Transcend SSD320 & SSD720 (256GB) Reviewby Kristian Vättö on January 25, 2013 11:31 AM EST
Transcend is a Taiwanese company specializing in memory and flash storage solutions. While Transcend may not be the first company that comes to mind about NAND flash, it has been in the industry since the late 80's. Transcend's USB flash sticks and SD cards are actually rather popular at least here in the northern Europe, but they aren't exactly known for their SSDs.
Transcend's lineup consists of two SSDs: SSD320 and SSD720. Both are (unsurprisingly) based on SandForce's SF-2281 controller, which has been the choice of many smaller SSD OEMs. SandForce's licensing strategy is ideal for small OEMs who lack the resources to design their own controller or firmware, so by going with SandForce the OEM only needs to assemble the drive (and of course market, distribute etc).
|Capacities (GB)||64, 128, 256||64, 128, 256, 512|
|Form Factor||2.5" 7mm|
|NAND||Micron 25nm asynchronous MLC||SanDisk 24nm Toggle-Mode MLC|
|4KB Random Read||49K IOPS||47K IOPS|
|4KB Random Write||87K IOPS||93K IOPS|
Transcend's lineup is fairly typical when compared to other SandForce OEMs. There is a low-end budget model with asynchronous NAND (similar to OCZ's Agility 3), while the high-end market is catered by a Toggle-Mode equipped SSD720. Both models come with a 3-year warranty, which is normal but many high-end SSDs (such as Samsung SSD 840 Pro, Intel SSD 520, Plextor M5 Pro) carry a 5-year warranty nowadays, so the 3-year warranty in SSD720 is a bit disappointing.
RAISE (SandForce's NAND redundancy feature) is disabled on both SSDs, which results in slightly higher capacities than we usually see with SandForce based SSDs. SandForce has said that RAISE is not necessary for client workloads, so disabling it makes a lot of sense and there are other manufacturers who do it as well. For more thorough explanation on RAISE and SandForce capacities, I recommend reading this article.
|Price Comparison (1/25/2013)|
|Corsair Neutron GTX||$135||$225||$470|
|Corsair Force GS||N/A||$220||$440|
|Plextor M5 Pro||$130||$210||$420|
|Intel SSD 520||$145||$260||$500|
|Intel SSD 330||$125||$200||N/A|
|Samsung SSD 840 Pro||$140||$200||$520|
|Samsung SSD 840||$110||$180||$355|
|Mushkin Chronos Deluxe||$120||$180||N/A|
Pricing wise both the SSD320 and SSD720 are average. Neither of them is cheap but on the other hand, neither of them is among the most expensive drives. As always, take the prices in the table with a grain of salt because pricing is highly fluctuating, the prices you see today may be totally different tomorrow or next week.
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Beenthere - Saturday, January 26, 2013 - linkMany enthusiasts base their PC hardware purchases strictly on synthetic benches, which is laughable when many folks have no clue the benches are not necessarily accurate or representative of the actual performance of the hardware. It doesn't matter if it's an SSD, RAM, mobos, HDDs or other products, the benches can be very misleading.
I defy anyone to accurately tell the difference in system performance in a blind test... between any popular SATA II and SATA III SSD, regardless of cost, when comparing the same size drives. The same goes for DRAM, I defy anyone to tell the difference in a blind test... between RAM running @ 1333 MHz. and @ 2000 MHz. in any Intel or AMD powered desktop PC. It's simply impossible to do though the uninformed will argue to their dying breathe but not actually run blind tests to prove it to themselves.
That being said, if you're willing to take a chance on lost data, regular firmware update requirements to fix issues, RMA's, etc. with an SSD, picking an SSD for most folks should be based on your needs, the SSD's reliability, compatibility, manufacturer reputation for warranty/service and price. FYI - Longer product warranties do not necessarily mean better quality drives be they SSDs or HDDs. You can completely forget benchmarks as they are for new, clean drives and mean nothing in the real world nor is the difference in system performance even discernible.
If you want a real good laugh - go to the major SSD maker websites and find the complete SSD warranty and read it carefully. Find out what your real cost/inconvenience/losses are if the SSD has a defect/fails. It ain't pretty... in many cases.
jason_mcallister - Sunday, January 27, 2013 - linkI really like your post and completely agree with your statements. I find it curious that more folks don't also see things this way. I was gullible in paying a premium for my DDR3-2400. If I had done some research before the purchase I would have realized that it wasn't a performance increase that I would have ever noticed. People, in which I include myself, are always looking at the benchmarks (metric tests) and kind of shut off the critical thinking process. Thankfully, I'm a little wiser these days and have a better process for making purchase decisions.
alkhrt - Sunday, January 27, 2013 - linkIt's great to see the price /GB close to $1., but 1TB worth of SSD ~$1000, while 1TB HDD ~$70. I can't believe with no moving parts etc. that SSD's are 14x more expensive to produce. Still feel like I'm getting the shaft buying one.
Scour - Saturday, February 16, 2013 - linkThe funny thing: The 320 was one of the cheapest 256GB-SSD at the arrival, only some old OCZ (240GB Vertex/Agilty 2, 256GB Petrol) were cheaper.
Now it´s more expensive than M5S, M4 Hyper X 3k, Intel 335. OK, most SF-SSDs only offers 240GB, but for example the 335 ist about 14€ cheaper.
So I see no reason to buy a Transcend 320, my first choice in this class is the Plextor