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Cheap USB Flashdrives…Caveat Emptor

Corporate Gift USB Drive, Credit Card USB Drive, Custom Shaped USB Flashdrives, FlashDrive News, Memory Stick, Pen Drive, USB Key, USB Stick

What is in a USB Flashdrive ?

Within each USB Flashdrive there is circuit board with typically 2 chips on board. One controller chip and the primary storage component – a flash memory chip. The USB Flash drive market is predominately supplied by the following Tier 1 Chip set manufacturers: Samsung, Intel, Toshiba, Hynix etc. Original products from these manufacturers are of very high quality and typically travel with a lifetime warranty. We would generally classify these chips from the above manufacturers as Grade A devices

Caveat Emptor

As pricing has become a major factor in bulk purchases, there has been, in recent years, a proliferation of sub-standard chip sets hitting the open marketplace. Failure rates of 30-40% have not been uncommon. To compound the issue, there have also been unscrupulous vendors who have been re-configuring lower capacity drives to appear larger (e.g. 2Gb units presented to the PC operating system as 8Gb units). In this instance, only when the true capacity is exceeded will the problem become apparent.

Flashdrive Chipset Categories

Grade A: Top grade flash memory from tier 1 manufacturers (Samsung, Intel, Toshiba, Hynix etc). Typically offering a lifetime guarantee. They are priced accordingly

Grade B: Chipsets from the Tier 1 manufacturers are supplied to authorized OEM suppliers who will package the wafer dye and brand with their product numbers. The flash memory is of the same reliability as Grade A, simply packed by the OEM Vendors. They can then offer a more price competitive product to the market. High reliability can be expected and warranties of 2 years.

Grade C: Where customers are offered significant price discounts in a competitive market, it is time for “caveat emptor” or buyer beware. There are sub standard silicon wafers in the marketplace which are rejects from the Tier 1 flash drive manufacturers. They are being packaged by some vendors and sold as original product. Failure of 30-40% would not be uncommon with these units.


Grade A units are always recommended for the power user or corporate applications where integrity of the data is paramount
Grade B: Suitable for gifts, promotions, brand building etc where reliability is important but pricing is also a major factor
Grade C: To be avoided at all costs if the customer does not want to be burdened by issues relating to loss of data, product reliability and the resulting damage caused to the brand building exercise or promotional initiative for which they were purchased

Flashdrive.ie will only support Grade A and Grade B devices. Our Warranty returns are less than 0.03%. We advise our clients to make informed decisions when they make purchasing decisions.

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