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USB Flash Drive Duplicator Buyers Guide – 2022

USB duplicator buyer's guide 2022

Choosing the Right USB Flash Drive Duplicator

Because optical drives are becoming obsolete in laptops and PCs, the USB flash drive, often known as a thumb drive, will be the best tool for exchanging data in 2022. The USB flash drive is a compact, portable storage device that may hold a large quantity of data. Flash drives are universal devices that may be used in Windows, Apple, Linux, Smart TVs, vehicle stereos, and any other device with a USB port. The sustained success of USB flash drives can be attributed to its broad acceptance in conjunction with the disappearance of the optical drive.

Due to the unavailability of optical disks in contemporary computers, USB is increasingly being used to duplicate data. In fact, some businesses demand the usage of many flash drives, each containing distinct information, a process known as data publishing. There are duplicators for every occasion, and our USB flash drive duplicator guide will help you figure out which one is right for you.

Coping USB sticks manually one at a time will is a time consuming and expensive process. Using a USB flash drive duplicator (also called a USB copier) increases efficiency and decreases costs.

Two Categories of USB Flash Drive Duplicators

  • PC Based USB Duplicators
  • Standalone USB Duplicators

PC based or computer connected USB duplicators

PC-based USB duplicators, which use a computer’s processing power, are the next step up from making one-time copies manually. Because a portion of the cost of building a standalone USB duplicator (the processor) is already included with the host PC, PC-based duplicators are typically less expensive than standalone systems.

Computer based systems provide more control over USB duplication because the GUI software (Graphical User Interface) provide alternative ways to access the source data. For example, copying data from a sourcing folder on the host computer, from a physical flash drive connected to the computer, or from a digital master from the computer hard drive.

In the year 2022 every computer comes standard with USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 ports allowing the PC based USB duplicators to be equally as fast as the the standalone systems from years past.

Copy speeds between the PC connected and standalone systems will perform the same when when using USB 3.0 media. When using USB 2.0 media the standalone USB duplicators have a speed edge over the PC connected systems.

Standalone USB Flash Drive Duplicators

These standalone systems, as the name implies, are OS-free and do not require a computer to function. Standalone USB duplicators have an internal processor that handles all of the data duplication. As a result, standalone systems are usually more expensive than PC-based duplicator systems.

If simplicity is the number one goal in buying a USB duplicator – the standalone systems are best.

Consider the type of flash drive technology being used when speed is the primary goal for the purchase. As previously stated, using USB 3.0 media with a PC-based system will result in roughly the same speed performance. At the time of writing, the duplication speed to all targets, regardless of system, is around 1GB per minute. The standalone systems, on the other hand, have an advantage when using USB 2.0 media. When using a standalone system with USB 2.0, the copy time is typically one minute and thirty seconds per GB of data. The extra time can really add up when calculating larger GB capacity flash drives.

The Three Sub-Categories

  • Read Only or Write Protected Flash Drives
  • Network Connection Requirements
  • Log File Reporting

Read Only or Write Protected Flash Drive

The requirement for the USB to be read-only is a critical factor in determining the type of USB duplicator to purchase. The term “read only” refers to the fact that the data on the drive can only be read; it cannot be deleted or formatted; in other words, the data is permanently stored on the flash drive. A specific vendor command is sent to the flash drive for configuration in order to make it read only (write protected). The vendor commands necessitate the use of a computer system to send these special commands. Creating read-only flash drives necessitates the use of a PC-based duplicator and a computer environment.

Network Connection Requirements

Network access will require a PC based system. The most common need for a network duplicator for sending digital copies (image files) over the network to the host computer running the duplicator. Standalone systems are OS’less and do not have the capability of communicating over a network.

Log File Reporting

An organization may require proof of performance for duplication work completed. A log file is typically provided to provide proof of performance, and the PC-connected systems will generate such a log file. Standalone systems lack on-board storage for log files as well as the ability to communicate with another computer, and thus lack log file options. PC-based USB duplicators will generate log files that include performance information such as the number of copies created, the number of copies failed, the date and time of the duplicator’s work, and additional metadata.

Important Production Requirements to Ask Yourself

Ask yourself these top 10 questions before making any purchase decision and get the most out of this USB flash drive duplicator buyers guide:

  1. Number of copies needed per day or week?
  2. What is the turnaround time for production?
  3. Is the operator non-technical?
  4. Must the duplicator be portable?
  5. Are USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 drives being used?
  6. Are read only flash drives required?
  7. Should the USB have multiple partitions?
  8. Is there a benefit to creating a USB CD-ROM flash drive?
  9. Will data streaming be a requirement?
  10. Is a image file going to be the source?

Comments / Answers

Number of copies needed per day or week?

The size of the USB duplicator required will be determined by the answer to this question. Keep in mind that standalone systems perform asynchronous copying, which means that the copy process begins as soon as a USB device is connected to the system. This usually means that the first drive completed the data load process before the last drive was connected. (This example will vary depending on the size of the data load).

What is the turnaround time for production?

Regardless of data load size, if quick turn times are the priority then a USB duplicator with more sockets is the best option. However there is a relationship between number of sockets, turn time and data load size. For example, a 50GB data load will take nearly one hour using 3.0 media, meaning some cases may require multiple units.

Is the operator non-technical?

The standalone systems operate with the push of a single button. The simple one-button operation makes these the most user-friendly. For example, a church may have a member of their congregation donate time to operate the USB duplicator equipment, and this person may be non-technical, making the standalone system a better option. Remember that PC-based systems are not difficult to use, but they are not as simple as standalone solutions.

Must the duplicator be portable?

Most duplicators are portable and fit inside a travel suitcase; however, some models have over 100 sockets and not portable at all. Example, a company may run seminars in different cities and provide copies of live seminars for those who attend.

Are USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 drives being used?

If speed is the highest priority then consider what our comments from before regarding to USB 2.0 media and USB 3.0 media in relationship to speed of the duplicator. In some situations the media is USB 2.0 but the functions required, like read only status are so important, making the PC connected system the only choice.

Are read only flash drives required?

When the USB flash drive must be read only (write protected) the PC based systems are the only choice. This is true because specific vendor commands must be sent to the USB flash drive so the device can be configured properly. Unfortunately, there is no universal command to make a USB flash drive read only. Each flash drive manufacturer will have their own set of commands to configure the drive as read only.

Should the USB have multiple partitions?

Because the flash drive requires specific vendor commands to be sent from the host computer, a multi-partition thumb drive will use a PC-connected USB duplicator. This is because specific vendor commands must be sent to the USB flash drive in order for the device to be properly configured. Unfortunately, no universal command exists to make a USB flash drive appear with multiple partitions. Each flash drive manufacturer will have their own set of commands for configuring the drive.

Is there a benefit to creating a USB CD-ROM flash drive?

When the USB flash drive must appear as a USB CD-ROM disc drive, the PC based systems are the only choice. This is true because specific vendor commands must be sent to the USB flash drive so the device can be configured properly. Unfortunately, there is no universal command to make a USB flash drive appear as a CD-ROM device. Each flash drive manufacturer will have their own set of commands to configure the drive as needed.

Will data streaming be a requirement?

Standalone systems cannot communicate with an operating system and therefore a PC connected system is the only option for data streaming (data publishing). “Unique data streaming” means a different set of files will be copied to each individual flash drive. For example, a medical facility might be transitioning away from CD-ROM devices to provide patients with medical information, so the medical facility can use a PC based USB duplicator which supports data streaming. This allows the medical facility to make many copies of USB flash drives, but each flash drive holds unique data.

Is a image file going to be the source?

Companies may generate master content in multiple locations, or the company may require a digital master as the source data before the duplication process can begin. This digital master will be a binary copy of the physical device in the form of an image file (.img file type). A standalone system cannot use an image file as the source for duplication requirements, whereas a PC-based USB duplicator can because access to the image file is not possible. The standalone units will employ a physical master rather than a digital master.

Putting It All Together

Choosing the right USB flash drive duplicator will optimize performance and reduce company costs. Although this Buyer’s Guide for USB copier equipment doesn’t answer every question it will get you thinking about the right topics so when the time comes to purchase you will be well informed and start the right kind of conversations.

Choose a reputable company with contact information and technical support information clearly listed on their website. If you cannot find a physical address on the website – don’t buy from that company. Any reputable business should not be afraid to list all of their contact information.

USB Flash Drive Duplicator Buyers Guide – Nexcopy Solutions

Nexcopy Incorporated (since 2004) offers both standalone and PC based USB flash drive duplicators with features supporting all the topics mentioned in this article.

  • USB104SA – Standalone 1:4
  • USB115SA – Standalone 1:15
  • USB131SA – Standalone 1:31
  • USB160PRO – PC Based USB 3.0 – 16 Target – USB Read Only + Advanced Functions
  • USB160PC – PC Based USB 3.0 – 16 Target – Standard Version
  • USB200PRO – PC Based USB 2.0 (Legacy) – 20 Target – USB Read Only + Advanced Functions
  • USB200PC – PC Based USB 2.0 – 20 Target Standard Version
  • USB400PC – PC Based USB 2.0 – 40 Target Standard Version
  • USB600PC – PC Based USB 2.0 – 60 Target Standard Version

Check the chart below to find the Nexcopy product which best meets your needs – please contact Nexcopy for additional details.

USB duplicator buyers guide 2022

 

USB Flash Drive Duplicator Buyers Guide – 2022

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