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USB 3.0 On A Stick: Super Talent's RAIDDrive 64 GB

The fact that Super Talent’s USB 3.0 RAIDDrive delivers really high performance comes as no surprise. Comparing USB 3.0’s 5 Gb/s to the 480 Mb/s of USB 2.0 equals a 10x bandwidth improvement. Hence, it’s reasonable to assume that USB 2.0’s net throughput of up to 35 MB/s should potentially increase tenfold as well with USB 3.0, resulting in roughly 350 MB/s. We’ll know for sure when future products allow us to find out.

Drivers Required for Super Talent

For now, we’ll have to take Super Talent’s word that its 128 GB RAIDDrive can actually break the 300 MB/s barrier. The 64 GB model we reviewed is a little slower. Reaching 200+ MB/s of throughput requires a dedicated driver that replaces Microsoft’s mass storage driver. Unfortunately, the driver didn’t work properly on our storage test system, forcing us to benchmark without it. This isn’t too much of an issue for two reasons. First, some users might not always have the drivers handy, and secondly, the performance we saw likely requires you to upgrade your system and environment anyway if you want to take full advantage of it.

CPU Horsepower Required

There’s more you have to know. Reaching maximum throughput requires your system to be really fast. As a matter of fact, CPU performance is increasingly having an impact on high-performance storage devices, as we reported in the article Does Power Saving Technology Kill SSD Performance? In this article, we saw decreased throughput after switching off the processor’s power-saving mechanisms. A similar effect might have slowed down Super Talent’s new USB 3.0 high-flyer on our default test rig, as we were stuck with 178 MB/s. Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so.

Conclusion: Native USB 3.0 Still Worth It

The RAIDDrive is one of the first USB 3.0 thumb drives. There are certainly more to come. Its performance is impressive regardless of whether or not it can reach the promoted 300 MB/s. Even at almost 180 MB/s for reads and 90 MB/s for writes, the RAIDDrive requires your storage to be fast enough to keep its speedy pace.

Hard drives are anywhere between 60 and 150 MB/s and network storage is typically limited by gigabit Ethernet (about 100 MB/s). In any case, the RAIDDrive USB 3.0 can almost triple write performance and increase read performance at least fivefold over USB 2.0.

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  • 1 Hide
    gramps , 5 June 2010 12:26
    Personally, I think that's quite good. It's pretty much matching my Intel SSD anyway...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 5 June 2010 21:14
    plse fix your css .. the grey bars over the text are annoying.
  • 0 Hide
    russianguy , 10 June 2010 01:10
    Hi, are there any reviews out there for the MX technology FX USB 3.0 flash drive against the Supertalent or Silicon Power drives? I only found the MX tech FX drive on this site ( but wasn't sure about what the real life throughputs. It wasn't too expensive, so I wasn't sure whether its a good one.
    Did anyone have any experience with this?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , 11 June 2010 09:09
    As far as flash memory is concerned, having usb3 seems pointless. Every single flash device i've had, usb flash, sata flash etc. starts developing errors after a while, which gradually increase in severity until the unit needs reformatting and eventually binning. Flash memory is simply only good for as long as you are benchmarking because when they are new they perform like wild fire, but if actually try to use the devices for real work, they die a slow death. Like it or not, thats flash technology.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 16 June 2010 04:14
    An interesting aspect is to install a USB 3.0 exapnasion card onto an older pc and install a complete operating system and all applications into USB 3.0 flash pen, running the whole pc from the usb 3 pen drive. This should give a nice boost to operating performance of a pc and extend the lifecycle of a pc by a few more years.
  • 0 Hide
    russianguy , 22 June 2010 07:04
    Well, I disagree with the comment made by Anonymous 11/06/2010. We have succesfully used many SSDs without experiecing any problems for over 2 years. Rule of the thumb though is: You pay less and you get worse quality.

    One key aspect is the usage of certain controllers (Jmicron for example) which is terrible when you want Raid systems and we had bad experiences with most Flash products using this controller... also Indilinx controller normally do not like RAID 0... Intel, Samsung, OCZ included...

    Furthermore, cheap SSDs will have a very high write amplification factor. I think the site I have mentioned before had a few good calculations about that. Got it:

    Very important is also the RAM being used on the SSD and in-built functions such as garbage collection and TRIM.

    No RAM means poor performance and quicker wearout.
    No Garbage collection means clog-up of the SSD over time and performance drop.

    Just checkout the HD tune results for Photofast Gmonster V5 and compare against a Samsung SSD... the graph shows it all.