You might be waiting for a USB 3.0 interface in your device, but SuperTalent is wasting no time in producing a flash drive for it. Earlier this month, the company announced its USB 3.0 Express Drive. I’m thinking that the name isn’t quite the best — when I saw Express Drive, my mind immediately pictured an ExpressCard device, not a USB stick. Naming aside, the 16GB and 32 GB flash drives will offer read speeds of up to 125 MB per second with a supported USB 3.0 port, while writes will happen at up to 50 MB per second. Note that these speeds are megabytes per second (MBps), not megabits (Mbps). Here’s another way to envision the speed — SuperTalent says that a 600 MB transfer takes only 12 seconds.
As fast as the speeds sound, they’re far below the 480 MBps that USB 3.0 technology can offer. According to Everything USB, the ExpressCard devices are slower to keep the price down. The cost estimates for the devices are $70 for capacity of 16 GB and $150 for a 32 GB unit. SuperTalent’s similar SuperSpeed Drives come in the same capacities — plus a 128 GB unit — but jump the transfer read speeds to a whopping 320 MBps. You’ll pay for that speed boost though — I found a 32 GB SuperSpeed drive online selling for $329.99. SuperTalent must realize that not everyone will shell out hundreds of dollars for a fast flash drive, so the Express Drivers sacrifice some performance for cost. If the price to speed ratio is what you’re looking for, you should be able to pick up one of these drives next month. Even if you don’t have a USB 3.0 port today, you’ll still get good use from the drive, since it’s backwards compatible with USB 2.0 ports.
Still not sure if USB 3.0 is for you? Check out Stacey’s Everything You Need to Know about USB 3.0 GigaOm article to help make the decision.
Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):