The SuperSonic Magnum Flash Drive

Over the years we have amassed a ton of digital data and it can be a frustrating and time consuming task to move around all that data. Over the past 12 months SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Flash Drives have really grown in capacity with massive 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacities now available. As USB 3.0 controllers, NAND Flash controllers and NAND Flash matures they are also getting faster and smaller, which means these high capacity drives have become practical.

Patriot Memory released a line premium USB 3.0 Flash drives called Supersonic Magnum in March 2011 that combine lightning-fast performance with massive storage capacities. At the time the drives were available in capacities of up to 128GB, but just recently Patriot Memory announced a larger 256GB capacity drive for the series. 

Patriot Supersonic Magnum
Capacity Read/Write Speeds Street Price
PEF64GSMNUSB 64GB 200 / 120 MB/s $74.99
PEF128GSMNUSB 128GB 200 / 120 MB/s $134.62
PEF256GSMNUSB 256GB 250 / 160 MB/s $284.56

The Patriot SuperSonic Magnum uses a single-chip USB 3.0 flash memory controller with 8-Channel technology in order to have some insane performance ratings. The Patriot Supersonic Magnum delivers sequential read/write performance at speeds up to 250MB/s and 160MB/s respectively for the 256GB drive and 200MB/s and 120MB/s for the smaller 64GB and128GB drives. These are very fast ratings for any USB 3.0 Flash Drive, but you'll be paying for that performance. The 64GB Supersonic Magnum runs $74.99 shipped and the new 256GB Supersonic Magnum runs $284.56 shipped. That puts you at $1.17 per GB for the 64GB and $1.11 per GB for the 256GB drive.

Patriot Memory 256GB Supersonic Magnum USB 3.0 Flash Drive

The Patriot Supersonic Magnum 256GB drive comes in nice retail packaging that is colorful and have all the pertinent information on the front and back. It should be noted that all Patriot Supersonic Magnum USB 3.0 Flash Drives are backed by a 5-year warranty and have full plug and play support for Windows 8.

Patriot Supersonic Magnum Features:

Patriot Supersonic Magnum Flash Drive

The Patriot Superonic Magnum 256GB USB 3.0 Flash drive isn't exactly small, but it still easily fits in your pocket and can be easily transported. The exact measurements of the drive are .36” (D) x 1.06” (W) x 2.83” (H) or .91cm (D) x 2.69cm (W) x 7.18cm (H). The black finish with blue accents really look appealing and it is slightly textured, so it isn't too slick. The black housing is made from aluminum and the blue end pieces are all plastic. The build quality feels good and it doesn't feel like a cheap thumb drive.

Patriot Supersonic Magnum Flash Drive Cap

With the cap removed you can see the standard blue SuperSpeed USB 3.0 connector that has been around for many years. This drive is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 ports, but you'll be very performance limited on that older data interface. Inside the Patriot Supersonic Magnum 256GB drive you'll find a Phison PS2251-01-L controller and four 64GB Toshiba NAND Flash memory chips.

Patriot Supersonic Magnum Flash Drive Cap On

The cap snaps on the back of the Patroit Supersonic Magnum for safe storage, but that is where we found a minor design flaw on the USB 3.0 Flash Drive. When you are using a lanyard or key chain loop on this drive you can't secure the cap to the end of the drive as Patriot didn't leave a spot for the cord or ring to go when the cap is on. This shouldn't be a deal breaker for many, but if you use a lanyard and loose caps all the time then it might be.

The Patriot Supersonic Magnum 256GB USB 3.0 Flash drive doesn't come with any accessories or software utilities on the drive, so let's get to speed testing this product!

Test System and Capacity

Test System and Software Setup

To try out the Patriot Supersonic Magnum Flash Drive we will us using an Intel Z77 platform on the integrated Intel SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface. If you would like to know more about this mini-ITX test system you can read an article on how to build it yourself here. We used Intel USB 3.0 driver version 1.0.5.235 for testing.

Intel Z77 Chipset Platform

Legit Reviews Intel Z77 Test System Parts List:

Capacity:

Storage Capacity

 The total capacity of this 256GB drive is 235GB.  The conversion from physical GB to the virtual GiB is why there is a difference. You can see that that the drive uses the FAT32 file system.

Synthetic & Real World Benchmarks

CrystalDiskMark 3.0.2e x64:

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

Crystal Disk Mark Benchmark

Benchmark Results: CrystalDiskMark showed that we hitting 298MB/s read and 177MB/s write on the sequential test! Not bad considering that the drive is rated at 250MB/s read and 160MB/s write! The 512K and 4K write speeds aren't that impressive, but this is a USB Flash Drive and not a storage drive!

ATTO v2.47:

ATTO is one of the oldest drive benchmarks still being used today and is still very relevant.. ATTO measures transfers across a specific volume length. It measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes and places the data into graphs that can be very easily interpreted. The test was run with the default runs of 0.5kb through 8192kb transfer sizes with the total length being 256mb.

ATTO Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The Patriot Supersonic Magnum 256GB USB 3.0 Flash drive was able to hit 279MB/s read and 108MB/ write speeds in ATTO with the default benchmark settings. The write speeds weren't that impressive in this benchmark and were below the advertised rating, but are still pretty fast!

Check Flash v1.16.2:

Check Flash is a multi-purpose flash drive testing and maintenance tool. This utility allows for error checking, speed tests, and much more.

Check Flash Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: Check Flash showed that we averaged 222.59MB/s read and 110.72MB/s write on the speed test. It also didn't find any errors on the 512GB drive, which is expected on a brand new product.

Real World File Transfer Tests

TeraCopy is a compact program designed to copy and move files at the maximum possible speed and features a timer that works great for review purposes as we can easily show you time differences between different file transfer scenarios. TeraCopy also uses dynamically adjusted buffers to reduce seek times and has asynchronous copy speeds up file transfer between two physical hard drives. Let's see what the Patriot Supersonic Magnum 256GB Flash drive can do when moving around a 551MB folder containing 170 screenshots and images taken on some Android cameras and tablets.

write_550

The very first test that we ran was to see how long it took to move the 537MB file directory from the SSD on our system to the Patriot Supersonic Magnum Flash Drive. The file transfer took 21.9 seconds to complete and averaged 25MB/s transfer speeds writing from the system to the Patriot Supersonic Magnum Flash Drive. ATTO showed 55MB/s write speeds at a number of file sizes, so this real world test confirms those synthetic benchmark results!

read_550

The next test we ran was to copy the 537MB directory from the Flash Drive to the desktop of our test machine. This is a test of the read speeds and we noticed that the performance increased 32MB/s and that it took just 16.6 seconds to move the files over. We were hoping to see some higher real-world results, so we switched test systems and test folders to see if that would change the performance. 

write

On our ASUS Zenbook Prime Ultrabook that is running Windows 8, we moved a folder of vacation photos and movies taken on our Canon PowerShot Elph 320HS digital camera to the Flash Drive! When moving the 424 files (1.02GB) from the Ultrabook to the Patriot Supersonic Magnum we again observed 25MB/s write speeds.

read

When moving the folder back we noticed that the performance jumped up to 45MB/s read speeds, but we were a little disappointed in the performance results. In the synthetic tests we were getting nearly 300MB/s read and 180MB/s write, but the best we could do with some folder transfers was 45MB/s read and 25MB/s write. Most people transfer camera pictures and HD movie clips that they have shot, so this is an example of what you can really expect from this USB 3.0 Flash drive.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

Patriot Supersonic Magnum USB 3.0 Flash Drive

The Patriot Supersonic Magnum series of USB 3.0 Flash drives are aimed at power users who are willing to pay a little extra in order to get more performance and higher capacities. The Supersonic Magnum is available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities and while the performance varies between drives, all are fast! Capacities and performance aside, the Patriot Supersonic Magnum also looks nice thanks to the black aluminum housing that helps it handle forces of up to 15G! It appears that Patriot Memory has done a great job developing this USB drive.

Crystal Disk Mark Benchmark

When it comes to performance the Patriot Supersonic Magnum 256GB is hands down the fastest USB 3.0 Flash drive that we have ever seen when it comes to the synthetic benchmark results. Seeing sequential read speeds of nearly 300MB/s and 180MB/s write is very impressive. When moving around images and movies we saw 45MB/s read and 25MB/s write speeds and while that isn't as high as the results seen in the synthetic tests they are still very nice. At the end of the day it really depends on the file types that you are dealing with as to how the drive will perform. 

Patriot Supersonic Magnum
Capacity Read/Write Speeds Street Price
PEF64GSMNUSB 64GB 200 / 120 MB/s $74.99
PEF128GSMNUSB 128GB 200 / 120 MB/s $134.62
PEF256GSMNUSB 256GB 250 / 160 MB/s $284.56

The Patriot Supersonic Magnum 256GB drives retails for $284.56 shipped, which breaks down to $1.11 per GB. This is actually lower than any other 256GB USB 3.0 Flash drive on the market. The only other one available right now is the Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 256GB drive that will cost you $475.79 shipped (or $1.86 per GB). It also happens to be rated slower with just 225MB/s read and 135MB/s write speeds. Both also feature 5-year warranties, so at the end of the day the Patriot Supersonic Magnum 256GB USB 3.0 Flash drive doesn't look that bad!

If you are looking for a blazing fast 256GB USB 3.0 Flash drive that is also competitively priced we highly recommend the Patriot Supersonic Magnum 256GB!

ACER S7-191-6640

Legit Bottom Line: The Patriot Supersonic Magnum 256GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive offers gobs of storage, is super fast and is priced below the only other 256GB USB 3.0 drive on the market!