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Ordinary people can use ordinary flash drives. But those involved in infantry, demolition, deep sea diving, espionage, smash-up derby, ultimate fighting and other rough-and-tumble activities will want a more rugged flash drive. It can’t hurt if the drive holds 64GB, either. Of course, anyone who likes cool gadgets will find the LaCie XtremKey appealing.
I remember when USB flash drives cost about a dollar per megabyte, at least for high-capacity drives. I have no trouble remembering that because it was only about five years ago. I remember receiving a 640MB Cigar Pro drive from Soyo, which cost about $800 when it was released. The 640MB capacity was something of a milestone because it could hold the entire contents of a CD-ROM. I still have a Seagate 5GB USB micro hard drive, which was also something of a milestone because it could hold the entire contents of a DVD-ROM.
That 5GB Seagate drive sold for a lot less than the 640MB Cigar Pro, but today the price of USB storage is closer to a dollar per gigabyte than a dollar per megabyte. Could we possibly be only five years away from $1 per terabyte storage? Quite possibly, I guess.
USB flash drives come in all shapes and sizes. Most are ordinary, but some are extraordinary. A good example is LaCie’s 64GB XtremKey, which is built for strength. Its 2mm-thick metal casing is sealed with a rubber O-ring and watertight to a depth of 333 feet. Not many people have to worry about that, but it’s good to know that the drive can safely go through a couple of wash cycles without losing data.
XtremKey’s zamac metal alloy case, composed of zinc, aluminum, magnesium and copper, can withstand being run over by a 10-ton truck. The rugged drive can resist damage from drops up to 16 feet. It’s also heat resistant to 392 degrees Fahrenheit and cold resistant to minus 122 degrees Fahrenheit. A wear-resistant braided metal cable ensures that it stays where it’s put. XtremKey has a USB 2.0 interface, which allows for read transfer rates up to 40MBps and write transfer rates up to 30MBps.
If USB flash drives still cost a dollar per megabyte, a 64GB drive would cost roughly $64,000 dollars and not too many people would buy them. Fortunately, the 64GB XtremKey is priced at $249.95, which is roughly four dollars per gigabyte. Now that’s more like it.