Storage devices are getting smaller and larger each year, and nothing shows that this is more than Kingston’s DataTraveler Max line of USB-C flash drives. The drives are available in 256 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB capacities, with impressively high speeds that match, rated at 1,000 MB / s read speeds and 900MB / s write speeds. These drives certainly have what is needed on paper, but what about the real world?
High capacity USB flash drives
Kingston’s DataTraveler Max is far from the only high-capacity USB flash drive. The first 1TB USB memory drive to be released was Kingston’s 2013 DataTraveler HyperX Predator. But that drive supported a maximum read speed of 240 MB / s (not to mention it costs over $ 1,000).
While there may be other real 1TB flash drives, Amazon is also overwhelmed with fake “1TB” flash drives in the $ 20 to $ 30 region. Not surprisingly, these are actually smaller capacity drives (often 16 GB) that list fake capacity on the list and on your computer. If actually used, drives will quickly lose files and data.
Even other real 1TB flash drives are much slower (not to mention the USB-A standard, which requires additional keys to work with my MacBook Pro).
The need for fast, portable storage
As a photographer and videographer Space Explored, I run out of memory very quickly. I use a custom NAS at home, but I’ve always tried to find a good solution to temporarily store photos and videos while traveling on launch. Portable rotating hard drives are bulky, fragile and slow. Raw video recording requires extremely fast drives, which means that even Samsung’s portable SSD T5 was too slow with only 540 MB / s, so I would have to switch to the T7 model for high enough speeds.
Kingston DataTraveler Max 1TB flash drive
It is common for the advertised speed of hard drives and SSDs to differ from real speeds in the real world, due to a number of factors, so I ran the Black Magic Disk Speed test and AmorphousDiskMark. The “sequential” data from the Black Magic Disk Speed Test and the first two lines of the AmorphousDiskMark are the most relevant to me because they represent moving or reading large files. Although none reached the quoted read speed of 1,000 MB / s and 900 MB / s, the drive managed to exceed the read and write speeds I need to edit the video.
Given how large this drive is, it is important to reiterate the importance of proper data storage practices. The availability of a full terabyte of storage space on a flash drive could quickly lull people into a false sense of security. While this is, without a doubt, a reliable drive, any storage device will fail due to enough time or usage. If the data you store on this DataTraveler Max is critical, you should always have a copy (or better yet, multiple copies, including online backups).
This drive was flawless for me, providing a quick place to copy data from my SD cards and SSDs after launch. Its impressively small factor makes it easy to throw in your pocket or camera bag so you always have it ready. I don’t have to worry about running out of recording space during recording, or how long it will take to make backups.
There is only one small problem with the drive, and that is its width. The plastic case is wide enough to prevent you from plugging the cable next to it on the same side of your MacBook. That’s not a problem for me most of the time, but if you regularly have three or more USB-C ports on your Mac or have an M1 MacBook Air with only two ports, it’s definitely worth keeping in mind.
Purchase of Kingston DataTraveler Max
DataTraveler Max comes in capacities of 256 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB with MSRP of 91 USD, 153 USD and 262 USD. I found the prices to be a bit steep, but Amazon listed them well below IFRS, with the 1 TB model costing a much more reasonable $ 179.99. Despite the price, there really is nothing comparable. You can either match the capacity and shape, with something like the Sandisk Extreme PRO USB drive, or you can match the capacity and speed, with something like the Samsung T7 SSD. Kingston DataTraveler Max combines speed, size and capacity into an almost perfect flash drive.
The biggest problem with buying a DataTraveler Max is that they are really hard to find. The Kingston store appears to have sold 256GB models, while the 512GB and 1TB models will be delivered by the end of October. If you are looking for a high-capacity storage device on the go, I would make a big leap, because I can certainly see that these drives are becoming popular.
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