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  1. #1
    Forum Member melminimalist's Avatar
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    512 GB thumb drive

    Anyone tried one yet? I have a first world problem. A 1 TB external drive is way to big, heavy and requires an extra cord. I have most of my things in cloud storage except ebooks and movies/TV shows, even stripping it down to just my favs a 256 GB isn't quite enough, so I have an ultrafit 128gb to supplement. I have been waiting for a 512 GB to cone out. I have recently seen a pny 512 for $250 which is still out of my price range but I was curious if anyone else out here has used it? Also I saw a 1 tb Kingston data traveler for $950. Too high a price but so cool that they have gotten it that small!

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
    "Not all who wander are lost"
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  2. #2
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    I have not used any traditional USB flash drives larger than 128GB, but I have been using USB SSD drives in 240GB-500GB sizes at work. They work well, and typically perform faster than traditional flash drive.

    For the pedants out there, I know that "flash" and "SSD" aren't exactly directly comparable terms - SSD is a generic term that can refer to various implementations of a solid-state, flash-based drive. But I'm gonna roll with the terminology for ease of writing - below, "Flash" refers to traditional USB flash drives, and "SSD" refers to a USB-to whatever controller-to SSD that may or may not look like a traditional Flash drive.

    Devices marketed as USB SSDs typically have significantly better throughput than devices marketed as Flash drives. They're not always more expensive for a given size (but usually are). Newer Flash drives tend to have good read performance, but suffer from poorer write performance in comparison. SSDs are typically a little larger, but not quite as large as a full 2.5" external drive (I'm guessing because of the need to implement a standard disk controller, as opposed to the Flash drive controllers that expose the storage in a different way.) SSDs in the 120-256GB range have shrunk to be about the size of a flash drive for the well-designed ones.

    There are differences in write cycle longevity for the various devices of all types, but most people don't get into that problem with externals.

    A traditional spinning drive is too large and heavy? Are you using a 2.5" or 3.5" external? A 2.5" device refers to the drive width inside - external dimensions are usually 4.5x3.5" (~115x90mm) or less. They are typically referred to as "portable" external hard drives, as opposed to "desktop" external hard drives. You do have to be careful to check product dimensions, as there's not universal marketing term that ensures you have a 2.5" external.

    I also use external 2.5" 1-3TB traditional HDs, and they don't typically require additional power (totally USB powered, typically from a single 3.0 port that does data and power.) I would not characterize them as large! They don't tend to be very heavy, but they are not as performant as the SSDs. They are, however, quite cheap. The last time I picked up a 2TB 2.5" external spinning drive, it was ~$65 not on sale.

    Another alternative is sometimes SD cards - you can get a SD to USB adapter, and use it among various devices (tablets or cameras or whatever) in ways that the other storage above isn't really suited to as easily. They're certainly smaller in size, but typically suffer from greater performance penalties.

    I do use Macs, Windows PCs and other devices - you don't need to buy a SSD, HD or Flash drive specific for those types of devices. You can just reformat the thing if you have a Mac. Most come preformatted for Windows PC use.

  3. #3
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    Geez I feel old. I remember when 512 Mb seemed huge.
    It's utterly amazing that we can get 512 gigs of storage on a thumb drive.

  4. #4
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    Echoing what squaredot said. Today's external drives are pretty portable, and they only require a connector cord, no power. I have mentioned the Wirecutter's reviews here before as trustworthy - check their recommendations out at The Wirecutter - best portable hard drive

    (You could also buy multiple thumb drives - sort by media type, genre, etc - if portability is really the key (no pun intended). The Wirecutter - best thumb drive

    Oh, and what was I thinking! Don't forget something to put them in Big Grin Clear Organizer Pouch

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by squaredot View Post
    I have not used any traditional USB flash drives larger than 128GB, but I have been using USB SSD drives in 240GB-500GB sizes at work. They work well, and typically perform faster than traditional flash drive.
    I use a 480gb Sandisk Ext SSD (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1) which I picked up on sale for $128 about a year ago. Its not as small as a flash drive but its significantly smaller than a typical external HDD and significantly faster than a USB or HDD. It does require a cord though but I keep mine attached with a simple lanyard to make it convenient. Its probably a good middle ground between a USB and HDD if you need that much space. I also have a msata-based ssd in a Kingwin external case which behaves the same way and is similar in size. See pics below.

    512 GB thumb drive-2017-07-12-11-48-00-jpg

  6. #6
    Forum Member TRD's Avatar
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    Ohhh if I didn't already have multiple external hard drives that are currently working just fine ai'd be all over that rugged San Disk. How cool is that!

  7. #7
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    I sure consider a drive that can slide right into a crowded pocket a lot smaller than one that can not?
    So if the O.P. wants a USB Flash Drive that size why suggest an entirely different device?

    This is a little like the idiotic new iPhone headphone adapter argument to me.
    I need the 3.5mm jack every day and am not satisfied with the stupid adapter even though most seem to be.
    Someone else thinking it is OK does not make it so for me.

    I have 256g Flash models too and have not seen any 512g in the wild just yet but I have a feeling that the first time I do for a decent price that I will snag one as well!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AVService View Post
    I sure consider a drive that can slide right into a crowded pocket a lot smaller than one that can not?
    So if the O.P. wants a USB Flash Drive that size why suggest an entirely different device?
    Not sure if your question was rhetorical or not, but I replied with pointers to relatively compact portable hard drives because the OP's description sounded like s/he might not have seen the smallest ones out there (which don't seem that bulky and need only a small connector). And since it might have helped other readers. That said - you are right that if portability/pocketability is the most important factor then it probably wouldn't be the right choice.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AVService View Post
    I sure consider a drive that can slide right into a crowded pocket a lot smaller than one that can not?
    So if the O.P. wants a USB Flash Drive that size why suggest an entirely different device?
    Just offering other options as he stated $250 for a 512gb flash drive is too much while my example of a 480gb ext SSD was $128. It has the durability of flash drive, cheaper per GB than the larger flash drives, can fit in your pocket but probably won't work on a key chain but can easily be tossed in any bag without banging or bouncing being a concern.

  10. #10
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    Well it seemed you were suggesting that the O.P. couldn't justify wanting the smallest drive for some reason?

    I also like carrying these in my pocket but could never carry even the smallest different style drive really.

    Maybe I just need to stop posting from strange Hotel rooms first thing in the morning too?

  11. #11
    Forum Member melminimalist's Avatar
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    Hey all! Thanks for the feedback. I should have gone more in depth as to why I prefer thumb drive to external drive.

    I do have a Seagate 1 TB external drive currently and while no, it's not super large, it is too large for my "on the downsize lifestyle". I am trying to limit what I own to a very small amount and frankly the external drives with "yet another cord" do not fit my vision of that. I am diligently working towards every I own fitting into a backpack. This is not for any upcoming trip, just a more minimal lifestyle that I am pursuing. Now having said that I know that the idea of having that many gb's of info isn't very minimal I am working on parring my content down.

    I bought my Seagate 2 years ago at least and about a year switched to the 256gb thumb and 128 GB ultrafit, I still have the Seagate because of overflow. A 512gb would be perfect! I have about 400-450 GB of TV, movies and audiobooks to store. I cloud store music and photos. So in any case long story short (too late!) That's why I was asking because honestly the cost of a 512 is still too high, but I was curious how others felt and maybe what kind of set up people have going for them and their storage. Hopefully I didn't step on toes :-)

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
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    "Love people, use things, because the opposite never works" - The Minimalists
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by melminimalist View Post
    I do have a Seagate 1 TB external drive currently and while no, it's not super large, it is too large for my "on the downsize lifestyle". I am trying to limit what I own to a very small amount and frankly the external drives with "yet another cord" do not fit my vision of that.
    Paring things back is certainly a worthy challenge!

    With that more stringent criteria, I'm assuming that means you'd rather not have to carry a USB3-style drive cable - you're definitely down to thumb-drive form factors with a male USB C or A style connector built in. Most of the devices they produce in this form factor are around the price you mentioned, so no price breaks as of yet.

    You can reduce this price a fair amount if you're willing to live with a USB3 micro B male to USB A or USB C cable - you definitely can get ~500GB SSDs for less. Some of the M2 SSD housings are not much wider than a traditional flash drive, but do have a cable. With the increase of USB C connectors, I'm hopeful that this will become the go-to connector. I don't particularly like having to schlep around several cables, either. If you already have a USB C cable, using a device of this kind wouldn't require owning a cable just for the drive.

    256GB definitely seems to be the sweet spot for flash pricing, with decent devices for around ~$60-75. I think we're buying 64GB USB3 drives for $9-11 in bulk at work. Craaazy what you can get for a few dollars.

    My coworker does have a larger sized SSD that plugs straight into a USB3 A style port without needing a cable, but I can't remember for the life of me which brand it was. I'm totally curious due to this thread, as I can't find anything similar online right now.
    Last edited by squaredot; 07-13-2017 at 04:12 PM.

  13. #13
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    On the up side, a M2-type ~500GB or 1TB SSD with a decent performing enclosure is comparatively cheap, for those of you who might be interesting in "rolling your own", want a small device, and don't mind having to use a USB3 micro B or C cable. Good way to re-use M2 devices if you or a friend upgrade hardware you have.

    Drives like this are similar in form factor to the Kingwin device posted by hachkc above. You can get enclosures that connect via USB C (and USB A-C cables or straight C) or USB3 micro B.
    Last edited by squaredot; 07-13-2017 at 05:05 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AVService View Post
    Well it seemed you were suggesting that the O.P. couldn't justify wanting the smallest drive for some reason?

    I also like carrying these in my pocket but could never carry even the smallest different style drive really.

    Maybe I just need to stop posting from strange Hotel rooms first thing in the morning too?
    No one was suggesting that OP's original request wasn't justified. It was just a helpful suggestion of something that might also be useful.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by squaredot View Post
    You can get enclosures that connect via USB C (and USB A-C cables or straight C) or USB3 micro B.
    Wish my drive had USB C as my phone and laptop also use USB C cables. Would be nice to have 1 cable for charging my phone, laptop and battery packs plus connecting to my SSD. Instead I need 3 of them (USB B, C and micro) for everything.

    If I wanted to replace everything, Samsung makes a nice ext SSD which uses USB C and there are a handful of battery packs using USB C to charge also. Should I drop $230 to only carry 1 cable or carry 3 cables I already own and buy another bag? Any advice Smilie

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