All of the memory makers seem to have embraced the selling of flash memory devices--be they USB sticks, SSDs, SD flash for cameras, etc. Typically, USB sticks have settled on lower performance controllers with an emphasis more on sustained sequential transfer rates rather than pure performance.

Mushkin appears to be the first company set to pursue true SSD-class performance with their upcoming USB stick that features a SF-2281 controller. The drive is capable of read/write speeds over 300MB/s (380/325MB/s), and Mushkin mentoned IOPS of around 15K if memory serves. Those speeds are quite a bit lower than native SATA solutions, but Mushkin is using a SATA to USB host chip and the overhead involved lowers maximum performance somewhat--though it should still be much higher than other solutions.

Generally speaking, random IO speeds aren't all that important for USB sticks, but for accessing lots of small files Mushkin's device should prove quite speedy. They're also billing it as an excellent platform for Windows To Go, and the SandForce controller and improved IOPS should certainly help with such uses.

The device we were shown at the Mushkin suites is currently a prototype, so the industrial design isn't complete, but we're told it's fully functional (or at least it was until they started taking it apart and letting technology enthusiasts handle it). The Ventura Ultra will be available in capacities of 60/120/240GB, though pricing and launch dates are not yet known.

In a somewhat unrelated post, I also grabbed some additional shots of the 480GB Atlas mSATA SSD. Here you can see the two boards that make up the device. It's apparently right at the limits of the mSATA specifications, but some laptops apparently have smaller mSATA chambers that aren't able to contain the Atlas.

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  • KPOM - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - link

    With MacBooks and Ultrabooks shipping with proprietary storage, flash drives like these could become appealing. Price will be an issue, though. If they are as expensive as traditional SSDs, they may not find much of a market. If I were these manufacturers, I'd use slightly slower NAND if necessary to get the price down. Even 200-250MB/s would be "good enough" to use as secondary storage, and would rival SATA II.
  • phillyry - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    KPOM - i agree with you in terms of the need for sweetass ssd's. i also agree on the point of making them less expensive but still good enough.

    that being said, i'd still like them to have fast enough random i/o that they could be used as an external OS drive when desired.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - link

    With these stats I think I've cornered the handful of enterprises that are early adopters.
  • Zero866 - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - link

    I find it funny that the very first word of the entire article is spelled wrong. To boot, it is the name of the company that this whole thing about...

    I agree with KPOM, this will help alleviate the need for proprietary storage issues. The benefit will also increase with USB booting too!
  • MGSsancho - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - link

    Sell me one even at 16GB capacity for $100 and I'll buy a few
  • Kevin G - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - link

    The usage of the USB-SATA daughter board allows Muskin to move to other SATA controllers as they become available. Ditto for models that don't need as many NAND packages as they can use a smaller PCB.

    I'm also curious if there is a DRAM buffer on the Sandforce PCB (what is the chip next to the Sandforce controller?). There is none, that'd contribute to its relatively low performance to traditional SSD's.
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    Interesting to see someone finally put a real controller in a USB flash stick! The speeds might be lower than SATA, but geez, just today I'm using a recent quality flash stick and I get like 6MB/s writes, 20-23MB/s reads lol. "Slower" is relative here :-D
  • PVPK - Friday, January 25, 2013 - link

    This is not a innovation, it's existing technology in a smaller package.
    I'm not here to troll, just stating the obvious.
    I, myself is not a fan of SandForce due to their history of reliability issues (BSOD and Random Freeze and Lockups).
    I would rather much use a regular SSD from Samsung or Crucial and put it into a 2.5" USB 3.0 enclosure, you get similar performance or better with a more reliable SSD controller.
    If 2.5" enclosure is still too big for your pocket, you can always wait for someone to make a msata USB 3.0 enclosure, that would be similar in size to this stick, gives you the choice of what SSD you want to use, give you better performance and reliability.
    SandForce controllers are just too unreliable compare to Marvell and Samsung, and this stick will face the same issues that other people are facing with SandForce SSD, sure, there's alot of positive reviews, but the negative reviews percentage on SandForce SSD is much higher compare to Crucial and Samsung's SSD.
  • phillyry - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    unless you include intel's sandforce-based ssd's
  • wtfiwinomgs - Sunday, December 22, 2013 - link

    you sir, retarded.

    the sandforce issue is long gone, on top of that you only get BSOD if you running OS off of it. the histories of issues you mentioned doesn't match the usb 3.0 stick here and only SSD, and issues was solved years ago.

    on the other hand I'd rather go for sandforce than some samsung shit where they would purposely overclock their phone, and SSDs for benchmark results only and reflect like 2% real performance gain in the real world scenario.

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