Macrium Support Forum

PNY Pro Elite 512GB USB 3.0 Premium Flash Drive P-FD512PRO-GE?

https://forum.macrium.com/Topic26945.aspx

By dbminter - 5 December 2018 9:03 PM

Does anyone know, from actual experience using one, if the PNY Pro Elite 512GB USB 3.0 Premium Flash Drive P-FD512PRO-GE can be used as a Rescue Media target?  This kind of flash drive:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01E17LOL6?pf_rd_p=c2945051-950f-485c-b4df-15aac5223b10&pf_rd_r=PPG2BNW16PVW8Q503G3Z


I'm thinking of trying one out, but I believe I've had PNY flash drives in that past that could not be used as Rescue Media flash drives with Reflect because it said there were no available partitions for use.  And I know some flash drives, like most SanDisk ones I've had, I've never gotten to work as Rescue Media flash drives for various reasons.  So, I know some flash drives can't be used as Rescue Media.


Thanks!
By jphughan - 5 December 2018 10:43 PM

Subscribing in the hopes of an answer.  Interesting that you've had trouble with SanDisk flash drives.  I use primarily SanDisk flash drives and have never once had a problem booting from any of them on any of the several PCs I've used them with, both Legacy BIOS and UEFI mode.  My current models are the SanDisk Ultra Flair for infrequent, low capacity, and low performance use cases like Rescue Media and the like, and then an Extreme Pro USB 3.1 flash drive for higher capacity and/or higher performance use cases since it's basically an SSD on a stick in terms of performance.  It's physically quite a bit longer than the PNY unit you linked and it tops out at 256GB, but its write speeds are also quite a higher, which seems to be the differentiator for flash drives these days and is what drew me to that model.  Still, $120 for 512GB of storage with high-ish write speeds is a great deal.

Hopefully you get your answer, but if you don't and you don't want to roll the dice, if you can live with "just" 256GB flash drives, those two SanDisk models I mentioned should serve you well.
By dbminter - 5 December 2018 11:13 PM

Yes, I don't like SanDisk flash drives because I don't think I ever got one to be recognized by Reflect as a possible candidate for making Rescue Media with.  Even going back to USB 2.0 flash drives.  I got a 128 GB SanDisk Cruzer USB 3.0, I think it was, earlier in the year and Reflect wouldn't accept it for writing the Rescue Media to.  That's why I generally chose Lexar because every single Lexar flash drive bar 1 I threw at Reflect would be accepted.  I generally have been getting the 256 GB S75 USB 3.0 Lexar and had been hoping for them to make a 512 GB model.


This PNY model is the first 512 GB model I've seen from a brand I trust.  PNY have been successful candidates for me for Reflect Rescue Media in the past, so I have hopes for this model.  I just didn't want to put down $100 on a 512 GB USB 3.0 flash drive from a brand I had never used before/never heard of before only to discover it's junk.  And there was a $15 less model, too, from PNY but it had half the maximum supported read and write speeds.  So, I figure, for just $15 more, I can potentially double the maximum read/write speeds.  Might as well go for it.


Still, the point may be moot.  I've been thinking of trying this Samsung SSD HDD.  It's got Type A and Type C USB 3.1 cables so I know I can use it.  And there's the possibility I can get faster USB 3.1 speeds with the Type-C cable.  I just don't know if this one small port on my Dell is a Type C connector or not.  If it's not, I can still use the Type A cable.  I just don't know if I can boot from it/Reflect will format it for booting.  And, of course, I'd have to test that Reflect recognized it, both in Windows and in WinPE.
By jphughan - 5 December 2018 11:24 PM

Very odd.  I've never had an issue with those flash drives being recognized and used directly by the Rescue Media wizard, or any other brand of flash drive I've tried, for that matter -- as long as it's set up using MBR and either FAT32 and NTFS rather than GPT and/or exFAT.  Most flash drive seem to ship pre-formatted for exFAT these days since it's the only file system that's read/write on all reasonably recent OSes without any third-party tools AND supports files larger than 4GB (WinXP doesn't get to join the exFAT party).  The downside is that exFAT isn't bootable in either BIOS or UEFI mode.

The documentation of your system should tell you what your mysterious small port is.  Dell publishes manuals on support.dell.com, complete with step-by-step guides for removing and replacing every component of the system if you ever need to do that.  USB-C won't necessarily be faster than USB-A, though.  Both USB-C and USB-A can support USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) and USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps).  On many systems, USB-C ports tend to support Gen 2 and USB-A ports tend to be limited to Gen 1, but there also examples of USB-C ports that only do Gen 1 and USB-A ports that do Gen 2.  Still, given that SATA itself tops out at 6 Gbps, I doubt the performance difference will be too significant.  Unless of course you get an external SSD that's actually NVMe internally, but those require Thunderbolt 3 rather than regular USB-C.
By dbminter - 5 December 2018 11:58 PM

Funny you should mention it, I just looked up the system documentation for what that small port on the front of my Dell XPS 8930 is.  It is a USB 3.1 Type-C port.  There's also a 2nd one in the back.


Ah, I was not aware that exFAT is not bootable.  I just checked the File Explorer Properties of my Cruzer and it is formatted as exFAT.  So, that probably explains why that particular 128 GB model is not a candidate in Reflect for creating Rescue Media.


With that new piece of information in mind, I checked the Properties of an S75 Lexar flash drive that I know boots and can be used for Rescue Media.  It is FAT32, hence why it must work.


So, with that in mind, I decided to perform an experiment.  The Cruzer was, currently, an empty flash drive so I decided to try formatting it as a FAT32 and see if Reflect would accept it then.  And that was when I discovered FAT32 wasn't an option for this drive.  Smile  But, NTFS was, which apparently can be booted, so I tried formatting it as NTFS.  Also, what I thought was a Cruzer may be an Ultra, as Reflect is returning it's a SanDiskUltra in the Rescue Media builder.  After a 2nd format, I guess to make it bootable, Reflect created Rescue Media on this same SanDisk which had failed to before earlier in the year.  I haven't tested booting it, but I've learned something, thanks!  Smile


From now on, when I get new flash drives that aren't being accepted by Reflect for Rescue Media, I'll check to see if they're formatted as exFAT, since it does seem to be the default for some flash drives.  It appears to be the default for flash drives according to File Explorer's Format properties.  I can then try formatting them as NTFS.  I've only ever had to change the file system of one flash drive before because it didn't accept files greater than 4 GB and I had to format it as NTFS to store some Reflect backups.  Or maybe it was the long file names I needed NTFS for, I forget.  One of the two reasons.


Actually, the above is not a solution at all!  It creates Rescue Media but formats the entire 128 GB drive as only 0.99 GB.  While that solves the booting problem, it relatively destroys the usefulness of the drive for anything beyond booting as a Rescue Media.  How can I get this flash drive back to 128 GB?  With DiskPart?  File Explorer's Format options are limited to 1.00 GB now for this drive.  I'm not entirely familiar, well, I'm unfamiliar, with DiskPart, but it seems to be the only thing I can think of that might work.  I tried NIBUI Partition Editor but all that's available to that is to format the 0.99 GB partition as 0.99 GB and no other options or functions available.


Never mind.  I figured it out.  I remembered there was a Macrium KB about DiskPart for preparing WinPE sticks.  So, I loaded it and adapted the instructions in it as I needed and got it formatted back to 128 GB.  A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!  Wink
By dbminter - 17 December 2018 6:01 PM

I just ordered one of these and it's already shipped, I guess to try and make it delivered before Christmas, even though I chose free shipping.  Should arrive on the 19th.  Since you subscribed to this thread for that precise reason, JP, I'll let you know if I can use it for Rescue Media or not.
By dbminter - 19 December 2018 12:47 AM

jphughan - 5 December 2018 11:24 PM
Very odd.  I've never had an issue with those flash drives being recognized and used directly by the Rescue Media wizard, or any other brand of flash drive I've tried, for that matter -- as long as it's set up using MBR and either FAT32 and NTFS rather than GPT and/or exFAT.  Most flash drive seem to ship pre-formatted for exFAT these days since it's the only file system that's read/write on all reasonably recent OSes without any third-party tools AND supports files larger than 4GB (WinXP doesn't get to join the exFAT party).  The downside is that exFAT isn't bootable in either BIOS or UEFI mode.

The documentation of your system should tell you what your mysterious small port is.  Dell publishes manuals on support.dell.com, complete with step-by-step guides for removing and replacing every component of the system if you ever need to do that.  USB-C won't necessarily be faster than USB-A, though.  Both USB-C and USB-A can support USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) and USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps).  On many systems, USB-C ports tend to support Gen 2 and USB-A ports tend to be limited to Gen 1, but there also examples of USB-C ports that only do Gen 1 and USB-A ports that do Gen 2.  Still, given that SATA itself tops out at 6 Gbps, I doubt the performance difference will be too significant.  Unless of course you get an external SSD that's actually NVMe internally, but those require Thunderbolt 3 rather than regular USB-C.

Ah, I guess that's why adapters for USB 3.1 Type C to Type A work?
By jphughan - 19 December 2018 1:36 AM

Yeah, those adapters are literally just pin remaps because USB-C has all of the same pins you’d find in a USB-A port, in addition to other pins and (optionally) the capability to repurpose the USB 3.1 data pins to carry DisplayPort traffic instead.
By dbminter - 20 December 2018 12:43 AM

Well, it works for writing Macrium Reflect Rescue Media to, but there are is one big caveat: it's not 512 GB!  It's 461 GB, a little over 495 billion bytes.  It's default formatted at FAT32, so maybe that's the reason why it's capped at 495 Gib?  I don't know.  Still, it's significantly more than the 256 GB my Lexar S75's are capped at.  However, I find it somewhat disingenuous to call it 512 GB when it's actually only 461.


As far as the writing speed goes, I wrote about 125 GB to it in about 15 to 20 minutes.  It was 3 copy and paste bursts of about 41 GB each worth of Macrium Reflect Windows backups.  All 3 pastes' writes were done simultaneously.  I don't know if that's good or bad, but it gives you my results.  Smile
By jphughan - 20 December 2018 1:07 AM

Thanks for reporting back, and good to know!  125GB in that period of time puts that flash drive on par with 2.5" mechanical hard drive performance, which is more than respectable.  I agree that the capacity misrepresentation is disappointing to say the least, though, and I can't fathom what their excuse for that would be -- unless maybe it's just an issue with your specific unit?  I'm also surprised they ship formatted as FAT32.  High-capacity flash drives these days are typically shipped formatted as exFAT because it's the only file system that's writable by all modern OSes and supports files larger than 4GB -- but it's not bootable.  I'd set up a small FAT32 partition for Rescue Media and set the rest up as NTFS or exFAT, personally.  Enjoy!
By dbminter - 20 December 2018 1:23 AM

I checked the other reviews, and getting somewhat varying lists of capacities.  The highest being 470 GB.  I remember actually seeing these reviews before in the past, but I forgot about them.  I may try the USB 3.1 512 GB PNY that had slower maximum read and write speeds the next time I get another capacity greater than 256 GB.  To see if it actually is 512 GB or not.


This model:

https://www.amazon.com/PNY-P-FD512ELX-GE-Elite-X-512GB-Speeds/dp/B07FLXYK4F/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1545268850&sr=8-1&keywords=pny+512+gb+usb+3.1
By jphughan - 20 December 2018 1:43 AM

So capacities are inconsistent? That’s....worse. That makes it sound like PNY is just putting 512GB worth of flash memory into these units, disabling whatever amount fails QC (or counting on the controller to do so), and figuring users won’t mind as long as the usable capacity is close.
By dbminter - 20 December 2018 2:22 AM

Actually, turns out this thing is probably trash.  After writing over 300 GB to it, got constant BSOD's attempting to write files to it.  Every time, the BSOD error code was different.  I thought it might be related to CBT from the latest update of Reflect, but even after uninstalling CBT and restarting, got BSOD's every time a few files were written to this flash drive.  I'm sending this back and trying the 3.1 drive instead.


EDIT: Had better luck formatting this flash drive as an exFAT, the default format under Windows 10.  I lost the ability to boot Reflect from it, but, at least, I stopped getting BSOD's every time I tried writing to the flash drive after reaching X capacity written.  With that in mind, can I recommend this flash drive?  Probably not, really.  One shouldn't have to format a flash drive just to get it to work properly.  And who's to say I just didn't randomly get by with no BSOD's attempting to write to it again during the rest of the last few writes?  It could be lurking to bite me later on down the road. 


As for not being able to boot Reflect from it, I mean, maybe there's a way to get DISKPART to get it to do that and still keep the full format capacity available.  I just don't know what it is.


I will try the USB 3.1 PNY next time and see how well that goes.


EDIT 2: Yeah, this flash drive is unreliable trash.  I copied over a lot of Reflect image files to it.  One of the manual Verifies I performed failed on a file part.  I copied over the data offset failure file and tried again and the Verify completed.  I came across another one where this happened.  I copied over the bad file again and tried again.  It failed again on the same file part.  I Verified the file from the source drive and it is not corrupt.  So, this drive is just plain terrible at writes and is just trash.  Goeth back it to Amazon.com.
By dbminter - 20 December 2018 6:26 AM

I wouldn't try the USB 3.1 model either.  Just read the reviews on Amazon.com and one of them said it, too, was only 460 GB for a supposed 512 GB flash drive.  So, I won't be trying that one myself either.  I'll get my money back on this flash drive and invest that in a 512 GB USB SSD.
By dbminter - 7 July 2021 11:36 PM

Resurrecting an over 2 year old thread with this follow up.  I found a different kind of PNY "512 GB" USB 3.0 flash drive at my local Office Depot on sale, so I decided to give it a whirl.  This one doesn't seem to be trash.  So, if you're looking for a 512 GB flash drive that does seem to work, you could try this one:

https://www.officedepot.com/a/products/7247502/PNY-USB-30-Flash-Drive-512GB/?utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=trigger-price-drop&utm_term=pdn_none_consumer_na_retail%20only_na_na&utm_content=2021_28_sun_na_482208_View_Price&mi_u=4c00060e679abd6d8a99f5b88c0c76568c7c310b&mi_ecmp=PriceDrop_Notification_202128&et_rid=23181303&dtm_em=0a8f1c20b6e4233a304490147769f700&em=F3uGWQyHdnMzEkQ5sw%2B0do7Pf1BRqLIb


There are 3 things to note about it:

1.) the drive comes with 512 MB of unallocated space at the start of geometry, before the first partition.  So, either resize the existing partition or just delete it and create an all new one to get the maximum space available

2.) PNY appears to be playing fast and loose again with the definition of "512 GB."  File Explorer returns 462 GB with an actual capacity of 496,283,090,944 bytes.

3.) There appears to be a significant drop in write speed once you deplete the cache.  While this is to be expected, it seems to be much more defined on this device.  Once you max out the cache, you get bursts of speed going from about 126 MB/s max, for a few seconds, to a gradually declining 5 MB/s, for a few seconds, before cycling through again.