Print 29 comment(s) - last by therealnickdan.. on Mar 20 at 8:45 AM

Super Talent presents its latest entries in the burgeoning SSD market

The field of Solid State Drive (SSD) storage has seen tremendous growth over the last couple years.  Last year the industry struggled with latency problems posed by certain JMicron controllers used in many models, but the performance, energy savings, and falling prices continued to lure new customers to SSDs.

Last September, Super Talent unveiled a budget SSD lineup with capacities up to 128 GB which use MLC NAND memory.  Now it has unveiled two new high end lineups -- the UltraDrive ME and UltraDrive LE families of SSDs.  Both lineups come with 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB variants.

The drives post some pretty impressive read/write numbers according to Super Talent.  Super Talent rates the LE family read/write speeds at 230 MB/s and 170 MB/s, respectively.  The ME is slightly slower, at 200 MB/s  and 160 MB/s, respectively.  Super Talent reports Sequential Read IOPS of 13,000 and Sequential Write of 16,000.  Random Read IOPS is reported to be 7,500, while Random Write is rated at 6,000.

The drives are compatible with "all known operating systems including Windows, Linux, and DOS" -- though OS X support is not explicitly mentioned.  The drives all come in a 2.5" SATA form factor.  The LE drives come with a 3-year warranty, while the ME drives come with 2-year warranty.

Super Talent says a 128 GB ME drive should retail under $400.   Jeremy Werner, senior product marketing manager at Super Talent, brags, "The UltraDrive is a product that surpassed our wildest expectations, easily leaving most of today’s available SSDs in the dust. It is one of the first next-generation SSDs likely to entice users to upgrade their laptops to take advantage of noticeable performance gains in boot time, application loading, and accessing data."

The drives began shipping to OEMs today.

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Life Span...
By swizeus on 3/18/2009 5:31:55 PM , Rating: 1
Can anybody who have used SSD tell me, how long, in the real years, do these stuff can hold on before they're unusable ?

RE: Life Span...
By retrospooty on 3/18/2009 5:34:27 PM , Rating: 2
How could anyone possibly have used these for "years" already?

RE: Life Span...
By TedStriker on 3/18/2009 5:55:19 PM , Rating: 6

RE: Life Span...
By InsaneScientist on 3/18/2009 11:00:51 PM , Rating: 6

RE: Life Span...
By acase on 3/19/2009 8:40:41 AM , Rating: 6
First I thought you were an idiot. Then I realized I was the idiot.

RE: Life Span...
By lukasbradley on 3/18/2009 5:54:05 PM , Rating: 2
I had a really early model last about 10 days.

It was fantastically fast though. And I run RAID 0 on all my workstations.

RE: Life Span...
By BladeVenom on 3/18/2009 5:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
Usually their lifespan is determined by write cycles. I haven't seen anything about age deterioration.

RE: Life Span...
By therealnickdanger on 3/19/2009 7:55:28 AM , Rating: 2
If you really want to know, then this is the best article for you (and anyone else) to read. It is very in-depth, but relatively simple to understand. I suggest people read it:

I have been using a G.Skill FM-25S2S-64GB SSD for almost a month now as my main boot drive in Vista Ultimate 32-bit. It uses the revised 602B JMicron controller. I have not experienced any pauses or slowdown yet. Half of the drive is full with my applications. I moved my temporary Internet files folder to my array (along with where I store all my media files) and deactivated defrag and SuperFetch. This thing is so fast - everything is instantaneous. It's really incredible. G.Skill advertises that it can do 170MB/sec read in Vista, but the best I can do is 163MB/sec average with a 0.1ms access time. Considering my old boot drive was a 7200RPM HDD with a burst speed of ~70MB/sec and average access time of 19ms, you can see why I'm so happy.

Best $130 ever.

RE: Life Span...
By ssd2009 on 3/19/2009 1:15:19 PM , Rating: 3
Ok, finally something worthy to make me create an account and comment. I've been studying SSD news and progress for about 18 months, not purchased one yet but they are getting better every day.

The Anantech review mentioned is one of the best I've yet seen. Its a must read for anyone unsure about getting an SSD, an obligatory read perhaps.

And now for the killer... if you totally understand and agree with Anand about the slow down effect and the random 4K writes then I'd like to see this Super Talent drive review by him and I suspect it will be awful. Of course you'd have to exercise the drive in the way Anand suggests and for that use, I'd almost guarantee most of the users I know will be experiencing the stuttering.

I do think that we are very close to be able to purchase SSD's (reasonable prices) that will add significant benefits, without feeling like an SSD has an imminent death wish. One feature I hope the manufacturers compete on is warranty. I've experienced dozens of hard disks that happily die just out of warranty. 3 Years ought to be the standard however the march of technology ought to have obsoleted them before they get that old.

If I really wanted to play safe I'd go for an OCZ Vertex, the rest of the pack, I'd give a miss. I'm pretty convinced I'd can't yet trust an SSD with a Jmicron Controller to perform, however even they deserve chance to improve.

For all those (like me on a wishful day) who think hard disks are dead, they won't be. The most attractive move for the PC/Server Market would be hybrid drives combining the best of both. The drive would pack in a 256GB etc SSD, and migrate rarely used data out to the spinning disk. Chances are the disk would rarely be powered up. At the moment I'd expect storage devices to start mixing these devices together.

Samsung say they can't drop prices much lower, but watch closely, they are dropping almost weekly and show no signs of slowing down. Driving down flash prices should be driven by increasing the volume of chips shipped, and what better way than to pack more chips on the board and sell a 1TB drive. Watch this space, I'd give it 4 weeks from today before someone else announces a terabyte SSD, (yes some have but I'm not including PCIe cards but Sata based products).

What about seagate, phew, not sure the ex ceo did this company any good. Still, they have big drives and now have entered the 6Gbps Sata controller arena, and thats one direction to take the SSD performance features. Really though, did Seagate really, really believe that SSD's what not the future and big spinning disks can't be beat? You watch the data centres ditch the power hungry drives for SSD.

Strangely I'm not sure where Toshiba are entering the fray, they announced their intention to take 30% of SSD Market but I don't see much in the way of announcements. They may however be preparing a significant entry, if they pay attention to the current slew of SSD's and their performance they could enter the market and put pressure on the smaller guys. IMHO its between Samsung and Intel. Intel won't compete on price from what I can see, but Samsung will. There aren't any real barriers to prevent the chip makers evolving these products at an alarming rate.

Something not mentioned so far is the weight of these devices, being so light, the implications for shipping costs ought to be a factor. You got lower power on the device, silent, and lightweight. Considering the millions of devices SSD are destined to replace it almost sounds like another marketing spin. I can see it now "SSD replacing HDD saves 4 million tonnes of CO2 in one year just in transport energy consumption alone".. now I'm waffling... Time to get back to the "Your system drive has bad sectors an may fail imminently"... on my Exchange Server...

RE: Life Span...
By therealnickdanger on 3/19/2009 4:26:09 PM , Rating: 2
Wow... mind dump. :D

(yes some have but I'm not including PCIe cards but Sata based products)

Well, I think that may be a mistake. Obviously we all want to have SATA devices since that's the conventional connector of data storage devices. However, SATA-3G is limited to 300MB/sec (theoretical) and SATA-6G (not readily available yet) is 600MB/sec (theoretical). Now look at the capabilities of PCIe:

v1.0: 250MB/sec/lane
v2.0: 500MB/sec/lane
v3.0: 1GB/sec/lane

Nearly every motherboard made in the past 3 years has PCIe in one form or another. Many motherboards that have at least one PCIe x16 slot also have a x4 slot or even multiple slots. Think about all the computers with IGPs and empty PCIe slots. The point I'm trying to make is that as of today, PCIe in its lowest form (x4) is 3x faster than SATA-3G and can be found in every computer. How many SATA-6G ports can you find out in the wild? hmm...

As OCZ pushes their expensive Z-Drive with its PCIe interface, don't think that won't make waves and result in competition in the same market. Obviously, a 1TB SSD with a 1,000MB/sec transfer speed will appeal to a LOT of people - and that price will come down. RAM-drives never took off because RAM-per-GB is much more expensive than flash and if you lose power, you lose your data.

So I ask, why MUST we use SATA? Even its newest and unavailable incarnation operates at half the speed of PCIe x4. Call me crazy, or perhaps even too optimistic, but I think in the long run as prices come down on items like the Z-Drive and people realize that they already have access to the speed SATA-6G offers - even moreso - it will only fuel the PCIe/SSD combo.

I'm not a fool and I realize SATA-6G will be the mainstream, but I think that if there ever was a time and place for PCIe to expand and become a widespread data storage interface, this is that time and place. Multiple cheap, small SSDs combined into one super-fast mega-SSD with a nearly unrestricted interface... sounds great to me.

RE: Life Span...
By ssd2009 on 3/20/2009 6:53:28 AM , Rating: 2
Hi, yes, cool I agree with your comments, of course we'd like to bypass that SATA interface but I'm thinking mass market connections the manufacturers can target today, and selfishly, I have oodles of Sata Drives I'd love to replace, and I have an interest in storage boxes with hot plug sas backplanes. I'm gunning for a seemless swap out of my drives. Also, I've yet to see a server backplane wired up with anything other than SAS ports etc, I'm sure it will come :)

The Fusion IO stuff is a great move, v logical and I'm sure it will be a driver to change the backplanes away from SAS/SCSI/SATA. The current FusionIO units are a bit of a pain in a datacentre to open boxes and insert these units.

If I can walk up to my existing Dell servers and hotplug an SSD into my raid I'm sure the quantities of SSD's shipped would be vast.


RE: Life Span...
By ssd2009 on 3/20/2009 6:58:48 AM , Rating: 2
(Update re the killer point) Seemingly from the comments this drive may have the indilinx barefoot controller and if it has then this drive may just up the ante, it'll be cool for Super Talent to go head to head with OCZ.

I read the specs on Super Talent.... I'm uncomfortable with the specs quoting endurance for hundreds of years and wait for it... "Data Integrity - 5 Years". Yikes, am I to take that as "Your flash cells will last before they die for years.... but the integrity of the data in the cell will only last about five? What? What?

RE: Life Span...
By therealnickdanger on 3/20/2009 8:45:25 AM , Rating: 2
Well the downside is that, just like HDDs, data loss is still data loss. No amount of warranty will help because even 5yr warranties from Seagate don't cover data recovery. I'm always hearing people complain about SSD warranties. I agree that they should at least match HDD warranties, but a warranty never helped me get my data back.

RE: Life Span...
By ssd2009 on 3/19/2009 1:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
256GB 140.2 yrs @ 50GB write-erase/day.... or so their product literature says :)

Too say the least...
By Shadowself on 3/18/2009 4:39:05 PM , Rating: 4
it would be an "interesting" system that is running DOS and a 256 GB SSD!

RE: Too say the least...
By cscpianoman on 3/18/2009 4:53:04 PM , Rating: 2
But it will have a fast OS start, quick application performance and speedy document retrieval. </cheeky comment>

RE: Too say the least...
By JasonMick on 3/18/2009 4:58:55 PM , Rating: 1
And all the joy extended memory can bring!
</cheeky reply to cheeky comment ;) >

RE: Too say the least...
By walk2k on 3/18/2009 6:22:07 PM , Rating: 4
Considering you'd have to partition it into about... 128 partitions in order to use it with DOS.. and there aren't even that many drive letters... I'd say no, it won't really work with DOS.

RE: Too say the least...
By Murloc on 3/18/2009 6:55:30 PM , Rating: 2
there are various sizes, up to 256 gb. The 256 gb version maybe won't work, but smaller ones yes.

RE: Too say the least...
By Zoomer on 3/18/2009 7:29:44 PM , Rating: 2
Not really, late versions of DOS support FAT32 natively, and there are real mode drivers/TSR programs out there for NTFS.

RE: Too say the least...
By DeepBlue1975 on 3/19/2009 8:15:30 AM , Rating: 2
And then the Machine told Sarah Connor before trying to kill her: "Mission: Terminate and Stay Resident".
It killed her off, assumed her shape and kept inhabiting her house.

What controller . . .
By phattyboombatty on 3/18/2009 4:54:17 PM , Rating: 2
. . . do these SSD's use?

RE: What controller . . .
By ciparis on 3/18/2009 5:27:13 PM , Rating: 2
I'd like to know that as well. Especially now that Anand has begun educating people on the more important stats (which seem to be missing here :)).

RE: What controller . . .
By Totally on 3/18/2009 6:55:33 PM , Rating: 2
Most likely 2x JMicron controllers, thats what all the new 256 SSDs seem to be using.

RE: What controller . . .
By laok on 3/18/2009 10:01:13 PM , Rating: 2
We need to see much more competition in the SSD controller market: now intel, JMicron, samsung, and maybe a few others.

It seems it costs much less to start a business making SSDs than making traditional Hard drives ( not extra clean rooms etc). But when can we see a good and affordable controller?

RE: What controller . . .
By gucio69 on 3/19/2009 12:01:43 AM , Rating: 2
In the comments to Anands latest SSD article someone said these use the same controller as the OCZ Vertex, the Indilinx Barefoot.

As this is a news flash on a tech site
By Frallan on 3/19/2009 4:05:24 AM , Rating: 2
I wish for more Data. How much cache and what controller - as Anand wrote yesterday these figures all look fine and dandy but as he stated in his SDD article throughput is not the most important stats.

By strikeback03 on 3/19/2009 10:05:16 AM , Rating: 2
Also, they could mention that they are already available for those who want to jump right on them.

By Chocobollz on 3/20/2009 3:11:18 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe you mean, more informations instead of more data ? Because I find it weird LOL. Well, maybe its just my feelings, just forget it LOL. I'm not sure what I was talking about! XD

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