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.