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Super Talent's SATA25 is a testament to just how far solid-state drives have come in a very short while. SSDs have always enjoyed blistering random access times, but as the IDE Flash illustrates, transfer rates have been dismal. The SATA25 is a huge improvement on the transfer rate front, in some cases offering more than four times the performance of its predecessor. That's a huge leap in performance from one generation to the next, and one that allows the SATA25 to be competitive across a much wider range of tests.

Of course, the SATA25's particularly jaw-dropping performances are confined to a narrow range of tests. Random access time is clearly the drive's strongest suit, and as our IOMeter results suggest, the SATA25 is an absolute monster when crunching web server workloads. The drive's performance in IOMeter's web server test pattern is nothing short of stunning, particularly when you consider that its 128GB storage capacity should be more than enough for most web server needs.

128GB of fast flash doesn't come cheap, though. When the SATA25 hits Newegg and other online retailers at the end of the month, it's expected to sell for a whopping $4600, or roughly $36 per gigabyte. For web servers, $4600 for a 128GB solid-state drive is a lot cheaper than the equivalent in DRAM, so the SATA25 may actually be a pretty good deal. Obviously, though, it's still deep in luxury territory for the rest of us. And that's fine, because despite massive improvements in transfer rates, solid-state drives don't yet offer the kind of all-around performance that most of us seek.

They are getting close, though, and that's the most encouraging thing about the SATA25. This drive may have mouth-watering potential for workloads that stress random access times, busy web servers, or environments that demand high storage capacity with rugged shock tolerance or absolute silence. What's perhaps more important is how quickly solid-state drives are catching up with their mechanical counterparts. Solid-state drives won't replace mechanical drives for the masses overnight, but if the SATA25 is any indication of what's to come, SSDs may chip away the mechanical monolith quicker than anyone expected.TR

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