Corsair Flash Voyager GT USB 3.0 Review



Flash memory technology have been around for years but only in the last decade did it become ubiquitous and a common device to have, primarily spurred on by the popularity of digital cameras and mp3 players where storage space was never enough it seemed. The technology eventually made its way in general purpose storage devices like USB flash drives and solid state drives.

I recently bought a Corsair 16 GB Flash Voyager GT USB 3.0(CMFVYGT3A-16GB). I have wanted to do a review of this flash drive for some time. This one is the USB 3.0 version which should provide fast performance. Off the bat the specs look impressive. It is rated for read speed of 140 MB/s and write speed of 45 MB/s. Those aren't the best numbers I have seen to date but definitely faster than most flash drives. While the numbers look good on paper the actual performance is much lower as I will illustrate later on.

Consider recordable DVD have a read speed of 22 MB/s and a write speed of 33 MB/s. The less common recordable Blu-ray have a read speed of 54 MB/s and a write speed of 68 MB/s. Neither looks particularly impressive considering the portability of a USB flash drive and its plug and play nature.

The Flash Voyager GT looks great and feels solid. The rubber shroud looks great while providing shock protection if dropped. The rubber cap has a snug fit and should have no problem staying on. It is physically larger than a typical USB flash drive. At 3.5 inches long, an inch wide and a half-inch thick it is easily twice the size of most USB flash drives. This may be problematic in certain situations like on a motherboard where the USB ports are spaced closely together and will prevent you from having access to adjacent ports while the Flash Voyager GT is plugged in. If you must I believe you can remove the rubber shroud which should eliminate the issue.

For benchmarks I used CrystalDiskMark and ATTO. Here are my system specs:

In my initial testing with CrystalDiskMark I could not figure out why I was only getting 35 MB/s in the sequential read/write test. ATTO and HDTune did confirm the Flash Voyager GT is capable of faster speeds than this. Also, I experienced BSOD and the flash drive becoming inaccessible whenever I transfer a large file of several hundred megabytes.

The motherboard is equipped with a NEC D720200F1 USB 3.0 chip. I decided to roll back the USB 3.0 driver to the one NEC provided(version rather than the one from Renesas(version, both provided on Asus' website. Renesas acquired NEC Electronics a while back so the drivers are interchangeable. The driver swap appear to have fixed my problems. What has me confused is the sequential read/write test under CrystalDiskMark has improved when I switched back to the Renesas driver. My guess, the wear-levelling of the drive controller is influencing the results to some degree. I did all the benchmarks using the NEC driver.

The best score I got in CrystalDiskMark(v3.0.2) 64bit with USB 3.0 is 139 MB/s read and 45 MB/s write. When the drive is connected to USB 2.0 the read and write test drops to around 32 MB/s, which is still great. Do notice that bigger files are favored when it comes to speed.

Corsair Flash Voyager GTCorsair Flash Voyager GT


ATTO Disk Benchmark(v2.47) shows similar results. USB 3.0 read speed of 140 MB/s and write speed of 40MB/s. USB 2.0 read speed is 33 MB/s and write speed is 30 MB/s. Once again obeserve the speed increases as the file size gets larger.


The synthetic benchmarks look impressive but deceiving. Marketers love to tout these numbers. In practice these speeds will be much lower. The benchmarking software transfer data between the RAM and USB flash drive. For us humans we usually transfer data between a harddrive and a USB flash drive. The harddrive being the slowest in the link will drive the speed slightly lower.

Let us take a look at real-world performances. Depending on your PC configuraton you may see varying results from what I got. In Windows 7 and using USB 3.0 I wanted to see the true performance of the Flash Voyager GT when transferring a large file. I used single 3.27 GB ISO file to transfer to and from the flash drive. As shown from the previous benchmarks transferring a large file results in the fastest transfer speed.

Writing the ISO file from the harddrive to the flash drive I observed speeds of 39 MB/s. That is roughly 9% lower compared to the synthetic benchmarks. Transferring the same file from the flash drive back to the harddrive resulted in 33% lower speed compared to the synthetic benchmarks at a mere 93 MB/s. I seemed to have hit a wall here and I could not go any faster regardless of file size.


Repeating the same procedure under USB 2.0 I observed a write speed of 27 MB/s and a read speed of 33 MB/s. That is pretty good compared to most USB 2.0 flash drives.


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