High-Security Flash Storage

May 5, 2008 – 7:34 AM

If you think of flash memory, people typically think of USB memory sticks or memory cards for digital cameras and camcorders. But the potential applications for flash have expanded tremendously. The media started off as non-volatile memory for firmware on PCs and consumer electronics devices. It then became an ultra-portable storage technology that conquered the PC and consumer electronics sectors at their intersection in multiple formats, such as compact flash or SD. It has finally reached a state of development in which flash-based solid state disks (SSDs) can even outperform conventional hard drives (at the expense of capacity).

However, having access to your most important data wherever you go will be one of the key goals in coming years, and we see ultra-portable flash memory devices meeting this demand until the day when wireless networks such as GSM, 3G, WiMAX or WLAN become completely ubiquitous. But still, users will always likely want to have a storage device that can securely hold all of their key data, which they can take with them wherever they go.

While competition in the memory sector is fierce, some brands have managed to carve out a good reputation: G.skill, Mushkin, OCZ, Patriot and Supertalent are well known for their top-of-the-line enthusiast products. Other such as A-Data, Buffalo, Crucial, GeIL or Kingston offer outstanding products as well. Corsair, which was the first memory vendor to offer overclocking products back in the times of first-generation SDRAM, is considered the number-one player in this business and tries to transfer its reputation into other product areas.

Flash memory products seem to be suitable to expand member vendors’ product portfolios, as they’re based on technologies that are not only attractive to PC enthusiasts, but also to less-technical PC users. The Flash Voyager was Corsair’s first USB flash memory stick, which is available in capacities of 2 GB to 32 GB today. Flash Voyager GT is the high-performance product that is only available with a capacity of 16 GB, while delivering throughput beyond 20 MB/s. While most USB Flash memory vendors offer smaller and smaller products, some focus on offering robust and secure solutions. This is exactly what Corsair attempts to do with its Flash Survivor series, which combines robustness with data security features.

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