Super Talent warned us that the IDE Flash drive's transfer rates weren't anything to write home about, and they were certainly right. Sequential transfers are much slower than even our 4,200-RPM mobile ATA drive, with write performance lagging behind reads by a considerable margin. That proves disastrous for the drive's performance in FC-Test, and likely also contributes to its sluggish showing in certain WorldBench component tests.
Despite its poor transfer rates, the IDE Flash drive showed its potential in our iPEAK multitasking tests. The drive also dominated IOMeter's file server, web server, and workstation test patterns. Clearly, there's some value to flash memory's blazing-fast access times, thanks to the banishment of the mechanical latency associated with platters and heads. The drive's nonexistent noise levels and minimal power consumption also have considerable appeal.
Unfortunately, the IDE Flash's most attractive attributes don't match up all that well. Silent operation and low power use would make this thing ideal for laptops, but slow transfer rates and a low WorldBench score blunt its appeal considerably. The IDE Flash drive's real performance potential lies with applications that, like IOMeter's server-oriented test patterns, take advantage of its quick access times. Those applications seem less likely to benefit significantly from lower noise levels or power consumption, though.
In the end, Super Talent's IDE Flash drive is an intriguing alternative to 2.5" ATA hard drives, but probably not one that's likely to have widespread appeal. Fortunately, the drive isn't prohibitively expensive—4 GB versions are selling for under $200 online, with 8 GB models at about $320, and 16 GB flavors running closer to $530. Those prices make the IDE Flash drive affordable enough for niche applications like ruggedized notebooks, silent media center systems with remote storage, and even automotive applications. We just wouldn't drop one into an everyday business notebook.
105 comments — Last by DStauffer at 6:58 AM on 01/22/07
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