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Lexar JumpDrive P20 Flash Drive Review: The Need for Speed

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Lexar

The Need for Speed

Around here storage is Allyn’s territory, but I decided to share my experience with a new $20 flash drive I picked up that promised some impressive speeds via USB 3.0. The drive is the Lexar JumpDrive P20, and I bought the 32GB version, which is the lowest capacity of the three drives in the series. 64GB and 128GB versions of the JumpDrive P20 are available, with advertised speeds of up to 400 MB/s from all three, and reads and up to 270 MB/s writes - if you buy the largest capacity.

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My humble 32GB model still boasts up to 140 MB/s writes, which would be faster than any USB drive I’ve ever owned (my SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 16GB drive is limited to 60 MB/s writes, and can hit about 190 MB/s reads), and the speeds of the P20 even approach that of some lower capacity SATA 3 SSDs - if it lives up to the claims. The price was right, so I took the plunge. (My hard-earned $20 at stake!)

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Size comparison with other USB flash drives on hand (P20 on far right)

First we'll look at the features from Lexar:


  • Among the fastest USB flash drives available, with speeds up to 400MB/s read and 270MB/s write
  • Sleek design with metal alloy base and high-gloss mirror finish top
  • Securely protects files using EncryptStick Lite software, an advanced security solution with 256-bit AES encryption
  • Reliably stores and transfers files, photos, videos, and more
  • High-capacity options to store more files on the go
  • Compatible with PC and Mac systems
  • Backwards compatible with USB 2.0 devices
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Continue reading our review of the Lexar JumpDrive P20 USB drive!!

Pricing and Availability:

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The Lexar P20 arrives in some pretty deluxe packaging for a $20 flash drive, and it has a bulky - though solid - build. The the USB plug retracts for storage, and there is a loop in the package if you need it.

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The drive feels very solid, and has a metal back; surprisingly nice for the cost.

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I plugged it into one of my Intel Z170 system’s native USB 3.0 ports, and - after briefly copying off the contents of the drive (more on the included software shortly) I formatted it to NTFS - since it arrived formatted with FAT32 and I wanted to test large file transfers - and then I got to work doing some read/write tests.

PSA: There is no reason to purchase this - or any other - high-speed drive and use it with the Windows default settings, which are optimized for fast removal, and not high performance. Compared to a hard drive Windows treats a USB drive differently, unless you manually change the hardware mode. I changed the drive to the high performance mode and got started.

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The default setting in Windows (left), which I switched to "Better Performance" (right)

Performance Results

I began with a simple write test by copying a large file over to the drive, which I had formatted with NTFS.

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The max writes are really close to the theoretical max advertised, but I can’t help regretting the decision to get the smallest version. (I want more speed!) Next, I simply copied the file back to the SSD in my test system:

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These numbers are excellent, though slightly below the advertised max transfer rates. For some slightly more storage-editor approved testing, I tried out the drive with ATTO and HD Tune.

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ATTO results are impressive, and show the full capability of the drive, as it hits the max reads and writes at certain transfer sizes (QD=2). Next we'll look at sustained write speeds with HD Tune:

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HD Tune sustained write speeds at 64KB (left) and 4MB (right) block sizes

Looking over at the first HD Tune results, which were run at the default settings, we see a much slower result (left); but these are sustained 64KB block reads across the entire drive. Changing the block size dramatically affects the result, and in the next test I had set it to 4MB blocks (right).

Finally, I'll touch on the included encryption software. EncryptStick lite is provided on the drive, and this uses AES 256 bit encryption to stores files in a vault on the drive that cannot be accessed without the user-created password.

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It it easy to use and works as advertised, and it's a free bonus; though options within the app are somewhat limited unless you pay for an upgraded version.

Conclusion

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So there you have it: an inexpensive USB drive that performs extremely well. Hitting 400 MB/s on reads is obviously quite impressive, and the write speeds are very good, with the expected improvement based on capacity. This trio of drives, ranging from about $19.99 to $49.99 on Amazon (well below Lexar’s MSRPs), are an outstanding value for very fast portable storage.

Of course you can buy much higher capacities these days for the same money, but I don’t think you’ll find higher performance at this price level - and that’s what this drive is all about! Lexar has a winner here.

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March 28, 2017 | 01:37 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I purchased two Lexar JumpDrive S75 128 GB, one Lexar JumpDrive S75 256 GB and one 128 GB Lexar JumpDrive P20. Unlike other manufacturers, LExar states a max write speed of these products and gives a clear guide on what you can expect. For example, for P20 both 32 GB and 64 GB have the same write speed, while 128 GB and 256 GB have same speed that is much higher than 32-64 GB drives.

Even the write speed of S75 blows up all the Kingston and Sandisk flash disks I have.

But P20 is... very, very special, I saw 250 MB/s write speed.

I tested data reads too, but that is nothing special nowadays. Even a USB 2.0 drive has enough read speed to push Full HD video to a SmartTV. What matters is the write speed.

Though it costs as much as a 120 GB SATA III SSD, if you "transport" lots of data between computers, I think it is a very good value.

March 28, 2017 | 01:48 PM - Posted by jabbadap (not verified)

Darn good looking perf. for flash drive(I have that sandisk extreme and it's superb). And I like the price too. Do you have any clue what nand flashes micron uses on these?

March 28, 2017 | 02:54 PM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

I see there are people complaining about poor small read/writes on this stick on Amazon's reviews so I went and tested my Sandisk USB 3.0 64GB stick to compare even though it's not apples to apples. It looks like the P20 only performs well when you're looking at large reads. The Sandisk beats it by a fair margin both in small reads/writes and large writes. It also appears to have a much more balanced profile with fairly equal large read/write speeds. Since it's a similar price to the 64GB P2 and assuming the 64GB P20 has similar small reads/writes I wouldn't recommend it. I do suspect that those complaining in the Amazon reviews had lemons though as the performance difference shouldn't be as bad as they're describing.

Here are my ATTO results

I can't find any other reviews on the 64GB P20 using a QD=2 so take all of this with a grain of salt.

March 28, 2017 | 02:58 PM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

Sebastian,

I see you have your own Sandisk Extreme (I meant to also add that the one I tested was indeed the extreme in my above post). What size is it, can you post the ATTO for it if it's the 32GB model?

March 28, 2017 | 03:23 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

It's only a 16GB. I would have included results for comparison if I had a 32GB, but it did manage up to 60 MB/s writes and 188 MB/s reads with ATTO.

March 28, 2017 | 03:34 PM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

I have misplaced a 32GB Sandisk model, if I do end up finding it I'll do another ATTO run and post the results.

March 28, 2017 | 07:52 PM - Posted by wossman

Switching Windows settings to high performance to get the highest benchmark numbers is all well and good, but most of us use our flash drives to exchange data with computers we sometimes can't take such liberties on, so it would be good to also see numbers with the default settings, since that's what the average user will encounter in the wild.

Thanks for highlighting a seemingly great product all the same.

March 28, 2017 | 10:58 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

It's not about getting "the highest benchmark numbers" at all. There just isn't any point in buying a fast drive like this and being limited to USB 2.0-like speeds. If you are limited to locked-down computers at work it's probably best to save your money and get a larger, slower drive as you won't see much of a difference in transfer speeds.

March 29, 2017 | 05:49 AM - Posted by AnonymousAdrianna (not verified)

Interrupted transfers are a big issue since one has to start all over again. Binfer is a great alternative for transferring large files like HD videos. Definitely beats uploading private stuff on the cloud.

March 29, 2017 | 11:38 AM - Posted by DiaperDanDoodied

I've been running some live-usbs off ~$10 ADATA UV128 32GB USB 3.0, and it seems to be fine for TAILS or Ubuntu but with RemixOS it crawls. Picking up one of these might be a nice boost in performance as it looks to be a x4 performance boost.

For a higher end portable desktop setup, I would prefer they come out with a usb3.1 nvme enclosure solution and add an intel 600p for ~$100. Currently I use a $50 128gb ssd + usb 3.0 enclosure running Windows 10 "to go." Is there a chance this nvme enclosure may become a reality? It'd be nice to have a smaller footprint. Or is this a silly idea and I'd be hitting a ceiling anyway in bandwith over a usb?

March 29, 2017 | 12:25 PM - Posted by MKW3476 (not verified)

How about random results, such as Crystal DiskMark? The Sandisk Extreme could use some competition in that area.

March 31, 2017 | 02:05 AM - Posted by megamanx

Thanks for the article. Now I am certain that they will be sold out and if more are stocked, the price might be high. Exposure is a good thing and bad.

April 3, 2017 | 01:17 AM - Posted by Bruce427 (not verified)

Review: "ATTO results are impressive."

Impressive? -- The drive was 50% below Write spec and didn't meet Read spec.

I have purchased three of the 128GB Lexar P20s and none came close to meeting spec (I returned all three).

I then purchased a Sandisk 128GB Extreme Pro and it met spec just fine.

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