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Super Talent RAIDDrive USB-3.0 Flash Drive E-mail
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Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Super Talent RAIDDrive USB-3.0 Flash Drive
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: USB 3.0 RAIDDrive
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark Test Results
ATTO Disk Benchmark Results
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

SSD Testing Methodology

Solid State Drives have traveled a long winding course to finally get where they are today. Up to this point in technology, there have been several key differences separating Solid State Drives from magnetic rotational Hard Disk Drives. While the DRAM-based buffer size on desktop HDDs has recently reached 32 MB and is ever-increasing, there is still a hefty delay in the initial response time. This is one key area in which flash-based Solid State Drives continually dominates because they lack moving parts to "get up to speed".

However the benefits inherent to SSDs have traditionally fallen off once the throughput begins, even though data reads or writes are executed at a high constant rate whereas the HDD tapers off in performance. This makes the average transaction speed of a SSD comparable to the data burst rate mentioned in HDD tests, albeit usually lower than the HDD's speed.

Comparing a Solid State Disk to a standard Hard Disk Drives is always relative; even if you're comparing the fastest rotational spindle speeds. One is going to be many times faster in response (SSDs), while the other is usually going to have higher throughput bandwidth (HDDs). Additionally, there are certain factors which can affect the results of a test which we do our best to avoid.

SSD Testing Disclaimer

Early on in our SSD coverage, Benchmark Reviews published an article which detailed Solid State Drive 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.

Our test results were obtained after each SSD had been prepared using DISKPART or Sanitary Erase tools. As a word of caution, applications such as these offer immediate but temporary restoration of original 'pristine' performance levels. In our tests, we discovered that the maximum performance results (charted) would decay as subsequent tests were performed. SSDs attached to TRIM enabled Operating Systems will benefit from continuously refreshed performance, whereas older O/S's will require a garbage collection (GC) tool to avoid 'dirty NAND' performance degradation.

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 PCMark 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.

Test System

  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 (Intel X58-Express)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-920 BX80601920 @ 2.667 GHz
  • System Memory: 6GB Triple-Channel DDR3 1600MHz CL6-6-6-18
  • SATA 3Gb/s Storage HBA: Integrated Intel ICH10R Controller
    • AHCI mode - Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver 9.6.0.1014
  • SATA 6Gb/s Storage HBA: Integrated Marvell SE9128 Controller
    • AHCI mode - Marvell Magni Driver Marvell Magni Driver 1.0.0.1036
  • USB 2.0 Adapter: Intel ICH10 Controller
  • USB 3.0 Adapter: NEC-D720200F1 Controller
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Edition 64-Bit

Test Tools

  • AS SSD Benchmark 1.4.3704.27281: Multi-purpose speed and operational performance test
  • ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.34: Spot-tests static file size chunks for basic I/O bandwidth

Test Results Disclaimer

This article utilizes benchmark software tools to produce operational IOPS performance and bandwidth speed results. Each test was conducted in a specific fashion, and repeated for all products. These test results are not comparable to any other benchmark application, neither on this website or another, regardless of similar IOPS or MB/s terminology in the scores. The test results in this project are only intended to be compared to the other test results conducted in identical fashion for this article.



 

Comments 

 
# Wrong testing benchStas 2010-04-22 23:56
You took the wrong motherboard for testing - it would not support more than 240MB/s, as NEC chip is using only 250GB/s PCIe x1 link.

Try it with ASUS add-on combo on the board that has southbridge PCIe x4 slot - only then you can compare real and declared productivity.
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# @ StasOlin Coles 2010-04-23 07:30
I'm not entirely certain this is the case. The NEC controller ties into the PCIe 2.0 lanes from my research, which means that there is at least 5Gb/s bandwidth. Regardless, the 320/180 MB/s that Super Talent suggests was nowhere close to the 239/106 MB/s we received. AS-SSD and ATTO both had low write-to performance, which was a far cry from the bandwidth restriction you suggest.
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# not exactlynnobody 2010-04-23 06:22
NEC USB3.0 chip on this mobo connected directly to X58 chip, so it gets one PCI-E 2.0 lane. You may check it by yourself, just view user's guide to this mobo.
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# :)Stas 2010-04-23 12:03
A bit earlier version of the article stated that the testbench was GA-P55A-UD7. And that make a big difference.
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# Time for glasses. :pOlin Coles 2010-04-23 13:17
You need to get more sleep. :p This article hasn't been modified or edited. The original test motherboard was the GA-X58A-UD7. As far as I know, Benchmark Reviews has never received/tested the GA-P55A-UD7.

At any rate, I'm glad we got that sorted out.
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# RE: Time for glasses. :pStas 2010-04-23 23:30
Sorry,then

Then there is still much to improove to get full USB 3.0 speed.
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# AgreedOlin Coles 2010-04-24 08:54
I think this is a good start, but it seems that the new SuperSpeed USB-3.0 standard is too new for the industry. We probably have a few more years before USB 3 flash drives become widely available and used.
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# MasterRob 2010-04-26 09:53
Just wondering if you used the ST USB 3 RAIDDrive drivers ???

---> ##supertalent.com/support/driver_download.php?open=usb
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# Ooops ...Rob 2010-04-26 09:57
I found it :)
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