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Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
Super Talent UltraDrive ME SSD FTM28GX25H
UltraDrive ME Features
FTM28GX25H Specifications
First Look: UltraDrive ME SSD
UltraDrive Internal Components
SSD Testing Methodology
Random Access Time Benchmark
Basic IOPS Performance
Random Access IOPS Tests
Linear Bandwidth Speed
Sequential Performance Tests
Buffered Transaction Speed
Windows XP Startup Times
The Truth Behind Heat Output
Solid State Drive Final Thoughts
UltraDrive SSD Conclusion

UltraDrive ME SSD

EDITORS NOTE 05/15/2009: Benchmark Reviews has re-tested the Super Talent UltraDrive ME with the latest v1370 firmware, which includes TRIM support, and the resulting performance was generally identical to the previous firmware. Please remember that TRIM is a Windows 7 supported feature, and does not improve performance on Windows XP or Vista Operating Systems.

Many consumers have a personal attachment to manufacturers inside the computer hardware industry. For example, if asked which brand of system memory products an enthusiast prefers, the answer could be Crucial, Super Talent, Patriot, OCZ, or Corsair. The irony is that Micron makes the DRAM IC units for all of these manufacturers, and what you're ultimately paying for is the name, label, and warranty. Of course, the companies would all have you believe that their product is better than another, but the truth is that most of these products are licensed and/or sold from one source. Another parallel example is Solid State Drives.

Samsung makes the DRAM modules found in nearly all popular SSD products today, with Elpida and Qimonda adding their name to buffer parts in specific models. Samsung also engineers many of the most well-known SSDs on the market, but they are branded by the end-manufacturer who then flashes company-tuned firmware to the product and backs it with their own warranty. Indilinx has been tapped to add their 'Barefoot' controller into the design, and a new generation of Solid State Drives has delivered top-level speed and performance. The Super Talent UltraDrive ME 128GB MLC SSD FTM28GX25H is one such product, built from a proven architecture that has done with for others of the same controller family.

Performance enthusiasts have been keeping notes on SSD technology for a while now, and until recently the price and performance of Solid State Drives were not within reach for casual consumers. SSD products are quickly moving mainstream, and former marketing points like power consumption is now the least impressive of all benefits a Solid State Drive delivers. The real payoff is in the practically instant response time and high-performance throughput. Capacity and stuttering were once the only problems keeping SSDs from replacing HDDs, but now it's just capacity. Quick to solve that problem, Super Talent now offers their 512GB MasterDrive RX SSD which provides capacity matched to performance.

The Super Talent UltraDrive ME adds 64MB of Elpida DRAM to the buffer has permanently solved stuttering problems, making raw performance the last bottleneck. An Indilinx 'Barefoot' internal controller commands the bank of Samsung K9HCG08U1M DRAM modules, allowing the UltraDrive ME SSD to offer an impressive capacity with top-speed performance. Benchmark Reviews tests the reaction time and bandwidth performance for the FTM28GX25H 120GB model against over two dozen other products in this article.

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Since first making a commercial public debut at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show, Solid State Drives (SSD's) have been a topic of hot discussion among performance enthusiasts. These nonvolatile flash memory-based drives feature virtually no access time delay and promise a more reliable storage medium with greater performance while operating at a fraction of the power level. Moving into 2008, SSDs became a consumer reality for many performance-minded power users. Now that 2009 has revealed promising industry support for Solid State Drive technology, we should hope that mainstream acceptance moves faster than DDR3 SDRAM has.

Back in November 2007, after experiencing the SuperComputing Conference SC07, finding Solid State Drives on sale anywhere was a real challenge. One year later, and online stores are offering dozens of SSD models at reasonable prices. Solid State Drives are rapidly changing the computing landscape, and many enthusiasts are using SSD technology in their primary systems to help boost performance. Benchmark Reviews has tested nearly all of the products available to the retail market in this sector, and several do well while others fall flat. It used to be that performance was the largest hurdle for mass storage NAND Solid State Drives, followed by stability, and later price.

Solid State Drive products are no longer restricted to bleeding edge hardware enthusiasts or wealthy elitists. Heading into 2009, SSD storage devices were available online for nearly $2 per gigabyte of storage capacity while the most popular performance desktop hard drive hovered just above $1/GB. While most consumers are waiting for that day when SSD costs the same as HDD, they seem to be forgetting how Solid State Drives have already surpassed Hard Disk performance in every other regard. Our collection of SSD reviews is a good starting point for comparing the competition.

According to a Q1 2008 report by the semiconductor market research firm iSuppli, the SSD market will grow at an annualized average of 124 percent during the four-year period from 2008 until 2012. iSuppli now projects SSD sales to increase by an additional 35 percent in 2009 over what it projected last year, 51 percent more in 2010, and 89 percent more in 2011, and continue to show dramatic increases in subsequent years.

Disclaimer: SSD Benchmarks

Benchmark Reviews recently published an article which details Solid State Drive (SSD) Benchmark Performance Testing. The research and discussion that went into producing that article changed the way we now test SSD products. Our previous perceptions of this technology were lost on one particular difference: the wear leveling algorithm that makes data a moving target. Without conclusive linear bandwidth testing or some other method of total-capacity testing, our previous performance results were rough estimates at best.

It's critically important to understand that no software for the Microsoft Windows platform can accurately measure SSD performance in a comparable fashion. Synthetic benchmark tools such as HD Tach and ATTO Disk Benchmark are helpful indicators, but should not be considered the ultimate determining factor. That factor should be measured in actual user experience of real-world applications. Benchmark Reviews includes both bandwidth benchmarks and application speed tests to present a conclusive measurement of product performance.

About Super Talent Technology Corporation

Super Talent Technology, headquartered in San Jose, California, designs and manufactures a full range of DDR, DDR2, and DDR3 memory modules and Flash based storage devices for computers and consumer electronics. An ISO 9001 certified company, Super Talent utilzes its state-of-the art factory and leading-edge components to produce award winning products with outstanding reliability. Super Talent is an active member of JEDEC, ONFI and USB-IF standards bodies, and holds over 200 patents in Flash and DRAM technology.

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Super Talent's Silicon Valley based electrical, mechanical, and software Engineering teams develop leading-edge DRAM and Flash memory solutions for a multitude of applications. Our US-based engineering enables Super Talent to bring advanced new products and technologies to market well ahead of the competition. A leading innovator, Super Talent holds over 200 patents on DRAM and Flash module design and manufacturing processes, making Super Talent one of the world's chief patent holders in memory device categories. Super Talent is an active member of JEDEC, the association that defines future memory standards. The company is a technical leader in producing industry standard memory modules as well as in developing custom memory solutions.



 

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