Review: Transcend 32GB & 256GB SSDs Reviewed by: Seán Byrne Provided by: Transcend NL
Transcend was kind enough to lend us two of their latest high performance consumer grade solid state drives for review, one with 32GB capacity and another with 256GB capacity, both MLC based. Both drives feature a 2.5" form factor with an SATA2 interface. These SSDs can be fitted directly into a laptop that supports an SATA hard drive, but for this this review, we will be using a desktop PC that supports SATA2 drives.
As we have mentioned in previous reviews of SSD drives, running synthetic benchmarks on SSDs is of limited use, as they rarely show how well the SSD performs in the real world. With most hard disks, the main factors that affect performance are read/write speeds across the platter, random access times, their burst speed and their cache size. As SSDs use wear-levelling to try giving as even wear as possible across the NAND blocks and also need to carry out an erase cycle on blocks before they can be rewritten, these factors have a huge impact on an SSD’s performance.
For example, an SSD fresh out of the box will perform quicker than an SSD that has been quick-formatted after several months of heavy use filled to near capacity. A hard disk on the other hand will perform exactly the same out of box as after even several years of heavy use, assuming the hard disk’s mechanical functionality is still in perfect working order and the platter does not have any defects.
So in this review, we start by carrying out a small number of synthetic benchmarks, comparing it to an OCZ Agility, a desktop hard disk, a laptop hard disk and against other SSDs for some tests. The rest of the review involves a variety real world tests with a clean Windows 7 installation and again with an aged Windows 7 installation that has been in everyday use over a year. Finally, we measure performance as the SSDs are filled up to capacity with small files.
Transcend Company Information
Transcend is a well-known manufacturer of memory products, including USB flash drives, flash memory cards, card readers, computer RAM and a variety of consumer electronics goods.
The company was founded in 1988 with its headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan and claim to be the first memory module manufacturer in Taiwan and also the second in the world to receive ISO 9001 certification. Their products are marketed around the world, serving all the major markets.
Further information on the Transcend Company Profile can be found on their website.
These SSDs were shipped to us in shrink-wrapped retail packaging, as shown in the following images:
32GB & 256GB models as received.
Top & bottom of both boxes.
Same on each side of both boxes.
Back of the 32GB box, same as 256GB model apart from the sticker with the red trim.
Sticker at the rear of the box for the 256GB model.
What’s inside the box?
The following shows the contents of the 32GB box:
The only difference with the content of the 256GB model is the drive itself. Both SSDs were enclosed in a static-proof bag, as shown at the upper right of the above image.
The retail bundle consists of:
- Transcend 2.5” SATA2 SSD.
- 4 mounting screws.
- A quick installation guide.
- Warranty guide (not shown.)
- Transcend product guide (not shown.)
The following shows close-ups of the label side of the 32GB and 256GB SSDs:
On the bottom of the SSDs, we can see the model numbers, serial numbers, the power handlings and the SATA connectors, along with various certification logos. The reverse side is plain black with a holographic Transcend logo.
Both SSDs appear to have hard plastic casing.
At this time of writing, the only specifications we were able to obtain were those printed at the upper left at the rear of both boxes. Even still, these specifications don’t appear to be accurate as both boxes show the same specifications in this table and the write speeds mentioned do not match up with any of the write speeds mentioned on the front of the boxes! We were also unable to find detailed specifications online.
The following shows a close-up of the read/write speeds mentioned on the front of the box for the various models:
The following shows a close-up of the SSD specifications table at the rear. This table is identical on both boxes:
As there is no clear mention of the controller, we contacted Transcend and they mentioned that both SSDs use the JMicron 612 controller and that the 32GB model is also supported by Hynix.
Now let’s head to the next page where we will look at our test PC and testing procedures…