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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

USB-3.0 Final Thoughts

SuperSpeed USB 3.0 has some room to grow and mature. It's an excellent standard that improves over the out-going HiSpeed USB-2.0 protocol by more than 250%, but it lacks universal support. On Intel motherboards, the USB controller is supported by the ICH 'Southbridge', and driver support is native from Microsoft Windows XP forward. USB 3.0 is not. As of April 2010, all motherboards including the new SuperSpeed support utilize NEC's D720200F1 controller which relies on NEC driver software. Unfortunately, SuperSpeed USB-3.0 is not natively supported by Microsoft Windows 7, so it will have to wait for the next version of the O/S which is still a few years away.

Once SuperSpeed USB-3.0 is functional and put into service, the theoretical advantages are impressive. SuperSpeed USB-3.0 offers theoretical bandwidth of 5Gbps, which could potentially rival the SATA 6Gb/s storage interface. While the idea of USB-3.0 based primary drives is not supported by Windows 7, Benchmark Reviews hopes to one day demonstrate the differences between running the Operating System on a SATA SSD and on a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 flash drive.

RAIDDrive Conclusion

The Super Talent USB-3.0 RAIDDrive performed at up to 239 MB/s read and 106 MB/s write speeds in our RAID-0 benchmark tests, which is far beyond the sub-30 MB/s speeds offered by the fastest USB-2.0 flash drives. Still, 239/106 is a stretch from Super Talents advertised maximum speeds of 320/180 MB/s. In standard USB-3.0 tests the RAIDDrive produced 168/69 MB/s, which is not nearly as impressive.

In terms of appearance the RAIDDrive is elegant, but still big and elegant. Measuring 3.74" long by 1.34" wide and 0.61" thick, the RAIDDrive will fit a pocket or briefcase, but don't expect it to become your next keychain flash drive. Sadly, I've seen mobile phones that were about the same size.

The Super Talent RAIDDrive is well constructed, and is still a SSD at its core. Solid State Drives are by nature immune to most abuses, but If any RAIDDrive product does happen to fail during the 2-year warranty period, end-users can contact the support department by e-mailing This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or by filling out an RMA form from their website. Unfortunately, there isn't a toll-free 800 number available for customer support.

Offering fast portable flash-based storage in 32/64/128GB capacities is a great start, and performing at up to 239/106 MB/s certainly helps, but ultimately the functionality for Super Talent's RAIDDrive rests in the hands of the user. Depending on the Operating System, features such as TurboBoost and SuperFetch may further increase performance. Additionally, some file types and sizes transfer faster than others.

As of late April 2010, none of the three Super Talent RAIDDrive sizes are available at NewEgg. Listed below are the suggested retail prices, which may guide consumers in locating the best online deal.

  • 32GB RAIDDrive: ST3U32SRK (MSRP $240)
  • 64GB RAIDDrive: ST3U64SRK (MSRP $330)
  • 128GB RAIDDrive: ST3U28SRK (MSRP $560)
  • Pros:

    + Industry's First SuperSpeed USB-3.0 Flash Drive
    + Produced 239/106 MB/s Speeds with ST Optimized Drivers
    + Up to 128GB of Portable Flash Storage Capacity
    + Fully Backwards Compatible with USB-2.0
    + Hot Plug-n-Play Functionality

    Cons:

    - Large Profile Size
    - Expensive Enthusiast Product
    - Does Not Include TRIM Support
    - Limited Warranty Period

    Questions? Comments? Benchmark Reviews really wants your feedback. We invite you to leave your remarks in our Discussion Forum.


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    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.
    Report Comment
     
     
    # @ 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.
    Report Comment
     
     
    # 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.
    Report Comment
     
     
    # :)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.
    Report Comment
     
     
    # 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.
    Report Comment
     
     
    # 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.
    Report Comment
     
     
    # 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.
    Report Comment
     
     
    # 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
    Report Comment
     
     
    # Ooops ...Rob 2010-04-26 09:57
    I found it :)
    Report Comment
     

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