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Super Talent STF SM USB 2.0 4GB Flash Drive Super Talent STF SM USB 2.0 4GB Flash Drive: With 4GB of space, you can even carry around your entire operating system. We see if this drive is up to the task.
Date: February 9, 2005
Manufacturer:
Written By:
Price:

While USB Flash drives have become the savior of the IT community for storing needed information in an easy to carry, conveniently accessed medium, they are also evolving into mobile operating systems as both their size and their performance ramp up.

Case in point, not long ago (less then 24 months), a 1GB USB 2.0 Flash drive was both large and expensive. With todays advancements, 1GB is minimal, and the cost has dropped dramatically. How has performance faired in those 2 years? A question I will be asking as we go through our testing process.

has provided VL with a 4GB USB Flash Drive, this is of their new lineage and performance is supposed to be enhanced. While we are here, let's see what you get with the .

Specifications
4GB USB 2.0 Flash Memory Drive
Dual Channel Flash Memory Architecture
Supports password protection

No driver needed for most operating systems (Windows 98SE driver online)

LED indicates power, busy
More than 10 years data retention
Limited lifetime warranty

First and foremost, this is a USB 2.0 Flash Drive, secondly, and almost as important, this drive supports and is MS verified for “Speed Boost” on Vista. While I won't be testing Vista here, as the comparison drive is not “supported” it is still a viable consideration. A fairly inexpensive price to pay for a performance boost and at 4GB, it could actually be your entire swap area for a 2GB RAM install.

While 4GB is not the largest you will see out there today, the performance of the 4GB and the 8GB in the same line will provide similar performance. I also noted that there was no fancy necklace or strap that came along with the flash drive, it was simply the drive and a cap. While I don't have a problem with this, some people actually use those straps around there neck to maintain location of their flash drives.

Included Software

Ok, so not so “included” as it is downloadable. You can grab “Memorybar” from the Super Talent website. This application is a two fold download, it has the Win98SE drivers as well as the Flash Memory Security software.

The Memory Bar application allows you to set aside a section of the Flash Memory Drive that must be accessed with a security password. The application assigns a base password and you have the ability to change (highly recommended) once the new “Security” partition is built. While the application is rather simply looking in nature, there really isn't much to it, so Super Talent has kept it simple in a place where simple works very well.

Test Bed: Asus P5WDH-Deluxe, HIS Radeon X1600Pro IceQ Turbo, Seagate 250GB 7200RPM SATA-II, Intel E6400 (C2D 2.13GHz LGA-775), Asus A55G 550W PSU, Super Talent (1.8V) (4-3-4-8)

Flash Memory Drives:

Super Talent 4GB USB 2.0

Lexar Media 1GB JumpDrive

Test suite

The Lexar JumpDrive is well known for its performance early on, taking the crown of many shootouts. While this drive is nearly 2 years old, its performance is still top notch.

I will be testing the Flash Memory Drives with the following functions:

  • Transferring several files that equal 897MB of data from a hard drive to the Flash Memory Drive

  • Transferring one large RAR of the above files from the Hard Drive to the Flash Memory Drive

    • These tests will be performed with various file systems to test the Flash Memory Drives performance in each

  • Install and boot Ubuntu 6.10 from the flash disk itself (4GB only)

To begin with we will test transfer speeds of 15 files that equal 897MB

Multiple Small Files - Ext2 (Ubuntu 6.10)

Time in Minutes:Seconds, Lower is Better

Multiple Small Files - Ext3 (Ubuntu 6.10)

Time in Minutes:Seconds, Lower is Better

Multiple Small Files - Fat32 (Windows Vista)

Time in Minutes:Seconds, Lower is Better

Multiple Small Files - NTFS (Windows Vista)

Time in Minutes:Seconds, Lower is Better

Next we will will test transfer speeds of a single RAR file that equals 830MB

Single Large File - Ext2 (Ubuntu 6.10)

Time in Minutes:Seconds, Lower is Better

Single Large File - Ext3 (Ubuntu 6.10)

Time in Minutes:Seconds, Lower is Better

Single Large File - Fat32 (Windows Vista)

Time in Minutes:Seconds, Lower is Better

Single Large File - NTFS (Windows Vista)

Time in Minutes:Seconds, Lower is Better

Across the board, be it many files or a single large file, Super Talent does not disappoint. Take into consideration that the Super Talent Flash Memory Drive is 4GB, larger does not appear to hinder performance in comparison with the Lexar. While it does not matter if you are in Linux or Windows, Flash Memory Drives transfer many small files at a higher rate then a single large file. In our tests, Super Talent performs well enough to blur that line.

Installing Ubuntu

OK, yes I did install Ubuntu on the Super Talent Flash Memory Drive, I could have installed a smaller variant of Linux on the JumpDrive, but that is neither here nor there.

The install went slightly slower then on a hard drive, as to be expected. The performance of booting and day to day web surfing etc are on par with a HD install. Performing functions such as Open Office Writer or viewing a video clip took enough extra time that I could tell I was no longer on a Hard Drive. The slick thing about this is, not only can I apply updates to the flash drive as though it were a hard drive, I can then move my flash drive to another system and boot it as a Ubuntu system (kind of like a LiveCD but with patches, saved files, my settings etc etc).

Final Words

Flash Drives keep getting bigger and performance is increasing even as we increase in size, as Super Talent has proven here today. The applications for a flash drive have multiplied as storage has increased and is offering you plenty of space with performance. Hell, with Super Talent's 4GB or 8GB Flash Memory Drive, you can easily bring your entire Operating System with you as you travel.

Inexpensive, Large capacity, Increased performance, easy to carry around, Super Talent brings yet another solid product to Market. Super Talent also offer a Limited Lifetime Warranty on this drive which is of great benefit if like Scott you have a tendency to leave your flash drives in your pocket when they are being washed (Scott – Hey, I dried it out and it still worked ...). Priced at around at time of writing, it won't break the bank either.

If you have Questions or Comments on this or any other review, feel free to use our Forums.

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