DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 Gets Third Major Update

Kingston Technology started shipping the DataTravler Ultimate series of SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Flash drives in 2010 and has been continuously updating the series to make sure they look modern and have the highest performance possible at the time they are released. Pretty much all PC users know that USB 3.0 technology that offers up to ten times the data transfer rates of USB 2.0 and is the way to go when it comes to moving around large amounts of data. The original DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 Flash drive series came out in 2010 and was rated by Kingston as having read speeds of up to 80MB/s and a write speeds of up to 60MB/s. These Flash drive were quick, but in 2011 Kingston released the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 Gen 2 series with speed ratings of up to 100MB/s read and 80MB/s write speeds! Here we are in 2013 and Kingston has released the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 Gen 3 series with speeds of up to 150MB/s read and 70MB/s write. As you can see there is a significant improvement in read speeds over the past several years, but the write speed has little changed.

Kingston Part Number Description Street Price Price Per GB
DTU30G3/32GB 32GB USB 3.0 Flash drive $38.06 $1.19
DTU30G3/64GB 64GB USB 3.0 Flash drive $69.99 $1.09

The DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 is available in 32GB and 64GB capacities under the part number DTU30G3. If you are shopping for a drive be sure to remember part numbers that begin with DTU30 are the original drives and are slightly slower. Just like most storage drives, the cost per GB goes down as the capacity goes up. For this review we were sent the Kingston DT Ultimate 3.0 G3 32GB DTU30G3/32GB model, so that is the drive we will be using for testing. Both the 32GB and 64GB are rated at 150MB/s read and 70MB/s write, so there shouldn't be a performance difference between these two products in case you are curious.

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The Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 comes in clam shell packaging that clearly shows the capacity, speeds, interface and the warranty length. Most low-end USB Flash drives don't come with speed ratings, so if you are shopping for a drive and are having a hard time figuring out speeds, that is why. Pretty much all low-end drives use the lowest cost parts available at the time, so you'll find all sorts of NAND Flash brands and controllers in them. With high-end drives like the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 not all Flash controllers and NAND will run at these rated speeds, so there are strict component guidelines that need to be met. On the lower right hand corner of the packaging you can see that this drive features a five year warranty and free tech support from Kingston should you need help with anything.

Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 (DTU30G3) Features:


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The Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 measures in at 68.40mm x 22.76mm x 11.60mm and weighs in at 1.125 ounces (31.9 grams). The external silver casing is metal, while the inner components are housed inside a white plastic housing. The metal finish does show finger print smudges, but goes really well with most silver colored laptops. The white plastic inner housing is an interesting color choice it might yellow after years of UV abuse by sunlight or show dirt. An auto mechanic or anyone in a dirty greasy field would quickly dirty the white plastic.

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The DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 doesn't have a cap to get lost over the years as it has a slider design. The slider design is nice, but does have some negatives. The complaint we hear the most is that pocket lint or dirt and debris get into the always open USB connector. This shouldn't be an issue for 99% of people, but it is worth noting for full disclosure. As you can see from the image above the product name, capacity and Kingston logo have all be laser etched into the metal housing. The drive also has a blue activity LED light in the end of it that glows blue when not in use and flashes while transferring data. The light remains the same color whether it is on a USB 2.0 port or USB 3.0 port.

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The Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 features a metal loop for you to attach it to a key chain or lanyard. It feels fairly sturdy so unless you apply enough force to bend the metal it should be secure.

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Here is at the blue Superspeed USB 3.0 header on the Flash drive with the slider in the open position.

Now that we know the basics of this Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Gen 3 Flash drive we can move on to benchmarking!

SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Testing

Testing The Kingston DT Ultimate 3.0 G3 w/ USB 3.0

 

Kingston DataTraveler Testing

To try out the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 32GB Flash Drive we will us using the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface on the ASUS Zenbook UX31A Ultrabook.

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The total useable capacity of this 32GB Flash drive shows up at 29.2GB in Windows due to the conversion from physical GB to the virtual GiB. (1 GB=1,000,000,000 Bytes. Within a computer operating system, this number will be displayed as: 1,000,000,000Bytes/1024/1024/1024 = 0.93GB) You can see that the Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 G3 32GB uses the FAT32 file system.

CrystalDiskMark 3.0.23 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.

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Benchmark Results: CrystalDiskMark showed that we hitting 198.8MB/s read and 88.38MB/s write on the sequential test! The Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 32GB Flash drive is speed rated at up to 150MB/s read and 70MB/s write, so we are seeing that is very conservative.

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.

kingston-ultimate-atto

Benchmark Results: The DT Ultimate 3.0 G3 32GB drive was hitting 178MB/s read and 91MB/ write speeds in ATTO with the default benchmark settings. Notice that the write speeds are under 60MB/s though at the vast majority of the file sizes, which is likely one of the reasons that Kingston might have went with lower ratings on this drive.

Flask Memory Toolkit v2.01:

Flash Memory Toolkit is a multi-purpose flash drive testing and maintenance tool. This utility allows for error checking, speed tests, and much more. We will be using the low-level benchmark that measures the raw performance of the Flash drive and then the file benchmark that measures the real-world performance of the drive by checking how long it takes to read and write files with different lengths.

flash-toolkit

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Benchmark Results: Flash Memory Toolkit found the average read speed to be 128MB/s on the raw performance test and that it ranged from 73MB/s to 113MB/s on the read speed in various file benchmarks.


As you can see the performance of the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 Flash Drive are all over the place, so let's do some real world testing to see how it does.

Real World File Transfer Tests

TeraCopy 2.3 Beta 2 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.

We recently changed from Windows 7 to Windows 8 on the ASUS UX31A Zenbook, so we have a 23.15GB folder full of all of the data that we wanted to save. There are 5851 files in this folder and include thousands of pictures, movies, our music and a handful of driver/application installation files. This is a very real usage scenario, so we can't wait to see how the drive performs!

move-toUSB

The very first test that we ran was to see how long it took to move the 23.15GB file directory from the ASUS UX13A Zenbook to the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 32GB Flash drive. As you can see it took just shy of 16 minutes and averaged 25MB/s.

 

move-fromUSB

The next test we ran was to copy the 23.15GB game file directory from Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 32GB drive to the ASUS UX31A's internal SSD. Here we see that it took 9 minutes 24 seconds to complete that data move and we had an average speed of 42MB/s. This is a pretty big difference from the synthetic benchmarks, but an example of what to expect when you get one of these drives in your hand. It really depends on the files that you are moving and if they are compressed or uncompressed. We often saw the drive flying through images at 70MB/s, but the large .MOV files we had were tough on the drive and dropped to under 20MB/s.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

kingston-dtu30g3

The Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 series has been around since 2010 and has a proven track record of being fast and reliable USB 3.0 Flash drives. The latest third generation drives have an updated appearance and are also thinner, faster and less costly than the previous generations. It is hard to find something complain about when the price of the DataTravler Ultimate 3.0 32GB drive goes from $100 in 2010 with 80MB/s read speeds to $38.06 shipped with 150MB/s read speeds. Nearly doubling performance and more than halving the price tag is pretty sweet. There really is no excuse not to own a high-end USB 3.0 drive these days as NAND Flash memory is very affordable!

Kingston Part Number Description Street Price Price Per GB
DTU30G3/32GB 32GB USB 3.0 Flash drive $38.06 $1.19
DTU30G3/64GB 64GB USB 3.0 Flash drive $69.99 $1.09

The one thing that you might want to keep an eye on is how much capacity that you'll actually be using. It's pretty each to fill up a 32GB USB 3.0 drive these days, so it might be worth going up to a 64GB version if you plan on keeping it for years to come. The Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 comes with a 5-year warranty, so this is a drive that is designed to give you many years of use.

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At the end of the day the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 32GB Flash drive performed as we expected it to and was found to be a quality storage drive. Some might find the ~12mm thick drive to be a bit bulky, but this drive makes up for its full figure by being fast and durable!

ASUS Smart ME400 Windows 8 Tablet Features

Legit Bottom Line: The Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 is a worthy successor to the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G2 and we like the new stylish looks and improved read speeds!