Hot on the heels of a PNY Optima review, we have another low-cost SSD that promises to provide SSD performance without traditional SSD prices. Early SSDs suffered on two fronts: high failure rates and high prices. As with any new technology, time eliminates both of these issues. SSDs are now widely considered more reliable than the technology they replaced, and prices have shrunk to very low levels.
Almost as long as we've had performance SSDs, we've had lower tier mainstream models too. Most of these products shipped with lower quality flash but with the same high performance controller found on the flagship offerings. Some of the products were actually pretty good, but a very large number of them were cringingly bad.
Over time, the industry determined that using lower quality flash is the wrong way to approach the mainstream market. Micron's L85A flash also made the decision much easier to swallow. L85A, known by many as 20nm 128Gb die flash, is now very cheap and plentiful, so third-party SSD manufacturers can take on flash manufacturers in the mainstream SSD market.
Transcend isn't new to SSDs or low cost models designed for broad adoption. The SSD720 we reviewed last year was a solid offering and at times competed for the lowest priced mainstream SSD at Newegg. Transcend is back with a new mainstream SSD, this time using a JMicron controller but one that we've tested and liked in the past.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Transcend built three capacity sizes for the US market: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. A part number exists for a 32GB SDD 340 but we haven't seen it for sale online and suspect it's for emerging markets or embedded applications.
We didn't find any performance information on Transcend's website on the product page or in the datasheet. Newegg's page for the SSD340 256GB, the capacity we're reviewing today, states sequential read performance at 520 MB/s, sequential write speed at 290 MB/s, random reads at 69,000 IOPS, and random write IOPS at 68,000. All but the sequential write speed are higher than the PNY Optima we reviewed just two weeks ago and really liked.
A big reason why we liked the Optima so much has to do with the price, and the Transcend SSD340 comes very close to the same price point. The 256GB model we're testing today costs just $139.99. The 128GB model comes in at $69.99 and the 64GB drive at $57.74.
The Transcend SSD340 ships with a three-year warranty, desktop adapter bracket, screws for securing your drive, a quick installation guide, and a warranty card. Transcend now offers an SSD Toolbox-like software called SSD Scope. SSD Scope includes a disk-cloning feature so that you can easily clone the data from your existing drive to your Transcend SSD. The software is free to Transcend SSD owners, but you must download the software from the website; it doesn't ship with the Transcend drives.
PRICING: You can find the Transcend SSD340 SSD (2565GB) for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The Transcend SSD340 SSD (2565GB) retails for $118.99 at Amazon.