Flash Drive for storage?

Is it OK to use a high quality PNY USB 3.0 flash drive as a recording drive? I’ve been noticing many pixealtion and recording skips so far, and I’m only 2 days in as a Tablo user. Not happy so far.

You’ll be happier if you trade your flash drive for a recommend hard drive.

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Most flash drives are too slow.

The OP is asking about a 3.0 flash, not a 2.0 flash. A 3.0 flash is operationally 3 times faster than a 2.0 flash (in theory even faster).

So the question is a 3.0 flash adequate even if plugged into a 2.0 port? Understood that it can only operate at the maximum speed of the 2.0 port.

Another question is also implied: can a 3.0 flash operate as well as a 2.0 HDD on a 2.0 port? The comparison is not 2.0 flash to 2.0 HDD but 3.0 flash to 2.0 HDD.

I am using a 3.0 flash on a 2.0 port in my Homeworx and it works flawlessly. However I have not tried this with my Tablo so cannot answer the above questions with respect to the Tablo. The 2.0 flash fails on the Homeworx but not the 3.0 flash. Cannot replicate this test on the Tablo because my wife told me she would break my fingers if I dared touch her Tablo…

However the Homeworx cannot be used to both view and record two different channels at the same time (only has one tuner) so it is much simpler in operation than the Tablo and therefore does not need as robust a data bus. The Tablo has to multiplex its operations much more than a Homeworx so even a 3.0 flash may not be adequate. Also the Homeworx has about one tenth the functionality of a Tablo (no images or graphics, no Internet, no multiple device interfacing, no transcoding, etc) so again it doesn’t need robust data capabilities and a “single channel” flash does OK for it.

Your wife has the Tablo? And you have the Homeworx? I see she got the gold mine and you got the shaft…

Ah the Donald Trump of the Tablo community…

I’ve seen some performance measurements in which a good 3.0 flash can reach between 20 to 30 MB\s on a USB 2.0 port (which may be about one third of its rated 3.0 speed). About the same as a 2.0 HDD on a 2.0 port. But the way sustained writes are done to a flash and a HDD may differ (using buffered memory) with the advantage going to an HDD. I’ve tried both a 2.0 HDD and a 3.0 flash on my Homeworx and the performance seems to be about equivalent. Can’t say for the Tablo since I don’t dare unhook my HDD from the Tablo (been working perfectly for 2 years - a 3.0 Toshiba HDD).


Just to be safe, I’d recommend a 3.0 HDD which will use a 2.0 port maximally and not underperform. Like you I have one and it hasn’t dropped or misrecorded one program in a year and a half.

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The speed of any new USB 2.0 HDD should max out the USB 2.0 interface. Most HDDs when internal average up to 100 MB/s of write speed. USB 2.0 maxes out at 60 MB/s.

So shouldn’t a 3.0 flash max out a 2.0 port - that is what the OP is asking (not a 2.0 flash)? 3.0 flashes go from 60 to 245 MB/s depending on brand. As I said my Homeworx does fine with a 3.0 flash (but not 2.0 flash).

In theory, yes, but I have USB 3.0 flash drives in USB 3.0 ports where I can only get max of 20 MB/s write speed to them. Actual / true speed of flash drives are far from what is advertised unfortunately.

Agree, it’s been observed that operationally flashes underperform drastically on sustained writes and the Homeworx is a “one track” machine which doesn’t have to interleave any data writing from multiple processes. It’s more like a straight dump since it doesn’t transform the stream (maintains the mpg2).

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Correct - imagine if you wanted to stream one recording to 6 devices at once, which the Tablo can do. How would a flash drive fair?

This is why it is recommended to use a HDD.

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Just chiming in: we still don’t recommend Flash drives for optimal use.
For a few recommendations, we have some available here:

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If you accept the fact that most micro SD cards are limited to128GB, they do have SD cards rated as USH-I U3 90MB/s read, 80MB/s writes. And they have USB 2.0/3.0 adapters.

Maybe these would work.

I am using a SanDisk Extreme CZ80 64GB USB 3.0 flash drive. It can read up to 245MB/s and write up to 190MB/s, which is faster than USB 2.0, so there is no reason that some of the faster flash drives out there won’t work. There should be a post on what USB flash drives will work fine with the Tablo.

Only 64 GB for your Tablo? That’s very few recordings!

@Badtablo Have you verified that your antenna signal strengths are good? A couple of weeks ago my friends starting having issues with their Tablo setup (using a WD USB 3.0 HDD) where they were getting pixalated recordings during premiere week on one channel. It ended up being their antenna that was the issue, even though it was fine all summer on the same channel. Swapped it out with a better antenna and everything is working great again.