Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thanks for the (flash) memory

Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2007 3:59 PM


This is a very large USB drive.

It really wasn’t all that long ago that I bought a Macintosh SE/30 computer.

It came with 1MB of memory as standard equipment but was able to handle a grand total of 16MB of RAM.
That was an absolutely astounding amount of memory for that time. In 1989, most computers were dealing with kilobytes (1 thousand bytes) of memory -- not the megabytes (1 million bytes) or gigabytes (1 billion bytes) we take for granted today.

That’s why I was so astounded recently when I was looking for a portable USB 2.0 flash memory drive to hold a very large amount of data I needed to make portable.

When I saw the offerings on the PNY Web site I couldn’t believe my eyes.

PNY makes flash “thumb” drives in lots of sizes, colors and shapes – but it was the top-of-the-line version of the Attaché model that grabbed my attention.

They come in all the popular sizes, starting at 128MB and go all the way up to a 16GB device. That’s 16 gigabytes of high performance, low power-consuming, non-volatile storage space.

I couldn’t wait to try one.

You have to realize that you can store a whole lot of stuff in a 16GB memory device. I filled my test Attaché drive with an incredible amount of data – including two full DVDs worth of software that I need to get on a laptop with no DVD drive.

I was also able to add hundreds of music and video files. Don’t forget, 16GB of storage space is larger than what many popular MP3 players are able to hold.

Actually, transferring material on and off of the flash drive was quick and easy – just a case of dragging and dropping. Playback of both the audio and video files from the Attaché was glitch-free. On the whole, I encountered no problems whatsoever.

Of course, there is a downside. Super-large flash drives come with super-large price tags. PNY’s 16GB Attaché drive retails for a whopping $199.99. At least the drive comes with a long lanyard so you can carry it around your neck. Believe me, you don’t want to misplace a $200 thumb drive or what’s stored on it.

Think of what you can carry in a device this – movies, concerts, business presentations - literally thousands of files. I’m sure you can come up with dozens of other uses.

PNY Attaché drives work on PCs or Macs, come with a one-year warranty and provide you with a toll-free number for technical support.