October 2009 Ian Chiu
While we tend to distrust anything that’s too good to be true, the USB SuperCharger appears pretty legit. Easy Co is apparently selling licenses now, per flash drive with gigabyte tiers, for USB write-optimizing software. The SuperCharger essentially targets the small file writing challenge faced by flash drives. While most MLC flash drives can actually turn out pretty good read speed and decent write speed for large files, small files are a major problem. Try and copy a folder with a few MB’s of icon files, clip-art or fonts and you’ll find yourself stuck in molasses. Without getting too technical, the USB SuperCharger changes the way data is written to the drive, and should be able to add some serious snap to small files and portable applications. Most applications are designed to read and write freely from the drive, moving an application from a normal HDD to flash makes many applications unusable. Changing the file pipe-lining could open many doors for more portable applications, virtual servers and IO “chatty” applications. This technique should also reduce the wear on your flash drive, significantly reducing the number of writes which slowly degrades memory.
The only downside, besides their Microsoft-esque licensing scheme, is that it’s only currently available for Microsoft platforms and only works on non-NTFS drives. A Linux variant is in development, which means Apple versions will follow as well. SuperCharging an 8GB flash disk will run you $12. This really isn’t bad considering that truly fast flash drives are still fairly expensive.