Model: Kingston DataTraveler Elite 3.0
Manufacturer: Kingston
Provided By: Kingston

As the world’s largest independent manufacturer of memory products, Kingston Technology doesn't need much of an introduction. The company got its start in 1987, when the computer industry was suffering from a severe shortage of surface-mount memory chips. To provide a solution, Kingston's founders designed a new Single In-Line Memory Module (SIMM) that used readily available, older technology through-hole components. Today, Kingston offers more than 2,000 memory products for everything from computers, servers and printers to MP3 players, digital cameras and cell phones.

With more and more PCs shipping with USB 3.0 ports, Kingston has begun to expand its line of USB 3.0 flash drives. This spring, the company launched the DataTraveler Elite 3.0. Available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities, this new, economical flash drive is capable of reading at 70 MB/s and writing at 30 MB/s when plugged into a USB 3.0 port. The DataTraveler Elite 3.0 also features a cap-less, tri-colored design with a slider and is backed by a five-year warranty.

  Kingston DataTraveler Elite 3.0 USB Flash Drive
General Specifications
Capacities 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Dimensions 69.05 x 21.6 x 11.1 mm
Interface USB 3.0

Sequential Read 70 MB/s Max
Sequential Write 30 MB/s Max

Operating Temperature 32°F to 140°F (0°C to 60°C)
Storage Temperature -4°F to 185°F (-20°C to 85°C)

Other Features
Backwards compatible with USB 2.0
Capless design with slider
5 year warranty

Needless to say, this is only a taste of what the DataTraveler Elite 3.0 has to offer. To give you an idea of what to expect, we'll take a closer look at Kingston's new USB 3.0 flash drive and then see how well it performs. Does the DataTraveler Elite 3.0 have what it takes? Is it the best bang for your buck? Keep reading as we find out.


The DataTraveler Elite 3.0 comes packaged in a cardboard blister pack. This type of packaging is not only more eco-friendly than the plastic clamshells that most USB flash drives come in, but it can be opened by simply cutting along the dotted line.

Physical Features:

While not the largest flash drive in Kingston's lineup, the DataTraveler Elite 3.0 definitely isn't the smallest either. Measuring 2.952" (74.99mm) long, 0.916" (23.29mm) wide and 0.626" (15.9mm) thick, it's about the size of a pocketknife or disposable lighter.


The body of the DataTraveler Elite 3.0 is constructed out of white, black and graphite plastic. The drive also has a loop on one end so that it can be attached to a key ring or lanyard. While you can't see it in these pictures, there is an LED above the indicated capacity that lights up blue whenever the drive is transmitting or receiving data or is in the identification process.

The DataTraveler Elite 3.0 is the first USB 3.0 flash drive from Kingston to feature a cap-less design. To reveal the USB connector, simply press down on the opposite end of the drive using your thumb. You will want to press down firmly until you feel it lock into place. Otherwise the USB connector has a tendency to retract back into the drive when you try to plug it into your computer.


As with most USB flash drives, the Kingston DataTraveler Elite 3.0 was very easy to install. Those running Windows XP, Vista or 7 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 DataTraveler Elite 3.0 should show up in the Device Manager. Under Windows 7, the drive is identified as a "Kingston DT Elite 3.0 USB Device".

The DataTraveler Elite 3.0 comes formatted with FAT32, giving the 32GB model about 29.2GB 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 7 Enterprise.

To test the performance of the Kingston DataTraveler Elite 3.0, I ran a series of benchmarks using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1, HD Tach RW, 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.

CrystalDiskMark 3.0:

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.

Kingston DataTraveler Elite 3.0 - USB 3.0

Kingston DataTraveler Elite 3.0 - USB 2.0

Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 - USB 3.0

Patriot SuperSonic - USB 3.0

According to Kingston, the DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 is capable of reading at 70MB/s and writing at 30MB/s when connected to a USB 3.0 port. Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that the drive had no problems exceeding these numbers in CrystalDiskMark's sequential read and write speed tests.

HD Tach RW

Next, I used HD Tach to test the DataTraveler HyperX 3.0's read, write and burst speeds as well as its seek times and CPU usage.

When connected to the computer's USB 3.0 port, the DataTraveler Elite 3.0 had average read and write speeds of 71.4 MB/s and 34.8 MB/s respectively, as well as a burst speed of 76.9 MB/s. As you'd expect, the drive wasn't nearly as fast when using USB 2.0. Compared to what we saw with USB 3.0, the DataTraveler Elite 3.0's read speed dropped by more than half.

ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46:

I also used ATTO Disk Benchmark to test the DataTraveler Elite 3.0'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.

Kingston DataTraveler Elite 3.0 - USB 3.0

Kingston DataTraveler Elite 3.0 - USB 2.0

Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 - USB 3.0

Patriot SuperSonic - USB 3.0

When tested with ATTO, the DataTraveler Elite 3.0's read speeds topped out at about 71 MB/s and its write speeds at 34 MB/s.

"Real World" Benchmark:

To test the "real world" performance of Kingston'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.

   Kingston DT Elite 3.0 - USB 3.0 Kingston DT Elite 3.0 - USB 2.0 Kingston DT HyperX 3.0 - USB 3.0 Patriot Supersonic - USB 3.0
Write: 0:26 0:32 0:38 0:45
Read: 12 seconds 19 seconds 7 seconds 9 seconds

The DataTraveler Elite 3.0 performed surprisingly well here, taking 26 seconds to write our test data and 12 seconds to read it back.

Final Thoughts:

The Kingston DataTraveler Elite 3.0 is ideal for the consumer looking to take advantage of the performance offered by USB 3.0 without breaking the budget. Along with an attractive, cap-less design, the DataTraveler Elite 3.0 offers transfer speeds approximately twice that of a standard USB 2.0 flash drive. In our tests, the drive was able to read at 71 MB/s and write at speeds as high as 35 MB/s. Obviously, these numbers aren't nearly as high as what we saw with Kingston's DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 and HyperX 3.0 flash drives, but at about half the cost, the DataTraveler Elite 3.0 delivers a lot of bang for your buck.

The DataTraveler Elite 3.0 is available now in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities. Suggested retail prices range from $37 to $135 depending on the size. However, the drive can be picked up for considerably less from Amazon or through some of the vendors on PriceGrabber


  • Available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities
  • Good transfer rates with USB 3.0
  • Backwards compatible with USB 2.0
  • Compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac and Linux
  • Cap-less, tri-colored design with slider
  • Five year warranty
  • Reasonably priced


  • Not as fast as Kingston's other USB 3.0 flash drives