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.
32GB SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Drive
64GB SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Drive
128GB SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Drive