Super Talent intros USB 3.0 Express RAM Cache drives

By on September 8, 2010, 9:55 AM
USB 3.0 already offers a noticeable speed gain over USB 2.0, but Super Talent is set on increasing that performance even further with their latest range of flash drives. Known as USB 3.0 Express RAM Cache, the drives in question utilize a caching system with 32MB of DRAM acting as buffer to boost small block random performance by up to 300% compared to other alternatives. This is the first and only USB 3.0 drive to implement a caching system according to Super Talent.

The company claims that sequential read and write speeds only show how a drive will perform when copying large files. However, in real world applications, where we are often reading and writing hundreds of small files, a caching system can dramatically improve performance. In its tests, for example, Super Talent saw that copying 40 MP3 files to a flash drive can be cut from 17 seconds to less than five. This time savings becomes even more apparent as the file count goes up.


The USB 3.0 Express RAM Cache Drive is available in 32GB and 64GB models at a price of $129 and $209, respectively. Super Talent also offers the cache-less USB 3.0 Express Drive in a 16GB variant for $59 and in 32GB for $99.




User Comments: 7

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Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Sooo... where can i get one?

Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

Except, it does not really make you able to pull the drive faster

Since it will still need to be committed to flash before power is lost, unless it has a battery backup of course

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Per Hansson said:

Except, it does not really make you able to pull the drive faster

Since it will still need to be committed to flash before power is lost, unless it has a battery backup of course

I don't think being volatile is what makes this useless. From a practical standpoint, it would be more effective as non-volatile for sure... But as temporary scratch space and with some way to actually make use of it, it could make some difference, especially if you use your computer for long periods of time.

But really, I'm confused as to what this is really trying to accomplish though.

Caching data (smartly) while a computer is in use *could* improve performance (eg. ReadyBoost with amnesia). But, is this not already done to some extent with system RAM? It's just a matter of coming up with more clever and effective ways of doing it... It's a matter of a programming, really.

My question would be why pay $125-$250 for this when you could buy an SSD instead? And if you think caching is going to make a big difference in performance (I'm afraid it won't), then why not just buy more RAM for even less?

---agissi--- ---agissi---, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Those were my thoughts exactly Rick. I cant see the USB 3.0 bus being a faster alternative than the memory/front side bus. It comes back to programming as you said.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Maybe i didnt understand the point of this product. Its suppose to be a RAM replacement? Seems silly.

I thought maybe somehow it combined the RAM technology on the USB drive to increase the performance of read/write speeds. (maybe just write speed)

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Rick said:

Per Hansson said:

Except, it does not really make you able to pull the drive faster

Since it will still need to be committed to flash before power is lost, unless it has a battery backup of course

I don't think being volatile is what makes this useless. From a practical standpoint, it would be more effective as non-volatile for sure... But as temporary scratch space and with some way to actually make use of it, it could make some difference, especially if you use your computer for long periods of time.

But really, I'm confused as to what this is really trying to accomplish though.

Caching data (smartly) while a computer is in use *could* improve performance (eg. ReadyBoost with amnesia). But, is this not already done to some extent with system RAM? It's just a matter of coming up with more clever and effective ways of doing it... It's a matter of a programming, really.

My question would be why pay $125-$250 for this when you could buy an SSD instead? And if you think caching is going to make a big difference in performance (I'm afraid it won't), then why not just buy more RAM for even less?

Per Hansson said:

Except, it does not really make you able to pull the drive faster

Since it will still need to be committed to flash before power is lost, unless it has a battery backup of course

For some reason I think you guys might be a little confused about this product. Its possible its just me, but I just want to point this out, maybe someone can help me understand here.

ElShotte ElShotte said:

Here's my best attempt to explain what these "RAM Cache" drives are. It is not a replacement for RAM, as a matter or fact, think of it as a Flash Drive with RAM. What it theoretically does when you copy files to it, as pointed out in the article, is simply act as a buffer, for example, you're transferring a bunch of small files to the flash drive, instead of the data being written directly to the drive it goes through the cache first:

Computer > ( RAM Cache > Flash Memory ) ( ) - Flash drive.

"... where we are often reading and writing hundreds of small files, a caching system can dramatically improve performance. In its tests, for example, Super Talent saw that copying 40 MP3 files to a flash drive can be cut from 17 seconds to less than five. This time savings becomes even more apparent as the file count goes up."

So you wouldn't see a performance increase with large files, just with small files. Take a regular flash drive, a 700 Mb single RAR file, copy it from your computer to the drive, time the transfer. Then take that 700 Mb RAR file, split it into multiple archives, say 40, and then copy the files over. Note the transfer time and see the significant difference in time.

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