For once we have a drive whose capacity shown in Windows actually exceeds the size as listed in the description on the box. The Super Talent USB 3.0 Express RC8 50GB drive (1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes) shows a healthy 51.2GB (1GB = 1,073,741,824 bytes) in Windows.
One thing we noticed when testing is how toasty warm the drive got under extended, heavy operation such as we see with benchmarks. So we pulled out our trusty Fluke IR Thermometer and sure enough temps were hitting almost 40C (104F) which may explain the aluminum casing which certainly helps dissipate the heat. Curious, we took some temps on the components directly while in operation. The controller and NAND on the controller side stayed in the low to mid 30’s (Celsius) but on the opposite side, the flash chips hit nearly 50C (122F)! It might be a good idea to give it a minute to cool down before sticking it in your pocket after heavy use.
In terms of performance, while we never did get the drive to hit the rated 270MB/s reads and 220MB/s writes, we came very close. Still, it’s very cool to be able to plug into a USB 3.0 port and move huge amounts of data with ease in no time at all. We were able to stream high-definition video with nary a hiccup. Even with the turbo software in normal mode, this drive cooks but with turbo enabled it’s simply amazing. This comes at a cost though. You can find a handful of different 64GB USB 3.0 drives for $80 pretty easily and the 50GB RC8 will set you back at minimum $110 right now – but if you move large amounts of data often, it’s going to be well worth the extra money for the time it will save you. The only drawback we can see is that you have to run the turbo software to unlock the best performance. This may not be possible if you are using a PC where you lack administrative rights to install the software such as in a university computer lab or public library – though odds are they don’t have USB 3.0 capable PC’s anyway.
This is probably just the start of good things to come. With NAND prices dropping and Thunderbolt technology showing up on more devices, these things are just going to get cheaper and faster. It may not be long before folks will just start using thumb drives to house their OS full time (not just Linux either) and/or carrying around their entire game collection that will run directly from the thumb drive as it would a secondary internal drive today.
Legit Bottom Line: Super Talent has a real winner with the USB 3.0 Express RC8 flash drive. It’s ironic that a device roughly the size of a rifle bullet, is nearly as fast as one.