Electronic Design

Flash Memory: SanDisk Cruzer And Ultra II SD

SanDisk provides the flash memory used by the various devices that were part of the Best Computer of 2005 project. The 1-Gbyte Ultra II SD was used in the SanDisk Sansa E140 MP3 player as well as in the HP R817 camera. The Ultra II provides improved transfer rates up to 10 Mbytes/s. This means files can be transferred more quickly than slower products. It also means operations like taking photos can proceed more quickly. That means fewer missed opportunities.

The Best Computer of 2005 does not have a floppy disk installed. The HP 740i DVD Writer can provide external data exchange, but burning a CD to move data to another machine tends to be overkill. This makes USB flash disk drives indispensable and SanDisk provided two: the Cruzer Micro and the Cruzer Titanium.

The Cruzer Micro is small and it comes with a number of different color skins (see Figure 1). Now you can be stylish when you move your data around. It can also be handy to determine who owns a particular Micro or what kind of data is on the Micro. Choose your colors and snap on the skin. The Cruzers use the same high-speed technology found in the SD card but they are actually faster at 15 Mbytes/s.

The Cruzer Titanium is a bit larger, but the capacities available are the same as the Micro. Why use a larger unit? Well, have you ever lost the cover to a USB flash drive? The only other one I have not lost is one that is part of a tiny pocketknife and I can’t take that on an airplane anymore. I can take a Cruzer Titanium. There is a small thumb slider in the middle of the unit (see Figure 2). Push it in one direction and out pops the USB connector. Plug it into the front-panel USB socket on the Best Computer of 2005 and we were good to go. Just pop the connector back in after removing the device from the PC.

The Cruzers come with a set of Windows-based applications that can make the devices even more useful: CruzerSync and Cruzer PocketCache. CruzerSync provides a way to automatically synchronize files with 128-bit AES encryption support. It is provided as a 30-day trial version. There are no limits on Cruzer PocketCache, which provides file exchange as well, but without encryption or integration with productivity applications like Microsoft Outlook. You can use CruzerLock 2 to encrypt and decrypt files. It comes in a number of different versions. The free version provides basic encryption while the Professional version can be used to lock down PCs.

The floppy is gone and flash drives are the wave of the future. SanDisk is leading the way with its products.

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