Kingston DataTraveler BlackBox 2GB

Jul 25th, 2008 | By

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Kingston DataTraveler BlackBox 2GB


Date
: 07/25/08 – 05:22:43 AM

Author
:

Category
: Storage


Page 1 : Index

Manufacturer:
Kingston Technology

Kingston is not a new name in the business. They have a reputation for producing quality memory products. For example, their DataTraveler series of USB flash drives has been extremely popular.

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Today we'll be looking at the latest member of the DataTraveler series, the
DataTraveler BlackBox
. What makes this drive special is that it is certified under the US Government's Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS 140-2 Level 2), meaning the data is secure.

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Page 2 : Features & Specifications

This review sample did not come in a package and Kingston had written me a note apologizing for the inconvenience so we will skip right ahead to the features and specifications.

These were all taken from Kingston's website for the DataTraveler BlackBox.

Description:

Protect your organization's portable data and comply with data-at-rest agency directives by choosing Kingston's new, ultra-secure DataTraveler® BlackBox USB Flash drive. It's FIPS 140-2 Level 2 certified and features 256-bit, hardware-based AES encryption, enforced complex password protection and device lockdown after a specified number of invalid attempts, to prevent brute force attacks.

DataTraveler BlackBox is rugged and waterproof (up to 4 feet), with a titanium-coated, stainless steel casing for added data protection. And it's easy to set up and use, with no admin rights or application installation required.

DataTraveler BlackBox is backed by a five-year warranty, 24/7 tech support and legendary Kingston® reliability.

Features/Benefits:

* Full Privacy – 100 percent of stored data is protected by 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) hardware-based encryption
* Fast – data transfer rates of up to 24 MB/sec. read and up to 20 MB/sec. write*
* Secure – drive locks down and reformats after 10 intrusion attempts
* Enforced complex password protection – password is user set with minimum characteristics to prevent unauthorized access
* Easy to use – no admin rights or application installation required
* Customizable – preload content, password length, maximum number of password attempts**
* Cologo available – add your company's logo to increase brand recognition**
* Tamper evident – tamper-evident coating/seal for physical security
* Waterproof – protected against water damage
* Guaranteed – five-year warranty with 24/7 customer support
* Ruggedized – waterproof and titanium-coated stainless steel casing

Kingston DataTraveler BlackBox Part Numbers:

DTBB/2GB, DTBB/4GB, DTBB/8GB

Specifications:

* Dimensions – 3.06′ x 0.9′ x 0.47′ (77.9mm x 22mm x 12.05mm)
* Capacities*** – 2GB, 4GB, 8GB
* Compatibility – designed to USB 2.0 specifications
* Operating Temperatures – 32° F to 140° F (0° C to 60° C)
* Storage Temperatures – -4° F to 185° F (-20° C to 85° C)
* Minimum System Requirements -

USB 2.0 compliant and 1.1 compatible
Two (2) free consecutive drive letters required for use

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*Speed may vary due to host and device configuration.
**Minimum quantity required. Performed at the factory.
***Please note: Some of the listed capacity is used for formatting and other functions and thus is not available for data storage. For more information, please consult Kingston's Flash Memory Guide.
* First free drive letters after physical devices such as system partition, optical drives, etc.
** Speed may vary due to host hardware, software and usage.
*** Does not support ReadyBoost.
The main selling point of the BlackBox is the fact that it features a cryptographic chip, certified by a government standard, which allows the data to be encrypted on-the-fly using 256-bit AES encryption. It is surprisingly similar to the DataTraveler Secure series Jared reviewed several months ago.


Page 3 : The Drive

The Kingston DataTraveler BlackBox aptly has a black finish. One side has Kingston's logo and the capacity (2GB in this case) imprinted on it. There is also an LED. There are ridges along the side for grip and the cap seems to be securely placed. There's also a small hole to allow attachment to a lanyard or keychain.

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The other side has the ‘DataTraveler BlackBox’ insignia as well as model information and such.

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The cap comes off easily to reveal access to the USB connector.

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When the drive is in use, you can attach the cap to the back of the drive to avoid getting it lost. However, it does not attach very securely so the chances of losing it are high.

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Page 4 : Installation & Setup

First step in installation is plugging the BlackBox into a USB 2.0 port. Here it is, plugged into my new Dell XPS m1330:

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This causes an AutoPlay dialog to pop up which urges you to run the included installation program.

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Following the installer to set up a password and contact information is easy enough.

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Once that is done, a new AutoPlay dialog pops up to reveal access to the drive itself.

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Also, a red ‘Kingston’ logo icon is installed to the system tray, which can be used to manage the BlackBox.

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That's all there is to it!


Page 5 : Testing & Performance

Testing will involve both synthetic and ‘real-world’ benchmarks to analyze the performance of the DataTraveler.

When being accessed, the blue LED on the drive blinks intermittently.

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Moving onto the tests…

HD Tach

First up, the HD Tach tests.

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The results show an average read speed of 12.4 MB/s and a burst speed of 23.9 MB/s with a random access time of 0.9 ms and CPU utilization of 5%. This is by no means slow but I have seen faster drives.

HD Tune

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The HD Tune results show more or less the same information.

ATTO Disk Benchmark

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Atto shows maximum read speeds of around 24 MB/s and read speeds of 18 MB/s.

DiskBench

Using DiskBench, I generated and used two files, one 100 MB and the other 500 MB, to measure copy, write, and read speeds.

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Write speeds are understandably slow since the file is being written directly to the drive. Read and write speeds are around 23 and 17 MB/s respectively.

SiSoft Sandra

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The Sandra Removable Storage benchmark shows a combined index of 6698 operations/min, which is relatively good.

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However, the Sandra File System benchmarks shows slower write speeds than we saw with other tests. The general drive index is 20.73 MB/s, which is respectable.


Page 6 : Conclusion

All things considered, I was impressed with the Kingston DataTraveler BlackBox. It performed admirably well even though it has to deal with on-the-fly 256-bit AES encryption. Also, the security process is relatively transparent in that all you have to do is put in your password and subsequently, the drive acts just like a normal USB flash drive. The build quality is excellent unlike some older DataTravelers I've owned; I soaked the drive in a cup of water for several minutes and it still worked.

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Though the quality is great overall, there is still room for improvement. For example, the cap is easy to lose since it is not secured to the drive. Also, the security aspects of this drive are not exactly alluring to the average user who might view it as nothing more than an overpriced USB flash drive that asks for a password. However, for those who need a secure drive certified by the government, the Kingston DataTraveler is a great drive which may be worth the price.

Advantages:

  • Sleek, solid, waterproof design

  • Decent performance
  • AES 256-bit encryption with FIPS 140-2 certification for security
  • Easy to setup and use

Disadvantages:

  • Unsecured cap might get lost easily

  • Somewhat expensive

Overclockers Online would like to thank Kingston for providing a review sample of the DataTraveler BlackBox.

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