HP, one of the largest PC makers, has licenced its range of high-performance HP flash memory products. Why? To enable wider consumer use.
HP has licensed PNY (Est. 1985) to make HP Flash Memory products. PNY (short for Paris/New York) is US company and a leading manufacturer of Flash Memory Cards, USB Flash Drives, Solid State Drives, Computer Memory Upgrade Modules, Cables, NVIDIA GeForce Consumer Graphics Cards, NVIDIA Quadro Professional Graphics Cards, NVIDIA Tesla supercomputing inferencing cards, NVIDIA DGXTM Systems and PNY GPU powered servers and workstations.
The new products include USB 3.1 Gen 1 and dedicated USB-C OTG flash drives. They come in a range of formats including lanyards, keychains and more. Capacity ranges from 16GB to 1TB.
The full range is here, but you are unlikely to see them all at retailers – just yet. Stockists include JB Hi-Fi and specialist computer stores. Warranty is two years.
What is USB 3.1 Gen 1?
You can read more in our tutorial here, but essentially USB 3.1 Gen 1 is a 5Gbps (625MBps) interface.
UBS 3.0 is a similar overall speed as USB 3.1. But the reality is that this is a combined up/down speed and tops out at 3.2Gbps (400Mbps).
USB 2.0 has a 480Mbps (60MBps) speed that tops out at 280Mbps (35MBps). You can see why everyone wants faster USB Flash drives.
There are also other USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps), USB 4.0 (40Gbps – coming) and Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) devices.
What is OTG?
OTG (On-The-Go) enables a USB-A flash drive or USB-A device (keyboard/mouse) to connect to your phone or tablet via Micro-USB or USB-C port. You normally use a special OTG adapter, but more devices now include OTG capability.
A PC and USB flash drive works on a host/slave basis where the PC controls the drive. OTG changes that to the drive being the host and the Android (not iOS) smartphone the slave and vice versa depending on use – a kind of role swap. All you need to know is that you can attach OTG Flash drives to smartphones and read/write data from/to its main storage.
The current maximum OTG capacity is FAT32 2TB. Most OTG device have a USB-C and USB-A connector (to facilitate transfer to a PC).
Australian Review: HP flash memory products
A review of any flash drive is pretty boring. We wanted to see how fast HP’s premium x770 USB 3.1 drive was in comparison to the USB 2.0/3.0 ‘disposable’ flash drives.
Out test device was a Surface Pro 7 with USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps) and USB-C 3.1/2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) ports.
Crystal Diskmark 7 revealed some very pleasant surprises. Note the first two lines are sequential read/write of 1MB/1GB files (think restore/backup). The next two lines are random read/write of 1MB/1GB files (think loading or saving files).
HP 512GB x770w USB 3.1 (32GB-1TB) – not at JB or other retailers yet
It has a faster controller and can, in theory, achieve 400/250MBps sequential read/write speeds.
It achieves 397.24/309.99 exceeding the HP specs. The controller is of critical importance here as flash drives don’t have a DRAM cache. When the buffer is full, it stops until it is empty.
HP 128GB 796L USB-3.1 (32GB-1TB) JB price 32/64/128GB $18/25/59
This has a traditional controller and can achieve read speeds of 75MBps (32/64/128GB). The 512GB/1TB can get up to 200MBps.
HP OTG x5000m USB 3.1 drive (32-256GB) – not at JB yet
Remember these work with Android phones, and most of these have USB 2.0 interfaces.
It achieves 172MBps sequential read. We suspect slower write speeds are due more to the smartphone interface not being able to handle writing to its internal storage. Still, for a quick backup, this is perfect.
Other HP branded flash products
The website shows a range of 3.1 and 2.0 flash drives. JB Hi-Fi shows a few of these. Prices – well they are a tad more expensive, but that is because they are USB 3.1.
For example, the HP 796L 128GB is $59 versus the SanDisk 2.0/3.1 at $42/54.
And with the greatest respect to HP if you just want a cheap 2.0 drive then buy anything!
GadgetGuy’s take – HP flash memory products are worth it if you want the 3.1 speed.
Well made and the x770 has the best performance I have seen from a flash drive.
We reviewed the OWC Envoy Pro USB-A SSD stick last year (SSD is very fast flash). It costs $160 for a 512GB unit. It can reach 461/271Mbps, but at nearly three times the price I know where I will be investing in.
We can’t rate these drives as it would only be against accepted speed benchmarks. Suffice to say that the HP product we have seen offer superior quality and speeds.