Kingston DataTraveler Mini Slim 4Gb USB Stick Review

Storage/Other by jmke @ 2009-12-08

Kingston latest USB stick to appear on the market is this very small and low profile Mini Slim DataTraveler which comes in sizes from 2 to 8Gb. We test a blue colored 4Gb edition to see how it stacks up against the competition.

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Test Setup and Comparison Material

The DataTraveler Mini Slim stick was compared to:
  • Kingston DataTraveler 2.0 4gb
  • Sandisk Cruzer Mini 512Mb
  • Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 4GB
  • Sandisk U3 Contour 4Gb
  • Sandisk U3 Cruzer Micro 4Gb
  • Corsair Voyager 4Gb
  • Super Talent Pico-C 8Gb
  • Corsair Voyager GT 16Gb
  • OCZ Rally2 32Gb
The following test setup was used with Windows XP SP2 installed; we used ATTO HDD Benchmark v2.34 and HDTach 3.0 to measure performance:

Intel Test Setup
CPU Intel Core 2 E6400 @ 2.8Ghz (from CSMSA)
Cooling Coolermaster Hyper TX
Mainboard Intel 975X Bad Axe (Modded by Piotke)
Memory 2 * 1Gb PC6400 OCZ
  • XFX Geforce 8800 GTX
  • Coolermaster Real Power M520 520W PSU
  • 2x Western Digital 74Gb Raptor SATA HDD

  • Performance

    Let’s start with the HDTach’s random access time test:

    Madshrimps (c)

    Access times for the Mini Slim are very low, under 1ms!

    Madshrimps (c)

    HD Tach read speeds are less promising, burst speed is ok at ~30Mb/s, but sustained average speed is quite low, only 14mb/s.

    ATTO HDD Benchmark allows you to test the performance of a storage media by measuring the time it takes to read or write a file of 256Mb; the difference with other HDD benchmark is that ATTO will read/write that data file in different size chunks, going from 0.5Kb to 8192Kb. In our test we used 4kb to 8912Kbsetting.

    The smaller transfer sizes are applicable for overall Windows operation like Page File actions (~4kb) and small file transfers (.inf , .ini, .dll files). Larger 100Mb+ files are transferred in much larger chunks. Normally you can expect that hard drives do rather well with small chunks, better than SSD in any case, once the file transfer size increases performance will go up for SSD/HDD and USB sticks.

    If you want to run an applications straight of your USB stick, high performance at small transfer size is important. If you plan to use it primarily to transfer large files, file transfer speed at chunks of 512Kb are more important.

    Let’s see how these USB sticks did in the READ test:

    Madshrimps (c)

    As HD Tach already predicted, read speeds are below what we’d expect from a decent USB stick, average of only ~14mb/s means it’s performing well below what USB 2.0 is capable of.

    Madshrimps (c)

    Then we come to the write speeds of the Mini Slim. Kingston had to make some sacrifices to make everything fit in their small design, but they may have reduced some performance areas too drastically. At only ~2 Mb/s write speed, we’re close to USB 1.1 speed.
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