M-Systems DiskOnKey Classic 2.0 USB Drive Review
By: Michael Phrakaysone
Edited By: Steve M. Silver


It looks as USB key drives have caught on with consumers. I am witnessing less people using floppy drives but using USB keys of all sorts. M-Systems is one of the biggest if not the biggest flash disk pioneers on the market and actually share their flash technology to other companies. Even your current USB key may contain M-System technology. Today I will be reviewing the newest USB drive from M-Systems based on USB 2.0 technology, the DiskOnKey Classic 2.0.


  • Power Supply: USB 2.0 bus-powered
  • Power Consumption: Standby: 790 µA (typical), 1 mA(max), High-speed: 170 mA (typical), 190 mA (max), Full-speed: 140 mA (typical), 150 mA (max)
  • Performance (Read/Write): Read: Up to 9 MB/sec, Write: Up to 7 MB/sec
  • Operating Systems Supported: Windows 98 SE2, NT 4.02, 2000, ME, XP, Mac OS: 9.x, 10.0.x, 10.1.x, 10.2.x,
    Linux 2.4.x
  • Capacity: 128MB, 256MB, 512MB and 1GB
  • Dimensions: 9.81x2.53x1.84 cm (LxWxH)
  • Weight: 22 grams (0.78 ounces)
  • Service: 2 years limited warranty

The M-Systems DiskOnKey Classic 2.0 that I am reviewing today arrived via FedEx with the drive itself, so please note this isn’t the full retail boxed version but the drive is a retail representation of the product. The one I am reviewing today is the 512MB version.

Looks nice :)

512MB version

The M-Systems DiskOnKey Classic 2.0 comes in a variety of colors. This one came in a translucent green case, which you are able to see the two Samsung chips along with a M-Systems chip. The Samsung chips read…

Samsung 349

The DiskOnKey Classic 2.0 measures approximately 9cm x 2cm (LxW) and weighs 22 grams. The size of the Classic is obviously bigger than the DiskOnKey Pro that we reviewed a while ago but I prefer this size due to the fact that the smaller the item is, the easier it is for me to misplace. The cap on top the DiskOnKey Classic 2.0 includes room for a neck strap and the cap clicks into place and is easy to remove. You can also apply it on your breast pocket as it has an integrated belt clip cap.


The DiskOnKey Classic 2.0 maintains being a high security USB device. Included on the drive is KeySafe 2.34 and MyKey 1.2.8.

MyKey is a little and simple program which allows you to enable some of the advanced features on the DiskOnKey. These options include visual indication, audio indication, and more.

KeySafe is a program that allows you to create and access a password-protected secure area, called a Privacy Zone, on your DiskOnKey. Messages and prompts guide you through setting up KeySafe with your password and customizing the Privacy Zone to suit your personal and business needs for securing your information. You set up two partitions (one called a Privacy Zone and the other is a free and open partition), which will indicate how much space will be secured and password protected, and how much the other partition (free to use) will not be protected. Case in point, someone wants to snoop around your personal information. He/she plugs in your DiskOnKey and tries to open your Privacy Zone protected documents. They then need your password to login to the Privacy Zone to view your protected material. If he/she doesn’t have that, there is no way they can get inside. They can see your unprotected files, but cannot view the Privacy Zone files.

How to use

Continuing with the tradition, the DiskOnKey Classic 2.0 does not need any drivers and works with the Windows platform along with the Mac platform. Simply plug it in any free USB 2.0 port (USB 1.1 compatible) and Windows XP will automatically detects it as a portable hard drive. There is an integrated and bright orange LED activity light that indicates that it is operating and if it is transferring. One thing to note is that the device actually has 498MB free because of both the FAT partition and the included software’s located on the device.


The last time I tested the M-Systems USB 1.1 offering, it was the fastest performing USB key drive, so this will be a good look if it can hold the tradition of speed. It will also be an indicator of how apart from speed is USB 1.1 compared to USB 2.0.

Testing will consist of running the DiskOnKey Classic 2.0 512MB version on our AMD Athlon 64 test system. The programs that are to be used for testing are Sisoft Sandra File Benchmark, QuickBench and HD Tach v.2.70. The last benchmark will record approximately how long it takes to transfer 471MB worth of ModSynergy site file copies on to the drive and approximately how long it takes to transfer those same files back to the C:/ which are the Hitachi SATA drives in RAID 0.


Sisoft Sandra SP2 File Benchmark
HD Tach v.2.70
Transfer 471MB from HD to DiskOnKey
Transfer 471MB from DiskOnKey 2.0 back to HD
Deleting 471MB off of DiskOnKey 2.0

Score: 8350 KB/s

  • Buffered Read: 9MB/s
  • Sequential Read: 9MB/s
  • Random Read: 9MB/s
  • Buffered Write: 8MB/s
  • Sequential Write: 7MB/s
  • Random Write: 805 KB/s

Read Burst Speed: 9.2MB/s

Random Access Time: 0.4ms

Time: 1min 39sec
Time: 1min 1sec
Time: 9 seconds



The M-Systems DiskOnKey Classic 2.0 again delivers fast results close to 8MB/s (buffered write). It seems that this drive has great design optimizations along with the use of the 32-bit ARM 7 CPU embedded inside to get the best performance out of USB 2.0. With the performance and security features inside this little device, it is one complete package. You should look into purchasing the 2.0 if you are on the market for the new USB keys because this is the best one I have used thus far.

Pros and Cons

+ Superfast performance
+ Security features
+ Size (preference)
+ Orange LED
- Actually has 498MB available to use

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