Recently Microsoft finally allowed users to use USB flash memory to supplement the over priced hard drives the Xbox 360 relies upon. Usable space is restricted to 16GB, no matter how large the flash drive, but as you can use the drives for both save games and for hard drive installs of games you should see a general performance increase over just the hard drives.
All well and good but the question is, which USB drive should you buy? Does ultimate speed matter, or can you use a relatively cheap flash drive and still enjoy a performance and storage boost? We've collected a few together for a quick test on the console, though we'll also be testing them in normal conditions to get a definitive view on which is the fastest.
The ContendersWe have three main contenders from Corsair, Kingston and SanDisk. We've also got a cheap and cheerful control drive from Verbatim, just to see how our premium drives compare with something more basic.
Corsair Flash Voyager GTR
Available in capacities of 32, 64 and 128GB, the Corsair Flash Voyager GTR is the odds on favourite in this race. It uses quad-channel technology to push the limits of flash drive speed, claiming up to 34MB/sec write and 28MB/sec read speeds.
Not only that, it comes housed in Corsair's well-known rubber casing, which protects the drive against drops, impacts and water damage. These drives have been known to take a lot of punishment in the past, so you needn't worry about losing your precious data - just the removable cap!
All this comes at a price, though, as the 32GB drive alone costs over £85, with the 64GB model coming in at around £150 and the 128GB an incredible £250. All drives come with a 10-year limited warranty, an extension cable and lanyard.
Kingston DataTraveler 200
Unlike the Corsair, the Kingston DataTraveler 200 has a capless design and though it's not ruggedized, it has an attractive and decent quality shell. Kingston claims moderate speeds of 20MB/sec read and 10MB/sec write. It comes with a five-year warranty. Unsurprisingly it's considerably cheaper. Prices for the 32GB version start at £50, rising to £105 for the 64GB edition. A 128GB version is also on sale, but looks poor value at £260.
SanDisk Extreme Cruzer Contour
The SanDisk Extreme Cruzer Contour - a long-winded name if ever there was one - doesn't come in 64 or 128GB capacities like the Kingston and Corsair, maxing out at 32GB (£80). However, it does have the advantage of being available in smaller sizes, including 4 (£12), 8 (£26) and 16GB (£40).
It's also the best looking drive, sporting a smart gloss-black, brushed metal combo. Like the Kingston it has a capless design, and though its slide back and out mechanism seems a tad fussy at first, it eventually proves quite intuitive. SanDisk rates it at 25MB/sec read, 18MB/sec write.
Verbatim Store 'n' Go
This capless wonder is most definitely cheap and cheerful. A 16GB drive costs just £24 and an 8GB one - big enough for a game, maybe even two - is just £15.