Super Talent RAIDDrive upStream 220GB PCIe SSD Review – Plug and Play, Bootable and 1GB/s Speed


The SuperTalent upStream is a typical PCIe SSD printed circuit board which contains four LSI SandForce SF-1222 processors.  Our review sample contains 32 pieces of 25nm Micron asynchronous NAND flash memory (29F64G08CBAAA) with each being 8GB in size.  Coincidentally, the memory is separated into two groups of eight pieces on each side of the card with specific reasoning.

The RAIDDrive upStream is actually four 64GB over-provisioned SSDs that are set up in a RAID 0 configuration as a 220GB volume with amazing performance.  Simply consider that one SF-1222 processor controls a block of eight memory modules.  From there, the four SSDs are routed through the LSI SAS 1064E RAID Controller which outputs a volume of 220GB with performance at just under 1GB.  This is possible only because we are using the PCIe lane which does not have SATA 2 restrictions (remember SF-1222) as a normal SSD would being connected through a SATA 2 interface.

blankAlso located on the PCB which is unique to PCIe SSDs, at least at this point, is a Spansion 16M S29AL016J70TF102 Boot Sector Flash Module which enables your system to boot from the card itself.  As remarkable as it seems, our system recognized the card immediately and installation of the OS was a snap.

blankblankLast but not least, we have two Enperion EN6360Q1 PowerSOCs (Power System On A Chip) to regulate power to the card and protect it with such things as thermal shutdown, over current, short circuit, and under-voltage protection.


Rather unique is also the fact that this card is one of the first to highlight the acquisition of SandForce by LSI in the cards joining of the LSI SAS1064E RAID Controller along with 4 x SF-1222 processors.  Similar has also been seen in LSIs own WarpDrive where we saw the LSI SAS2008 controller paired with SandForce SF-1500 processors but we don’t know of any other manufacturers, outside of LSI, pulling this off prior to the upStream.

blankblankThe SAS1064E is hidden below a black heatsink and clipped in place by a blue retainer.  The heatsink was extremely difficult to separate from the chip because of the thermal compound which was most likely some sort of a thermal superglue, it’s purpose of course being to move the heat of the chip to the heatsink where it can dissipate by airflow passing through the fins.



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    Does the card support trim? What are the onboard LEDs used for? IO status or error indicators? Is there any DRAM cache on the board?

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      Just as has always been the case with every PCIe card or RAID 0 config, the board does not support TRIM. Stated that the LED lights are for activity and not for error and there has never been DRAM cache used by SF processors which is why it is not mentioned.

      Thanks ahead.

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    so you cant secure erase the drive? also good 4k cmd results for a a single sf 1222 drive are much higher so its really not indicative of the sf 1222. what it is showing is the effects of no TRIM which is played out in the vantage results.

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    Les, is this by chance the card that we were guessing as to its manufacturer,etc. back in October/November from the pics you posted?

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    What is of further interest to me is the cards operating temperature range, power consumption, error correction abilities and data longevity. I’m not at all interested in a light show and can’t understand how anyone could find it interesting looking at the insides of a computer case as it it was a feature film. Seriously, doing so must get old very quickly and if this is the focus of the hardware design at the expense of the previously mentioned issues, then it’s indded a sad state.

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    Why did they go with this old Sandforce controller?

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    I don’t think they can put low enough price tag on it. Compare it to Plextor you reviewed earlier, it beats upstream almost in every situation and Vanatage shows it perfectly. And if you add more complexity with all that RAID stuff (more danger of failure, no TRIM etc) that’s getting really sad.
    Upstream can only be used by those who need to sequentially read huge files and that’s a rare case, cause usually there’s another bottleneck.
    The only positive thing is Super Talent steps into interesting market and could encourage other manufacturers to do so.

    Good review, thanks.

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