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8/10

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OCZ Throttle eSATA Flash Drive 32GB

Nowadays, it's not uncommon to have an eight, 16, or even 32GB memory stick that you take everywhere with you so that your entire music collection, many of your pictures and a fair selection of videos, work files, etc are close at hand. However, when it comes to moving your files around, copying gigabytes of data over a USB connection can take a long time. Enter, then, the OCZ Throttle.
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While it may look like any other USB memory stick, the Throttle has an eSATA connector, allowing for faster transfers to and from the stick. How much faster? Well, the maximum data rate of USB is theoretically 60MB/s but in most practical instances you seldom get much over 30MB/s and more often it will be around 25MB/s. In contrast, OCZ claims the Throttle can be read from at up 90MB/s and written to at 30MB/s. Okay, so the write performance may not be amazing but the increase in read performance is enough to colour us very interested.
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The stick comes in a modest little cardboard box along with a USB-to-miniUSB cable and that's it. Given it's essentially just a memory stick, this is hardly surprising or disappointing though. The miniUSB cable is used to provide power to the drive when it's connected to a non-powered eSATA port and also for connecting the drive as a normal USB 2.0 drive for those situations where no eSATA port is available.

The need for this cable does highlight one of the Throttle's problems. Namely, it's somewhat annoying to have to carry around an extra cable with the drive, in case either of the above scenarios arises. There's no particularly easy answer to this problem, except to have some sort of integrated USB cable like the Lenovo ThinkPad portable hard drive but this would add to the overall bulk considerably. It's something we'd like to see OCZ experiment with, though.
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Another issue with this drive is its bulk (80mm x 20mm x 10mm) and in particular its width at its plug-end (18mm x 10mm). This can make it difficult to fit in alongside other peripherals that tend to populate the back panel of a computer. Further concern comes from the cap that covers the eSATA port as it's untethered (and can't be clipped onto the back) so will no doubt end up the same way 90 per cent of USB stick caps do - lost or discarded. One final point - more of an observation than a problem - is the drives lack of ruggedisation; it probably won't handle exposure to water or the soul of a size 12 boot, too well. All told, there are certainly some design points that OCZ might want to address or incorporate in the next version.

For the most part, though, the mere prospect of nearly tripling transfer speeds will be all that concerns you so as such, let's take a look at how the Throttle drive performs.

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