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Super Talent UltraDrive ME SSD FTM28GX25H E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage
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 Features

Super Talent's UltraDrive ME series SSDs are our fifth-generation SSD, and offer leading-edge performance for high-end notebook computers. With read speeds up to 260MB/sec, the UltraDrive ME is geared for applications that require optimum performance. Super Talent's UltraDrive LE series SSDs are state-of-the-art storage drives designed expressly for enterprise servers. With read speeds up to 260MB/sec and capacities up to 128GB, the UltraDrive is geared for applications that require exceptional sustained transfer speeds and extremely high transaction rates (IOPS).

The UltraDrive also offers higher reliability and greater resistance to shock, vibration and temperature than a hard drive (HDD). It employs a standard HDD interface and dimensions, so it's an easy drop-in upgrade for a 2.5-inch hard drive in most notebooks and can be designed-in to systems with no customizations. The UltraDrive is certified for compatibility with the newest Apple 13" MacBook, 15" and 17" MacBook Pro, and Quad-core and 8-core Mac Pros. All drives are rigorously qualified in Super Talent's compatibility labs with strict hardware and software testing standards for consistency and functionality. Incorporating cutting edge error correction (ECC), wear leveling and bad block management technologies, UltraDrive SSDs also reduce maintenance costs, resulting in a lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Performance is highly dependent upon test environment and use case. Consult our benchmarking data in our whitepaper for more detailed performance information or benchmark performance in your environment.

ArchitectureSuper-Talent-UltraDrive-ME-Upright.jpg

Solid State Disk (SSD) Drives are completely interchangeable with industry standard hard disk drives. SSDs conform to the same physical dimensions as hard drives, so they can fit in the standard drive bays and enclosures used by millions of computers. And SSDs use the same Serial ATA (SATA) or IDE interface as hard drives, making them functionally identical. This 100% physical and electrical compatibility and interchangeability with hard drives makes it very easy to design SSDs into systems and storage appliances.

In short, an SSD is a storage device that is based on semiconductors rather than rotating magnetic platters. Most SSDs, including Super Talent's offerings, are based on NAND Flash chips because they are fast, highly reliable, widely available and are non-volatile, meaning they save data even without a power source.

Flash vs. DRAM

SSDs based on DRAM components are lower cost than their NAND Flash based siblings. But DRAM is volatile storage, meaning it will lose all data if the power supply is removed. In a power outage, all the data stored on a DRAM based SSD would be permanently lost. Some DRAM based SSDs get around this limitation by including built-in rechargeable batteries. The obvious disadvantages of this solution are that batteries are heavy, have a limited life, and result in a unit that is far less reliable than an SSD based on non-volatile NAND Flash components.

Flash Cost

Currently, the main disadvantage is that flash-based drives cost more per gigabyte than hard drives. However, flash memory is decreasing in price around 20%-30% per year. Currently, NAND flash is sold around $8/GB and SSD is sold around $17/GB. Thus, as the price of the NAND flash chip decreases, the price of the SSD will decrease.

Flash Reliability

Flash endurance has increased due to a few techniques that have been implemented gradually in the past few years. The write/erase mechanism in Flash causes the Silicon to wear down over time. The procedure to program Flash can be done one word (byte) at a time and the procedure to erase is done on a per-block-basis. The degradation of the semiconductor material causes Flash to have a limit of 100,000-300,000 write/erase cycles. When a block reaches this threshold, the device can become unreliable and failure can occur.

Since it only takes one block to cause the entire Flash device to fail, wear leveling is incorporated to ensure that write/erase mechanisms are evenly distributed over all blocks. The technique does not allow one block to reach this limit sooner than other blocks. For example, if block A is written to 10x times and other blocks are written to x times, the algorithm will stop writing to block A and will write to other blocks. Thus, this will increase the endurance of the Flash device.

Low Power Consumption

A major disadvantage of hard drives is the amount of power they consume. Most of the power in a hard drive is used by the motor that has to spin the disk. Faster performance in a hard drive requires faster rotational speeds of the disk, up to 10,000 rpm's for high performance hard drives. The SSD offers an enormous advantage over hard drives in power efficiency. Thanks to the lack of motors and to the efficiency of flash IC's, SSDs consume a fraction of the power a conventional hard drive demands. When idle, SSDs use about 95% less power than hard drives; and when active, 50 to 85% less power. Lower power consumption means less heat produced inside the chassis that needs to be expelled, which results in cooler components and a lighter need for chassis ventilation. And more important, in mobile computing less power means longer battery life. Furthermore, each SSD can save up to 21.9 Kilowatt-Hours of power per year compared to a hard drive, making SSDs the ultimate choice for eco-friendly computing.

Fast Performance

Hard drives and flash technology have very different performance characteristics. With Access times in the 10-20ms range, hard drives are very slow to locate data, Flash has the advantage of lightning fast access time, well below 1ms. Therefore, SSDs are far superior to hard drives for small random reads and writes.

Hard drives are relatively fast for burst transfers of large sequential blocks of data. But the fastest SSD drives support even faster sustained read and write speeds than the fastest hard drives. High speed SSDs are the best choice for maximum throughput. Another considerable advantage flash has over hard drives is that they do not suffer from delay waking from sleep mode because with no moving parts, they have no need to spin down like a conventional hard drive.



 

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