I need a USB 2.0 Flash drive that can do a write speed of at least 16MBps. This flash drive will be used to test another device for its recording capabilities, the benchmark for the USB is listed as USB 2.0 at write speed of 16MBps

  • Not sure what's the real question here, since virtually any but the worst USB memory sticks would be faster anyway. Are you looking for a flash drive which doesn't support USB 3.0. Those ones become difficult to find for a good reason: if you can have USB 3.0 support practically for free, why not having one? – Arseni Mourzenko Jul 19 '19 at 9:12
  • I am testing a recording device that stores the data straight into a USB flash drive plugged into its USB port. The USB recording device recommends to use USB 2.0 @ 16MBPS to record and store properly, so I wanted a device that can do exactly that so I can see if the recording device can successfully store with the minimum specified write speeds. I understand that USB 3.0 are backward compatible with 2.0 and should deliver higher speeds. Please tell me where to look to get one such USB, since most manufacturers don’t say their write speed on their USB data sheets. – Justin Jul 20 '19 at 14:08

Memory sticks designed for USB 3.0 are compatible with USB 2.0, so I suppose that your only requirement is to have an USB stick with the write speed of 16 MB/s.

Originally, I misread your question: I thought that by 16MBps, you meant 16 Mbps, while it was 16 MB/s. Therefore, I commented, telling that “any but the worst USB memory sticks would be faster anyway.” Obviously, many USB memory sticks will be slower than 16 MB/s.

It is true that neither retailers, nor manufacturers show the read/write speed of their USB memory sticks. One of the reason is that, essentially, YMMV. Depending on how you use the drive, the speed could be very different:

  • Writing 10.000 chunks of 1 KB each is not the same thing as writing one block of 10 MB. The total size is exactly the same, but the speed could be drastically faster in the second case.

  • Using different file systems produces slightly different results. Naturally, a file system is irrelevant for a geek who tests the “raw” speed of a device with dd; however, most people expect to see advertised speed when reading or writing actual files.

  • Encryption and/or compression can also be an important factor. In Windows, especially, the user may set up both encryption and compression options on any folder, including one within the USB memory stick, and with the default Windows settings, the user won't easily notice that the folder is encrypted and/or compressed, as the default option is to not show those folders in green/blue.

  • Loose connectors or low quality wires can lower the speed a lot. It has nothing to do with the actual USB drive, but the customer would blame the manufacturer anyway.

Anyway, one of the resources which can be useful to you is a website which compares the speeds of different USB sticks. If I understand correctly the concept, it's based on the metrics reported by many users. I'm not sure, however, how many, and therefore how reliable those results are.

There are two interesting metrics: peak write and peak 4k-W. The first one indicates the speed of sequential write. The second one corresponds to the random one.

It appears that you have a lot of drives which match your 16 MB/s expectation if you consider only the sequential write. If, on the other hand, you also put as a criteria the random 4K write, then there are only seven matches. For instance, Flash Voyager GTX USB 3.0 128GB seems to be fast enough, but it also costs around $80, so not the cheapest option.

If you browse through the website, you'll see what I meant by YMMV. The consistency of the results for virtually every device is very low, with the maximum reported speed being often ten times the minimum.

If you absolutely need 16 MB/s write speed, maybe you should consider upgrading to USB 3.0 and using an SSD (connected through USB) instead.

  • Thanks Arseni. I’ve consulted these databases of user shared USB speed test results. I understand that all USB 3.0 devices have backward compatibility with ISB 2.0. But I specifically need USB 2.0 peak sequential writing speed. Since the device I am supposed to test is rated for 16MBPS @ USB 2.0, I was hoping to test the device with USB 2.0, so I will have tested the baste minimum safely. – Justin Jul 21 '19 at 20:19
  • @Justin, Rest assured that the high end USB 3.0 drives are faster because the memory controllers & chips themselves are faster. When operating in USB 2.0 mode you will still see that speed difference, and the USB connection is usually not the bottleneck for USB drives anyways. USB 2.0's max bandwidth could theoretically be reached by an SSD connected to a decent SATA-USB3 adapter. – Romen Jul 23 '19 at 15:02
  • Additionally to Romen's comment, it could be useful to highlight that the theoretical bandwidth for USB 2.0 is 53 MB/s. While YMMV, this is still much higher than the required 16 MB/s. – Arseni Mourzenko Jul 23 '19 at 19:24

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