With the release of the Intel Z170 chipset, Intel is now officially supporting the latest revision of the USB specifications, 3.1. USB 3.1 and Type-C are commonly linked together, they are in fact two different parts of the USB specification; Type-C is for the physical connector, but doesn't specify that it must include the increased bandwidth that USB 3.1 provides; several announced products include Type-C, but is limited to USB 2.0. So what exactly is USB Type-C? It is specifically a small oval shaped reversible plug that is capable of transmitting data, video, audio, network and power.
With a new USB connector, we will be seeing many new devices that include the Type-C connector. Kingston has already released an updated version of their DataTraveler microDuo flash drive that has both USB 3.1 and Type-C ports called the DataTraveler microDuo 3C. It is currently available in three sizes, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB starting at around $12 for the smallest, up to around $28 for the 64GB version with free shipping; of course that also includes Kingston's 5 year warranty.
Note that the all of the Kingston DataTraceler microDuo 3C drives have transfer speeds up to 100MB/s read, but the 32GB and 64GB capacity drives have 15MB/s write while the 16GB is rated at up to just 10MB/s. If write performance is important for your computing needs you'll want to go with the 32GB drive for an extra $5 as you'll get 50% more write performance performance!
Kingston Digital 64GB Data Traveler Micro Duo USB 3C Flash Drive
Packaging for the Kingston microDuo 3C is pretty typical for retail packaging. it is secured in a plastic blister pack, which of course requires something sharp to open. The front of the package lists the capacity in big bold print, with the 5 year warranty listed in the lower corner.
The drive itself uses the metal housing that we have seen from Kingston on many of it's small flash drives. The bottom of the drive has a little slot for a small lanyard connector or keyring. The top of the drive lists the model and capacity.
The new Type-C connector is protected by a plastic cover that swings out of the way when you want to use the connector.
If size is a concern, the microDuo 3C is just under 1 1/8 inch. Pretty small for a flash drive; especially considering the USB 3 connector is close to 0.5in, and the Type-C is approximately 0.22in, leaving about 0.4in for the rest of the flash drive and the cap.
Kingston microDuo 3C Performance and Conclusion
We will check out the performance of the Kingston microDuo 3C using the latest version of CrystalDiskMark 5.0.2. In addition, it will be tested on the Gigabyte GA-Z170X-UD5 motherboard, which has on-board USB 3.1 and Type-C connectors.
CrystalDiskMark reported a Sequential read speed of 118.1MB/s and a write speed of 18.45MB/s when connecting the Kingston microDuo 3C directly to the USB 3.0 port on the motherboard.
While the microDuo 3C isn't designed to take advantage of the increase in bandwidth that USB 3.1 provides, we checked out the speed anyways. We found that the microDuo is slightly faster than using the USB 3.0 connection, but not fast enough to really amaze us. With a Sequential read speed of 120.0MB/s and a write speed of 18.67MB/s, that puts the read speed just 2MB/s faster than the USB 3.0 connection.
Trying out the USB 3.1 Type-C connector, we experienced another small boost in read and write speed when compared to the standard USB 3.1 connection. Again, nothing that really amazed us, but an increase in 0.8MB/s is still an increase in the Sequential read speed, and 0.14MB/s increase in the Sequential write speed. Both of these are so minor, we could run this all day and get a slight variance in the speeds to account for this small difference.
At the rated speeds of 100MB/s read and 15MB/s write, it's performance is pretty average for USB 3.0 flash drives. I have tested this drive on several different systems, and each time it performed slightly above the rated speeds; not enough to get really excited for though. However, if you are purchasing the Kingston microDuo 3C for the USB 3.0 connector only, you might want to consider a faster drive that might provide a better cost/performance ratio.
With that said, if you are looking at the Kingston microDuo 3C you are most likely not looking to purchase just for the USB 3.0 connector. The Type-C connector is the main reason to purchase the microDuo 3C. The Type-C worked perfectly, and made it much easier to connect to the port not having to worry about plugging it in upside down. As more device start utilizing this port, we'll start to see better speeds; which I don't have a doubt that Kingston will be right there with faster Type-C flash drives.
The Kingston microDuo 3C main competitor is by Sandisk, I did not have one available to include in the performance testing, however just looking at it's rated speeds and price the Kingston microDuo 3C is the better choice coming in cheaper; with a faster Read speed but slightly slower Write speed. For $28.82 Shipped, you get a small USB 3.1 flash drive, that includes the latest Type-C connector along with Kignstons 5 year warranty.
Legit Bottom Line: The Kingston DataTraveler microDuo 3C performs like most low cost USB 3.0 flash drives, however the capability of using both standard USB and the new Type-C connector will make this little drive very useful as tablets and smartphones begin to implement the new connector.