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Super Talent SSD: 16GB of Solid State Goodness
Super Talent SSD: 16GB of Solid State Goodness
Date: May 7th, 2007
Topic: Storage
Manufacturer: Super Talent
Author: Gary Key
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Hard Disk Performance: HD Tune 2.53



Our first screenshot is the Super Talent 16GB drive and indicates an average transfer rate of 20.5 MB/sec which is slightly lower than our HD Tach results below. The drive features an outstanding access time of 1ms or lower which greatly assists in random read times. The lack of higher sustained or maximum transfer rates will adversely affect the drives performance in most of our write tests but we must temper our performance expectations. The applications this drive is designed to run will not necessarily require high write or read speeds although they generally will respond well to the low access times. The second screenshot is the Seagate Momentus 7200.2 drive and is shown for reference only.

Hard Disk Performance: HD Tach 3.0



We are also including HD Tach results for review. Once again the order of the screenshots is the same as in our HD Tune results. In this benchmark we see a sustained transfer rate of 24.1MB/sec which is in line with the 25 MB/sec rating of the drive. Also burst rates are at 26.5 MB/sec which is close to the maximum throughput rating of 28 MB/sec from Super Talent. Super Talent is still tuning the flash controller, but HD Tach is already hitting the advertised ratings - HD Tach and HD Tune report MiB/s while drives are rated in MB/s, so we must remember the MB vs. MiB difference; 24.1 MiB/s is actually 25.3 MB/s.

PCMark05 Performance   Next Page

 
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44 Comments - Last by eguy, 774 days ago
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Write limitations... by Reflex, 781 days ago
These drives are great in an embedded or manufacturing environment. Typically they are not written to frequently so you will never hit the write limitations. As a desktop PC drive however that write limitation could be hit very quickly, within a year even. Furthermore, having worked with these drives extensively in embedded environments, I will point out that when the write limitation is hit, you can no longer read the device either. Since there is no real warning, you simply suddenly lose access to all data on that drive.

Solid state storage is the future, but not in the form of today's flash. The write limitation is severe, and very problematic. There are competing technologies that hopefully will show up sooner rather than later.

Are you sure? by falc0ne, 781 days ago
"The SSD16GB25/25M features a read seek time of less than 1ms, a maximum read/write speed of up to 28 MB/sec, a sustained transfer rate of 25 MB/sec, and an estimated write/erase cycle of approximately 100,000 cycles. This equates into a 1,000,000 hour MTBF rating and indicates a 10 year life expectancy based upon normal usage patterns. Super Talent has developed a set of proprietary wear leveling algorithms along with built in EDD/EDC functions to ensure excellent data integrity over the course of the drive's lifespan."
This passage tells a completely different story..

RE: Are you sure? by Reflex, 781 days ago
First off, 100,000 is a VERY VERY low write rating for flash, typical drives nowadays have 250k+ write cycles.

Secondly, as pointed out by the article, the intended market is industrial and embedded, which as I stated originally, is an environment where the drives are rarely written to. Typically you have a bootable image in those environments, and it is write protected in some fashion, or requires a very small number of writes.

And finally, if you think 100k write cycles is a lot, watch the drive light on the front of your PC someday. Every flash is a minimum of one write or read operation. Calculate how many times that flashes in ten minutes of 'typical' use. Then extrapolate. You'll understand what I mean.

RE: Are you sure? by JarredWalton, 781 days ago
The 100,000 writes is per sector (or whatever the flash block sizes are) of the drive, so even if you're generating thousands of writes per day if the writes are all going to different blocks it becomes much less of an issue. That's what the "proprietary wear leveling algorithms along with built in EDD/EDC functions to ensure excellent data integrity over the course of the drive's lifespan" are supposed to address.

Unless you are intentionally rewriting a single location repeatedly, I don't doubt that the drives can last 10 years. Considering I have a lot of normal hard drives fail within five years, that's not too bad. Besides, with the rate of progress it's likely that in the future SSDs will get replaced every couple of years just like today's HDDs.

RE: Are you sure? by Reflex, 781 days ago
I am very aware of how it works. However write operations can happen across several sectors. Once again, consider the market these are intended for. You will NOT get ten years out of one on a typical workstation, it simply will not happen. You will get at least a decade out of one as part of a cash register, assembly line robot, or other industrial/embedded purpose, which is what their statement is all about.

You are likely to get one to two years out of one of these, tops. Furthermore, when it fails it will be sudden, and you will not be able to recover your data through conventional means.

I highly suggest you test this before you reccomend your readers to use these things as a main drive. I have tested it extensively myself as part of my job. My email is in my profile if you feel the urge to contact me about this.

RE: Are you sure? by Reflex, 781 days ago
[quote]That's what the "proprietary wear leveling algorithms along with built in EDD/EDC functions to ensure excellent data integrity over the course of the drive's lifespan" are supposed to address.[/quote]
Just to address this specifically, there is no such thing as a 'standard wear leveling algorithm', every flash producer has thier own method of wear leveling, so by default they are all proprietary. I am relatively certain that this company has not come up with something so revolutionary that it would essentially change the entire market as you seem to be implying, if they have I am pretty certain these flash chips would be the industry standard by now. Furthermore, were it any more advanced than the competition, it would not be advertised with a 100k write limitation when the industry standard is 250k writes.

RE: Are you sure? by PandaBear, 778 days ago
With wear leveling, it doesn't matter where you write, it is internally mapped to different physical location each time, so it is 100k write per sector x # of sectors = total # of write you can get out of the entire drive.

In this case, a bigger drive buy you more than just space, it buys you extra blocks/sectors that it can cycle through and reduce the wear on every single drives.

RE: Are you sure? by mongo lloyd, 781 days ago
Dan at Dansdata.com has said the exact same things as Reflex here for quite a while, and I tend to believe him more than SuperTalent's PR department.

Also, as Reflex points out, NAND flash has usually way more than 100,000 write/erase cycles. 1 million cycle is not too uncommon.

Regular CompactFlash memory (previously NOR flash, nowadays NAND flash) can take up to the same order of magnitude of write/erase cycles, and we all know memory cards for digital cameras have quite a finite life. And that's without putting a paging file on them.

RE: Are you sure? by Gary Key, 781 days ago
The manufacturer's are taking a conservative path with the write/erase cycles per sector and it has been difficult to nail them down on it. The latest information I have from SanDisk as an example is that the non-recoverable error rate is 1 error per 10 to the 20th bits read on their current drives but they have not committed to active duty cycles or power-on hours in arriving at that calculation. The majority of the SSD suppliers are focused on MTBF ratings at this time. We will have further details in our consumer article as I expect Samsung to open up on the subject.

RE: Are you sure? by PandaBear, 778 days ago
Nand don't wear out by sitting around, they wear out by erase/program permanently or read disturb (recoverable just by a rewrite). So MTBF is meaningless. You have to do a lot of reading continuously in order to wear out by read. Actually there are algorithms that protect such cases already by refreshing it, so no harm is done.

It is the write that really kills the sector, and Samsung did not mention its erase/program for a reason: they failed their own spec that many reputable clients rejected their order (i.e Sandisk rejected their order from Samsung MLC, and Apple uses excessive recovery algorithm to tolerate them on the audio playback, those Taiwanese cheap flash that you get for free with super slow performance or die after 2 weeks, well, you know what you will get when you open up the case).

For their SSD, they may use SLC instead for the performance and reliability reason. It costs 20% more in spot market, but manufacturing cost is much higher (almost 2x when you think about it), so it will cost more.



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