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Super Talent sprinkles fairy dust on its "budget" SSD lineup

The solid state disk (SSD) market is really starting to heat up. Super Talent threw down the gauntlet with its low-priced MX series SSDs. OCZ then returned the favor with its Core Series SSDs.

OCZ held the upper hand with not only lower pricing for its Core Series SSDs, but also the advantage of faster read/write performance. Super Talent's MX SSDs clocked in with read speeds of 120MB/sec and write speeds of 40MB/sec. OCZ's Core SSDs feature read speeds of 120 to 143 MB/sec and write speeds of 80 to 93 MB/sec depending on the capacity of the drive in question.

With OCZ breathing down its neck, Super Talent worked a little magic on its MX drives. The 15GB and 30GB models now feature read speeds of 120MB/sec and write speeds of 60MB/sec. The 60GB and 120GB have the same read speeds, but now have write speeds of 80MB/sec.

"Our expert engineering team is constantly discovering new ways to improve our products, and this is one improvement that will be well received by power laptop users", said Super Talent Director of Marketing, Joe James. "We continue our relentless drive to add performance, features and value to our SSDs while driving the price down."

In addition to the speed bumps, Super Talent also recently posted a new $40 rebate to make SSDs more price competitive with OCZ's core lineup.



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Longevity?
By EricMartello on 7/21/2008 6:41:31 PM , Rating: 2
My main concern about SSDs is their actual longevity in a "real world" environment. Current Flash memory "wears out" after a certain amount of RW operations, and when you consider how often the swap file is paged on any system, I'd be leary about picking up an SSD that may fail in less than 2 years.




RE: Longevity?
By leexgx on 7/21/2008 6:45:20 PM , Rating: 2
users who own SSD are likey to have 4gb of ram installed so the page file is not likey going to be used much

id be more bothered about windows defrag and system restore, if useing vista as both are hdd useage can be big in some systems to the point you have to turn them off


RE: Longevity?
By EricMartello on 7/22/2008 5:48:16 AM , Rating: 3
If you're running on any current OS then yes, the swap file will be (should be) used. You CAN disable it in XP if you have a good amount of RAM and most of the time your system will run just fine...but a disabled swap file is unlikely to provide any noticeable performance gains...and it forces your physical mem to hold junk that is not necessarily needed by the program/game you are running. It does not have the perceived effect of forcing XP to use physical memory more efficiently.

As for the SSD MTBF ratings...I don't trust those. I read somewhere that the cells in SSDs are "cycled" so that the same cell is not constantly written to...but even so, as a given cell loses its ability to "remember" it could have an effect similar to bad sectors on a standard HD. The drawback being that it might happen more often unless the SSDs are using some improved flash memory technology.

I never wore out any of my flash memory, but then again, I've never used flash mem to run an OS or other I/O intensive application. I just use them for quick file transfers, digital pics and stuff like that.


RE: Longevity?
By mindless1 on 7/23/2008 1:57:19 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, but it does in fact have the actual effect of forcing XP to use physical memory more efficiently.

If you leave the pagefile enabled, it IS used even when the system has remaining free memory. Take a look at the figures in XP's Task Manager to see it, though I'll grant you that a significant chunk of the space is just a virtualized allocation based on application demands, not actually real data paged out, but nevertheless it is an overhead for the system to perform, an addt'l amount of time and processing required to do so.

The only reason not to disable virtual memory is if the system does not have enough physical memory to handle the sum total of allocated, not just actually *used*, space demanded by all applications, OS, etc.

It is always faster to not have a pagefile. It is sometimes a trivial difference in performance, even one not so readily measured with benchmarks since it's the multitasking, paging in and out between applications where you would see the most benefit - but that benefit is definitely there in some uses, readily perceivable especially in cases where you ran an application using a lot of memory then exited that application having to wait for other data to page back in before you can resume normal operations with the other apps.

Let's worry about SSD write cycle limitations when people start seeing it causing failure. Until then, we have nothing but evidence that mechanical drives are a bigger liability when it comes to data loss or downtime.

There are a fair amount of people that have used flash memory for OS. More than you might even realize when talking about industrial or other commercial embedded systems, mainly what needs to be done is essentially what you are arguing against, to disable needless and excessive writes to the drive from paging, and of course equip a system with enough main memory to allow this.

Beyond pagefile, a properly designed SSD should last several years running an OS for typical uses. EVen if you continually wrote to a drive over and over it could take many years.


RE: Longevity?
By shabby on 7/21/2008 6:57:07 PM , Rating: 2
People keep saying flash wears out... has anyone actually had one fail because of this?


RE: Longevity?
By Belard on 7/22/2008 5:35:38 AM , Rating: 2
Yes.


RE: Longevity?
By mindless1 on 7/23/2008 1:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
Care to provide a real example for us?


RE: Longevity?
By kmmatney on 7/22/2008 11:48:58 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds like a fun project. I have some old 32GB memory sticks. I'll write a program that writes to them constantly, and see if I can get them to wear out!


RE: Longevity?
By TennesseeTony on 7/22/2008 4:34:00 PM , Rating: 2
Holy crap! 32 Gig memory sticks? :) Yeah yeah, I know, you meant MB, not GB.


RE: Longevity?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 7/21/2008 7:09:03 PM , Rating: 5
RE: Longevity?
By shabby on 7/21/2008 7:26:35 PM , Rating: 2
If only regular hard drives had that kind of lifespan, i guess this solves the longevity mystery.


RE: Longevity?
By Flunk on 7/22/2008 1:39:47 AM , Rating: 2
Actually MTBF rate for consumer drives works out to be about 30 years. Now of course we all know that these numbers do not mean that every drive lasts that long, but the same holds true for those SSD numbers. To really know how these things last we are going to have a wait a few years for real world numbers to be available.

Check the MTBF on this sheet if you don't believe me.
http://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/datasheet/disc/ds_...


RE: Longevity?
By mindless1 on 7/23/2008 2:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
You have somewhat of a point, but the same does not really hold true, it's an apples and oranges comparison you are trying to make between a MTBF number and a write cycle number for a flash chip... especially true when we realize that it would be like using a rotational wear rating for the hard drive motor instead of the lifespan of the whole device.

Besides, it's just inappropriate to consider MTBF at all since we know it would be extremely rare to have any drive work continuously for 15 years, let alone twice that, while given a reasonable environment there is a good chance a properly designed SSD will last for the entirety of the rated life cycles.

Even so I would have to agree that we need more time to be sure of this, that there is not some other failure mechanism that will cause mortality instead of the so often quoted write cycle limitations. PCB delamination, tin whiskers, power surges, shock to the PCB causing it or onboard component damage are all more and more likely the longer the interval. A SSD might actually last 30 years even if nobody wanted to keep using the same one, being old/small/slow tech eventually, for even half that period.


RE: Longevity?
By Cunthor666 on 7/22/2008 12:46:37 AM , Rating: 2
How about a picture source?


RE: Longevity?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 7/22/2008 2:42:44 AM , Rating: 2
It's a crop from the Super Talent spec sheet:

http://www.supertalent.com/datasheets/6_132.pdf


RE: Longevity?
By coversyl on 7/22/2008 2:57:50 AM , Rating: 2
I have been using XP with 2GB memory and no swap file for 2 years now.


RE: Longevity?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 7/22/2008 3:01:46 AM , Rating: 2
Same here. I'm running an MSI Wind with 2GB of RAM and no swapfile. I did the same with my Eee PC which also had 2GB of RAM in XP.


RE: Longevity?
By mindless1 on 7/23/2008 2:20:07 PM , Rating: 2
There's only one real concern, that you buy a drive with ample free space. For example if you put Vista and some apps on one and had only 4GB free space remaining, you end up with roughly 1/5th the lifespan compared to using a larger SSD with 20GB remaining. Even in the former case you may find it lasts years.


Progress, yet...
By grath on 7/21/08, Rating: 0
RE: Progress, yet...
By DarkElfa on 7/21/2008 6:29:21 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed. They might as well be selling 1000$ toasters.


RE: Progress, yet...
By Souka on 7/21/2008 6:36:42 PM , Rating: 5
For $1000 I'd buy a #6 "Toaster" :)

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2163644672/nm1065454


RE: Progress, yet...
By kenji4life on 7/21/2008 11:20:14 PM , Rating: 1
You're a frackin toaster.


RE: Progress, yet...
By surt on 7/22/2008 1:47:03 PM , Rating: 2
I think he wants to be a toaster fracker.


RE: Progress, yet...
By Targon on 8/11/2008 7:50:20 PM , Rating: 2
If we are talking #6, can you blame him?


RE: Progress, yet...
By Inkjammer on 7/21/2008 10:55:58 PM , Rating: 2
But then you'd miss out on the $40 rebate, and then where would you be? Crispy, delicious toast can only go so far.


RE: Progress, yet...
By Clauzii on 7/21/2008 6:33:31 PM , Rating: 4
Oh, I think You are wrong. At these R/W speeds and the price falling, it's a matter of not even a year before a wider acceptance. When people realize that at least one of their HDs can be exchanged with a noiseless AND fast(er) alternative it will happen. Because at that moment, that's what Acer, SONY, Toshiba, Dell, HP and all the others will be talking about soon. Intel is also doing it, so only a matter of time..


RE: Progress, yet...
By retrospooty on 7/21/2008 7:15:15 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed... In just 1 week, you can get a 64GB from OCZ at newegg. Its time is coming. I will be grabbing one as soon as its in stock.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...


RE: Progress, yet...
By royalcrown on 7/21/2008 10:09:44 PM , Rating: 5
I wonder how many losers will post that they've had one for 6 months the first day they are available on egg...prob too many !

Pros: "It's sew grate, it roxorz my raid 0 x4 for 8 months now at 1200 mb/s !! "

cons: I don't own it yet until next yearz.


RE: Progress, yet...
By kmmatney on 7/22/2008 11:53:08 AM , Rating: 2
I can see a lot of people going Hybrid. SSD for the OS drive, and a large standard hard drive for storage. At least that's what I'll probably do.


RE: Progress, yet...
By Clauzii on 7/23/2008 6:41:25 AM , Rating: 2
Yes indeed. At least until SSDs get cheaper with more capacity.


is this only for new drives?
By MDme on 7/21/2008 7:17:54 PM , Rating: 3
Is this only for newly released MX drives? I bought one of these in June....is it a firmware update or something I can do to improve it?




RE: is this only for new drives?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 7/21/2008 7:54:53 PM , Rating: 2
Straight from Super Talent's Joe James:

quote:
Unfortunately, the firmware is not field upgradable. So yes, we can upgrade the firmware here if the customer wants to RMA their SSD, but he can’t upgrade the firmware himself.


RE: is this only for new drives?
By Alexstarfire on 7/21/2008 8:46:21 PM , Rating: 2
Might as well do it. I'm sure it cost a pretty penny to get it anyways. If sending it back for a bit to get better performance costs little more than shipping, then I say it's worth it.


RE: is this only for new drives?
By mindless1 on 7/23/2008 2:15:02 PM , Rating: 2
Am I missing something or is there no reason to believe all it takes is a firmware upgrade?

Suppose you send in the drive, what is their incentive to give you this performance boost through a firmware upgrade or give you a newer revision SSD that is faster? If they do that, it only encourages everyone to try and RMA their products.

I don't mean to be cruel but you bought it for a price and performance level present at that time. If you couldn't accept that you should not have bought it. Now you'd like to increase their costs, costs passed on to other consumers of their products.


still slow
By Soulkeeper on 7/21/08, Rating: 0
RE: still slow
By awer26 on 7/21/2008 9:02:29 PM , Rating: 1
That's quite a range. "Give me 1000 MB/s or 300" lol. How about 120?


RE: still slow
By shabby on 7/21/2008 9:55:02 PM , Rating: 2
RE: still slow
By Baov on 7/22/2008 4:54:48 PM , Rating: 2
Question is the price. I remember something called the hyperdrive IV, took DDR ram with automatic backup to an hdd, but costed something like 2000$.


RAID SSD + HDD
By tygrus on 7/22/2008 11:19:45 PM , Rating: 2
Has anyone tried to combine a SSD with a traditional spindle HDD using a high performance RAID card (RAID 1 style mirror). Random writing is slower to the SSD than the HD then the HD finishes first and is ready to serve READ requests. SSD is faster for random reads while a HDD may be quicker for sequential or burst. RAID firmware would have to be very good to make the most of the unequal pairing.




RE: RAID SSD + HDD
By mindless1 on 7/23/2008 2:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
Not just "good" firmware but that was aware of performance differences to change the I/O patterns and AFAIK, none do this.


Well - How much?
By iwod on 7/22/2008 12:30:22 AM , Rating: 2
If the 30GB Price is similar to OCZ. Then i expect the 15Gb to be fairly cheap. Considering OCZ sell 32GB at 179 USD. I expect 15Gb to be at most 129USD.

Using Raid 0 we can have a hugely fast 30GB SSD for less then 260 USD.

And for those who thinks SSD is still years away. These new 120MB/s SSD are only just the beginning. These SSD properly all uses the new controller with 8 Channel support. And all of them are using fairy cheap and slow MLC as well.

In the near future when we get 16 Channel controller chip as well as faster MLC we could see transfer speed 2 - 3 times faster then current SSD.




poor random write speeds
By TonyB on 7/21/08, Rating: 0
RE: poor random write speeds
By TheriusDrake on 7/21/08, Rating: 0
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