OCZ ATV 32GB USB Flash Drive Page: 1

OCZ LogoPortable storage has come a long way in the past year with flash memory based devices such as MP3 players, Mobile Phones and Digital Cameras all being available with capacities up to and sometime in excess of 16GB. The faithful USB flash drive has also received a similar treatment, and while not so long ago a 2GB or 4GB drive was considered "high capacity", new drives have been appearing that surpass these capacities ten fold.

Today we're going to be taking a look at one such USB flash drive from well known manufacturer OCZ. Designed not only to hold masses of data but also to be rugged and resistant to those inevitable knocks and bumps, the ATV 32GB sounds like a very interesting device indeed. Let's hear what OCZ have to say:

The shock-proof ATV features mainstream speeds offering consumers an affordable option and was designed to safely accommodate a wealth of important data and media files. Not only are these premium flash drives aggressively fast at transferring files of all types and sizes, but are optimized for Windows® Vista? Ready Boost, offering true performance advantages to this latest operating system.

ATV flash drives feature durable and colorful rubber tread housing, which is a 100% weatherproof storage solution to keep digital files safe in any conditions, even fully submerged in water. The attached cap holder will help prevent misplacement of the protective key cover, while the chain can easily fasten to your key ring for ultimate portability.

• High Speed USB 2.0 Certified
• True Plug and Play (Compatible with MAC OS X)
• Dual Channel Technology
• Available in 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB capacities
• Waterproof Rubber Housing
• Orange LED Status Light
• Lifetime Warranty

Probably one of the most appealing features of the ATV (for us at least) is the fact that OCZ say that it can be fully submerged in water. Now while we certainly don't make a habit of going swimming with flash drives hung round our necks, it's certainly reassuring to know that all our data will remain intact should the ATV take a spin in the washing machine .

Interestinly OCZ makes no mention of the ATV's transfer speeds in the specification area of the web page. However, considering the original ATV drive was introduced in 2007, the difference in performance between the initial 2GB and 4GB models compared to the more recent 16GB and 32GB ones is likely to be quite different.

Let's move on now and take a closer look at the device...

OCZ ATV 32GB USB Flash Drive Page: 2
Packaging & Appearance

Due to their size and weight USB drives very rarely need little more than a blister pack to ensure their safe transportation. Furthermore, the blister packet style packaging is ideal for retail stores as it takes up little space and allows customers to get a good look at the product before purchase. As we can see from the images below this is exactly how OCZ have packaged the ATV, and although it's nothing overly fancy the USB flash drive market is all about cost per gigabyte which wouldn't be helped by lavish packaging.

OCZ ATV 32GB Box Front OCZ ATV 32GB Box Back

A cardboard insert does all the talking for the ATV with a familiar looking blue and orange theme similar to what we've seen on some of OCZ's memory kits. At the front of the packaging are a few highlighted features of the device including support for Windows Vista's ReadyBoost , water resistance, shock resistance and of course a rather spacious 32GB capacity.

OCZ ATV 32GB Front OCZ ATV 32GB Back

Cutting through the sealed packaging we can see the ATV in all its glory. With a rubberised black body complete with blue stripes and an orange ATV logo it's clear to see that OCZ have gone out of their way to make the drive look as rugged as it feels.


Attached to the end of the bearing-style keychain is a plastic cube designed to hold the lid of the ATV while in use. This is a great idea considering that both of the Rally2 flash drives we reviewed in the past are now missing their lids. However, the chain itself does feel quite prone to snapping - certainly more so than a traditional keyring.

Now that we've got the basics out of the way, let's see how the ATV stacks up performance-wise.

OCZ ATV 32GB USB Flash Drive Page: 3
Test Setup & Results

One of the fastest flash drives we've used on OC3D to date has to be the OCZ Rally2 Turbo 4GB. So during today's testing we are going to be placing the ATV 32GB head to head with the Rally2. Please bear in mind when reading the results that the ATV is aimed more at storage capacity and ruggedness than speed, but never the less we are still expecting it to put out some fairly decent results. After all, what use is 32GB if it takes hours to fill up.

Throughout the testing, the following setup was used:

Motherboard: Asus P5E64 WS Evolution
CPU: Intel "Core 2 Duo" E8400 @ 4GHz
Memory: OCZ PC3-12800 DDR3 4GB
Hardrive: 2x Western Digital Velociraptor (RAID0)
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate SP1

Starting off with the results from HDTach, it's quite clear to see that both drives are at a similar level when it comes to read speed and latency. Burst speed was also extremely close with the ATV beating the Rally2 by 2.3MB/s. This is extremely good considering that this is only the 'standard' verson of the ATV we're reviewing here, and not its slightly more lairy yellow 'Turbo' brother.

Moving on to the write speed with a 1GB file being generated by Dummy File Creator we can see that the ATV can't quite keep up with the Rally2 Turbo. Overall write speed is around 10MB/s lower and our test file took a full 38 seconds longer to copy  to the ATV than it did to the Rally2 Turbo. As a matter of interest we also timed a 32GB file transfer to the ATV to see just how long you'd expect to wait if you was filling the entire device up. In total the test took just over one hour (3810 seconds to be precise).

OCZ ATV 32GB USB Flash Drive Page: 4

OCZ ATV 32GBIf you're someone that regularly pops your USB flash drive in your back pocket and then proceeds to sit on it or send it through the washing machine, then the OCZ ATV should certainly be on your shortlist. While not totally indestructible like some USB sticks we've seen in the past, the rubber shell of the ATV is flexible, water resistant and protects against those knocks and bumps that can see other USB drives scatter into pieces.

Managing sustained speeds of over 32MB, the ATV was able to match up to the performance of the Rally2 Turbo. Unfortunately this didn't follow through to write performance with the ATV lagging behind by about 10MB/s. However, the most desirable feature of the drive has obviously got to be its 32GB storage capacity. The very fact that you can carry around 50 or so CD's worth of data in your pocket is awesome and with prices starting at around £58 for the 32GB version on some retailers websites, the OCZ ATV is also extremely affordable.

The Good

- Very competitive pricing.
- 32GB in your back pocket.
- Read speeds on-par with the Rally2 Turbo.
- Rugged, water resistant rubber casing.

The Mediocre
- Write speeds nothing to write home about (no pun intended!).

The Bad
- Nothing

OC3D Editors Choice Award

Thanks to OCZ for providing the ATV 32GB for review. Discuss this review in our forums.