What was once ultra expensive and rare, quickly becomes cheap and common in the personal computer market. Storage is possibly the best example of this. Indeed, the storage market has changed quite a bit in the 17 years I have been a computer enthusiast. Perhaps the biggest change has been the introduction of solid state drives. This formally rare and expensive technology is now common and inexpensive enough for most consumers to enjoy.
This also means that there is now quite a bit of competition in the SSD market. This is great for consumers, as it helps further lower the price of the technology. A quick survey of a popular online retailer showed 22 different brands of SSD’s. That is fantastic. All that competition also helps to motivate manufacturers to create products at a variety of price points.
Today, we will be taking a look at Transcend’s newest drive to market, the SSD340. Transcend has sought a low entry price for this drive. The drive offers many of the features you would find in far more expensive drives, but with lower performance internals to keep the drive affordable. Is the lower price worth the lower performance? That is what we are here to find out.
Transcend’s take on the SSD340
Imagine your notebook was faster, lighter, more reliable, and longer lasting. To overcome the limits of portable computing, Transcend’s SSD340 SATA III SSD boasts incredibly fast transfer speeds, a compact and lightweight design, shock and vibration resistance, and DevSleep support. That means you can enjoy a seamless, lag-free computing experience even when using your notebook on an extended journey.
In order to allow straightforward installation in notebook computers, mainstream PCs, and today’s advanced Ultrabooks, the SSD340 features the industry-standard 2.5″ form factor. Yet, it measures just 7mm in height and only weighs a mere 52g. Moreover, the SSD340 offers cool, silent operation and excellent resistance to shock and vibration, further proving that it’s the ultimate upgrade to your standard rotating hard drive.
For operating systems that do not support the TRIM command, the SSD340 offers an aggressive garbage collection and recycling system. To further increase the lifespan of the SSD340, built-in wear-leveling and Error Correction Code (ECC) ensure continued reliable data transfer. SSD Scope also includes a convenient System Clone utility to help make upgrading your existing computer to the performance boost of an SSD340 quick and easy.
Capacity: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Dimesions: 99.8 x 69.8 x 7mm
Controller: JMicron JM667H
Storage Media: Micron 20nm synchronous NAND flash
Operating Voltage: 5V
Operating Temp: 0°C to 70°C
Storage Temp: -40°C to 85°C
Certificates: CE, FCC, BSMI
- SATA 6Gbps/3Gbps/1.5Gbps connection options
- DDR3 DRAM cache
- Supports SATA Device Sleep Mode (DevSleep)
- Intelligent Block Management and Wear Leveling
- Supports Native Command Queuing (up to 32 commands)
- Intelligent “Recycling” for advance free space management (Garbage Collection)
- Powerful controller with ultra-fast MLC ﬂash chips
- DuraWrite technology increases overall endurance and reliability (SSD720/320)
- Supports DevSleep ultra low power state (SSD370/SSD340)
- Supports TRIM, NCQ and S.M.A.R.T. functions
- Silent, low-power operation. Resistant to shock and vibration
- Three-year limited warranty
- Max Read: up to 520MB/s
- Max Write: up to 290MB/s
- Random Read 4KB: 69,000 IOPS
- Random Write 4KB: 68,000 IOPS
Packaging and Closer Look
The packaging look fairly typical of Transcend’s products. The package does have a nice gloss look to it and is textured, giving it a high quality feel. The packing itself is universal amongst the SSD340 line. There are specific decals attached to the box depending on which product it contains.
There is not much performance data regarding the SS340 listed on the Transcend website. There is more in depth data listed on the back of the package.
The drive itself comes in a sealed anti-static bag.
The Transcend SSD340 comes with a decent accessory package. A Warranty Card, eight screws, Quick Installation Guide, a 2.5″ to 3.5″ adapter, and two Transcend product pamphlet.
The included 2.5″ to 3.5″ adapter is made of what appears to be brushed and black anodized aluminum. The Transcend logo is nicely silkscreened onto it.
Our first look at the drive. The top cover of the drive is plastic and has a large decal attached to it. The plastic cover is textured and has a slight gloss sheen to it.
The bottom cover is also plastic. Another decal makes an appearance here as well. This decal contain the product specific information. The back cover snaps into place and is secured with a single screw.
Inside, we find a JMicron JM667H 4-channel controller, along with Samsung DDR3 DRAM and Micron 20nm synchronous NAND flash. The PCB is secured with a single screw, with the bottom cover screw providing additional security when attached.
System Configuration and Performance Testing
- EVGA Z87 Stinger Motherboard
- Intel Core i5 4670K Processor
- Kingston HyperX Fury 16GB 1866MHz Memory
- ADATA XPG XS900 128GB Solid State Drive
- Corsair H100 AIO CPU Cooler
- Corsair Vengeance C70 Case
- XFX PRO850W XXX Edition 850w Silver Power Supply
- EVGA Nvidia GTX 760 Graphic Card
- Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1
- ATTO Disk Benchmark
- CrystalDiskMark 3.0
- AS SSD
- Anvil’s Storage Utilities
ATTO Disk Benchmark
“As the industry’s leading provider of high-performance storage & network connectivity products, ATTO has created a widely-accepted Disk Benchmark freeware utility to help measure storage system performance. As one of the top tools utilized in the industry, Disk Benchmark identifies performance in hard drives, solid state drives, RAID arrays as well as connections to storage. Top drive manufacturers, like Hitachi, build and test every drive using the ATTO Disk Benchmark”
“CrystalDiskMark is designed to quickly test the performance of your hard drives. Currently, the program allows to measure sequential and random read/write speeds.”
“Test the sequential or random read/write performance without using the cache. AS SSD Benchmark reads/writes a 1 GByte file as well as randomly chosen 4K blocks. Additionally, it performs the tests using 1 or 64 threads and it determines the SSD’s access time.
Two extra benchmark tests examine the drive’s behaviour when (1) copying a few big files, a lot of small files and a mixture of file sizes by using cached copy functions of your OS as well as (2) reading/writing data depending on the data’s compressibility.”
Anvil’s Storage Utilities
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
The SSD Market is heating up and manufacturers are looking for ways to make their products stand apart from all the others. Some may chose additional features, some may chose additional performance, and others may chose to offer a more attractive price. Transcend apparently chose the latter. At $114.99 in Amazon at the time of writing, the SSD340 is certainly at an attractive price point at $0.45 per gigabyte.
The SSD340’s sequential read speeds were very good, exceeding 500 MB/s in some tests. That is almost a match for the read speeds of my Samsung 840 and exceeds the read speeds my ADATA XPG X900 drives. That is also very close to Transcend’s specifications for the drive. However, sequential write speeds of around 240 MB/s were disappointing. This is far shy of what I would expect for a current generation SSD, no matter the price. It is also 50 MB/s shy of Transcend’s specifications for the drive.
Another issue I had with the SSD340 was with its plastic housing. It neither looks good, nor did it offer much in the way of protection for the PCB. It was extremely flexible and the drive rattled if it was shaken. Having only two screws securing that actual PCB, caused me some concern as well.
As I write this review, Computex 2014 is in full swing. Manufactures are releasing new products left and right. Some of those new products are SSD’s. Not only are many of these newly released SSD’s cheaper than the SSD340, they offer far higher write performance as well. This makes the SSD340 far less attractive then it was a week ago. Perhaps Transcend can tweak the SSD340’s firmware and get more write performance from the drive. Alternatively, they can dramatically lower the price to keep it competitive. Until one of those things happen, I cannot recommend the SSD340 at this time. Perhaps a firmware update from Transcend can improve the performance of the SSD to a point where we can recommend using it.
- Appealing price, low dollar per gigabyte price point
- Seemingly flimsy physical construction
- Performance far from written specifications