PC Games Hardware reviewed the first USB 3.0 stick from Super Talent, the USB 3.0 RAID Drive. We checked the performance of the rather big and expensive SSD RAID drive and compared it to common USB 2.0 devices.
Super Talent Raid Drive USB 3.0 (on the left side) in comparison to a common USB 2.0 stick (on the right). [Source: view picture gallery]
Just recently the 32 GB version of Super Talent's new RAID Drive USB 3.0 series arrived at the office of PC Games Hardware. As you can see from the picture, the device is obviously bigger than a common USB 2.0 stick. Super Talent Raid Drive USB 3.0: First tests
Positive things first: The USB 3.0 stick series of Super Talent, which is called USB 3.0 RAID Drive, is really fast. We tested the model with a capacity of 32 GByte. With this device our copy test with a 5 GByte big file was finished after only 87 seconds. Our USB 2.0 test stick, a 32 GB Survivor GT from Corsair, needed 570 seconds for this task. The Corsair P64 SSD installed in an external Icy Box USB 3.0 case for 2.5 inch devices has been a little faster than the new stick - 71 seconds. The last candidate, a WD2001FASS-HDD which has been placed in a 3.5 inch external drive bay, is with 107 seconds a little slower though.
We also used the tool HD-Tach to check the read rate of the devices. The Super Talent stick reached 175.7 MiByte per second which is more than five times the transfer rate the USB 2.0 was able to deliver (175.7 vs. 32.5 MiByte/s). The SSD is on the same performance level as the USB 3.0 stick while the external HDD reaches 120 MiByte/s. In the Burst test, which delivers a rather theoretical result, the USB 3.0 stick is even seven and a half times faster than the USB 2.0 connection. Super Talent Raid Drive USB 3.0: SSD Raid
According to the manufacturer the USB 3.0 Raid Drive reaches its high performance by utilizing a RAID-0 setup with two mini SSDs. But this technique also has some disadvantages: The USB 3.0 stick is big. With its dimensions of 94 x 34 x 130 millimeters (length x width x height) it blocks nearby USB ports. But given its size the stick is surprisingly light since it weighs only 50 grams. On the surface is, like on most high-gloss paint mirror finishes, you can see every fingerprint whenever you touch the stick. But the most important disadvantage is the price: The 32 GByte version costs about 200 Euros, the 64 GByte model 310 Euros and for the 128 GByte variant you have to pay 500 Euros.
Before you can use the USB 3.0 stick you have to create and format a logical drive - just like it is the case for any hard drive, too. Furthermore you shouldn't use Windows' default drivers but the once delivered by the manufacturer. You can find the latest version in the Super Talent download area. Without the optimized software our copy test takes 129 instead of 87 seconds.