Retro Friday: Remember 8MB, 16MB and 32MB USB Drives?
Some computer geeks like collecting specific old forms of media storage just for the sake of collecting them. For example, some keep around 8-inch floppy diskettes. Others keep around CD caddies. Some even have Iomega REV drives (photos). Are they used? Of course not. They just like owning them.
One piece of storage technology that is very difficult to acquire now is an 8MB, 16MB or 32MB USB Flash drive. Yes, MB. Not GB. Pictured above is one of the first brought to market by M-Systems and IBM, the “DiskOnKey”, released in 2000. Don’t bother looking on eBay for one, because there aren’t any for sale to be found.
DiskOnKey originally sold for $50 in 8MB flavor and $100 for 32MB. Either one is still worth that amount given how rare they are to come across.
It should be noted that SanDisk also did have 32MB sticks back in the day:
Finding an 8MB flavor of a USB stick is next to impossible, so if you come across one, that’s worth something to collectors in pretty much any condition as long as it works. Obviously, the DiskOnKey is most desired because heck, it predates Windows XP. Yeah, let that one sink in for a moment.
16MB flavors of USB sticks were usually found as store-branded items. For example, the CompUSA retail store did sell their own brand of flash drives, starting with 16MB. Of course, they were sold when everyone else was selling 128MB, but that was typical to store-branded stuff from electronics retailers back then.
32MB flavors of USB sticks were made by several manufacturers, IBM and SanDisk included. For nostalgic reasons, those two brands are probably the most desired.
The reason why you never see early-2000s low-capacity USB sticks for sale isn’t because they’re not out there, but rather because nobody thinks anyone will want them now. Believe me, computer collectors want them. Hard-to-come-by early tech that still works with a heavy dose of nostalgia included is what computer collectors live for.