Super Talent preps super-fast PCIe flash drives

Looks like Fusion-io won’t be the only one with mind-blowingly fast PCI Express solid-state drives anymore soon. Super Talent has announced the RAIDDrive, a similar solution that plugs into a PCI Express 2.0 x8 slot and can purportedly reach sequential speeds of up to 1.2GB/s for reads and up to 1.3GB/s for writes.

Super Talent says it will reveal more performance detail about the RAIDDrive line in June, so the product isn’t launching just yet. Nevertheless, the firm has three different flavors, with different target buyers, in store:

  • RAIDDrive ES – Enterprise Servers performing compute intensive applications such as database transaction processing, business intelligence, and virtualization.
  • RAIDDrive WS – Workstation users performing tasks including animation, video editing, oil and gas exploration, CAD/EDA simulation, and scientific computing,
  • RAIDDrive GS – Gamers looking to supercharge their IO Subsystem
  • The drives can pack up to 2TB of flash storage capacity using either multi-level-cell or single-level-cell flash memories. SLC flash is more expensive but more durable, and it’s typically found in enterprise-class SSDs like Intel’s X25-E Extreme.

    Speaking of enterprise-class products, Super Talent says the RAIDDrive ES has a battery backup feature to keep data safe in case of a power loss. The company also notes that RAIDDrives can be configured with an "internal RAID5 capability."

    Comments closed
      • FranzVonPapen
      • 11 years ago

      This is flash, right? Why would it need a battery backup?

        • jwb
        • 11 years ago

        It’s like any other RAID card, it acknowledges writes of in-flight data which is still stored in DRAM and has not yet been committed to flash. Other manufacturers use supercapacitors instead of batteries, but the principle is the same.

      • willyolio
      • 11 years ago

      i like the idea of drive-on-a-card. not only is it faster, but it’s also two fewer cables to mess around with.

      i just wish it were bootable. probably won’t be.

        • BooTs
        • 11 years ago

        With one of their drives being targeted at gamers there is a better chance that it will be bootable. Sooner or later one of these types of drives will be bootable and probably before I can afford one!

        • JokerCPoC
        • 11 years ago

        Drive on a card, Hmm I haven’t seen that since the 80’s(Amiga Computer), Too bad It won’t work in a 4x PCI-E slot as that is all My two Asus P5K Deluxe motherboards can spare, As the 16x pci-e slot is reserved for a video card.

        • Trymor
        • 11 years ago

        You could ‘make it bootable’ by booting ‘linux’ from a thumb drive passing off the boot process to the SSD….

          • spiritwalker2222
          • 11 years ago

          You can put 8x cards into 4x PCIe slots, as long as the end of the connector is open. You only have half the bandwidth but it should work.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 11 years ago

      1 word question: Bootable?

        • Trymor
        • 11 years ago

        You could ‘make it bootable’ by booting ‘linux’ from a thumb drive passing off the boot process to the SSD.

      • Firestarter
      • 11 years ago

      I fail to see how the RAID acronym is relevant for this device. It’s neither redundant, nor an array or inexpensive. It isn’t even a disk!

        • moshpit
        • 11 years ago

        Solid points.

        • bdwilcox
        • 11 years ago

        Really Accelerated Internal Device. Happy now?

        • jackaroon
        • 11 years ago

        You could use it to kill wasps or cockroaches, though, if you were determined to do so.

      • continuum
      • 11 years ago

      I hope they use something decent for the controller, as opposed to the JMicron crap in the the consumer stuff…

        • 5150
        • 11 years ago

        That’s like saying, “Here’s a Ferrari, we didn’t put an engine or transmission in it.” Of course they’re going to put a good controller in it, the JMicron’s could barely push a USB flash drive.

          • continuum
          • 11 years ago

          I dunno, this is Supertalent we’re talking about… they’re not known for high-end products. =P

      • danazar
      • 11 years ago

      This sounds like true RAID-on-a-board. Build on, say, four or eight totally independent SSD memory blocks, and a RAID controller they’re all hard-wired to, and you’ve got a drop-in RAID array. With the size of things shrinking all the time this seemed inevitable. It’s like shoving four SSDs and a RAID controller in your system, except without all the extra packaging.

        • jwb
        • 11 years ago

        Yeah, it’s inevitable because that’s how everybody already does it. All the existing high-end flash products on the market are internally RAIDs of various kinds, including the Intel SSDs and the Fusion.

      • HiggsBoson
      • 11 years ago

      So are these flash or aren’t they? The idea of having a battery backup with flash seems kind of odd. I can imagine a few possibilities for this feature, but my scenarios all seem a bit contrived.

        • danazar
        • 11 years ago

        I’m sure that due to the relatively slow write rates of SSDs these devices have some kind of volatile cache on board, much like traditional high-end RAID controllers do, and the battery backup is to make sure that any data still in cache and not yet written to flash isn’t lost.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 11 years ago

        Anyone who buys one of these ought to be able to afford a $100 UPS as well. It’s nice they have it but it seems like a little bit of a waste.

        • bdwilcox
        • 11 years ago

        Since even SRAM will leak little by little over time, perhaps the battery backup adds enough charge to keep the flash cell state stable during long periods of disuse.

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