Eight SSDs team up on Super Talent’s RAIDDrive II Plus PCIe drive

Super Talent has a new PCI Express SSD. The RAIDDrive II Plus combines eight SATA-based solid-state drives behind an LSI RAID chip with an eight-lane PCIe 2.0 interface. Variants are available with up to 2TB of storage, and the performance specifications are impressive: 2.6GB/s for sequential reads and 3.2GB/s for sequential writes.

Like its RAIDDrive II forebear, the latest Plus revision uses LSI’s 2108 RAID controller. However, the new model has more configuration options. Its onboard SSDs can be arranged in RAID 6 and 10 arrays in addition to the RAID 0 and 5 setups supported by the standard RAIDDrive II.

The Plus is slightly faster than its predecessor, too. The old model’s sequential transfer rates peak at only 2.4GB/s for reads and 2.8GB/s for writes.

SuperTalent doesn’t detail the flash controllers used by the RAIDDrive II Plus, but the original employs current-gen SandForce tech, so I’d expect similar chips under the hood here. Both drives are equipped with MLC NAND. The datasheet for the Plus mentions synchronous MLC NAND specifically, which might explain the performance advantage over the vanilla model. According to the benchmark results in that document, the Plus enjoys a healthy edge over the RAIDDrive II in a wide variety of standard tests. (Benchmark results for the RAIDDrive II are available here.)

Unfortunately, the datasheet doesn’t provide endurance specifications or pricing details. If the original is any indication, though, the Plus won’t be cheap. Amazon is selling the RAIDDrive II 480GB for $1878 and the 1TB version for $5398.

Comments closed
    • internetsandman
    • 6 years ago

    I was excited until I realized that half a terabyte would cost more than the first gaming PC I ever built

    • humannn
    • 6 years ago

    Darn. Got excited for a second.

    • Chrispy_
    • 6 years ago

    This is an enterprise product, but SuperTalent are a company I’d be avoiding as an IT manager.

    Their reputation is low budget consumer stuff that skimps on QC and validation to offer a lower price to the bargain-hunting consumer.

    Why, with your job and company data at stake would you not go for one of the large enterprise storage firms like Nexsan, HP, Dell, Drobo etc?

      • Scrotos
      • 6 years ago

      Cost. SMB would still find it appealing whereas Enterprise wouldn’t. There is an actual order of magnitude cost difference with that junk. Even SMB would have a backup scenario in place so this would be downtime, maybe, not loss.

        • Chrispy_
        • 6 years ago

        I am SMB. and I still wouldn’t touch it.

        I’d have far more confidence in a homebrew setup using a similar LSI RAID controller (those are pretty solid in my experience, from both a performance and vendor-support perspective) and then pick some proper, validated SSD’s from the big vendors like Intel or Samsung. Cost would be similar but you’d get the benefit of LSI or, say, Adaptec enterprise support for your RAID controller and yet still benefit from prosumer and SMB-friendly pricing on the flash drives by going with Samsung 840 Pro or Intel 530 drives.

        When I think Super Talent, I remember a decade of low-quality USB flash drives and cheapest SSD’s on the market using the low-grade NAND that would get put into OCZ Agility and Kinston Value series drives. Maybe I’m being overly harsh but I’m not sure I’m going to get enterprise-levels of support for my purchase when the user guide is full of typos in Chinglish, either.

          • Scrotos
          • 6 years ago

          I did that with 8 x Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB in a RAID 10 on HP SmartArray P400i for a database server. However, while the server is under a support contract with HP, I do not for a second believe that they will support me if I start to have problems with those drives. I already get warnings about using unsupported devices voiding the warranty/support even when using HP’s own products with HP’s own products! And wow, the day I get a native English speaker for HP support is the day hell will freeze over.

          Any way you look at it, a PCIe-based solution is going to be faster than a bunch of SATA SSDs in a RAID. Plus, you minimize the risk of TLER-type issues if some SATA device craps itself and stalls the entire array. On the other hand, when I was looking into this PCIe stuff before, I didn’t have confidence of what happened if something internal to the card crapped out. I can replace a Samsung SSD but I can’t replace some chips on a card. Maybe it’s just paranoia. And that decision wasn’t based on branding, either, I looked at a few massively expensive PCIe cards and still just wasn’t comfortable.

          Heh, so I go and throw some consumer-level SSDs in a database server. Yeah, well, that’s just how I roll I guess. Were I to do it again, I might consider a product like the Super Talent. However, I’d wait for some other suckers to try it out first to see if it’s reliable or not.

            • Chrispy_
            • 6 years ago

            You have a point about a PCIe solution avoidind TLER issues, but actually I think this product is just an ordinary LSI controller with up to 8 mSATA SSD’s grafted onto it. I suspect you’d gain nothing from it over an off-the shelf RAID card and some drives of your choice.

            (and I bet SuperTalent wouldn’t make the shortlist for “drives of your choice”, either)

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 6 years ago

    These are exciting products but prices need to be realistic to drive adoption.

      • Symmetry
      • 6 years ago

      If you need the performance that these provide you probably aren’t going to find anything cheaper. I wouldn’t expect to find these in PCs.

      • xeridea
      • 6 years ago

      These are high end offerings for performance critical tasks. Regular SSDs are plenty fast for most uses. FusionIO makes some faster SSD cards, with crazy numbers (over 1 million IOPs, 6 GB/s), but the prices are…. high. If you have to ask about price on these, they are probably not for you.

        • stdRaichu
        • 6 years ago

        Most people can’t afford enough paper to print all the zeroes on a FusionIO invoice, let alone the actual product 🙂

      • Scrotos
      • 6 years ago

      I can see this being very price competitive for servers. 8 x 15K SAS drives will be around the same price and you won’t get anywhere near the same performance as you would with, let’s be honest, even a consumer-level SATA SSD. This should be righteous.

        • internetsandman
        • 6 years ago

        Doesn’t price/capacity also come into play when it comes to servers? I’m not very educated in the subject but I would imagine servers would be streaming more files that are relatively small in size, perhaps media files with relatively low bit rates. This type of product I would imagine to be more useful in a workstation environment where projects, perhaps even single files, that are several tens of gigabytes need to be loaded and worked on as efficiently as possible

          • Scrotos
          • 6 years ago

          Most of the server usage I’ve dealt with are file servers, database servers, or print servers. Nothing fancy. The databases are like 20 GB worth of data. Print servers, what, you need some spool files and that’s it, a few MB or something. File servers, depends on what you’re serving up. For the use I’ve run into, it’s not critical stuff. Just documents and things that don’t need massive speed. For our use, probably only need 300 GB of storage. This product would work well for that if we needed lots of speed. And of course this would be handy in a virtualized environment such as a box with several VMs or maybe a Citrix box hosting several desktops.

          Now yes, there are use cases where really quick local storage would be a great choice. That’s getting more into content creation stuff like video editing. You get more specialized junk for that. Is it too small? Here’s a description of a use case for smaller and faster storage:

          [url<]http://arstechnica.com/apple/2014/01/two-steps-forward-a-review-of-the-2013-mac-pro/[/url<] [url<]http://arstechnica.com/apple/2014/02/2013-mac-pro-firepro-d700-opengl-is-better-than-we-thought-it-was/[/url<] It's a bunch of blah blah blah, but I don't have firsthand experience in this type of content creation so this is how I have to glean knowledge of it. Seems like most workstations have fast local storage and some type of fast external RAID setup. If in a company, then a SAN of some type. And of course you'd want lots of RAM on the workstation too, since once that file is loaded into working memory, it shouldn't be hitting the storage system until you're saving it and thus should be working at max speed. With storing bulk data, you'd typically go for capacity over speed, i.e. 3 TB 7.2K RPM drives in a big RAID rather than 10x more 300 GB 15K RPM drives in an even bigger RAID. For a recent server I built, there a few 15K RPM drives for the OS and local storage and I have 12 x 3 TB 7.2K SAS drives in a RAID 10 in an external enclosure connected via SAS links for the main bulk storage. If I were supporting a video company, I'd probably look into some SAN setup with a dedicated storage box that has lots of RAM or flash cache to feed workstations and max speed. But then you're also looking at some different infrastructure to keep them fed, say 10 Gbps ethernet or 40 Gbps Infiniband or some type of fiber ring, stuff I don't have a ton of experience with.

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