Saturday , 20 September 2014
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SuperTalent USB 3.0 Express RC4 64GB Flash Drive Review

SuperTalent RC4 Featured PikBack at ceBIT Germany 2013, SuperTalent was kind enough to provide an exclusive sample of their upcoming RC4 flash drive release and we conducted an impromptu review, discovering decent result for the form factor that it is.

We were fortunate to bring that RC4 back to TSSDR and have had the opportunity to conduct a bit more detailed of an analysis.  Not yet available for consumer purchase, we have to give you a heads up that this device is a release you might just want to watch for.

The sheer beauty of the SuperTalent USB 3.0 Express RC4 flash drive is that it is one of the few devices that is Microsoft Windows To Go certified and is expected to come with a trial of MS ‘Windows To Go’ on purchase.  This means that you can plug the RC4 into any Windows machine and start right from the flash drive, running what is essentially a version of Windows 8.  From there, you can then go to any other Windows system, boot the drive once again from the system bios and you are right back in your own OS environment once again.

WTG

As seen above, this is the initial screen (dual screens in our case) showing the TSSDR Test Bench after booting from the Express RC4.  The initial boot took just under two minutes as drivers must be downloaded to the device but, on reboot, I was shocked to see it start in only 10 seconds. We have previously reviewed other Microsoft Certified Windows To Go flash drives, to include the SuperTalent 100GB RC8 and Kingston Data Traveler Workspace but I don’t seem to recall the start time being as quick as that seen with the RC4.

SPECIFICATIONS

The SuperTalent USB3.0 Express RC4 will be available in capacities of 32, 64, 128 and 256GB and final pricing is not set.  We do know that pricing will start under $100.  Performance of the RC4 can reach SATA 3 speeds, with maximum performance listed at 320MB/s read and 120MB/s write.  We can give you a heads up right off that lower capacity means lower performance, although this is still one blazing flash drive.  The RC4 is also fully USB 2.0 backwards compatible.

EXTERIOR AND COMPONENTS

The SuperTalent USB 3.0 Express RC4 is, in all aspects, an SSD in the casing of a flash drive.  Its exterior is plastic which easily clips off to show the interior printed circuit board (PCB) and that obvious blue interface shows that this is a USB 3.0 device, meaning that it is capable of much higher speeds than USB 2.0.

SuperTalent RC4 OpenSuperTalent RC4 USB3The PCB contains a JMicron JMF667H 4 channel controller, NANYA 128MB DDR 3 SDRAM cache memory, a JMicron JMS568 USB 3.0/SATA 3 Bridge as well as four modules of Toshiba 19nm Toggle Mode NAND flash memory.

SuperTalent RC4 JM ControllerSuperTalent RC4 JMS568

Although the controller is a low power high performance device, the JMS568 prevents the passing of TRIM, as we see in just about every similar bridge. We confirmed this through use of  TRIMcheck, a software program that we had reported on a short time ago.

SuperTalent RC4 PCB FrontSuperTalent RC4 PCB BackIt is interesting to note that this specific memory (TH58TEG7DDJTA20) was also used in the Plextor M5 Pro SSD that we recently reviewed. Each module is 16GB in capacity for a total capacity of 64GB, however, SuperTalent over provisions this SSD at 10%.  Final formatting leaves the end user with a usable capacity of 56GB.

Let’s check out the performance!!!

About Les Tokar

is a technology nut and Founder of The SSD Review. His early work includes the first consumer SSD review along with MS Vista, Win 7 and SSD Optimization Guides. Les is fortunate to, not only evaluate and provide opinion on consumer and enterprise solid state storage but also, travel the world in search of new technologies and great friendships. Google+
  • benjamin

    ssd controller makers should start making native usb 3.0 controllers, possibly with single die for all products (just like sandforce does it for consumer and enterprise chips), that way prices would be lower, no need for bridge chips and smaller size (due to missing bridge chip).

    • Ben

      no that will cost more cause then you got to do the process together and at the same time. The yield for that will be really really low consider you are packing a lot of things together.

    • Slacker

      That’s a pretty interesting idea. Given that the physical protocol implementation is insignificantly small compared to the rest of a modern SSD controller, this shouldn’t increase manufacturing cost by much.
      Then again – the market for USB SSDs is insignificantly small right now, so there’s really not much point adding to manufacturing costs just for that – even if the cost difference would be just a few cents per unit.

  • http://twitter.com/BulaNula1 Bula Nula

    How about testing the speeds through a normal USB 2.0 interface ? I am interested to see if the random 4K read/write speeds are maintained through the older USB 2.0 and not only through USB 3.0. Since this does not support TRIM ( SMART is also not supported ? ) then what drive does support TRIM and SMART through USB interface ? Does the Kingston Datatraveler or the RC8 support it ? How about the upcoming Mushkin Ventura 2281 device ? What about doing a size comparison next to a dummy credit card so we can estimate size. Otherwise, great review sir !

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Give us a few days and watch for the update. Tx ahead.

    • Slacker

      Dunno about this drive, but both the DataTraveler Workspace and the RC8 support SMART, just like any other SandForce based drive. I wouldn’t worry about TRIM, as it is essentially useless in real-life scenarios (and can even REDUCE your performance due to one fucked up quirk of the SATA protocol).

      If you want to visualise size, I suggest you look at the USB connector. These are as standard-sized as it gets ;-).

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