Super Talent is one of the largest suppliers of Solid State Drives, with a product selection that rivals OCZ Technology's stable. SSDs have grown in popularity by providing much better random access performance than traditional hard disk drives. The primary drawbacks hindering mass adoption of SSDs have been capacity and cost.
However, those barriers are decreasing every year since SSDs use NAND flash memory, which can be scaled down to smaller process geometries. This leads to faster, smaller, and less expensive chips on a continual basis.
Several SSD manufacturers have announced 512GB SSDs based on this trend, but there haven't been any available in the retail channel until now. Super Talent is currently shipping its new MasterDrive RX series of SSDs, with up to 512GB of storage and featuring internal RAID. There are three models using Multi-Level Cell (MLC) chips, and two models using faster and more reliable Single-Level Cell (SLC) flash.
SSDs have a limited number of write-erase cycles. MLC flash typically has around 10,000 write-erase cycles, while SLC flash has around 100,000 write-erase cycles. Wear-leveling algorithms are used to limit the number of writes and manage write-erase cycles. The higher the capacity of the SSD, the more room there is for the algorithms to do their work. Super Talent claims its 128GB MLC MasterDrive RX will last 70.2 years at 50GB worth of write-erase cycles per day, while their 256GB SLC MasterDrive RX will last 1404 years at 50GB worth of write-erase cycles per day. Super Talent offers a three-year warranty on SLC versions of the MasterDrive RX series, but only a two-year warranty on MLC variants.
The maximum sequential read speed for all MasterDrive RX models is 230 MB/s. The maximum sequential write speed is 160 MB/s for the MLC versions, but peaks at 200 MB/s for the SLC versions. Random read and write speeds were not disclosed, but random access speeds are still far superior to the fastest rotary drives.
The MasterDrive RX uses an internal two channel RAID setup in order to increase access speeds and spread the data processing and workload of the ECC (Error Correcting Code).
Super Talent declined to reveal the supplier of its flash controller chip, but it may use two JMicron 602B flash controllers along with a RAID controller. This would make it similar to OCZ's Apex series and G.Skill's Titan series. However, SLC versions of the MasterDrive RX should not encounter any stuttering problems during random writes.
SSDs are extremely rugged since there are no moving parts inside. The RX series can withstand an operating shock of 1500G, and continue operating through vibration of 16G. All models in the series use the 2.5 inch form factor commonly found in laptops.
The 512GB MasterDrive RX is available now for around $1,500 at SuperBiiz. Pricing and shipping information for other models has not yet been announced.
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