Super Talent intros $14 8GB USB 3.0 flash drive

Memory vendor Super Talent announced a new USB 3.0 drive that sells for under $2 per gigabyte of capacity.

The new Express Duo USB drive comes in 8GB and 16GB capacities, and sells for $14 and $29, respectively. The company claims the drive hits data transfer speeds of 67MBps.

The USB 2.0 specification has a theoretical maximum data transfer rate of 480Mbits per second or 60MBps. Real USB 2.0 speeds tend to run between 13MBps. and 34MBps. when protocol overhead is figured in. For example, Corsair's fastest Flash Voyager GTR USB 2.0 drive offers up to 34MBps read speed.

The USB 3.0 specification, also known as USB SuperSpeed, offers a theoretical data transfer rate of up to 5Gbit per second. Actual data transfer speeds come in at around 3.2 Gbit per second or 400MBps. Unfortunately, laptop and desktops Macs don't come with USB 3.0 ports. However, USB 3.0 expansion cards for the Mac Pro and ExpressCard-equipped MacBook Pros are available.

As with all USB 3.0 products, the Super Talent Express Duo drives are backward compatible to work with USB 2.0 systems, but the speed will also be limited by the latter protocol.

"The most amazing part of this product isn't the form factor or the 67MBps. The most amazing part of this product is the price point we're able to hit," said Peter Carcione, Super Talent's director of marketing. "Sixteen gig capacity at less than $30. That's a USB 2.0 kind of price."

Carcione demonstrated the 16GB version of the Express Duo drive in a YouTube video which displayed a 67MBps read speed using 512-byte random reads. The drive hit 11MBps using 4KB data block sizes for data transfers.

"There's no reason to buy a USB 2.0 drive anymore," he said. "It's future proof. You can buy it today, use it as a USB 2.0 drive and when your USB 3.0 becomes available, you can pull these kinds of speeds."

Super Talent says the drive will start shipping in November.

[Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com .]

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