Super Talent FT2 TeraDrive SSD Review

The Super Talent TeraDrive series of SSDs are Super Talent Technology Corporation’ premier line of solid state drives. This review is going to examine the enterprise offering of this line which is the TeraDrive FT2 SSD. Unlike most others, Super Talent is standing by this series with a guarantee that it will maintain its exceptional performance, both sequentially and randomly, over the life of the drive with no performance degradation over time.

The main difference between the Tera and all other SSDs we have reviewed is that it contains the SandForce SF-1500 processor rather than the more common SF-1200 used in most retail models available to the consumer.  This drive can support up to 50 000 read and write IOPS and contains 28% over provisioning (OP) which makes it ideal for a server environment, the over provisioning guaranteeing to maximize the life of the drive in any environment.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

We have written previously on how impressed we are with Super Talents compact packaging, this being the size of a small book, and how it is opened by sliding the front lip up passed the hidden magnet that holds the cover in place. We can further that here by mentioning the very easily understood SSD installation manual that explains just how easy it is to replace a hard drive with a solid state drive.

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The drive itself is a little more interesting with a SSD circuit board encased with a solid black protective case. Each side of the case contains warranty stickers that, if removed when opening the case, will immediately void your warranty. We couldn’t wait to get inside.

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Inside the FT2 Tera lies 16 Micron NAND flash memory chips, each of which contains 8GB of storage for a total of 128GB. We spoke of over provisioning above, however, failed to mention that over provisioning is proprietary storage that the user doesn’t see, 28GB to be exact which leaves an advertised total of 100GB for the user. Most SandForce controlled drives have over provisioning at 7% (120GB) or 28% (100GB) and the 28% is considered to be the preferred, albeit more expensive of the two. 28% OP goes further to extend the life by reducing the total number of writes to the drive and, in case of cells that may fail during the life cycle, these are simply swapped with over provisioned cells through remapping without knowledge of the user.

We also see that the processor is that of the SandForce SF-1500 series and a quick look at the Crystal Disk Info chart shows the model number as FTM10F225H 100.0GB with firmware version STTMP2P1 which would lead us to believe that Super Talent had some input into the final SSD operational characteristic. Many believe that the firmware versions released by SandForce are one in the same, however, in a one on one with SandForce, we were quick to learn that oems have the ability to choose from a large selection of firmware customizations and even alter the firmware with their own design.

On taking a closer look at the circuit board, we had to ask ourselves exactly what you are wondering right now, “What the heck is that?!?” We certainly haven’t seen anything like this in any of the SSDs we have opened up. So… we took it to Super Talent themselves and this is exactly what was returned:

Les, it is one of the following:

  • An ancient Haitian incantation;
  • A lock of hair from one of the Baldwin brothers;
  • Worlds smallest Jiffy PoP; or
  • A Super Cap, super capacitor. It is used to make sure that all data is cleared from cache in the event of sudden power loss.

It is nice to see that we can all have a sense of humor in the stuffy world of SSD technology. Time for a break and some Jiffy Pop! Hint Hint… Its the Super Talent Super Cap.

PHYSICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Form Factor – 2.5″ HDD
Capacities – 50GB,100GB, 200GB, 400GB
Dimension – 69.85 x 100.20 x 9.50mm
SATA Interface – Serial ATA-II 3Gbps
NAND Flash – MLC/SLC
Power Supply – 5.0Vcc +/- 5%
Package – Metal Housing
Warranty – 2 years (MLC), 3 years(SLC)
Part Number – FTMxxF225H (MLC) / FTDxxF225H (SLC)
Operating Shock – 1500G
Operating Vibration – 16G
Operating Temperature – 0C to + 70C
Operating Humidity – 5 to 90%
MTBF – 1,000,000 hours
Data Reliability – Built-in EDC/ECC
Data Retention – 10 years
Wear Leveling Algorithm – Patent Pending
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