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The Ridata RDESSD32G-R-BX promises to be a high speed SSD in USB thumb drive form-factor. Read on for my review of it.

I was recently looking for a 32-ish GB USB memory stick and was trying to find something faster than the typical USB sticks which just take a long darn time to fill up with only 4 or 8GB of data. I spent a while looking at the higher performance lines offered by various manufacturers, because I had seen some reviews in the past about them being a fair bit faster than the average USB stick.

But then on a whim I decided to search for “USB MLC” to see if I could come up with something that was closer to the speed of the new SSD drives that are all the rage. And I cam up with this Ridata RDESSD32G-R-BX. It's a more typical (though slightly larger) USB form factor stick, that promises 30MB/sec to 90MB/sec transfer rates. Something around 10 times as fast as the fastest of the typical USB memory sticks.

It includes a USB plug on one end, and a eSATA port on the other end. The one caveat is that the eSATA side will probably need the USB side to be plugged in as well to power the unit. They provide a special USB power-only cable for doing this, so that your computer doesn't get confused by seeing the drive twice (once on USB, one on eSATA).

To get the 90MB/sec you need to use the eSATA port, which I haven't tried yet. On the USB side it is only capable of doing 30MB/sec. Compared to 1.5MB/sec to 3MB/sec on a typical USB stick, that's not bad.

Pricing of the 32GB stick is around $105, compared to around $75 for the cheapest 32GB USB stick I could find.

In my testing, I've seen 30MB/sec read via USB, sustained. When loading it with data I was limited by a 100mbps network, but it's clear that this stick is a vast improvement over the typical USB sticks, for what I feel is a modest price increase.

The only reason I can imagine using a regular USB flash stick again is strictly because of the sizing – the Ridata is only offered in 16GB and 32GB sizes. My typical use of USB memory sticks is in the 4 to 8GB range, at a cost of $20 or less. Using them like floppies or CDs, possibly giving them away… For any serious use, like acting as an additional storage for my laptop's built-in 80GB storage, I can't imagine getting a regular USB stick over the Ridata.

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