OCZ ATV Turbo (4GB)

Dec 27th, 2007 | By

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OCZ ATV Turbo (4GB)


Date
: 12/27/07 – 04:08:04 AM

Author
:

Category
: Storage


Page 1 : Index

Manufacturer
:OCZ Technology

Price
: $76.99 at NewEgg

OCZ Technology has primarily been well known for its ultra fast and reliable memory. From the days of SDRAM all the way through DDR3, OCZ has been trusted by enthusiasts for their exceptional performance. The migration from system memory to flash memory is a logical step and OCZ has been no stranger to flash drives.

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I've had the luxury of working with the Rally and Rally2 up until the day I lost it at school. From that point on, I've been looking for a high speed, high capacity drive. The usual 1GB and 2GB sticks weren't going to cut it for me. I wanted more, something in the magnitude of a DVD or so. Enter the ATV Turbo.


Page 2 : Package & Contents

Much like OCZ memory products, the USB flash drives come in a blister package with a cardboard insert. The cardboard insert gives you the details about the product from capacity to features to support contacts. The blister package has the added advantage of showing you exactly what the product looks like. Here we see the front and back of my new 4GB OCZ ATV Turbo.

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Removing the drive from the package we can feel that the drive has a thick rubber covering. This feature is used to prevent water from damaging the internal components. The front and back side of the looks similar and the yellow and black gives the drive a rugged off-road feel. This is presumably why they call it the ATV series.

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You will also notice a chain link attached to the end of the drive which is looped through a second piece of plastic. If you pull the cap off the ATV Turbo, OCZ makes it harder for you to lose the cap by giving you a place to put it, a simple but ingenious idea. Needless to say, I'm still a much bigger fan of the USB drives with retractable heads to completely eliminate the need for a cover. The problem with that design and I suspect the primary reason why OCZ has adopted that method is because it would become extremely difficult to make the retractable head watertight, thus making the rubber encasing meaningless.

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It's very difficult to see in the photo below, but the perimeter of the USB head and rubber encasing interface has a coating of epoxy or sealant to minimize the amount of water that will enter the inside. Later in the review we'll see how well the drive stands up to some of my abuse.

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Page 3 : Specification & Features

I've always been a huge fan of OCZ's website as they have always made it easy to find products and all of their products have pictures of the product so you know exactly what it looks like. I was a little disappointed that OCZ has removed or never published the expected read and write speed for the OCZ ATV Turbo.

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Here's what OCZ has to say about the drive:

The ATV Turbo takes speed to a whole new level for performance enthusiasts and boasts the fastest speeds on the market. 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 Turbo flash drives feature durable and colorful rubber tread housing, which is a 100% weatherproof and shock-proof storage solution to keep digital files safe in any condition, 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.

The drive is available in both 4GB and 8GB models. I haven't found any retailers selling the 8GB model yet.

In terms of physical dimensions, the ATV Turbo is the biggest I've ever had. It has a profile of 8cm*2cm*0.9cm (length*width*height).


Page 4 : Installation

If you've ever plugged in a USB drive before, you can skip this page and head directly to the performance expectations. If you haven't, installation is quite simple. Remove the cap and slide the drive into your USB port. It only goes in one way and almost no force is required for this process. Here's what it looks like on the top of the Antec Nine Hundred.

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You'll notice that the ATV Turbo is bigger than my Logitech Bluetooth adapter. As a matter of fact, the ATV Turbo is probably one of the biggest drives I've ever had, in terms of physical dimensions. When the drive is plugged in, a single LED will glow orange. When in operation, the drive flashes.


Page 5 : Performance

Every time a company claims such and such product has this feature, I like to make sure it's true. When a something says it's waterproof, it damn well better be. Simple as that. If it doesn't, then off to the trash it goes. I pushed the ATV Turbo to the extreme by not only dunking it in cold water or putting it through the washing machine, I froze mine. I dropped it in a container of water and stuck it in the freezer for 18 hours. The result: a block of ice with an ATV Turbo inside.

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So what exactly does one do with a frozen drive? Well, the answer should be simple. Thaw it in warm water and let it dry. So back went the ATV Turbo in some hot water. In an attempt to dry off the drive faster, I poured some rubbing alcohol over the drive and attempted to set it on fire. My guess is that the 70% isopropanol alcohol vaporized too fast before I could light it. In disappointment, I went to my next best idea of putting the drive in my toaster over. After a few minutes, the timer went off and the drive was nice and toasty.

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So from my efforts I have learned that the OCZ ATV Turbo is in fact waterproof and toaster proof as well as the drive functioned perfectly after these test. I must warn you that myself, Overclockers Online or OCZ do not suggest that you subject your own personal ATV Turbo to such tests. In doing so you do take the risk of damaging it and losing whatever valuable data you may have on it. You could also very well hurt yourself when trying to set stuff on fire!

With the physical assault done and out of the way, the only thing left was to see how well the ATV Turbo performed in some basic applications. Here's the competition:

The software we'll be working with include:

  • IOZone

  • Sisoftware Sandra XII File System and Removable Storage
  • HD Tach
  • NodeSoft Diskbench w/ 933,000 KB Image

IOZone

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The bandwidth numbers put up by the OCZ ATV Turbo fall short of the theoretical USB 2.0 maximum. However, the results are very impressive.

Sisoftware Sandra XII – File System

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The OCZ ATV Turbo goes toe to toe with my ATP Inc ToughDrive mini. The OCZ Turbo has the advantage of being 4GB compared to 2GB.

Sisoftware Sandra XII – Removable Storage

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These results probably don't mean a whole lot to the average user, but we see the ATV Turbo place second with the ability of completing fewer operations than the ToughDrive. This result could be proportional to capacity of the drive.

HD Tach

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HD Tach reiterates the results from Sisoftware Sandra XII. The ATV Turbo has a slightly higher CPU utilization because of its larger capacity.

NodeSoft DiskBench

This would be the real-world performance of any flash drive. I copied a massive 933MB image from my secondary drive (Seagate 400GB SATAII) over to the USB drive. NodeSoft's DiskBench times the process and determines the performance for me.

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The ATV Turbo falls behind by a fraction of a second. For all intensive purposes, the drive performance is identical.


Page 6 : Conclusion

The OCZ ATV Turbo has been a sweet drive to work with. It's performance at the 4GB level is second to none. Unlike the ToughDrive mini, you can also actually buy it in North America (Check Shopzilla for live pricing.)

What shocked me the most was the ATV Turbo's ability to survive extreme temperatures without any degradation to performance. From frozen to wet to dry in about 30 minutes.

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I remember the days when a 1GB USB drive cost the same as this 4GB unit. It's amazing to see how fast the prices fall and how much better the performance gets. I highly recommend the OCZ ATV Turbo for anyone looking for a drive of great value.

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Advantages

  • High capacity

  • High performance
  • Durable

Disadvantages

[list><li]Drive appearance may not be for everyone[/list]

Overclockers Online would like to thank OCZ for making this review possible.

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