[UPDATE3: apologies to all the kind folks who have posted in the comments to contribute to the list- all comments disappeared when I moved my blog- very sorry (erm…Disqus?). this update is most likely my final update. Prices sure have come down since this post was first published so I’ve updated them accordingly and all links for sticks that pass the test have been updated.
looks like most 16gb sticks average around $25 now. so go grab some Once again thanks to all those who contributed to the list. /UPDATE]
[UPDATE2: Since this post proves to be quite popular, i’ve decided to expand the list. I could not do this without with the help of the guys over on gamefaqs.com’s boards, so thank them. Meanwhile, if you feel like contributing, just leave a blog comment and I’ll add them asap.]
[UPDATE: my quest has ended with the Sandisk Cruzer Countour 16gb. Although a bit old-a 2007 product I believe and in danger of almost being a Sandisk xbox branded stick, it neverthless has good performance, and is more than 10bucks cheaper. and it probably looks nicer. It’d be interesting to see some benchmarks for the official xbox stick.]
Recently, the Xbox 360 received a most curious dashboard update. It enables the use of USB mass storage devices (flash drives, usb hard disks etc) as an extension to the internal hard disk. The catch is that, and understandably so knowing how MSFT sees us consumers as money trees, well the catch is that you’re limited to using only 16Gb no matter what you plug into the console. Fine. If you wanted more storage you buy their overpriced drive upgrades and so on.
But no this was not enough for you see, they also sell xbox branded Sandisk flash drives here. That’s 70 bucks for a 16GB stick [UPDATE-23/08 now $29.99]. And for just twice that@ 150USD, you can get a larger capacity hdd upgrade. I’ve read many positive reports of people sticking in random usb sticks and having success EVEN when the performance was not up to par, at which point they get this below warning:
And so i thought, great I’ll do myself a favour and get a fast usb stick to load games with. And so I did some research, bought a new 16gb stick and here is the result:
Your device failed the frigging data loss test and can’t be configured, please go buy our xbox branded stick. Some people have had some sucess after formatting the stick on Windows first. I tried that- no dice. I tried formatting it (as a MSDOS filesystem) on a mac- that didnt help either. Tried plugging it into the back port instead- wishful thinking. Tried my other 16gb stick also but that was useless.
Here's the list. It’s small and even though I’m on a personal quest to find one that’s going to work I don’t have the resources to try that many…so if anyone would like to help please leave me a comment with name of device and status: pass, slow, fail. This is so that others might be able to consider this list before buying a new stick just for their xbox and end up wasting $.
What I knew as fact: the A-Data Xupreme boasts a fast read speed. But, it has a slow write speed. And indeed I let HD Tune test it and it was performing quite consistently at (read speed) 31MB/s maximum and around 28MB/s minimum. And the PQI was relatively inconsistent but nevertheless managed a maximum of 30MB/s and a minimum of around 27MB/s.
So it would seem that my mistake was in not paying attention to the stick’s READ speed. And it may seem that the xbox requires the drive to have a minimum read speed before it’d allow it to pass the data loss test. This is just a guess though, if anyone knows better please comment. Meanwhile, i think I’m going to return the A-Data if I could and try a different brand. What I won’t do, is buy the Sandisk xbox branded stick for
70 dollars (it’s now 26 bucks on amazon).