Patriot SuperSonic USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review

Author: Chris Ledenican
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/patriot_supersonic/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

USB flash drives have become the de facto means to transfer large amounts of data from a PC to a personal storage media, but the majority of drives currently available use the dated USB 2.0 standard. This caps the performance of the drive to USB 2.0 specifications, which is quite limiting now that USB 3.0 is becoming a more readily available alternative.

Now that USB 3.0 isn option for more consumers, all the major flash memory manufacturers have been releasing drives based on USB 3.0. All the new drives benefit from being up to 10x faster than USB 2.0, but a few manufacturers such as Patriot are striving to push the performance to even greater heights.

To achieve a higher performance rating, Patriot has designed their latest USB 3.0 flash drive, the Supersonic, to be an all-in-one solution that integrates a native single-chip USB 3.0 controller and uses a quad-channel memory architecture. This gives the drive additional performance and allows it to transfer data at an even faster rate than a standard USB 3.0 flash drive.

Specifications
USB 3.0 compliantPEEDSPEED
Quad-Channel technology for fast read/write performance
Up to 100MB/s read
Up to 70MB/s write
Backwards compatible with USB 2.0
Aluminum housing for shock resistance up to 15G

The SuperSonic flash drive comes packaged in standard retail casing that is actually very simplistic for such a high performance drive. The front lists the drive's capacity and speed ratings as well as the main highlighted features.

The back panel gives additional details features of the drive and confirms a 5-year warranty period, and here Patriot has also included performance comparisons for their drive competing against a generic USB 2.0 and 3.0 drive.

Aesthetically the SuperSonic comes across as a basic flash drive with a black aluminum enclosure. Don't let this fool you though, as the inner components of the drive are far from ordinary. The SuperSonic supports the USB 3.0 interface, which in itself is 10 times faster than USB 2.0. However, Patriot also utilizes quad-channel memory technology for improved read and write performance, as well as a single-chip USB 3.0 flash memory controller. By integrating the controller and memory into a single chip solution, Patriot has essentially eliminated the bottleneck created by using a separate USB 3.0 bridge. This along with the quad-channel technology allows the drive to reach speeds of up to 100MB for sequential reads and 70MB for sequential writes, all while still maintaining a relatively small footprint.

The SuperSonic features a durable aluminum enclosure that is shock resistant to up to 15Gs. This will ensure the inner components are protected against damage, keeping the data secure. The drive also includes a removable cap that is made from the same durable material.

The top cap easy slides off to allow the drive to be connected to any open USB 3.0 port. The connector on the drive uses the USB 3.0 blue color scheme, which indicates that this drive should be connected to a blue USB 3.0 port. If a USB 3.0 port is not available, the SuperSonic drive is backwards compatible and can still be used with older USB 2.0 and 1.1 connectors, but the drive be limited to the connections' maximum speed ratings.

Hardware:

  • CPU: Core i7 2600K
  • Motherboard: Intel DP67BG
  • Memory: 4GB Mushkin DDR3 1600
  • Chasis: Thermaltake Xaser VI  
  • Video card: PowerColor HD 5870
  • HardDrive: 750GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11
  • CPU Cooler: Water Cooling
  • OS: Vista Ultimate 64-Bit
  • Flash Drive: Patriot SUPERSONIC

 

Comparison Drives:

  • Corsair Flash Voyager GTR 32GB
  • Corsair Survivor 16GB 
  • Corsair Padlock 8GB
  • Kingston DataTraveler 16GB

Software:

All drives will use their default software, and will contain the same files.

Benchmarks:

Transfer Speeds: I will measure the time needed to transfer a 100MB, 500MB, and 1000MB file from the drive to my computer

HDTune: HDTune allows the user to benchmark, monitor, and sometimes repair there HDDs. I will be using its built in benchmark tool.

SiSoft Sandra: Sandra will allow the user to benchmark and diagnose just about every piece of hardware in their setup. I will be using Sandra's Portable Drive benchmark.

Flash Memory Toolkit: The Flash Memory Toolkit is a program that will Diagnose, Benchmark, Scan, and Format your removable drives.

SiSoftware Sandra 2009

Sandra, by SiSoftware, is a tool capable of benchmarking about every component found inside a computer. In this case, we are using the physical disk tool, which measures read and write performance of a given drive.

HD Tune

HD Tune is an application for benchmarking hard drives. Beside the drive itself, the speed they can reach also depends on the chipset's performance.

 

Flash Memory Toolkit

This program is designed specifically to benchmark, diagnose, scan, and format removable storage. We use the file benchmark to find out the drive's read and write speeds.

Transfer Speeds

In order to test actual transfer speeds, I timed how long it takes to copy a 100MB, 500MB, and 1GB file over to the drive. To prevent any bottlenecks, the source drive is an OCZ Agility.

The USB 3.0 interface boasts 10 times the performance of its predecessor with its 5Gbps bandwidth SuperSpeed specification. So the "simple" act of moving a high performance flash drive over to the USB 3.0 interface should in itself give it additional performance. However, the USB 3.0 port is simply a means to transfer data, leaving it up to the compatible hardware to leverage the available speed.

Patriot has designed the Supersonic drive with quad-channel memory technology and a native USB 3.0 controller. This gives the drive additional performance, which increases the maximum read and write ratings over a standard all-in-one USB 3.0 solution, and ensures the Supersonic is able to achieve its excellent performance while maintaining relatively small footprint.

The quality of the drive is also very good, as Patriot uses a durable aluminum enclosure that will protect the drive from shocks, drops and spills. This will ensure the drive and your data are protected from damage, but if the SuperSonic does fail, it comes backed with a 5-year warranty.

The SuperSonic isn’t the fastest USB 3.0 flash drive on the market. However, through the use of Patriot's optimized technology, the Supersonic drive is able to achieve a high performance rating, all while having a large storage capacity and smaller footprint than most (if not all) the other high capacity USB 3.0 drives available. This makes it an excellent option for anyone looking for a high performance flash drive in a small package.

The Patriot SuperSonic USB 3.0 flash drive is available in 32GB and 64GB capacities and will retail with an MSRP of $109.99 and $199.99, respectively.

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