Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Transcend offers three capacity sizes for the SSD320 series of products, 64GB, 128GB and the 256GB model that we're testing today. The specifications list doesn't list any performance data, but we did find a 560MB/s read and 530MB/s write rating in a PDF file that covered both the SSD720 and SSD320 side-by-side. The sequential read performance is the same for both models, but the sequential write speed is 10MB/s slower on the SSD320.
There are three key standout features on the SSD320. The first is the 7mm z-height form factor. There are very few low cost asynchronous flash SSDs available in the 7mm package. Most companies are only using 7mm on flagship offerings. You may have noticed the full 256GB data capacity size and started thinking Marvell or another controller, but Transcend uses SandForce's 0-provision programming on both the SSD720 and the SSD320.
LSI SandForce controllers use all of the space you don't have occupied as spare area so this really doesn't affect performance until you get a lot of data on the drive and start taking up the last 7%. I'd go as far as to say on an asynchronous drive you won't want to do that - we'll show you why later in the review. The third key feature, one that isn't really advertised, is TRIM working on the drive. When we tested the ADATA SP900, another 0-provision drive with asynchronous flash, we didn't have working TRIM.
As we mentioned in the introduction the SSD320 gained quite a bit of attention on price shopping sites like Fat Wallet. We've seen the SSD320 go on sale a number of times, but at the time of writing, there weren't any amazing deals happening. The 256GB SSD320 that we're reviewing today was found on Google Shopping for $179.90. The price is really good, but the SSD720 flagship in 256GB capacity size is only $30 more at $209. We've compared async vs. sync flash drives before and the lower price generally doesn't justify the savings. Will the SSD320 be any different today? You'll just have to wait to find out.
I have to admit I was surprised when I opened the retail package on the Transcend SSD320 and found the same accessory package that shipped with the SSD720. In the past we've seen companies ship their asynchronous 'mainstream' products with just a bare drive and nothing else. The SSD320 ships with the same three year warranty, desktop adapter bracket and paper manuals that we found with the SSD720. You also get access to the same software library on Transcend's website so the SSD320 isn't just another stripped down async flash drive like many of the others.