I thought we were passed the slow drives of the USB 1.x days so any USB thumb drive would be pretty fast. But yesterday I bought a 128GB drive and I am finding it is painfully slow. Copying 80GB takes an hour. It's the SanDisk Cruzer Glide and I am finding it is quite slow. I have an external Flash drive from 2008 and it is much faster for copying large files.


My question is, how do I make sure when I purchase a USB thumb drive or external drive that it will be fast? I am looking at the technical specs and I do not see anything about the speed of the Flash drive. I do see it says it requires USB 2.0 for high-speed transfers which my computer has. Yet it is dramatically slower than the 4 year old drive.

I am working with on my MacBook Pro so I formatted it as MacOS Extended (Journaled) when it was originalled MS-DOS (FAT) formatted. Would it be faster if I format it back to MS-DOS?

closed as not a real question by Xavierjazz, Gaff, Canadian Luke, user3463, MaQleod Aug 16 '12 at 6:01

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  • 2
    If they don't advertise transfer speeds, it's slow. – Daniel Beck Aug 16 '12 at 0:12

80gb in one hour is pretty fast for a flash drive imo, only way to determine is read the "read-write" specs for the drive you are interested in. 5mb write is super slow, 50+ is common for performance flash drives, 70 is smokin fast, but is usb 3.0

really fast flash drives are expensive.


80GB an hour is 22MB/sec which is about three-quarters of the 30MB maximum write speed you can get from USB 2, so your thumb drive is actually performing pretty well. If you want gigabit write speeds then at a minimum you need a drive that supports USB 3.0. You also need to read the drive specs carefully and make sure the write speed meets your requirements because support for the USB 3.0 protocol doesn't necessarily mean you get higher write speeds from the drive. There are cheap USB 3.0 thumb drives that still only write 20-25MB per second. Note also that thumb drives do not support TRIM so you can expect some performance degradation over time as the cell rewrite penalties start to affect more and more blocks on the drive.

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