Now that we’ve looked at the mousepad that I was using, it’s time for Tim to donate something to the pile of kit to review. Looking over his desk, I was tempted to just grab a GeForce 8800 Ultra, shove it in my pocket and run back to the sanctity of my own chair claiming that that would do for the review and that I’d have to install it in my home system to really tax it.
Then I remembered that my home PC blew up a while ago and I’ve been enlisting the help of the bit-tech community to help re-build it. So, instead of a swanky new GPU I had to cope with the USB key which Tim handed to me.
The first thing you’ll note about the Survivor USB key is that it’s an expensive little thing. Why is it so costly, I hear you ask. Wait a minute and I’ll explain.
The Survivor isn’t an ordinary USB key. It is encased in come extra-tough, practically super-powered metal. Technically it’s anodized, CNC-milled aircraft-grade aluminium but saying that it’s super-powered makes it sound a little better in my opinion. The metal case also incorporates a waterproof seal which is unscrewed off to gain access to the key within.
The Survivor GT, unboxed and pristine
The case also comes with some rubber collars to give it some measure of impact resistance, but these quickly loosened and started to slip off. Not that two strips of rubber are going to make a difference when you’re encased in your own metal carry case.
We started off our testing of the Survivor by writing some data to it and measuring the speed. 1.31GB, divided over 16 movies files took exactly 52 seconds to write to the key. Taking the files back off the drive produced the exact same results - 52 seconds to read from the drive. We worked out the speeds of the drive using HDTach, a synthetic benchmark for drives, and the Survivor achieved speeds of 32.8 MB/s, which is really quite nippy.
That’s not really surprising though given that this is the GT version of the Survivor range and uses IC-paired memory to get the fastest possible speeds. Now you’re starting to see why it costs so much more, aren’t you?
The Survivor is supposed to be shock resistant because of its design, as well as water resistant to a depth of 200m. At bit-tech though we don’t rely on what things are ‘supposed to be’, so we decided to test the Survivor’s mettle. Literally.
Our first test involved tossing the Survivor around lightly and dropping it on our desktops – damaging my mouse mat in the process. This obviously wasn’t very effective though, so we went a bit more hardcore and took it outside. Rich is currently on crutches, so we kicked things off (ironically) by attempting to crush the metal case. No such luck.
The next step was to try and smash the thing open through sudden force. Stabbing it with various screwdrivers didn’t make much of an impact either though – barely a scratch in fact. I tried throwing the thing at a brick wall as hard as I could but all I accomplished was a bit of damage to the brick (really) and almost scratching somebody’s car.
The Survivor after our tests - with barely a scratch!
The next test was trial by water, so I took the Survivor home and, much to my girlfriend's annoyance, deliberately ran it through the washing machine. I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of person who is forever leaving stuff in his pockets and letting my mobile or my USB keys get a rinse, so this is a fairly standard test for the Survivor.
When it emerged from the tumble I laid the Survivor, still screwed up, on a tea towel and let it warm itself in some direct sunlight. In reality most USB keys can survive a good rinse if you’re careful to dry it out thoroughly, but we were mighty impressed when we came back a few hours later and unscrewed the Survivor to find out that it was completely dry inside.
It therefore wasn’t very surprising that the read/write speeds were virtually identical in the second tests – after all, it didn’t actually get wet at all.
Unofficially, we even went a little bit further in our tests of the Flash Survivor and threw it off/at all sorts of things. We tried to crush it, cut it, hammer it and drown it but in all instances the Survivor proved worthy of its name. The cost is an issue for most, but then again if you weren’t going to be doing all kinds of expensive, extreme things then you wouldn’t even need to consider the Survivor GT. This is the perfect USB key for all the part-time Ray Mears out there.