How many times have you come across a situation where you want to transfer a large file, and you spend about an hour to find those old dusty floppies rummaging through your desktop drawers, only to find out most of them are beyond repair. Guess you cannot even give a number of occasions this has happened. For those with CD-writers, don't you wonder if there's a better way to copy a small amounts of data without actually wasting a whole CD. There's always e-mail of course, however when the file sizes go beyond the 5MB mark, this becomes a huge problem in most cases. The Solution?

Allow me to introduce you to these two handy new gadgets called the Pen Drive and the Flash Dio. These will no doubt be one of the best selling products in the next couple of years. Once they reach the critical mass stage, floppies will be extinct just like the 5 ¼ floppy drive. Frankly even today I do not recall a recent time period where I used a floppy. Best of all I don't even know where my floppies are or whether I even have any. I'm sure I'm not alone out there when I say this.

The pen drive and the Flash Dio are an USB interface non-volatile disk, driver free flash memory storage device. They are no bigger than the length of your finger, but they hold capacities from 16MB up to 1GB.I admit these are one of the coolest products I have ever come across in my life. I mean look at them folks, they look so darn cool and small, yet so powerful when turned on.

Let's check out the specs are for the two devices before we go onto the details of the drives.

Pen Drive Specifications:

  1. Support Flash ROM ( EEPROM ) for In-System Programming through USB Port
    that can update the system firmware anywhere and anytime for the security
  2. Support Toshiba or Samsung NAND Flash Memory 32Mbit, 64Mbit, 128Mbit,
    256Mbit, 512Mbit and 1Gbit.
  3. Support Specification Reversion 1.1
  4. Transfer Rate for USB Interface: "Full speed" Up to12Mbits/sec
  5. Support the Power Saving Mode to reduce the power consumption while
    using Pen Drive in the mobile equipment.
  6. Support Windows 98/Windows 95 OSR2 (with USB Driver)
  7. Suport Windows ME/2000/XP, Mac OS (ver. 8.6 or above) and Linux kernel
    version 2.4.0 or above without driver.
  8. Provide LED indicator while Pen Drive is busy.

Power Consumption:
Current ( mA)
Avg. Power Consumption (mW)
Standby 37.0~37.5 186.3
Write 39.1~39.4 196.3
Read 35.0~36.1 177.8
( Input Voltage = 5.0 V )    
Erase Cycles 1,000,000 times  
Data retention time 10 years  
Read transfer > 750KB/second  
Write transfer > 450KB/second  
Acoustic noise 0 dB (at one meter)  
Shock resistance 1000 G (maximum)  
Weight 21g (approx)
Altitude 80,000 feet (relative to sea level)  


Flash Dio specifications:

PC system with USB ports IBM PC / AT & Notebook & Sub-Notebook, Mac and Linux
Operating System
  • Windows 98
  • Windows ME
  • Windows 2000
  • Mac OS 8.6+
  • Linux
Memory 16MB/32 /64 /128/256/512MB/1GB
Interface USB Specification 1.1
UHCI (Universal Host Controller Interface)
OHCI (Open Host Controller Inteface)
Data Retention 10 Years
Suspend Current <300uA, compliant to USB spec. of <500uA
Voltage 4.5V ~ 5.5V
Reading Speed 800 Kbytes/sec
Writing Speed 500 Keytes/sec.
Temperature (for storage) 500 Keytes/sec.
Dual LED built-in Led Green: USB drive connected
Operating Temperature 0° /span>C - 45°/span>C
Weight 10g (approx)