Review of the HP (Hewlett Packard) v165 USB Flash Memory stick

As published on the product page…

I selected this model on the basis of the fact it’s very small, has no flashing lights and carries a relatively huge capacity.

I wanted to use this in my HP Microserver as a USB boot drive, so that I could have maximum hard drive storage capacity. It worked as expected at the start, being successfully formatted under Ubuntu Linux and acting as a boot drive (no swap file). I was concerned about wear, but as a boot drive, it generally wouldn’t be accessed apart from at boot or to launch media management software (Plex) which generally runs a service. I also took steps to minimise wear by installing Linux without swap and creating my media library and transcoding scratch drive on a real hard drive in my RAID array.

It worked well for a while – but an order of magnitude slower than a hard drive. However, one day my server stopped providing service and, on reboot, wouldn’t respond to ping.

Unfortunately, the worst had happened: somehow the USB boot drive had been corrupted, taking details of my RAID array with it as well as my settings for Plex media manager.

I couldn’t even access data when I plugged the USB drive into another computer – it shows up as a “USB Composite Device” under Mac OS X provided by Integrated Technology Express, Inc. but I don’t even get a prompt to initialise the drive. This suggests to me a microcontroller failure.

Ultimately, this only caused inconvenience as I rebuilt the server with Ubuntu and a new content setup (had been replicated) – but I would strongly reconsider using a USB flash drive as a boot drive of any sort and especially this particular model. Unfortunately, I’m beyond the return date now but if I could, I’d be getting this swapped. It’s fine as general data storage but definitely not something that needs reliability or integrity.

I suppose you pays your money and you takes your choice – but think carefully about where you’re using it.