Custom Flash Drives USB Flash Drive Options

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Frequently Asked Questions About USB Drives

  1. Flash Drive Basics

    If you can't find the answer to your flash drive question,
    please contact us for assistance.

    Q. What is a USB flash drive?

    A: A small, portable USB drive, a flash drive stores data using flash memory. A USB drive works sort of like a portable hard drive, storing information so you can carry it easily. Flash drives can hold extensive amounts of data (as much as 256 GB at present). They can be as small as a pocketknife, pack of gum, or thick credit card and can conveniently fit on a key chain, around your wrist as a bracelet, around your neck with a lanyard, or in your wallet.

    A flash drive does vary from the regular computer hard drive in that the hard drive contains moving parts while the flash drive does not. Technology called "flash memory" enables USB drives to write and read data. Therefore, people often call them "flash drives"; they also commonly refer to them as "USB flash drives" or else simply "USB drives" on account of the practical USB interface. As opposed to ancient floppy disks, users can store, transfer, save, and delete files whenever they want and as much as they want on a flash drive (the drives generally last about 10 years).

    A CD (compact disc) or DVD (digital versatile disc) doesn’t allow for the same extent of “recycling” of data storage that a USB drive does. Also, the old DVDs and/or CDs simply don’t appear as nice attached to your keychain. To summarize, a flash drive makes digital content accessible and easy to manipulate, letting you save files and carry them anywhere.

    Q. How do I use a flash drive?

    A: Plug your flash drive straight into the USB port on your laptop or desktop computer or another USB-equipped device. If the flash drive contains an LED light, it will flash to indicate that it is connected and working properly. Most likely, your computer will acknowledge that you have inserted a new USB drive has been inserted and ask whether you want to open the flash drive or run files already on the drive. Select the choice to 'open' or 'explore' the USB drive. If you are running Microsoft Windows, you also can see the drive's content by selecting 'My Computer' from the 'Start' menu, listing all the drives on your computer. Find the flash drive, and then double-click its icon to open the folder.

    Move files from your computer to the flash drive by selecting them, and then dragging them to the folder that will then appear on the screen. After that, your files will be stored on your USB drive (this process generally occurs instantly but may take more time if you are moving large quantities of data). You can unplug your flash drive at any time that no files are being read from or written to the drive. Look to be sure that the LED (if there is one on your drive) is not flashing. If you want to move files to a different computer from your flash drive, open the USB flash drive folder to display the files (as described above). Then, drag them to where you wish to store them on that computer.

    Q. How much content can I store on a flash drive?

    A: The answer can vary based on what type of files you plan to place on your USB drive and how much memory is on the drive.

    For a hypothetical "drive stuffing," we'll estimate an MP3 audio file at 16 MB of songs, a typical photograph at 1.6 MB, and a Word document at 53 KB. Using this data, we determined how much each USB drive size could hold for each scenario:

    1. A 32 GB USB drive can hold 2,048 MP3 files; 640,000 doc pages; or 19,200 pictures.
    2. A 16 GB flash drive can hold 1,024 MP3 files; 320,000 doc pages; or 9,600 pictures.
    3. An 8 GB flash drive can hold 512 MP3 files; 160,000 doc pages; or 4,800 pictures.
    4. A 4 GB flash drive can hold 256 MP3 files; 80,000 doc pages; or 2,400 pictures.
    5. A 2 GB flash drive can hold 128 MP3 files; 40,000 doc pages; or 1,200 pictures.
    6. A 1 GB flash drive can store 64 MP3 files; 20,000 doc pages; or 640 pictures.
    7. A 512 MB flash drive can store 32 MP3 files; 9,600 doc pages; or 320 pictures.
    8. A 256 MB flash drive can store 16 MP3 files; 4,800 doc pages; or 160 pictures.
    9. A 128 MB flash drive can store 8 MP3 files; 2,400 doc pages; or 80 pictures.
    10. A 64 MB flash drive can store 4 MP3 files; 1,200 doc pages; or 40 pictures.

    During real use, storage limits will be different for each user. For instance, a professional photographer working mostly with pictures over 3 MB each, your flash drive will reach maximum capacity more quickly than if the pictures averaged 1.5 MB.


  2. Sales

    Contact us by phone or email if you don't see an answer to any question you may have about the sales process.

    Q. Why CFgear?

    A: This is probably the most common inquiry we receive at our South Dakota headquarters. All flash drives certainly are NOT the same. Some are built with recycled NAND Flash memory chips within, and, while they may cost little, they are also more likely to fail. We ensure that every one of our 64MB flash drives includes brand NEW premium NAND flash memory chips in addition to controllers made by reliable companies such as Micron, Hynix, and/or Samsung, under the same strict manufacturing processes we work with for our 64GB drives.

    Here at CFgear, we have refined our desire for quality and will not put our reputation at risk with less than standard materials or workmanship. We have actually lost track of how many times companies have urgently asked for shipments of flash drives to replace some that they purchased elsewhere that had extremely high failure rates. When someone who also sells pencils and t-shirts focuses merely on taking the next order for promotional goods, your project and your brand are jeopardized.

    We focus strongly on technology at CFgear, and our executive team comes to you with more than 50 years of technology experience. Consequently, you can definitely depend on CFgear to take out the guesswork and make sure to finish your project as you want it. We're aware that your brand is too important to risk with just any company off the street, and out in the vast prairies of South Dakota, we take this responsibility seriously!

    Q. What features make quality flash drives different from other drives?

    A: As previously mentioned, ensure that the NAND flash memory chips and controllers in your flash drive are produced by Tier One or Grade A manufacturers. These manufacturers will have familiar names! Next, the quality of a drive's body is significant and can show you much about the internals of your flash drive. Metals should be sturdy and scratch-resistant. Metal housing should be a heavy material, like high-grade anodized aluminum, which does not feel like metallic plastic. Here at CFgear, we continually survey the drives sold within the promotional items marketplace as well as those stocked by mass market retailers. In our research, we have discovered that the differences are notable. We’ve worked hard to purchase drives from reliable companies to keep you from having to waste valuable time searching for a perfect custom flash drive.

    Some other red flags that show you may want to talk with CFgear before concluding your next project:

    Meager color options. Any less than thousands of colors, and you probably will receive stock drives, which usually use older NAND technology and were likely produced a while ago. Every single order you make with CFgear is a new custom factory order that includes just-made NAND flash memory and controllers.

    Cheap plastic key chain connections and key ring. Particularly with metal flash drives, plastic connectors definitely point to a cheaper built drive. These connectors usually appear on drives that look like metal but are really made from hardened plastic. Ask to see photos or proofs of your flash drives so you can make sure. We provide proofs for all of our USB flash drive projects and obtain your final approval before proceeding.

    Certified RoHS Compliance. Non-RoHS components cost less than compliant ones and so appear more commonly. Be sure the company you're entrusting your brand to sticks to these stringent quality compliance measures in all projects.

    Read/Write Speed. Your drives should be more than a flashy logo on the outside and should have a quality build in the inside. You should be able to easily attain random write speeds from 2 up to 7MB/s and random read speeds from 14 up to 23 MB/s using 1GB drives built with Micron or Samsung NAND memory. A quality flash drive can still cost a reasonable price. As stated above, we search through major retailers, the internet, etc. so we can research and purchase flash drives to test, while continuing to have competitive pricing and the best quality drives in the industry!

    Q. Can you match pricing of competitors?

    A: We at CFgear pride ourselves on our factory direct pricing. If you can show us a quote offering a price at less cost than ours, we'll review the quote and do what we can to undercut it! Just e-mail or fax the quote to us, and we'll look at it. Contact us by email or fax it to 888.259.6889.


  3. Warranty, Quality Control, RoHS

    Please contact us any time with any other questions you may have.

    Q. What is your exchange policy or warranty?

    A: We offer a no-questions-asked exchange program for life. If any of your Cfgear USB flash drive products has technical problems, we will happily replace it with a model of similar style and memory capacity.

    Q. What are your procedures for quality control?

    A: At CFgear, we provide the industry’s only Triple-Distilled™ method for Quality Control. We start in the design/engineering phase of your USB flash drive project. After the project's confirmation and approval, it goes to the production floor, where our partners again exercise Quality Control, paying close attention to your project specs and CFgear benchmarks (overall performance and functionality of USB drive, preload functionality, packaging, logo coloration/size). At the final step, the product travels to CFgear headquarters for a last inspection. When we identify drives at any stage that do not measure up to Quality Control standards, we either repair or replace the product to maintain full compliance.

    Q. Is CFgear RoHS compliant?

    A: Yes! For those not in the Europe, RoHS (Restriction of the use of Hazardous Substances) was a directive putting into effect the provisions given by the European Parliament & Council directive about the Restrictions of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (2002/95/EC). These provisions went into effect July 1, 2006. With RoHS, officials sought to protect the environment and also health of people. We do all that we can to protect mother earth both in our state and all over the world! As just one way we help to keep the earth as green as possible, we package your custom USB flash drive solutions with recycled plastic and/or newspapers.

    Q. Are you actually in South Dakota?

    A: That's the second most common question people ask us! Who knows why--maybe other organizations don't want to tell you where they're located? We at CFgear take pride in our Midwestern heritage and seek to put those hard-working qualities to use for you with every project. We hope our constant efforts to fulfill your every expectation prove our hard-working and motivated dedicated to your projects!