Version and / or Patch Used: 2012 1.5
High disk busy time generally equates to low battery life, but that wasn't the case with the Transcend SD340. The drive lasted 268 minutes in our Lenovo W530, which is middle of the pack when it comes to 256GB capacity size SSDs.
The low-cost SSD market is really heating up and not just because companies are making new products just for this segment. While drives like the PNY Optima and Transcend SSD340 are coming to market, drives like Seagate's 600 Pro, various LSI SandForce models, and for that matter, everything is dropping to roughly 50 cents/GB. This all started around Black Friday, and at that time, we predicted an SSD revolution with new, very low price points. That prediction held true, even when analysts said it wouldn't. Now, 50 cents/GB is normal, and we're even seeing entry-level enterprise drives tip up at this new low.
When shopping for an SSD, the 256GB capacity size is the sweet spot for price, performance, and value. It's a very complicated capacity class, though, because there is a lot competition. Not only do you have new products coming to market, but you also have products first introduced two years ago floating around. The SATA III limit sets the bar pretty low since PCIe based SSDs show us that more sequential performance is possible with the flash we have today.
The SATA III limits the sequential performance, but the random performance is still fair game. Over the last year, we've seen companies put a lot of effort at delivering both low queue depth performance and consistent write performance for better RAID array performance.
Somewhere along the line, things went really bad for the Transcend SSD340. We tested the same controller in the KingFast C-Drive 240GB but with Toshiba 19nm flash. In sequential writes, the KingFast C-Drive delivered 150 MB/s more in ATTO. The mixed workload performance was considerably higher as well. Although we didn't publish the results in this review, the PCMark 8 standard test on the SSD340 was 189 MB/s, but the same test on the C-Drive was 256 MB/s. I don't see the firmware causing an issue like this although we've seen other companies FUBAR the firmware this bad in the past.
Transcend's website specifically states this model uses synchronous MLC flash, and Micron's datasheet backs that up. The drive performs as if it's running in asynchronous mode. At this point, we're going to have to pass on this model and wait until Transcend updates the firmware to take another look. The performance is ridiculously low compared to other drives on the market. If we didn't test the C-Drive, we'd just chalk this up to the controller and the issues JMicron had in the past. We know this controller can deliver solid performance, but this drive doesn't do anything for JMicron's reputation.
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.
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