Let me tell you a little story about this fellow named Joe Enthusiast. When SuperSpeed USB 3.0 was finalized nearly three years ago, Mr. Enthusiast was enamored by the specification's promise of delivering a tenfold speed boost over its predecessor. So seduced by thought of 30-second 1080p movie transfers, he seized his first opportunity to purchase a new desktop platform and chassis to harness the power of USB 3.0.
Unfortunately, it wasn't until after those upgrades that Mr. Enthusiast discovered a harsh truth: few USB flash drives are actually fast enough to matter. Although the market has evolved the last couple of years, most USB 3.0 flash drives aren't exactly blisteringly fast today either. We recently tested three USB 3.0 flash drives and one of them barely operated quicker in USB 3.0 than USB 2.0, while the others hardly astounded us.
We're still waiting for a USB 3.0 flash drive to sweep us off our feet, and while we don't want to jump to any conclusions, it seems like Super Talent may have the winning ticket. The company has been talking up its new USB 3.0 Express RC8 flash drive lately, parading the device at recent technology conferences. Announced late last month, the drive packs a last-gen SandForce SF-1222 processor and an eight-channel architecture.
In other words, it's a pocket-sized SSD. Super Talent cites maximum operating speeds of 270MB/s reads and 240MB/s writes. By comparison, the fastest drive in our recent roundup (the Patriot SuperSonic) had a purported operating speed of up to 100MB/s and 70MB/s. Despite being a fully-fledged SSD, Super Talent's RC8 is only marginally larger than the drives we tested in April, measuring 93.5 x 25 x 8mm (3.68 x 0.98 x 0.31in).
"[The] RC8 blurs the line between flash drives and SSDs. Now SSD reliability, performance and capacities can be had in a portable USB 3.0 flash drive," boasts a Super Talent representative. When the company announced the RC8 last month, it expected to ship the drive on June 15. We're not sure if they met that target, but the device is expected to come in 25GB, 50GB and 100GB capacities with the 50GB unit priced at about $110.
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