The USB 3.0 lineup of Flash Voyager GT drives is a bit different from previous GT entries in that there's two different speed ratings depending on the drive you're looking at. The problem I see with this lineup is that the current pricing offers little incentive to buy the 32GB Flash Voyager GT USB 3.0 over its non-GT cousin being sold for $15 less if you ignore rebates. The standard model reads "only" at 80MB/s versus the GT's 135MB/s, but this is okay with me since I'm more concerned with write speeds, and that's where I see no value. 40MB/s versus 41MB/s? Yawn.
The 64GB drive is a better proposition all around, doubling the write speed to an impressive 83MB/s on paper. For double the price, of course. Is this what my mom was going on about when she constantly harped about buying in bulk? Yes, buying the speedy 64GB version is undoubtedly better than having to buy two 32GB drives, but now we're talking about a $130 flash drive instead of a $55 one, and that's well above the mental barrier for a stocking stuffer.
Corsair's rated speeds for the Flash Voyager GT USB 3.0 were pulled from the classic ATTO Disk Benchmark, so that's what I'll be using to verify the synthetic numbers. My testing platform consists of an EP45T-USB3P motherboard graciously offered by Gigabyte Technology, with a 3.0GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 8GB of RAM. The USB 3.0 controller is built by NEC/Renesas, and is running the latest v3028 firmware and v220.127.116.11 drivers. "Turbo USB 3.0" mode is enabled on the motherboard to alleviate any potential bottlenecks.
As you can see in ATTO results above, both the 32GB and 64GB Flash Voyager GT USB 3.0 drives were a bit off from their advertised maximum read and write speeds, but not by too much. When using the standard benchmark length of 256MB, the 64GB model's read speed peaked at just under 117MB/s, with the 32GB scoring slightly higher at 123MB/s, a notable 10MB/s below Corsair's numbers. Write speeds were closer to spec, with a maximum of 80MB/s for the 64GB and 42MB/s for the 32GB drive.
It's interesting to note that the benchmarks change dramatically when adjusting the length in ATTO, at least for the Flash Voyager GTs. At a smaller 128MB benchmark length, the read speeds drop to 113MB/s for both drives, but the 64GB and 32GB write speeds soar to 89MB/s and 45MB/s respectively. Increasing the length to 1024MB throws things in reverse, dropping write speeds to 74MB/s and 39MB/s, but boosting the read speeds to 126MB/s and 130MB/s. All the while the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate G2 behaved more predictably, boosting *both* read and write speeds to 126MB/s and 77MB/s as the length increased.
Though I wasn't able to hit the maximum 135MB/s synthetic read speed advertised by Corsair, I think that being off by 4% counts as close enough. The excellent small write performance is also noteworthy, oftentimes faster than the read performance at the same level. Being able to surpass Corsair's own write speeds was rather nice, but I'm not entirely comfortable with having to milk the synthetic benchmarks like I did when I'm used to benchmarking at the default length of 256MB as most other reviewers do.
To test real world performance, I performed a Robocopy test of transferring a 10GB collection of small and medium sized files--a good equivalent of many high-res photos or MP3s. A second transfer was also performed by moving a much larger 4GB file. Files were transferred to and from an OCZ Vertex 3 solid state drive, again to ensure that there were no bottlenecks. All drives were formatted as exFAT for this test.
This graph is a bit more telling. Read speeds were certainly fast and in the case of the 32GB Flash Voyager, even faster than what I was able to hit on the synthetic benchmark at an astonishing 141MB/s. But the write speed was absolutely cringing compared to the synthetic benchmarks, only able to write at 65MB/s for the 64GB drive and 34MB/s for the 32GB drive when moving the 4GB file. Remember, we've seen these two write at up to 89MB/s and 45MB/s respectively.
Contrast this to the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate G2, which held much closer to its synthetic benchmarks and consistently knocked the socks off of the 32GB Flash Voyager GT in every write test above 64 bytes. Between the two 32GB drives, the Kingston is a clear winner in terms of raw write performance. To be fair, however, it also costs a good $15 more than Corsair's offering, plus it cannot be bounced off of walls in boredom.
Fast read speeds
Also fast write speeds (64GB)
Durable as ever
Synthetic writes are far from real-world performance
32GB writes barely faster than non-GT model
Blocks vertically-stacked USB ports
Lanyard, extension cable not included
The performance-minded Flash Voyager GTs are back and bouncing around with USB 3.0, still durable as ever before. Unless you're in a war zone or objects just happen to spontaneously combust around you, these drives should have no problem lasting a good many years. The unbridled read speeds are blazingly fast compared to the fastest of USB 2.0 drives or even the first generation of USB 3.0 drives.
The 64GB GT kicks write speeds up to to eleven, but the 32GB write speed addles my brain given that it's practically the same as the non-GT Flash Voyager and easily bested by competing top-tier 32GB flash drives. Real world write speeds for both are also a bit lacking compared to the synthetic results, but still plenty fast. It's easy to recommend the Flash Voyager GTs despite these shortcomings, but I'd advise price-conscious consumers and speed junkies alike to nevertheless weigh their many options carefully.