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Voyager 16GB performance issue


john_motu

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Hi

 

Just purchased a 16GB Voyager and am somewhat concerned about apparently slow write times with multiple files and also a difference in performance between using it on PC and Mac.

 

The Data:

1. A folder containing multiple other folders and files, totalling 2.04GB and 3,840 files in total:

PC: write time 16 minutes, read time 2 minutes

Mac: write time 36 minutes, read time 2.5 minutes

 

2. A single file (a zip of my applications folder) 3.83GB in size:

PC: write time 8 minutes, read time 2.5 minutes (these figures are about what i expected)

Mac: write time 16.5 minutes, read time 12 minutes

 

PC is a P4 3.4GHz with 1MB RAM running XP Pro. The Mac is a G5 (1.8GHz dual processor) and running OS X 10.4.8. Using USB 2.0 port on both.

 

A couple of questions. Firstly, any particular reason why such a large discrepancy between PC and Mac? Secondly, the multiple file transfer, despite being just over 50% the size of the single file, takes twice as long to write – I understand there is additional overhead for the chip controller when transferring lots of smaller files as opposed to one large one, but the magnitude of the difference is far greater than I had expected. I initially attempted to copy my applications folder (see 2 above for transfer of the folder in a zipped state) to the Voyager – the uncompressed folder is a shade over 6GB in size but has LOTS of files – until the Mac’s copy dialog box informed me its running estimate of the time to complete was around 40 hours!!!!!

 

FWIW, I own a 3-4 year old XXXXXXXXX 256MB memory stick (formatted as FAT rather than the Voyager's FAT32) and running a crude comparison just on the Mac, it seems to run well over twice as fast when handling a transfer of multiple small files.

 

Is the overhead associated with transferring multiple files truly that great on the Voyager?

 

Regards

John

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  • Corsair Employees
First thing, the speeds you reported are about normal, and we are using a slower controller with the larger density drives and all will change to MLC controllers which are a bit slower than SLC which is what we used to use. However, due to the cost of SLC and some other reasons we were forced to change to MLC technology with our newer Value based drives.
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First thing, the speeds you reported are about normal, and we are using a slower controller with the larger density drives and all will change to MLC controllers which are a bit slower than SLC which is what we used to use. However, due to the cost of SLC and some other reasons we were forced to change to MLC technology with our newer Value based drives.

I was considering to buy your flash and now I'm FORCED NOT to buy it as I'm professional and I haven't time to wait hours to write data to flash...

Why doesn't your company produce two product series "Economical" and "Professional"? Really I don't understand why are you moving to worse technology...

 

P.S. "First thing, the speeds you reported are about normal" this is not normal, this was decision of your management to make the new series of flash slow...

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Well I am sorry that you see it that way, but it was required to keep the flash products in line with other products. We will release performance USB parts with in the next few months to offer those like your self that are more concerned with performance than price.
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Thanks for the response RG

 

Unfortunately, having gone through the data transfer testing prior to raising the issue, your answer is what I suspected -- but definitely didn’t want to hear -- on the issue of larger numbers of small files, although you didn’t comment on why Mac USB 2.0 was more than twice as slow in the same transfers.

 

I’d make several comments FWIW….

 

1. In a practical sense, the controller bottleneck for multiple small files largely renders the 16GB capacity unusable for what I suspect is many users’ (eg students, professionals with spreadsheets and word documents) purposes of making their applications and data portable. The product would seem to be suitable in transfer rate performance for a user who is only ever going to transfer a small number of large files (eg video files).

 

2. Subject to any comments you might have about why Macs are less than half the transfer speed, I also can’t see why any Mac user would bother given the relative performance hit. You advertise the device as plug and pay compatible with Mac OS X, which it is, however, there is no mention of the magnitude of the performance differential I am observing. IMO, this is misleading at best.

 

3. I bought the 16GB Flash Voyager in large part because independent reviews of smaller capacity models noted they performed very well in transfer rates, and also because Corsair has a good reputation for these products. Those reviews, plus my additional (and in hindsight, erroneous) expectation that I would also achieve better transfer rates than my old 256MB memory stick, tipped me towards the Flash Voyager. Your website lumps all the Flash Voyager products together, implying that performance is the same across the range; I also note I could not see a separate spec sheet for the 16GB model. I regard this, in conjunction with the slower Mac speeds, as materially over-representing the practical performance a typical user can expect.

 

Just to be clear, I certainly don’t have any objection to Corsair choosing and building to a particular performance standard for a product, that’s your choice and the market ultimately decides all commercial fates. But I do have a real problem where the specs aren’t fully disclosed to buyers, and IMO, I don’t think it adequately is in this instance and you therefore need to make additional disclosures. Had I been aware of the extent of the performance degradation when transferring multiple files, I would simply not have purchased the product. My bad on the purchase; off to check the seller’s returns policy, otherwise it’ll be on eBay.

 

Regards

John

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John

I do understand your frustration.

However, we can only make a 16 Gig Flash drive using MLC technology, it's not possible to make it with the faster SLC controller. It is slower but allows for higher density configurations!

 

And as I have said before we are releasing new Flash product's that are performance based as we see a requiremnet for that product. I would expect it to be available with in the next few months!

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I've previously stated that I agree it's completely Corsair's choice about the technology you use in your products. I have no issue with that at all.

 

But can you show me where on your website you state that the 16GB Flash Voyager product uses slower flash controller technology than the rest of the range and that a buyer could therefore ascertain that the write transfer rate would be materially slower when multiple files are involved. The product page doesn't show it and the PDF of the product specs that I downloaded doesn't mention it (the PDF only goes up to the 4GB product).

 

My complaint with Corsair is simply that the way you've presented the 16GB version of the product on your website represents it as having the same specs as the rest of the range (capacity aside obviously) when in fact it clearly doesn't. IMO, this is an error of omission at best and arguably misrepresentation. On this basis, I'm asking you to agree to a product return and refund.

 

Regards

John

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John,

My complaint with Corsair is simply that the way you've presented the 16GB version of the product on your website represents it as having the same specs as the rest of the range (capacity aside obviously) when in fact it clearly doesn't. IMO, this is an error of omission at best and arguably misrepresentation. On this basis, I'm asking you to agree to a product return and refund.

 

I understand and have sent a note to the management about your complaint.

While I may agree or disagree its not up to me to make the determination, I would suggest contacting the reseller and see if they will let you do that, and if not then please contact our customer service and ask to speak to a supervisor, I am sure they will do their best to help you.

888-222-4346 Ext "0"

 

Also you might try and format the Drive on your Mac with the Mac OS and see if the performance will improve, but it will only be usable on your Mac is the down side.

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I appreciate you are the "meat in the sandwich" on this one as it's now more a legal issue of representation. We have some circular logic occuring as the reseller is asking me to get you to agree to the return before they refund, although as I am about to point to them they legally cannot request that and while I would like to resolve this amicably, if necessary I will force the issue.

 

Either way, I do want to hear what your management says on this matter as I believe product representation is important; vendors should be reasonable and not fail disclose material differences across a product range. Not every company gets everything right all the time, what makes a company great or poor is how they respond when there is an issue, so I'll guess we're about to find how Corsair stacks up! The nature of Corsair's response will determine the nature of reviews I write of this product at other sites (eg Amazon, Newegg, etc) -- the product won't get a great review, that's inevitable because of the MLC issue that will affect many users, although for users with just large files it's excellent.....but the real question will be what sort of review the company receives for how it handles the issue.

 

Regards

John

 

PS: I had though of trying to format for Mac only, but as I run a mixed PC/Mac LAN it's imperative that I have portability, so FAT32 is really the only way I can go in practice.

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Hi RAM GUY

 

Could you plse advise which of your Flash Voyager products use MLC and which use SLC as I may ask the reseller to swap me to a lower capacity SLC model and refund the difference. I don't really want to go below 8GB, so does that Flash Voyager perform at the high write transfer speeds comparable to older reviews I've read on the speed of the lower capacity (eg 1GB) model?

 

Regards

John

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Good luck finding a 16GB drive that has the "Performance" you are looking for. At this point in time there is no SLC NAND flash that will allow a 16GB 2 chip flash drive. The only way to make it is with MLC. You could build a 4 chip SLC drive, but the size would start to approach on pocket hard drives. The controller on the two drives would be the same.

 

The difference between MAC and PC is purely on the host controller device. The controller on the USB device can not tell between MAC and PC. It is purely USB 2.0 communication between the host controller and the device controller.

 

Last time I checked the product specification page for Flash Voyager there are no promises of performance. They don't even mention the speed of the drives. There are review sites out there that have reviewed the products in question. All based on 8GB and lower capacity that can and probably have at one time used SLC based flash. From the reviews out there the current 8GB Flash Voyager could only be made with SLC. The write performance of the drive could not be close to what it is with MLC. I would suggest getting one now before it gets changed!! :sigh!:

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Thanks for the info on MLC versus SLC.

 

You are quite correct that there is nothing directly about performance on the product specification page.

 

However, read the PDF of the product release announcement on 22 December 2006 (http://www.corsairmemory.com/corsair/pr/PR_Voyager_16GB_Launch.pdf) which is linked from Corsair's home page (the link is in the Newsbytes column where it announces the 16GB product -- click on the "Read more" directly below that to access the PDF).

 

Go to the fourth paragraph of page one of the PDF where you will see that it states "Built to Corsair?s legendary quality and reliability standards, the new 16GB USB drive delivers sustained read and write performance at 22MB/sec and 7MB/sec respectively." Note that in the quote, performance is stated as "at" a speed rather than "up to" and with no qualifiers about single file versus multiple files limits.

 

I don't know what you'd call this, but to me, when a company announces a new product and includes specific performance metrics in the announcement, I'd call it a representation. I'd also add that the product page does point to a couple of reviews of the Flash Voyager, by MaximumPC and Tom's Hardware, both of which were complimentary of the speed performance of the products reviewed. By grouping the entire Flash Voyager range together on the product webpage and effectively referencing the product family to external reviews that emphasise the good performance, I would argue there is an effective representation that the entire product range will achieve comparable performance, when in fact, that just isn't the case.

 

Regards

John

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John,

I would suggest contacting our customer service and see what they can do to help you, if your reseller will not let you send the product back since you are not happy. But we are looking at the web pages now and I am sure we will make them more clear, so there is no more confusion.

Please call them at 888-222-4346 Ext "0" and ask to speak to a supervisor.

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  • 1 month later...
  • Corsair Employees

I think you may have missed this but there is no one making flash drives with SLC controllers bigger than 8 gig! It cannot be done at this time.

 

John

I do understand your frustration.

However, we can only make a 16 Gig Flash drive using MLC technology, it's not possible to make it with the faster SLC controller. It is slower but allows for higher density configurations!

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