The fact that Super Talent’s USB 3.0 RAIDDrive delivers really high performance comes as no surprise. Comparing USB 3.0’s 5 Gb/s to the 480 Mb/s of USB 2.0 equals a 10x bandwidth improvement. Hence, it’s reasonable to assume that USB 2.0’s net throughput of up to 35 MB/s should potentially increase tenfold as well with USB 3.0, resulting in roughly 350 MB/s. We’ll know for sure when future products allow us to find out.
Drivers Required for Super Talent
For now, we’ll have to take Super Talent’s word that its 128 GB RAIDDrive can actually break the 300 MB/s barrier. The 64 GB model we reviewed is a little slower. Reaching 200+ MB/s of throughput requires a dedicated driver that replaces Microsoft’s mass storage driver. Unfortunately, the driver didn’t work properly on our storage test system, forcing us to benchmark without it. This isn’t too much of an issue for two reasons. First, some users might not always have the drivers handy, and secondly, the performance we saw likely requires you to upgrade your system and environment anyway if you want to take full advantage of it.
CPU Horsepower Required
There’s more you have to know. Reaching maximum throughput requires your system to be really fast. As a matter of fact, CPU performance is increasingly having an impact on high-performance storage devices, as we reported in the article Does Power Saving Technology Kill SSD Performance? In this article, we saw decreased throughput after switching off the processor’s power-saving mechanisms. A similar effect might have slowed down Super Talent’s new USB 3.0 high-flyer on our default test rig, as we were stuck with 178 MB/s. Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so.
Conclusion: Native USB 3.0 Still Worth It
The RAIDDrive is one of the first USB 3.0 thumb drives. There are certainly more to come. Its performance is impressive regardless of whether or not it can reach the promoted 300 MB/s. Even at almost 180 MB/s for reads and 90 MB/s for writes, the RAIDDrive requires your storage to be fast enough to keep its speedy pace.
Hard drives are anywhere between 60 and 150 MB/s and network storage is typically limited by gigabit Ethernet (about 100 MB/s). In any case, the RAIDDrive USB 3.0 can almost triple write performance and increase read performance at least fivefold over USB 2.0.