Introduction & Drive Details
Having just reviewed Silicon Motion's new SM2320 controller and finding it to be the best portable SSD solution to date, we're back with what is the fastest USB Pen Drive on the planet. The Kingston DataTraveler Max. Kingston's newest USB Type-C offering is an SMI 2320 based Pen Drive that fits on your keychain and delivers over 1,000 MB/s throughput. This is unprecedented in terms of speed and portability.
Kingston's newest USB offering is available in three capacities, 256GBG, 512GB, and 1TB. Factory specifications state the DataTraveler Max is capable of up to 1,000/900 MB/s sequential read/write. Those are unprecedented speeds for a Pen Drive form factor USB stick. As mind-blowing as those quoted speeds are, our testing reveals Kingston's newest Pen Drive is even faster than that.
The DataTraveler Max sports a unique ridged casing that protects the connector when it is not in use and is easily moved in a single motion. The casing has an integrated keyring loop and an LED status indicator that is visible when the drive is powered up. The DataTraveler Max is backed by a five-year warranty with free technical support.
Jon's Test System Specifications - Intel NUC 11 Pro
Note: For USB 3.2 Gen2 x2 SSDs, we test on our Z590 system set to match our Intel NUC 11 specs (4.8GHz, 8-threads, DDR4 3200, balanced power plan).
Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, ATTO & Blackmagic
As we said, factory specs are on the conservative side. The DataTraveler Max is actually a 1000/1000 MB/s USB Pen Drive. Unprecedented performance for its form factor. My keyring is salivating at the prospect of hosting this incredible device.
Nearly full speed at 128KB transfers and a good consistent pattern that doesn't show any throttling along the way. Excellent.
A Pen Drive that can handle video production duties if called upon to do so? Blackmagic shows the DataTraveler Max to be a capable device up to 2160p 30 fps if you should choose to employ it as fast digital video storage. Incredible.
Real-World Testing: PCMark 10 & Transfer Rates
PCMark 10 Data Drive Benchmark
Keep in mind that the DataTraveler Max is a Pen Drive, and even though it shouldn't be able to do so, it is keeping up with portable NVMe SSDs, or at least nipping at the heels of the Type-C USB 3.2 Gen2 based drives on our chart.
We brutalize our test subjects with our extremely hard-to-swallow 100GB data block. This data block is the same one we use for our internal SSD testing and is composed of more than 62K files. We thought this test would likely crumble the DataTraveler MAX, but nope! 662 MB/s from a Pen Drive? That's at minimum twice as fast as any Pen Drive prior to the DataTraveler Max and significantly faster than many portable NVMe SSDs can deliver. Stunning.
Here we see more amazing performance from the DataTraveler Max when serving data to the host. This little USB Pen Drive is essentially capable of reading data as fast as any NVMe SSD behind a USB 3.2 Gen2 interface.
Who could imagine a Pen Drive would bring excitement to the world of solid-state storage? We have literally every SSD that matters ever made at our disposal, but this little USB drive has captured our hearts. It is, in our opinion, the best overall execution of fast, portable storage we've seen to date. There is nothing like it. It's not some phony synthetic speedster as have been all pen drives to this point in time.
The DataTraveler Max can run with and even beat a whole host of portable NVMe SSDs, as demonstrated with an exclamation point by our 100GB transfer test. Best-in-class and TweakTown Elite.
- 5-year warranty
The Bottom Line
The best USB pen drive we've ever tested.