Kingston taps high-density chips for 256GB stick

Kingston Technology has started selling a USB stick that can hold the same amount of data as 365 CDs

Flash memory company Kingston Technology has begun selling a 256GB USB drive, which can hold the same amount of data as 365 CDs.

The high memory capacity of the Kingston DataTraveler 300 drive, announced on Monday, is a result of the density of the flash chips it uses, according to Kingston field application engineer Pasi Siukonen.

"We use multiple high-density chips," Siukonen told ZDNet UK on Tuesday.

In addition, he said the device is efficient because the controller can access the 256GB of memory directly, and not address it in chunks. That provides a speed boost of "20MB per second read speed, and 10MB per second write speed", he said.

However, Siukonen noted that the transfer rates provided by the Nand-based device will be related to how the host system is configured and the age of the computer. "[The DataTraveler 300] can't write 10MB per second on older systems," he said.

With 256GB of storage, the USB drive has the highest storage capacity available, according to Kingston. However, it can only write and erase data up to 10,000 times. Normally, USB devices can do these tasks approximately one million times.

"The drive has a 10,000 write cycle limit, but it has a 10-year data-retention guarantee," said Siukonen, who added that Kingston was working on pushing up the write cycle limit for the DataTraveler 300.

The DataTraveler 300 will made to order for customers, at a unit cost of £565.67, excluding VAT. Kingston is unlikely to go into mass production of the device in the near future, Suikonen said.

"Looking at a capacity like this, the demand is not going to be high," he said. "Going to the market with a 256GB drive is a great way to get publicity, but whether this is going to be popular yet remains to be seen. At the moment, the sweet spot is 4GB."

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