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Appeared on: Monday, August 27, 2007
Super Talent Vista Exelerator


1. Introduction

- Introduction

Headquartered in San Jose, California, Super Talent designs and manufactures DDR and DDR2 memory modules and Flash based storage devices for computers and consumer electronics. Counting 20 years of Memory Industry experience, Super Talent relies on technical research and its commitment to product development to deliver leading edge memory products to the market.

- Super Talent Vista Exelerator

Exelerator drives were designed expressly to elevate system performance in Windows Vista by functioning as a ReadyBoost drive. These innovative new Flash drives plug into a standard 9-pin USB header inside the chassis, on the motherboard, to function as a dedicated ReadyBoost drive.

With lightning fast 25MB per second read speeds, Exelerator drives are the perfect system upgrade to enhance the Vista experience. Exelerator drives are offered with either vertical or horizontal connectors to accommodate space constraints within different enclosures.

- Main features

- Retail package

SuperTalent provided us with the retail package of their Windows VISTA Exelerator 166X (2GB). The retail price is around ~US$35. The retail kit is small and includes only the memory module in a protective plastic shell.

 

Not much to discuss here, the module has a label showing the capacity. You only need a free 9-pin USB2.0 header on your motherboard to plug it in.

There is a LED on the top indicating read/write operations...


2. Installation

- Installation

After installing the USB2.0 module in a free USB 2.0 header on your motherboard, fire up Windows VISTA. A popup message welcomes you, and shows the USB disk properties:

Yes, we have 2GB of free space

This module is "ReadyBoost"

And to to enable it:

- Tests

We fired up HD Tach v3.0.1.0 and prepared the full length test suite, that will put the USB stick through its paces:

The full bench test, scans the entire capacity of the module and graphs its average reading/writing performance:

The performance is very good. We had 25.0MB/sec average reading and 22.8MB/sec average writing performance. Our system takes a 5.0 score in the Windows Vista Index score:


3. Conclusion

- Conclusion

The idea of having an additional storage, USB stick located on your motherboard, may at first sound strange, since most users know USB sticks as external devices. The truth is, that with the arrival of Windows VISTA, there is a great need for increased memory performance. The "ReadyBoost" function promises higher reading/writing performance, since it supposedly uses very fast flash memory to accelerate the system's overall read I/O. Of course, in reality it is slight different, and until the Windows VISTA SP1 arrives, users won't see much difference with or without the VISTA "ReadyBoost" function enabled.

SuperTalent's VISTA Exelerator offers for $35, an internal 2GB USB stick that...well, for now, can't keep its promise to accelerate your system, not through any fault of SuperTalent but thanks to Microsoft. For US$35, perhaps you could buy an additional 1GB of DRAM that will definitely boost performance. Things may change with the arrival of VISTA SP1 package, but until we see clear evidence that the "ReadyBoost" function does work, we cannot comment as to the effectiveness of this or other similar products.

On the bright side, SuperTalent VISTA Exelerator is a very fast USB stick with 25MB/s read/write average speed. If there was some kind of converter to make this also an external drive, we could justify buying one until Microsoft get their act together...



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