From the start I wasn't too sure about comparing the new Super Talent MasterDrive MX 60GB SSD against the Samsung SATA-II 32GB SSD. The Super Talent MD MX 60GB costs a little less than the Samsung 32GB and has nearly double the capacity. I was sure we were going to see a total blowout in performance numbers.
As testing progressed and I started to compare how the drives performed, I was completely shocked to see the two drives battling back and forth for superior numbers. At this point it is difficult to put my finger on exactly where the MasterDrive MX really stands out. Is it an economy drive with great performance or a performance drive with budget pricing? - When looking back at the performance results, I have to say it is both.
The read performance of the Super Talent MasterDrive is top notch and is faster than just about all of the drives I have tested other than the MemoRight GT. Write performance is a different story, even with the help of the Areca controller's built in cache system. The difference lies in the memory technology used; the Samsung uses SLC or Single Level Cell and the Super Talent uses cheaper Multi-Level Cell. MLC is known to perform slower in write cycles but the technology is starting to regain some of the performance loss.
I would venture to say that at this time most enthusiasts could care less, or for that matter even ask if a drive uses SLC or MLC memory. At this point home users care more about how fast their desktop or notebook loads Windows and their favorite applications. Professional users who use more write cycles are a different story.
Up until now, for home users Solid State Drives have been unobtainable due to their high costs; this is starting to change and change rapidly. I think over the next few months we will start to see a much larger divide between home and professional based SSDs with the divide being SLC or MLC. This is a good thing for home users as MLC drives will become cheaper rather than SLC drives costing more than they do now.
The Super Talent MasterDrive MX is a great performer for its targeted audience, the enthusiast / privileged home user. Overall performance is better than all typical hard drives and the price is starting to let up, making the technology affordable for more users. I think notebook users will get the most benefit out of an imminent jump to the Super Talent MasterDrive MX; my testing showed a gain of nearly 45 minutes battery life (results coming in a later article). Desktop users may feel a little pinched with only 60GB of space for a boot drive, but Super Talent does offer a 120GB version if you would like to give it a whirl.
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