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Super Talent flashes the big whopper

Settle down - it's a 2TB PCIe flash drive

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Solid state drive supplier Super Talent has added a PCIe-connected 2TB flash SSD, the RAIDDrive, to its product line, with versions for gamers, workstation and enterprise users.

The drives support single layer cell (SLC) or multi-layer cell (MLC) flash. SLC flash is faster whereas MLC memory holds more data at less cost per GB. The product, configurable to offer RAID 5 protection, also has its own DRAM cache and can deliver sequential read speeds of up to 1.2GB/sec and sequential writes at up to 1.3GB/sec. That's odd, as usually flash reading is faster than writing.

Super Talent is following in the steps of Fusion-io, TMS and Violin Memory, who have all launched PCI-e interface SSDs. The idea here is to present the flash as a layer of cache memory between DRAM and disk storage, responding to I/O requests much faster than disk and coping with more I/O requests per second. An even better way of doing this would be to have a super-enlarged DRAM store, but that would be very expensive, and would lose its data contents when powered off.

Super Talent says the product is the largest such product on the market. This seems to be incorrect, as Violin Memory's 1010 product is also a PCI-e-connected flash drive holding up to 4TB of SLC flash, double the Super Talent maximum.

Fusion-io's ioDrive Duo is faster than the RAIDDrive, sustained reads running at 1.5GB/sec and sustained writes at 1.4GB/sec.

Texas Memory's RamSan 20 offers up to 450GB of SLC flash, also offers RAID 5 protection, and has read bandwidth of 700MB/sec and 500MB/sec write bandwidth.

Super Talent will offer three versions of the RAIDDrive. The ES is for enterprises, WS for workstations and GS for gamers. More details, hopefully including prices, will be revealed in June. ®

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