Super Talent DH Series (4GB) 200x USB Flash Drive Review

Today we’re going to review the Super Talent DH Series (4GB) 200x USB Flash Drive, the Super Talent’s ultra-fast flash drive which claims to archive speeds in excess of 30MB per second. Let’s take a look a little bit about Super Talent with information taken from the company’s website.

About Super Talent

“Super Talent Technology Corporation comes from San Jose – California U.S.A. It’s production facility, which boasts fourteen highly automated surface mount (SMT) assembly lines, stands as the largest and most advanced memory module production facility in North America. The company relies on its 20-years of experience making memory products and adherence to strict quality standards to produce high quality products with outstanding reliability.

Their US-based engineering enables Super Talent to bring advanced new products and technologies to market well ahead of the competition. A leading innovator, Super Talent holds over 100 patents on DRAM and Flash module design and manufacturing processes, making Super Talent one of the world’s chief patent holders in memory device categories.

Super Talent designs and manufactures DDR and DDR2, DDR3 memory modules and Flash based storage devices for computers and consumer electronics

Super Talent products are backed with excellent service and support through our website and through service professionals in our USA headquarters. Our memory modules and USB drives come with a limited lifetime warranty.” For more information on Super Talent, please visit the company’s website at http://www.supertalent.com.”

The last test of a Super Talent USB stick was only a few weeks ago, and the Californians from San Jose are already offering a new series of their coveted 200x pens: the Supersonic 200x in a 4GB version.

However, the air at the topmost product rung in this segment has become considerably thinner, especially since the competition has neither been idle nor tired of innovation in the meantime. The manufacturers of the premium class such as Corsair, Buffalo and others have caught up considerably and of course new products from the memory specialist Super Talent have to be measured by this.

Just to remind you once again,a USB stick (universal serial bus stick; memory stick, USB pen; English stick = stick or rod) is a term used to describe pluggable storage media which, roughly speaking, are approximately the size of a disposable lighter. Dual Channel Flash Memory Architecture, NAND flash components and MLC/SLC architecture are now state of the art in this quality class and differ not only in this respect from some products on the market.

How the new Supersonic USB stick has proven itself in the rough everyday practice, you will find out in our detailed review, enjoy reading…

State of the art:

Please don’t be confused by the 200x designations that are propagated again and again, the manufacturers eject this speed designation analogous to the performance of optical data media such as CD-ROM and DVD-ROM, so that 200x means nothing more than 30 Megabytes/s, more is not possible via USB 2.0 at the moment anyway. The older stick generation reached 120x or 18 Megabytes/s. Both depend on the used controller and the chips used in the architecture.

NAND flash memory has some decisive advantages over earlier technologies:

  • relatively low price per Megabyte
  • High write and read speeds, even with large data volumes
  • Lower power consumption
  • NAND flashes are available with high storage capacities
  • The small number of required signal lines enables a (hardware-side) cost-effective connection to controller systems
  • The command-based bus interface allows chips with larger memory capacity to be used without changing the circuit design.

In addition, the use of MLC or SLC in conjunction with NAND also plays an important role.

Multi-level cell memory cells (MLC) are memory cells consisting of NAND flash, in which several bits (currently two) can be stored per transistor. Single-Level-Cell-Memory-Cells (SLC) are memory cells consisting of NAND-Flash, in which one bit per transistor can be stored, which have advantages over MLC in terms of performance, therefore it is not surprising why Super Talent and Consorts and Dualchanneling is used.

Readyboost, the facts:

A lot has been written about this topic, unfortunately also a lot of things that are simply not true, so here is some background information about this new technology.

A computer with Windows Vista can enable lower response times and thus increase system performance by caching flash memory on a USB stick, SD card, Compact Flash or other flash memory. This is possible, at least theoretically, because the large data blocks remain in the swap file and the small data blocks are moved to the now connected flash memory. The whole thing is of course only effective as long as the external flash memory is connected. After the disconnection everything in the system goes back to its usual way.

But Readyboost is not a memory expansion in the sense of more main memory or virtual memory, but it increases the system cache (intermediate storage) and thus, in combination with Superfetch, causes applications to load faster, which is not dissimilar to the basic principle of the prefetch function of Windows XP, although with considerably more effort.

SuperFetch verifies in the background the memory usage and, let’s say, “application behavior” of the user. So it registers which programs are called more often. Memory that is now regularly needed is preloaded into the main memory by SuperFetch in the background (Proactive Memory Population), so that it is immediately available when the user calls the respective application. This interaction of Readyboost and Superfetch should significantly reduce the loading times of the applications.

An external flash memory must meet the following requirements for compatibility with Readyboost:

  • The USB device must have at least 256 MB capacity.
  • The USB device must support USB 2.0.
  • The device must allow a reading speed of at least 2.5 MB/s for 4 kB blocks and 1.75 MB/s for 512 kB blocks, in each case randomly distributed evenly over the entire device.
  • Sticks with the “enhanced for ReadyBoost” label must achieve a reading speed of at least 5 MB/s for 4 kB blocks and 3 MB/s for 512 kB blocks.
  • The device must have at least 235 MB free memory.
  • The device should not have more than 4GB of memory, as more than 4GB of Vista is currently unused. It remains to be seen whether this will change with the release of the service pack1…

If you now want to know whether your Vista USB stick is suitable for Readyboost, all you need to do is plug it in, which immediately runs a check routine which is then output. Immediately after plugging in the stick, the result of this check can be read out. This can be done by right-clicking -> calling up the properties and selecting the ReadyBoost menu.

Attention:

We must clearly point out at this point that the results given in the review refer without exception to the setup used for the test.

CPU load

  • Buffalo Firestix 26.3 MB/sec 27.8 MB/sec 0.7ms 7.5%
  • Corsair Flash Padlock 20.6 MB/sec 22.8 MB/sec 0.8ms 6.5%
  • Corsair Flash Voyager 12,2 MB/sec 15,6 MB/sec 29,3ms 7,4%
  • Corsair Flash Voyager GT 26.3 MB/sec 27.8 MB/sec 0.7ms 7.4%
  • OCZ Rally 0.8 MB/sec 19.1 MB/sec 55ms 4.2%
  • Supertalent Fireball 23 MB/sec 25 MB/sec 1.3ms 7.4%
  • Supertalent Supersonic 200x 22.2 MB/sec 27.8 MB/sec 0.7ms 8.3% 8.3%
  • Supertalent 200x 27.6 MB/sec 27.8 MB/sec 0.4ms 7.7%

The data transfer is on a high level, the Supersonic easily stands up to all the sticks we have tested so far. The access times are also excellent, which not only predestines it for Readyboost under Vista, but also certifies it.

Buffalo, Supertalent, Corsair and OCZ achieve these growth rates in file transfer compared to other sticks on the market not only by using the SLC architecture, but also by parallel connection of the integrated memory chips (dual channel). Without this trick, the built-in flash chips slow down the data transfer considerably, unfortunately not all manufacturers have understood this yet.

A further indication for first-class transfer rates are the built-in controller and of course the quality of the NAND flash components used in conjunction with SLC.

We must also point out another aspect, because the quality of the USB controllers on the mainboard also plays a significant role. What good is the best USB stick if possible transfer rates are successfully prevented by inferior USB controllers on the mainboard or separate HUB…?

We couldn’t really work out Readyboost on our system with 4GB RAM, an increase in performance was not noticeable, only after reducing the RAM to 2GB a slightly faster loading of frequently used applications was noticeable. Whether this will change with the release of service pack 1 under Vista, we have to wait and see. What was measurable, however, is the fact that the system boots a bit faster with Readyboost. Without Readyboost the system is loaded in about 35 seconds, with Readyboost in an average of 30 seconds.

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