Review

Packaging & Contents Dimensions & Weight Build Quality CrystalDiskMark Benchmark Speed Test ATTO Benchmark Speed Test AS-SSD Benchmark Speed Test Conclusion

Packaging & Contents

The Patriot Element ships on a flat piece of cardboard with a plastic bubble wrap. On the front of package the capacity is stated and there is a stamp indicating the grade (26.9815) of its aluminium body. The back of the package states that the drive has a two year warranty and that a driver will not be required for most operating systems (it doesn't specify which). Finally there are references to the compactness of the drive. There is no mention of speed either on the packaging or on the Patriot website. All to often this indicates below average benchmark performance.

Patriot Element USB 30 16GB Box Front
Patriot Element USB 30 16GB Box Back

Dimensions & Weight

The Patriot Element measures 3.2cm long, 1.2cm wide and .5cm high which is absolutely tiny. Approximately one third of the body of the drive slips into a USB socket. This is the smallest USB 3.0 flash drive we have ever seen on every measurement except length where the PQI Intelligent Drive Micro is ever so slightly shorter at 3.1cm. As well as being the smallest drive we have seen to date, the Element is also the lightest. Weighing just 2 grams it is nearly half the weight of the next lightest, also the PQI which weighs 3.8 grams.

Patriot Element USB 30 16GB Length Ruler

Build Quality

The Patriot Element is reasonably well constructed. The tiny body is made of aluminium. The back of the drive has a small transparent section through which a blue indicator light can be seen flashing whislt the drive is in operation. The transparent back section houses a hole for a key ring lanyard but it is made of very thin plastic so puts the drive at risk of loss.

Patriot Element USB 30 16GB Front
Patriot Element USB 30 16GB Back

Test System

The test rig was a high end Core-i7 workstation kitted out with a 256GB Solid State drive and 16GB of RAM. The system was designed to be overclocked to 5GHZ but for the benchmarks, only the stock frequencies of 1.6GHz idle, 3.4GHz active and 3.8GHz turbo boost were used.
Motherboard ASUS P8Z68-V GEN 3
RAM Corsair Vengeance 16GB Dual Channel DDR3 (CML16GX3M4A1600C9)
Fixed Drive Corsair Performance Pro 256GB
CPU Intel Core i7-2600K
Operating System Windows 7

CrystalDiskMark Speed Test[FAQ]

CrystalDiskMark is a free disk benchmarking utility that is very simple to use. It takes eight measurements: the read and write speeds in megabytes per second (MBps) for sequential, 512KB, random 4KB and 4KB parallel disk operations. There are more screenshots from this benchmark posted on the web than any other, probably due to its clean and simple display. There is further information, including instructions on how to benchmark your own drives, on the CrystalDiskMark wiki page.

CrystalDiskMark Score

The Patriot Element was unable to maintain a USB 3.0 connection for more than about 60 seconds without resetting. As a result we were unable to obtain USB 3.0 speed readings for this drive. Instead we have provided the USB 2.0 speeds which where less than 35 MB/s can be assumed to be reasonably representative of how the drive would perform on a USB 3.0 connection. The only readings which hit the USB 2.0 limit were the sequential and 512K read speeds which we estimate would actually come in at around 85 MB/s, just over double the observed values of 34 and 35 MB/s. Overall the performance of this drive is very poor and the drive stands amongst the slowest USB 3.0 drives we have tested to date.

Crystaldiskmark Benchmark

ATTO Disk Benchmark[FAQ]

The Atto Disk Benchmark has probably been around for longer than any other disk benchmarking software, and you can tell from its dated interface! The utility was designed to measure regular disk drive performance but it's more than up to the task of measuring both USB flash drive and SSD speeds as well. The utility measures disk performance rates for various sizes of file and displays the results in a bar chart showing read and write speeds at each file size. The results are displayed in megabytes per second (MBps). There is further information, including instructions on how to benchmark your own drive, on the Atto wiki page.
ATTO Benchmark

ATTO Score

The ATTO results for the Patriot Element were also taken on a USB 2.0 connection and are in line with its CrystalDiskMark scores. It's not surprising that Patriot do not indicate speeds for this drive as they are significantly below par.

AS SSD Real World Copy Speed[FAQ]

The AS SSD benchmarking program was recently developed specifically for benchmarking SSD's. The utility is able to take several measurements that are well suited to solid state drives. One of the tests, ISO copy, is also relevant to slower storage devices including flash drives. The ISO copy test places two large 500MB files in a folder on the drive and then times how long it takes to copy the folder to another location on the same drive. The result is reported in both MBps and time taken. It's a real-world test that gauges a drives ability to read and write at the same time. Drives that have a good balance between their read and write speed fare relatively well on this test. There is further information, including instructions on how to use it to benchmark your own drive, on the AS SSD wiki page.

Real World Copy Speed Score

This test shows that the Patriot Element would take 141.91 seconds to create a copy of a large 1GB video file. The score is above expectations as generally flash drives complete this test at roughly half their sequential write rates. Although above expectations the outright figure is still the slowest we have seen to date.

AS-SSD Copy Benchmark

Conclusion

The Patriot Element is the second Micro USB 3.0 flash drive we have seen, unlike its predecessor, the PQI Micro USB, it was released in 2013. We had high hopes for this drive, it would have been great to have a micro drive that delivered true USB 3.0 speeds. Sadly our test unit would not even function correctly on a USB 3.0 port so our tests had to be run on USB 2.0. Based on the drive's performance on the USB 2.0 connection we are not optimistic that USB 3.0 would make much difference to the abysmal performance we observed. Generally USB 2.0 only limits speeds below 35 MB/s and only two of the Patriot Element's speeds bested this. In terms of aesthetics the drive is nice, but even the lanyard attachment is dubious. Sadly the only positive thing we can say about this dive is its size which is absolutely tiny, in fact this is almost certainly the smallest USB 3.0 drive in the world.

Original Review by:  
Updated 4 years ago.  

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Patriot Element USB 30 16GB Front

Average Bench: 8.42% (422nd of 615)

Based on 4 user benchmarks.  Device: VID 3538 PID 0909 Model: Generic USB Flash Disk

The Patriot Element is the second Micro USB 3.0 flash drive we have seen, unlike its predecessor, the PQI Micro USB, it was released in 2013. We had high hopes for this drive, it would have been great to have a micro drive that delivered true USB 3.0 speeds. Sadly our test unit would not even function correctly on a USB 3.0 port so our tests had to be run on USB 2.0. Based on the drive's performance on the USB 2.0 connection we are not optimistic that USB 3.0 would make much difference to the abysmal performance we observed. Generally USB 2.0 only limits speeds below 35 MB/s and only two of the Patriot Element's speeds bested this. In terms of aesthetics [...] [Mar '13 USBFlashPro]

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Terrible average bench

The Patriot Element USB 3.0 16GB averaged 91.5% lower than the peak scores attained by the group leaders. This isn't a great result which indicates that there are much faster alternatives on the comparison list.

Strengths

Avg. 4K Random Read Speed 4.47MB/s
Avg. 4K Random Write Speed 0.3MB/s

Unknown consistency

There are too few samples to reasonably determine how consistently this USB perfroms. This result should be interpreted with caution.

Weaknesses

Avg. 4K Random Mixed IO Speed 0.13MB/s
Avg. Sequential Write Speed 8MB/s
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Average Bench

(Based on 4 samples)
Min Avg Max
30.8 Read 32.4 33
5.76 Write 8 9.48
9.35 Mixed 11.4 13
17.5% 17.2 MB/s
Min Avg Max
4.39 4K Read 4.47 4.52
0.29 4K Write 0.3 0.33
0.05 4K Mixed 0.13 0.28
31.1% 1.63 MB/s
User Benchmarks Bench Sequential Random 4k Deep queue 4k
The fastest USB (mainstream) averages a speed of 100%
15GB free, PID 0909
Operating at USB 2.1 Speed
Read 33
Write 8.71
Mixed 13
19% 18.2 MB/s
4K Read 4.47
4K Write 0.33
4K Mixed 0.28
37% 1.69 MB/s
11GB free, PID 0909
Operating at USB 2.1 Speed
Read 33
Write 8.04
Mixed 9.35
17% 16.8 MB/s
4K Read 4.49
4K Write 0.29
4K Mixed 0.1
30% 1.63 MB/s
14GB free, PID 0909
Operating at USB 2.1 Speed
Read 30.8
Write 9.48
Mixed 13
19% 17.7 MB/s
4K Read 4.39
4K Write 0.29
4K Mixed 0.05
28% 1.57 MB/s
8GB free, PID 0909
Operating at USB 2.1 Speed
Read 32.7
Write 5.76
Mixed 10.1
16% 16.2 MB/s
4K Read 4.52
4K Write 0.3
4K Mixed 0.08
30% 1.64 MB/s
Typical Element USB 3.0 16GB Builds (Compare 2,451 builds) See popular component choices, score breakdowns and rankings.
Gaming
Gaming 34%
Sail boat
Desktop
Desktop 48%
Yacht
Workstation
Workstation 31%
Sail boat

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3P - $87

EDIT WITH CUSTOM PC BUILDER Value: 71% - Very good Total price: $461

Popular Element USB 3.0 16GB compatible motherboards:

How Fast Is Your USB? (Bench your build) Size up your PC in less than a minute.

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How it works

  • - Download and run UserBenchMark (UBM).
  • - CPU tests include: integer, floating and string.
  • - GPU tests include: six 3D game simulations.
  • - Drive tests include: read, write and mixed IO.
  • - Checks include: 4k Align, NCQ, TRIM, SATA, USB & S.M.A.R.T.
  • - RAM tests include: single/multi core bandwidth and latency.
  • - Reports are generated and presented on userbenchmark.com.
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  • - See speed test results from other users.
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USB Flash Drive Rankings (Price vs Performance) March 2017 USB Rankings.

We highlight the best USB flash drive in terms of balanced performance and value for money using price, sequential read, sequential write , 4k read and 4k write speed. The speeds are combined to form a single effective speed which measures performance for tasks such as copying photos, music and videos. Effective speed is adjusted by price and capacity to yield value for money. Finally thousands of individual user ratings are used to validate our benchmark figures. Vote to share your opinion. [USBFlashPro]

 Comments

Looking for extreme portability while having the advantages of USB 3.0 speeds?...

  • PSF8GLSEL3USB (8GB)
  • PSF16GLSEL3USB(16GB)
  • PSF32GLSEL3USB (32GB)
  • PSF64GLSEL3USB (64GB)
  • 2 Year Warranty
  • .45cm x 1.2cm x 3.2cm
  • .004 lb / 2gm
Added 4 years ago.

Poor

2 years ago.

slow for an usb 3.0 drive, decent usb 2.0 drives are faster


Terrible

4 years ago.


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