Supertalent DRAM cache makes USB sticks fly

IDF 2010: Two orders of magnitude faster

Supertalent logoSUPERTALENT LAUNCHED THEIR new USB3 Express drive with an added DRAM cache last week. The real question is whether or not the DRAM caches added any real performance or it is just a marketing ploy.

If you recall, the Express was the first ‘cheap’ USB3 memory stick out there, something that was sorely needed in the market. The new one adds a 32MB of DRAM as a cache on the stick, hopefully addressing one of the weakest points of flash drives. From there, you have to ask, if it actually does anything in the real world, or is it just there for show?

USB stick cache numbers

Note the bottom left and right

If you look at the sequential speeds, the older non-cached drive is about 10% faster, but that isn’t the end of the world. On 512K blocks, the older drive is again a bit faster to read, but writes are about 1/20th the speed of the cached drive. That is what I wold call a performance advantage.

If that isn’t enough for you, on 4K blocks, the cached drive is about 10% faster when reading but 100x faster for writes. Yes, that is not a misprint, it is 100 times as fast. It looks like that cache is actually worthwhile after all.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate