Print 21 comment(s) - last by Klinky1984.. on Dec 13 at 8:18 PM

Limited and pricey for first few weeks

Many technology enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting products supporting the USB 3.0 interface, which has a raw throughput of 5 Gbps. This is ten times that of the older USB 2.0 interface (USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with the older USB 2.0 interface). The ubiquity of USB led to the replacement of floppy drives and Zip disks by USB flash drives.

Super Talent announced the first USB 3.0 flash drives in November. The RAIDDrive USB 3.0 series uses patented “multiple pairs of differential serial data lines technology” for optimal NAND flash performance. It will transfer data at 200 MB/s using a USB 3.0 port,  but it can reach up to 320MB/s using a UAS Protocol driver. However, it will top out around 35 MB/s in older USB 2.0 ports due to interface limitations and even slower in USB 1.1 ports. It uses USB 3.0 chips supplied by NEC.

DailyTech has learned that Super Talent will start shipping the first batch of drives out this week, with availability next week. The company is still ramping up production, so only a few thousand will be available initially. Interest is reportedly strong, with many units pre-sold already.

The first motherboards supporting USB 3.0 and 6Gbps SATA hit the market last month, so there is already a steadily growing market. Most of the early adopters of the new USB 3.0 flash drives are expected to be professionals who rely on their data and carry around large amounts of it.

Only 64GB versions will be available at first, priced around the $400 mark. Although this seems pricey, the first 1GB USB 2.0 drives hit the market five years ago around the $300 mark and were readily gobbled up by enthusiasts. Pricing is not expected to drop for the next couple of months, as NAND flash prices remain high after doubling in the last six months.

Update: We have received unofficial retail pricing information from Super Talent.

Part Number


Unofficial Pricing


32GB SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Drive



64GB SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Drive



128GB SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Drive



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By jrollins006 on 12/8/2009 10:36:37 AM , Rating: 3
Price is a bit much, but since im building a new computer soon, I think ill be investing in the motherboard with USB 3 support and one of these babies :).

Thank God for technology advancements.

RE: meh
By Jansen on 12/8/2009 10:41:42 AM , Rating: 2
I was one of those guys who spent $300 on a 1GB USB 2.0 flash drive in 2004. I needed it for a course, and it saved me a lot of time and effort, so no regrets.

Right now I'm using an OCZ ATV Turbo USB 2.0 flash drive (one of the fastest available), but I'm hoping for an upgrade soon.

RE: meh
By semo on 12/8/2009 11:46:23 AM , Rating: 2
It’s amazing how little improvements in performance have been made on USB flash drives. OCZ’s turbo drives have been out for more than a year and almost nothing comes close to their spec (there were a few other make and models). Everything these days caters for the mainstream. Big capacity, small (and fragile), 0.x MB/s writes for small files and in pink.... Even OCZ doesn’t care about performance that much in that sector. The diesel sticks are not as slow as the norm but still nothing impressive.

I hope the same doesn't happen to SSDs once the big OEMs start offering them as options

RE: meh
By Souka on 12/8/2009 11:49:53 AM , Rating: 3
Ok, so to utilize the full benifit of this pricey USB device you need: a new MB that supports USB 3.0, this pricey USB device, oh...and a fast hard-drive, preferably an Intel X25-E drive...

Kewl yes...I"m glad to see new technology being pushed out and manufacturers building it.... but for me, I'll wait until I NEED this speed. :)

RE: meh
By geddarkstorm on 12/8/2009 12:17:37 PM , Rating: 5
If it didn't get invented, built, pushed out, and bought by the early adopters, you'd never have the option to buy it when you /needed/.

RE: meh
By Souka on 12/8/2009 12:20:38 PM , Rating: 2

At least it seems with all this SSD and now this USB flash drive, the devices are actually utilizing the bandwidth available to them.

Unlike the old ATA drives of the past...ATA66, ATA100, ATA133, etc... yet at the time the fastest drives barely hit 1/2 that capacity on throughput, with the ocassional burst hitting the limit. Same is pretty much true for SATA, but SATA has many other benifits also! :)

RE: meh
By Silver2k7 on 12/8/2009 3:41:15 PM , Rating: 2
lol what are you going on about, all you need is a controller card for USB3.

of course you could get a new motherboard, but the first gen with USB3 only have 3 ports anyway.. perhaps best to get 2nd gen sometimes 2010.

RE: meh
By Veerappan on 12/8/2009 5:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
I'm know you were half-joking about the expense of the requirements, but I did just want to point out that you could get a PCI Express USB 3.0 add-in card instead of being forced to upgrade your motherboard.

I just saw yesterday an article about a card which uses a PCI-e x4 slot and provides 2x USB 3.0 ports and 2x SATA III 6Gbps internal ports (using the NEC USB 3.0 chip, and Marvell SATA III controller routed through a PCI-e bridge chip). Think it was on

RE: meh
By OCedHrt on 12/8/2009 1:06:05 PM , Rating: 2
Buffalo's had some for a while. I'd say more than a year since I've had mine. Although a quick check now indicates it's not sold in the US anymore.
Fastest at 38mb/s, of course have to see what the reviews actually say.

What I have is 30mb/s

RE: meh
By Klinky1984 on 12/13/2009 8:18:07 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, we've come along way what with USB drives taking over from floppies. No one wants to carry around a CDRW disc, plus those things are fragile. USB sticks have the main purpose of durability & portability, speed is going to play second fiddle. You can get sustained MB transfer rates into the teens on even cheap USB sticks. It doesn't matter if you're transferring at 100KB/sec when you're saving a tiny document. Most people are dealing with large files these days, or multiple images. If you're trying to use a USB stick as your OS boot drive, then you're the dummy.

SSDs already went through some of their growing pains, they were basically the same technology as USB sticks but with SATA/IDE adapters. Now controller tech has matured & so has the NAND memory itself. I don't see the SSD market sliding backwards, nor is the USB stick market sliding backwards either.

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