Model: Samsung Bar USB 3.0 Flash Drive
Manufacturer: Samsung Electronics
Provided By: Samsung America
Samsung Electronics has been a leader in the electronics industry for more than 30 years. Since the introduction of their first television in 1970, this Korean company has grown to become one of the world's leading electronics manufacturers, offering everything from tiny semiconductors to large home appliances. Samsung is no stranger to the storage industry either. Along with an assortment of DVD and Blu-ray Disc drives, the company offers both hard drive and flash based storage solutions for the portable and desktop computer markets.
This fall, Samsung launched a new suite of slim and sophisticated USB flash drives. Along with the ultra-small FIT and dual interface DUO, the company introduced the modern, yet classy Bar. Designed specifically for use in PC devices, the Bar is available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities. The drive features a high-quality metal casing that is water, shock, temperature, magnetic and X-ray proof. The streamlined spherical end also makes it easy to insert and extract from devices and doubles as a key ring to help prevent loss. To top it all off, the Bar offers sequential read speed of up to 130MB/s, allowing users to transfer a 2.4GB full HD video or approximately 40 hours of MP3 music in less than 20 seconds.
|Samsung Bar USB 3.0 Flash Drive|
Needless to say, this is only a taste of what the Bar has to offer. To give you an idea of what to expect, we'll take a closer look at Samsung's new USB 3.0 flash drive and then see how well it performs. Does the Bar have what it takes? Keep reading as we find out.
Like many other USB flash drives, the Samsung Bar comes packaged in a cardboard blister pack. The front of the packaging advertises many of the drive's key features including its capacity, rated speed and that it's water, magnet, temperature and x-ray proof. The back of the card provides a bit more information regarding the Bar's storage capabilities, warranty and supported operating systems.
While not the smallest flash drive in Samsung's lineup, the Bar sports a sleek, super-compact design. The drive measures 40mm long, 12.2mm wide and 10.9mm at its highest point. At this size, the Bar is hardly noticeable when placed in a pocket or on a keychain.
The body of the Bar is constructed out of metal for added durability and is covered by what Samsung calls a "light champagne colored" finish. It also has a large key ring loop. In addition to preventing loss, this loop makes it easier to insert and extract the drive from devices.
I wasn't able to crack the Bar open. However, using Flash Drive Information Extract, I was able to see what controller and memory chips it uses. Looking at the screenshot below, you can see that Samsung has used Silicon Motion's SM3267 controller as well as their own K9ADGD8U0D TLC NAND flash.
As with most USB flash drives, the Samsung Bar was very easy to install. Those running Windows can simply plug the drive into any available USB 2.0 or 3.0 port on their computer. If the computer is already turned on, plug and play will automatically detect the drive.
If installed correctly, the Bar should show up in the Device Manager. Under Windows 8, the drive is identified as a "Samsung Flash Drive USB Device".
The Bar comes formatted with FAT32, giving the 32GB model about 29.8GB of usable space. If you plan to store files larger than 4GB in size, you'll want to convert or reformat the drive with NTFS.
The test system used in this review was an HP 8200 Elite. The computer is equipped with an Intel Core i5-2400 CPU, 4GB of DDR3 1333MHz memory, Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3250312AS 250GB SATA 6 Gb/s hard drive, NVIDIA Quadro FX580 512MB PCIe graphics card, Intel 82567LM-3 gigabit network card and Patriot SuperSpeed USB PCIe host card. For the operating system, I installed a fresh copy of Windows 8.1 Enterprise.
To test the performance of the Samsung Bar, I ran a series of benchmarks using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1, HD Tach RW 126.96.36.199 and ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46. To get a feel for the "real world" performance, I also copied and pasted 500MB of random files and directories in Windows Explorer.
First, I ran a few quick tests using CrystalDiskMark. This benchmark tool measures the performance of a storage device by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its random read and write speeds using blocks 512K and 4K in size.
According to Samsung, the Bar is capable of data transfer speeds of up to 130 MB/s when connected to a USB 3.0 port. While the drive performed better than expected when reading, it came up a bit short of this number in CrystalDiskMark's sequential write test.
HD Tach RW 188.8.131.52:
Next, I used HD Tach to test the Bar's read, write and burst speeds as well as its seek times and CPU usage.
The Bar didn't perform quite as well when tested with HD Tach. Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that the drive had average read and write speeds of 130.0 MB/s and 25.2 MB/s, respectively, as well as a burst speed of 137.3 MB/s.
ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46:
I also used ATTO Disk Benchmark to test the Bar's sequential read and write speeds. The test was run using blocks ranging in size from 0.5KB to 8192KB and the total length set to 256MB.
When tested with ATTO, the Bar's read speeds topped out at about 158 MB/s and its write speeds at 109 MB/s.
"Real World" Benchmark:
To test the "real world" performance of Samsung's new flash drive, I copied and pasted 500 MB worth of randomly generated files and directories. All of the files are between 10 bytes and 32MB in size and no more than four directories deep.
|Samsung Bar - USB 3.0||Samsung Bar - USB 2.0|
|Write:||34 seconds||59 seconds|
|Read:||9 seconds||22 seconds|
The Bar performed relatively well here, taking 34 seconds to write our test data and 9 seconds to read it back.
Samsung's Bar USB 3.0 flash drive is a great addition to the company's already impressive line of flash-based storage products. Instead of looking like your standard, run of the mill flash drive, the Bar sports a unique, yet functional design. The drive is equipped with a high-quality, metal casing that is water, shock, temperature, magnetic and X-ray proof. The streamlined spherical end also makes it easy to insert and extract the drive from devices and can be used to attach your key ring. Performance-wise, the Bar wasn't the fastest USB 3.0 flash drive to come through the 'Labs. Nevertheless, the drive performed relatively well in our tests, reading at speeds as high as 159 MB/s and writing at more than 109 MB/s.
- Great looking design
- High-quality metal casing
- Good read and write speeds
- Backwards compatible with USB 2.0
- Water, shock, temperature, magnetic, and x-ray proof
- Large key ring hole
- Five year warranty
- Reasonably priced