Crucial Gizmo! 512MB & 1GB Flash Drives

Product(s): Crucial Gizmo! 512MB & 1GB Flash Drives
Provided By: Crucial
Price: ~$42.99 & ~$72.99

Introduction:

Over the past few years the popularity of flash-based storage has climbed exponentially.  Many modern devices such as wireless phones, mp3 players, PDA's, and even handheld video players use flash storage.  One of the handiest devices most computer users today possess are USB Flash Drives.  Today we are going to look at a couple of Crucial's Gizmo! drives and see how they stack up to some competition.

First Look:

Just before Christmas Crucial sent us some samples to review and then to give away.  They sent over a pair of 512MB drives and a 1GB unit as well.  We will be testing these later and comparing performance to a Lexar Jumpdrive 2.0 Pro 512MB unit.

The Crucial Gizmo! drives ship in a resealable clear clamshell package and include a lanyard.  They don't include a driver CD as most people are now running Windows 2000 or newer, Mac OS 8.6 or higher, or Linux with a kernal later than 2.4.  With all of the above mentioned OS', the drive should simply plug and play just fine.  Crucial lists Windows ME as being compatible as well without additional drivers and I managed to find a Windows ME system to test this drive on, but it said it needed a file to install the device.  That could be specific to that machine, but I couldn't test this out as I know of no other Windows ME systems around.

The Project
 The Project

Close Up
 Close Up

Product Features:

The Crucial Gizmo! Hi-Speed USB Flash Drive
  • Small form factor (68 mm by 20 mm) so multiple drives fit into neighboring USB ports
  • LED indicates when data is transferring
  • Plug and Playâ„¢
  • Available in 128MB, 256MB, 512MB, 1GB, and 2GB

System requirements

  • Win ME/2000/XP
  • Not compatible with Windows 98
  • Mac OS 8.6 and above
  • Available USB 1.1 or 2.0 port

For Hi-Speed performance

  • Win ME/2000/XP
  • Mac OS 9.1 and above
  • Available USB 2.0 port

Each Gizmo! comes with

  • Lanyard
  • Multilingual user guide

Backed by Crucial's limited lifetime warranty

Closer Look:

One of the features listed by Crucial is the small size and that the Gizmo doesn't block neighboring ports.  While things are a little cramped with multiple flash drives plugged in side by side, it can be done.  Unlike the Lexar Jumpdrive 2.0 Pro pictured below.  When the Lexar unit is plugged in, you cannot use adjacent ports due to it's larger size.  The Gizmo! is not the smallest drive around by all means, but it is small enough to be useful.

Front & Back View
 Front & Back View

Size Comparison
 Size Comparison

With the cap on, the Gizmo! is shorter than the Lexar Jumpdrive 2.0 Pro without a cap.  The cap on the Lexar drive is missing because it clips on to the drive with a Dog-and-Pony style clip that broke within weeks of purchasing the drive.  The cap on the Gizmo! drive is friction fit and it looks like it will stay on a long time.


Performance:

To test these drives side-by-side was interesting.  We used Simplisoftware's HDTach for the synthetic Read/Write tests and then broke out a stopwatch and transfered a bunch of little files, then a large file for the real world tests.  We'll start with the synthetic tests.

HDTach - Lexar Jumpdrive Pro 2.0
 HDTach - Lexar Jumpdrive Pro 2.0

HDTach - Crucial Gizmo! 512MB
 HDTach - Crucial Gizmo! 512MB

HDTach - Crucial Gizmo! 1GB
 HDTach - Crucial Gizmo! 1GB

The performance of USB2.0 drives has greatly improved since the first generation units and all of these drives performed quite well.  The Lexar JumpDrive 2.0 Pro has the fastest synthetic read and write speeds as it tops out at almost 19MB/sec read and 15.9MB/sec write.  I was quite surprised to see the 512MB Gizmo! perform the slowest at 11MB/sec read and 6.6MB/sec write.  It's still a speedy drive, but not as fast as the JumpDrive.  Finally, the 1GB drive clocks in just over 11MB/sec read and a nice 10.5MB/sec write speed.  To make sure the results were accurate, I retest several times between reboots.

The chart below shows the performance comparison between all of these drives.

 

HDTach Scores
 HDTach Scores

Now we head on to some "real world" tests.  For this next set of tests we took a bunch of small files and transfered them to and from the flash drives to test read and write speeds, then we took a single large ZIP file and transfered it back and forth as well.  In a lot of the tests, the Lexar JumpDrive 2.0 Pro dominates, but in some situations the 512MB Gizmo! does quite well - also the 1GB Gizmo! takes some awards home with it's speedy writing ability.

File Transfer Results
 File Transfer Results

 

Conclusion:

Crucial & Micron have long made names for themselves when it comes to computer memory, and with the Gizmo! series of USB Flash Drives, they take it a step further.  Overall, performance is very good and the drives work as promised.  I find it a bit odd that the 1GB drive writes so much faster than the 512MB unit, but I've confirmed this through several tests which all yielded the same results.  Either way, both drives are faster than using a CD-RW and are a lot more convenient to use.  The lanyard seems solid and I've taken this drive practically everywhere over the past couple of weeks and have loved it.

If you are looking for a nice drive to pack with you to and from the office, consider the Crucial Gizmo! series.  They currently come in sizes up to 2GB.

Pros:

  • Fast Read & Write Speeds
  • Plug & Play On Most Operating Systems
  • Secure Friction Fit Cap

Cons:

  • 512MB Version Has Slower Write Speed

 

BCCHardware.com Rating
Quality:
9/10
Performance:
8/10
Software Pack:
n/a
Stability:
10/10
Features:
9/10
Value:
9/10
Total Score 9.0

 

I'd like to thank Crucial for firing these drives our way for a review.  This has been a good time and interesting to see how these drives compare to other drives on the market.

Please feel free to leave your comments, questions and feedback regarding this review and these Crucial Gizmo! drive in the forum at the comments link below.