USB Key Drive A Must For Vista PCs

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Many have come to think of USB key drives as a disposable technology, similar to what floppy disks offered years back. But, thanks to Windows Vista, that role is about to change.

Super Talent Technology has refreshed its product line to make USB key drives a must with most any Vista PC. Windows Vista introduces a new concept in adding memory called Windows ReadyBoost, which allows the use of a removable USB flash memory device to improve system performance.

ReadyBoost improves system performance by retrieving cached data from flash memory instead of from the slower hard drive. It is reliable and allows users to remove the flash device at any time, without any loss of data. The only downside is performance returns to the level before ReadyBoost once the device is removed.

SuperTalent's RBST USB drives come in a variety of sizes and are all ReadyBoost-qualified. CRN Test Center engineers took a look at a 4-Gbyte version of the drive and tested it with a Lenovo ThinkPad system running Windows Vista. Setup is simple; just plug the device into a USB 2.0 port and the Windows Vista UI asks how you would like to use the device.

Windows Vista also tests the throughput of the device to make sure that placing a ReadyBoost partition on the drive is worthwhile; in this case, the SuperTalent unit passed with flying colors.

Test Center engineers opted to dedicate 2 Gbytes to ReadyBoost and another 2 Gbytes to removable storage. Once set up, the notebook computer was snappier and "woke up" from hibernation mode more quickly. Engineers also tried different-size ReadyBoost partitions and found that even as little as 512 Mbytes of dedicated storage offered enhanced performance.

SuperTalent's RBST 4-Gbyte USB key drive retails for $79. The company also offers lower capacities at lower prices.

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