It's a tough world out there for SSD manufacturers. Prices are decreasing and with them so are margins. In order to get ahead almost all of the Team SandForce partners released an asynchronous flash product to lower the build price of SSDs and eventually the overall price to consumers. Lower prices mean more mainstream users have the opportunity to buy the products so volumes increase, this in turn lowers prices even further for all of the SSDs because shared items like PCBs and surface mount components are purchased in higher quantities. It's really a win - win for everyone, but should a power user buy a SSD with asynchronous flash?
Last year a number of, well let's just say inexperienced reviewers followed the marketing lines and claimed asynchronous flash based SSDs only lost performance when working with incompressible data. I guess that is true enough to not simply call them liars, but the SandForce architecture compresses all of the data it sees if it can. Essentially once you get start putting data on the drives, you slow the drive down. It's the same thing with Toggle and synchronous flash, but asynchronous flash takes a bigger performance hit.
If you work with a lot of incompressible data like movies, music and files wrapped up Zip/RAR packages then you are slowing an asynchronous drive like the Transcend SSD320 down to SATA II level speeds rapidly just by storing this type of data on the drive. Our Data on Drive Benchmark is like the Inconvenient Benchmark, but there's no debate on the evidence it provides.
Most of our readers are power users and enthusiasts so the Transcend SSD320 isn't the ideal drive for most of you. Your mother, most of your friends and those who surf FaceTwit more than they decompress the new Green Day FLAC files are much better suited for the SSD320.
With that in mind, the price becomes a much larger issue. As a fellow enthusiast, I'd pony up an additional $30 for the SSD720, but I actually use my computers for more than surfing the web. For the average user, the performance offered by the SSD320 is very good, I'd say exceptional and a true revolution to the PC for those coming from mechanical drives. Also, for those who see the $179.90 to $209 price difference as a significant amount of money for a computer part, then the SSD320 might be a better choice. It does allow you to get SSD level read access times for less money than a full on SATA III beast of a drive, like the SSD720.
Once thing I do really like about what Transcend did with the SSD320 is they didn't give up any of the additional goodies that mainstream users may value more than enthusiasts. A desktop adapter bracket for example, enthusiasts most likely have upgraded their computer case to take advantage of USB 3.0 and in the process received 2.5" compliant drive bays. Enthusiasts and power users by now have a collection of drive cloning software too, but for many of the mainstreamer this is their first SSD. Transcend didn't take these away on the mainstream offering like many SSD manufactures did. Transcend also actually has a very good collection of software tools on their website, one of the best we've seen to date.
So, to answer the question, chances are you should not buy the Transcend SSD320 for yourself if you read TweakTown on a daily basis. If you want to buy a low-cost SSD to put in your mother's computer or even your second, third or fourth computer, then you would be fine with this product. Just keep the amount of unneeded data on the drive to a minimum and this one will do fine. Users who tend to fill drives up with data will notice a significant slowdown of performance as soon as they finish loading an operating system and Office.
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