec
" Ten year warranty

Corsair Flash Voyager

Corsair packages the Flash Voyager in a clear plastic shell which clearly displays the drive itself and capacity to thwart those scheming remarkers. Along with the Flash Voyager, there is a lanyard (a wrist or neck strap), a 27" USB 2.0 extention cable and a mini driver CD for Windows 98 driver installation.

On first inspection, the Flash Voyager differs from previous flash drives we have reviewed. For one thing, the drive we received is tiny, measuring about 3" x 0.75" x 0.5" (as far as we know, all capacities 512MB and less should be the same size). Rather than a plastic shell, the drive is covered by a black and blue rubber shell. While the shell is quite solid, there is a bit of give in the rubber material to soften any bumps the drive may go through during its lifetime. The company's URL, logo and the drive's brand name are all embossed on the drive itself, giving it a bit of a non-slip grip. The aesthetics are subjective, as I always preferred sleeker, metal looking drives, but if you like something different, the Flash Voyager certainly meets that criteria.

Both the cap and lanyard loop are made of the same rubber as the drive itself. We had some concerns about the lanyard loop on the drive being insecure given the material used. As with the cap, the loop is fairly flexible but after some tugging and pulling with the lanyard in place, the loop never tore.

Between the product logo and the lanyard loop is a small blue LED which lights up during operation. I was not able to get a clear image, but the drive's capacity is embossed on the LED as well, and in this case, 512MB.

Test Setup

MSI 915P: Intel Pentium 4 560, 2GB Corsair DDR2, 1 x Seagate 160GB, MSI X800XT, MSI 16X DL, Koolance PC3-720SL.

We'll be using real-world benchmarks, copying a variety of media files (PDF, JPEG and AVI files) from our test rig to the Corsair Flash Voyager and back. The uncompressed files weigh in at 242MB (56 files) and will be used for our small file tests. We'll be copying the same contents, compressed at 227MB (one file) for our large file tests.

We'll be testing both read and write performance where read tests will be the time needed to copy the contents from the Flash Voyager to our SATA Seagate drive which is connected to a SATA interface on the K8T Neo. Write tests will be the time needed to copy the contents from the SATA to the Flash Voyager. We will be using the rear USB port on the MSI 915P that is part of the mobo's rear I/O back panel.

To compare performance, we'll be testing the Flash Voyager directly against a Mushkin Flashkin USB 2.0 and JetFlash 2A, both of which are 256MB.

Small Files

Read (Time in Minutes, Seconds)
Write (Time in Minutes, Seconds)
Flash Voyager
0:48
0:58
JetFlash 2A
0:48
0:59
Flashkin 2.0
0:52
1:01

Large File

Read (Time in Minutes, Seconds)
Write (Time in Minutes, Seconds)
Flash Voyager
0:46
0:55
JetFlash 2A
0:46
0:55
Flashkin 2.0
0:46
0:57

All the drives perform within seconds of one another. It's pretty much a draw, as neither drive has a distinct edge over the other. Based on our numbers, the Flash Voyager's performance is about 5.04MB/sec and 4.71MB/sec read/write for our small files test, and 4.93MB/sec and 4.12MB/sec in our large file test. This falls way short of Corsair's claims of up to 19MB/sec, but those numbers are of course under ideal circumstances. Nonetheless, we grabbed ATI's standard 5.1 CATALYST Control Center drivers (about 28MB) and it took about 3 seconds to copy them to the device. This puts the Flash Voyager at about 9MB/sec. Results were similar with the other two devices, as none of these drives were able to meet their ideal speeds according to specifications.

We did not bother to do thorough USB 1.1 comparisons, but for the record, our 256MB Crucial Gizmo took almost 4 minutes to complete the same write tests.

Final Words

Something we haven't done in awhile with flash drives is run it through a thorough durability check. We've done things like drop them onto ceramic tiles from 6 feet and dropped them into a sink of water and removing it quickly (the Flash Voyager passed both these tests by the way), but we went the extra mile this time around by throwing it into the washing machine, and running it through a dry cycle in my Whirlpool appliances. I should point out that this was unplanned and purely accidental. I happened to only discover this inadvertant test while folding my laundry and cursed at my blunder as I had some work saved to this disk that I had not yet transfered to my PC. Imagine my relief when I found that my data survived, intact, when I plugged it into the computer. Considering that my standard wash cycle is 34 minutes, and my dry cycle at high heat is 43 minutes, it's safe to say that the Flash Voyager is one tough mutha.

Outside of the durability, speed is of course another important area for most of you and the Corsair Flash Voyager does not dissapoint. It was pretty much neck-and-neck with our Transcend and Mushkin drives and it blew away our Crucial USB 1.1 drive (as did the others). The USB 2.0 to USB 1.1 is no surprise, and while it didn't cleanly beat the other two, we were satisfied that it performed within our expectations for an USB 2.0 device.

The only issue we had with the Flash Voyager is although the rubber shell allows for better protection, it is one heck of a dust magnet. This is a minor nitpick, but it's quite embarrassing to pull out the drive from my pocket with pocket lint all over it. The dust does not really rub off all that easily either, and the only way to effectively clean it is to use masking tape and plucking the dust off with it.

The dust problem is really no big deal though, and the Flash Voyager is a worthy entry into the flash drive market. Pricing is quite competitive as well, so unless the colours aren't your bag, we see no reason why not to give it our full recommendation.

Pros: Fast, and durable as hell. Competively priced and backed by a good warranty.

Cons: Dust magnet.

Bottom Line: We were very pleased with the Flash Voyager's speed and more importantly, the durabilty. It survived a free fall onto tiles, a swim in a sink, and a full laundry cycle without missing a beat. The 10 year warranty is great, but unless you stick this into your Thanksgiving turkey and cook it, I doubt you'll ever need to give Corsair's support a call.

If you have Questions or Comments on this or any other review, feel free to use our Forums.

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