FreeNAS is a pretty great (and free!) Network Attached Storage system. Recently, it was updated to version 9.3 which contained a lot of great improvements including automatic updates over the network. (Previously, the upgrade process was manual and kind of a pain in the neck.)
Unfortunately, FreeNAS isn’t very good at the power-saving thing. (read: spinning down your hard drives when they’re not being used.) And prior to FreeNAS 9.x, it was pretty easy to get the drives to go into Standby mode using a few commands. But again, FreeNAS has changed the default install to put the system log (which it writes somewhat regularly to) on the very drives you’re trying to spin down.
In the 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drives for under $20 review last month, it was noted that the incredibly small Leef Supra 3.0 was a blazing fast contender. The only thing faster was the large SanDisk Extreme and that was the funny thing: SanDisk didn’t have a tiny USB 3.0 drive! Up until now, the only thing SanDisk had in this category was the Cruzer Fit, a USB 2.0 drive.
Well, SanDisk just released the Ultra Fit USB 3.0 drive which appears to be positioned exactly to compete against the Leef Supra 3.0. The question is “How does it perform?”
When reviewing the Top 16GB USB flash drives under $20 of 2014, it was observed that the ever-tiny Leef Supra 3.0 was surprisingly fast for such a small thing. This warranted a closer comparison to something like a Lexar 633x MicroSDHC card (with USB 3.0 Lexar reader) which was a tad larger, but overall, pretty close to the same size. In addition to this, a generic USB 2.0 MicroSD card reader was thrown in for contrast.
The nagging question was “How does the Leef stack up to the competition?”
Whether you call it a jump drive, thumb drive, key drive, zip drive, or that thinga-ma-jig, the USB flash drive is an amazing piece of technology. Oh sure, there’s “the cloud” where you can store all your data on some server controlled by “the man”, but there’s nothing like having your data right in the palm of your hand on a nice little chunk of nearly indestructable Flash memory. (okay, seriously, don’t take a hammer to it. That will end badly.) But wow, have flash drives grown!
Originally, they were just a handful of megabytes restricted to a slow USB 1.1 interface. Now they’re all grown-up; 8, 16, and even 32 Gigabytes are common! And now they’re on the fancy, new USB 3.0 with its 5 Gigabits per second interface. (That’s a scorchingly fast 625 MB/s!)
Now that the future has arrived and USB 3.0 is found on all new computers, laptops, and tablets, what is the best flash drive to buy? Well, that’s a tricky question. Most people do not have a lot of money to throw around so this article is focused on keeping the cost under $20. And to keep things even, let us also look at only 16GB drives — A common size in this day and age. Which invites the question:
What’s the best 16GB USB 3.0 flash drive for under $20?