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125MB/s read, 50MB/s write

Super Talent Technology introduced the world's first USB 3.0 flash drives a couple of months ago, and started shipping in small quantities just in time for the holiday shopping season. SuperSpeed USB 3.0 has a theoretical throughput of 4.8 Gbps, which translates to a raw transfer speed of 480 MB/s thanks to the 8b/10b encoding used. Actual performance is expected to peak around 400MB/s with protocol overhead, similar to how USB 2.0 peaks at around 40MB/s.

The RAIDDrive that is shipping comes fairly close to this maximum, providing 320MB/s read using a UAS protocol driver. However, the cost for this premium drive has brought numerous requests for a more affordable solution that balances speed with affordability.

Super Talent is therefore working on a new SuperSpeed USB 3.0 flash drive. The Express drive will achieve read speeds of 125MB/s and write speeds of 50MB/s. Downloading a 600MB movie will take only 12 seconds with this new drive. It will come in two models; a 16GB model will sell for under $70, while the 32GB model will sell for under $150.

The size and cost is slashed dramatically by cutting out the RAID circuitry and reducing the amount of NAND flash memory needed. The Express drive has dimensions of 62 x 37 x7.5 mm.

"This product underscores Super Talent's continued leadership in the USB 3.0 storage market.", said Super Talent COO, C.H. Lee. "We've listened to our customers and responded with a USB 3.0 product that not only meets the market needs but hits the balance point between price and performance." 

The company will show off the first prototypes at CeBIT next month, with retail availability expected by the end of March.

SuperSpeed USB 3.0 is now a standard feature on many premium motherboards. ASUS sells a adapter card featuring two 6Gbps SATA ports and two USB 3.0 ports for under $30.

Part Number



16GB USB 3.0 Express Drive


32GB USB 3.0 Express Drive

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DT, Please get with the times.
By icanhascpu on 2/12/2010 1:39:46 PM , Rating: 2
We are less intrested in flat throughput and more intrested in the following:

1. Randomam access speeds
2. I/O preformance.

What is the I/O potential of USB 3.0?

RE: DT, Please get with the times.
By RamarC on 2/12/2010 2:29:59 PM , Rating: 3
i'm more interested in the expected life of one of the drives. the faster a drive is, the more likely i am to change/update it's content more often. i'd hate to get dependent on it and see it die in 9 months from 'overuse'.

RE: DT, Please get with the times.
By icanhascpu on 2/12/2010 3:30:28 PM , Rating: 3
Long life wont matter if their performance sucks to begin with.

RE: DT, Please get with the times.
By RamarC on 2/12/2010 5:29:45 PM , Rating: 2
but they're definitely going to be MUCH faster than existing USB 2.0 drives. so even if it only delivers a piddly sustained 50/20MBps read/write it'll be on most folks shopping lists.

RE: DT, Please get with the times.
By whiskerwill on 2/12/2010 7:08:08 PM , Rating: 1
There are quite a few USB 2.0 drives that can write data faster than 20MB/s, so I think it'll have to do better than that to "be on everyone's shopping list".

RE: DT, Please get with the times.
By semo on 2/12/2010 7:56:46 PM , Rating: 4
ok, list a few...

RE: DT, Please get with the times.
By mindless1 on 2/12/2010 9:14:10 PM , Rating: 2
It only has 50MB/s write speed, if you b do the math you would see it is not likely to wear it out in 9 months.

By the time the average person would wear it out, successive generations that are larger and faster would be more desirable anyway.

... or to put it another way, have you yet worn out your 256MB, 512MB, 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, etc, etc, USB1 or USB2 drives from excessive write cycles yet? I don't mean can your imagination think of some way, I mean in reality have you?

Any project that would depend on massive rewrites to a USB3 flash drive is a fail from the get-go. A removable drive is meant for occasional file transfer, not constant massive data logging or running a pagefile or similar.

RE: DT, Please get with the times.
By Shining Arcanine on 2/12/2010 10:46:37 PM , Rating: 2
Some people have by running Windows off of them. I believe they used stripped down versions of Windows 98 on 16MB USB keys.

By mindless1 on 2/13/2010 1:19:24 AM , Rating: 2
Then they didn't know the proper procedure. You are NEVER supposed to run an OS off one unless you leave sufficient free space, not just for all possible files but for wear leveling.

So for example if you might need to write 60MB more, you leave several times that so you always have empty blocks.

I've ran even Win2k off a 1GB flash card w/o issue, though you do have to think about what you install and I made it write the (forced) pagefile to a ramdrive. With WinXP and thereafter, it gets even easier as there are write filters and other methods of controlling it.

Win98? Should be a breeze on a 1GB or larger flash based *drive*.

By whiskerwill on 2/12/2010 7:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
Ican, you really should realize that the interface (USB3.0 in this case) has nothing to do with with random access speeds. That's a function of the drive itself.

RE: DT, Please get with the times.
By TheDigitalDiamond on 2/13/2010 8:38:19 AM , Rating: 2
Don't even begin to think you speak for the common interests of anyone on this site, as there are no common interests, or this wouldn't be a mainstream site. It would be relegated to a small niche community of specific enthusiasts like many other sites that cater to such pandering and isolated thought processes.

RE: DT, Please get with the times.
By Fritzr on 2/16/2010 2:36:50 PM , Rating: 2
Readers of this site do have a common interest...Tech News :P

Beyond that, it's quite a variety.

By descendency on 2/12/2010 6:23:14 PM , Rating: 2
Can it run Crysis?

RE: But...
By swizeus on 2/12/2010 7:56:05 PM , Rating: 2
Yes it can duh.... plug it in an install your crysis in it and not only you can run crysis with it, you can make new version of crysis... Portable crysis

RE: But...
By mindless1 on 2/13/2010 1:21:00 AM , Rating: 4
Yes, and you can drill a little hole in the top and suck on the metal part to make it a crack pipe.

RE: But...
By FaceMaster on 2/13/2010 1:05:54 PM , Rating: 3
You are now my favourite poster

Now seriously...
By thartist on 2/12/2010 2:06:47 PM , Rating: 2
what speeds do you achieve copying a big file to your Pen Drive 2.0?
I get 9 MBytes/s at the end of a 230MB file (net framework 3.5 sp1)... and around 20MB average from the Pen Drive writing to Desktop.

RE: Now seriously...
By mindless1 on 2/12/2010 9:18:24 PM , Rating: 2
For budget class USB2 flash drives on a decent host USB controller a typical sustained, single linear file transfer speed might be approaching 20MB/s write, 35MB/s read, +-5MB/s.

Above I meant decently performing budget class USB2 drives, there are still a few manufacturers <cough>Kingston & many Chinese clone drive manufacturers</cough> putting old or low bin, slow chips in current products so they perform badly.

RE: Now seriously...
By thartist on 2/13/2010 1:56:48 AM , Rating: 2
crappers, i didn't know... so, who are decent pen-drive manufacturers? thought kingston was be ok.

anyone help please.

The elephant in the room is...
By BernardP on 2/15/2010 1:26:18 PM , Rating: 2
How many enclosures are there with USB 3.0 ports?

Look at recently released system cases. I still haven't seen one with USB 3.0 ports (although there might be a few out there). There is only one-way compatibility with USB 3.0: a USB 2.0 drive will fit in the 3.0 port, but the other way around is physically impossible.

A year will probably pass before we can buy a mobo with USB 3.0 built in the AMD/Intel chipset and a proper enclosure with front/top USB 3.0 ports. By that time, 4.0 GB USB 3.0 drives will be free in cereal boxes ;-)

RE: The elephant in the room is...
By semo on 2/15/2010 5:21:44 PM , Rating: 2
There is no elephant. What you are describing is the B (device) end of a USB 3.0 cable. You wouldn't use a USB3.0 cable for a USB2.0 device anyway since those cables are so abundant.

I'm buying the cheapest USB3.0 pen drive as soon as they come out. They no longer have the excuse of putting super slow flash on these devices because the bus can't handle it. The fact that I won't be using it USB3.0 ports immediately doesn't bother me (anything above 10MB/s write is a bonus for me)

By Aaron M on 2/16/2010 2:37:23 AM , Rating: 2
Super Talent, among a few others, made some of the fastest USB flash drives, when they still used SLC memory in their fastest products. The difference in performance was especially apparent while writing a large number of small files. The claimed read/write speeds of these new drives sound good, but I hope they don't suddenly drop off a cliff during some of the known tough tasks that bring the majority of MLC drives to their knees.

Needs an SSD
By DukeN on 2/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: Needs an SSD
By tastyratz on 2/12/2010 6:12:39 PM , Rating: 2
actually, not really at all.
125 megs read will benefit any system with less when reading regardless of the drive... and 50 megs write is far faster than current options but can be kept up with by any modern hard drive sans the slower of the notebook sector.
Modern hard drives can keep up. Even if you had a drive with less than 125 write that would only matter for direct file copies from the flash to the drive... not for reads just accessing the file. This could actually provide a reasonable readyboost drive for people who can't have ssd's / require more hdd space on their laptops.

RE: Needs an SSD
By mindless1 on 2/12/2010 9:21:26 PM , Rating: 2
On the contrary you are describing the ideal scenario... When you buy a new gadget you want everything else to be the bottleneck, not the new gadget.

That means the busses are evolving so the new thing you buy in turn has more bandwidth available to it too, so you are always continually reaping more performance a little at a time.

Besides, not all transfers are direct from mechanical HDD to a USB drive or vice-versa.

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