Your Logo in 3D USB Flash Drive Body

Your logo is so 2-dimensional

The logotypes or simply “logos” try to tell the whole story of a company or a brand. If you had a chance to create one, it can be a long and most of the time not overly creative process that occasionally yields fantastic results.

Fantastic or not, the logos are almost always printed on paper with the occasional exclusion of an exposition stand. What if you could take your logo and re-create it beyond the constraints of a 2D piece of paper? What if you could market it as a usable product?

We can take almost any logo and bring it into the 3D world as a USB flash drive!

Custom Shape Logo USB Flash Drive

This particular logo is 4-color molded front and back USB flash drive. It incorporates the artwork and text to create a highly versatile logo USB flash drive.

Custom Logo USB Flash Drive Open Cap

3D is Simply Better

Even with the 3D feel to the logo USB flash drive, we can do better. There are almost no limits to how your logo can be molded. The shapes don’t have to be blocky; they can be curved, rounded, acute, or obtuse. That’s the benefit of playing in the 3-dimensional world.

2-dimensional is so yesterday. It’s time to free your logo from the restraint of paper; it’s time for the 3D logo USB flash drive.

USB Flash Drive For Your Wallet

A Credit Card or a Business Card?

There is no lack of imagination in the creative circles of the flash drive designers. The shapes of the drives range from the simple rectangles, keys, pens, and bracelets to animals, bottles, severed thumbs and sex toys. Thus, it is a surprise that the simple looking card shape is difficult to categorize.

Due to the obvious limitation of not possessing a magnetic strip or any other identifying information regularly found on a typical credit card, we initially named it a business card. Logically, one can imprint the company information on the card and add data that may be helpful in communicating the company’s products and services. It’s a common sense replacement for the business card.

We don’t always use logic in the same way; some see a plastic rectangle resembling the shape and feel of the credit card, and call it as such – a credit card drive.

It’s all about the design

Call it what you like, a credit card or a business card; it all boils down to several simple designs.

I tend to prefer the flip type design above others. The card on the photos has a flip connector. It’s easy to connect into a USB port due to a sufficiently long USB plug that is hinged closely to the edge. It’s also easy to store in the wallet due to the extra slim profile.

There are generally 3 different types of the USB card drive designs. The rotating connector, the sliding connector, and the flip connector type.

  • The Rotating connector is our Card V2 drive made of plastic. The USB connector rotates out for plug-in and rotates back in for storage.
  • The Sliding connector is our Metal Card drive. The USB connector slides out for plug-in and slides back in for storage. It’s our only card that is available in aluminum or stainless steel.
  • The Flip connector is our Card V1 drive made of plastic. The USB connector flips out for plug-in and inserted into the cavity into the card for storage.
Long USB connector of the Card V1

Comparison against other card styles

The flip connector style has certain advantages over the other connector types.

Advantages of the Flip style connector card

  1. The card is slightly thinner. The reason it can be thinner is the small cavity within the card that stores the USB connector. The card is thin with the exception of a slightly thicker connector storage area. This is an advantage when you want to store the card in the trifold wallet. It fits just as easily as a credit card.
  2. As already mentioned, the USB connector is longer than on the other styles, thus is an advantage when it needs to be plugged into the USB port.

Disadvantages of the Flip style connector card

  1. Since the USB connector on the card is stored in the cavity, it is slightly harder to detach it from the card. There is only about a half of an inch of leverage on the back of the card to flip the connector out.
The ridged piece of the connector is visible on the back. About one half of an inch; it’s the minimum needed to flip the connector out of the card.

Conclusion

It really does not matter what you call it – a USB credit card flash drive or a USB business card flash drive. What is important is the high portability of the drive due to its slim shape, the ease of use with slim USB connectors, and very large imprint area for your logos and text.

I’m leaning towards the flip style card because of its longer connector and slimmer profile. One point gets deducted for the difficulty in flipping the USB connector from the card. Highly recommended: 4/5 points.

Best Grade Flash Memory for My USB Flash Drive

The question about the flash memory (NAND) grades or tiers have come up on occasion. When I first heard about grading being used for the flash memory, I was not sure what to make of it. I was set to learn more about this intriguing nomenclature and get it all figured out.

The Saga

Without too much thinking, Google was the first obvious choice to easily load up on the subject. However, after the clock turned a half of the dial, it was clear to me that it’s not going to be easy. For some reason, I could not get any authoritative explanations; just opinions and hearsay. This will not do; I must press forward!

Truthfully, after realizing that grading may be just hot air, my enthusiasm has waned. A couple of months later, I decided to ask a couple of USB flash drive suppliers about these grades or tiers or something that can relate to the quality aspect of the flash memory. To my surprise, I got similarly vague answers as my extensive Internet search – Bummer!

A Potential discovery

The following is a summary of the collected information:

  1. Flash memory (NAND) comes in various grading or tier systems
  2. Flash memory manufacturers can also belong to different tier systems
  3. Tier or Grade systems refer to quality (i.e. reliability of transistors (cells) or cell’s ability to retain data or Manufacturing capability and technology) or performance characteristics (i.e. MB/s read or write throughput)

A little more detail

  • It’s claimed that grades from A to D exist. Grade A being the best quality and D the worst.
  • The tiers are the number equivalent to the grades. Grade A would be Tier 1 and so forth.
  • When the tiers are being refereed to the manufacturers of the flash memory (e.g. Hynix, Samsung); the reference is to the volume, level of the technological know-how, and the level of advancement in the manufacturing process. Tier 1 is highest.

What they say

Grade A –  Original (i.e. just as it came form the original manufacturer’s production line) flash with all the manufacturing identification marks, and passed manufacturing inspections

Grade B – Original flash, potentially without manufacturing identification marks; also with passed manufacturing inspections

Grade C – Modified or upgraded flash. The controller on the PCB is modified to report a larger capacity than what really exists on the drive. The USB flash drive reports 64GB; however you only got 32GB of the flash storage.

Grade D – Recycled and/or heavily modified flash. If it’s recycled, who knows how much life this memory has left in it. It reports 64GB; but there is a 1MB worth of the actual storage.

Flash Memory Tiers (1,2,3)  – Basically Grade A = Tier 1 and so forth

Manufacturer Tiers (1,2,3) – Members of the Tier 1 are Samsung, Hynix. Tier 2 members are Micron, Nanya, Inotera. The Tier 3 members are Elpida, Powerchip, Rexchip.

So what’s the verdict?

It’s rather difficult to tell for certain. It seems that this terminology has been adopted by the flash memory traders and USB flash drive manufacturers. However, an educated guess can be made when the processor technology is compared to the flash memory technology. (What?)

Even though the technology is different, there are some parallels that can be drawn. After the dies are deposited on the wafer, they are tested for quality. Those dies that have a sufficient number of transistors to pass under the intended specifications, are marked and released from manufacturing. Basically, if you are making a 64GB NAND memory die, and the tested amount of transistors return at 549,755,813,888 bits or more, you got a solid die. The testing will also involve performance characteristics.

Future NAND MLC chips

Some dies do not pass the test  to a point where there is less than the intended amount of working transistors. As in the processor chip manufacturing, these are sorted into a different pile. In the processor world, the failed dies become your economical choice processors (e.g. Intel’s Celeron or AMD’s Duron or some other downgraded processor). A similar process must exist for the NAND dies as well.

I want the best grade!

The best grade, one way or another, is Grade A, Tier 1 or Original Flash Memory. If your source is reliable, this is your choice, if you’re looking for the highest performing flash memory with the potential of being the most reliable.

The Grade B flash is close second. It still passed the manufacturing testing, just not to the intended specifications at the time of production. The capacity of the flash memory is full, and its capacity is fully tested.

The Grade C flash is something that you don’t want, unless you’re looking for the biggest bang for the buck. Hmmm… I cannot really think of a promotional or any drive where this can be used. Why would you want to mark the drive higher than it can actually hold? That’s just mean!

Conclusion

The discovery of the grading and tier terminology was a tedious and sometimes frustrating adventure. I’m sure that more specificity and corrections can be made to the discussion; overall, some certain conclusions can be made.

If you’re ready to spend a little more and need extra performance and possibly reliability from  your flash memory, choose Grade A (Tier 1). If a reasonable price, good performance and reliability is required, Grade B (Tier 2) is your choice. Grade C (Tier 3) or Grade D should not be your choice in any situation.

In regards to the flash memory manufacturers, Tier 1 Samsung and Hynix tend to stay on top of the NAND manufacturing world. Being the leaders of the industry and with the reputation for being reliable, they are an easy choice.