Transcend SSD340 (256GB) Reviewby Kristian Vättö on August 4, 2014 5:00 AM EST
A couple of months ago we reviewed JMicron's JMF667H reference design SSDs, which did relatively well in our tests especially when taking JMicron's previous SSD controllers into account. As always, reference designs are only meant for evaluation and do not make their way into retail, so today we are taking a look at Transcend's SSD340.
The SSD340 is based on the same JMF667H controller, although the firmware is an older version than what we tested in the reference design SSDs. Transcend told us that they currently have no plans to update the firmware to the newer version, which I am guessing is due to using customized firmware. It is actually quite rare that OEMs use the stock firmware as typically the OEMs request some changes and customizations, making it slower and more difficult to upgrade the firmware. I would not even be surprised if some OEMs did not upgrade the firmware to ensure product differentiation because it is obvious that OEMs do not want their low end drives to jeopardize the sales of higher cost (and profit) drives.
Update 8/18: Apparently Transcend has released a new firmware for the SSD340. I will try to find some time to test the new firmware and will provide an update if anything changes.
|Transcend SSD340 Specifications|
|NAND||Micron 128Gbit 20nm MLC|
|4KB Random Read||19K IOPS||33K IOPS||62K IOPS||67K IOPS|
|4KB Random Write||9K IOPS||17K IOPS||35K IOPS||68K IOPS|
|Load Power (Read/Write)||1.08W / 1.14W||1.41W / 1.33W||1.52W / 1.98W||1.63W / 3.75W|
The SSD340 is available in capacities ranging from 32GB to 256GB. The JMF667H actually has a capacity limit of 256GB, which also limits the SSD340 to just 256GB. We should see JMF670H make its entry later this year with support for 512GB, but until then 256GB is the highest you can go with a JMicron controller.
Like nearly all client SSDs, the SSD340 has a three-year warranty with an endurance limitation. Quite surprisingly the endurance scales with capacity, although the scaling is not exactly linear. Nowadays most client SSDs only have a single rating for all capacities, so it is pleasant to see a scalable endurance for a change. I am pretty sure many OEMs just artificially lower the spec to make sure that enterprises customers do not choose the lower profit consumer drives, as the difference between high-end client and entry-level enterprise drives is quite indeterminate (i.e. entry-level enterprise drives are usually based on client platforms).
Transcend's data sheet for the SSD340 states that the drive supports DevSleep, although there are not any actual power figures listed aside from normal idle, which are way too high for DevSleep. Since the controller supports DevSleep, I have to wonder why Transcend has not published any power figures; we'll check power later on to verify whether the SSD340 actually supports DevSleep.
Transcend uses Micron's 128Gbit 20nm NAND in the SSD340. Our 256GB review sample had a total of sixteen NAND packages (eight on each side of the PCB), meaning that each package is a single-die package with one 128Gbit (16GB) die. There is also Samsung's 256MB DDR3-1600 DRAM chip working as a cache.
|CPU||Intel Core i5-2500K running at 3.3GHz (Turbo and EIST enabled)|
|Motherboard||AsRock Z68 Pro3|
|Chipset Drivers||Intel 126.96.36.1995 + Intel RST 10.2|
|Memory||G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 4 x 8GB (9-9-9-24)|
|Video Card||Palit GeForce GTX 770 JetStream 2GB GDDR5 (1150MHz core clock; 3505MHz GDDR5 effective)|
|Video Drivers||NVIDIA GeForce 332.21 WHQL|
|Desktop Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|OS||Windows 7 x64|
Thanks to G.Skill for the RipjawsX 32GB DDR3 DRAM kit
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jabber - Monday, August 4, 2014 - linkHmm for most general use its reads not writes. So I doubt most normal folks would notice.
hojnikb - Monday, August 4, 2014 - linkAgain, install OS (win to go is pretty easy to setup for example) to a cheap flashdrive and come back :)
Even though there is plenty more reads than writes in client world, its still important that random writes don't sux, because the moment OS will try to write something is the moment everything will freeze (think jmicron 602)
TheWrongChristian - Monday, August 4, 2014 - linkRandom writes suck if they block reads. That was the problem with the old jmicron controllers, a high latency write would block everything including reads.
With good command queuing, and non-blocking writes, reads should still be low latency, and for boot and application startup, it's read latency that counts. The OS can mask write latency pretty well, to the point that you're unlikely to notice much difference on a desktop.
On a server, you're much more likely to notice write latencies however. Think database servers writing log data, or a file server waiting for a file write before acknowledging a sync. But even there, a file server can batch write file updates from many clients (or use the sequential journal for data) and the database similarly decomposes synchronous writes to sequential log files.
So all in all, so long as writes don't block unrelated reads, you should be fine.
jabber - Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - linkAs it happens I rebuilt a Sony all in one PC with just one of the exact drives in this review. Worked fine. Installed swiftly with no issues. There are benchmarks...and then there is using it in the real world and often real world is very different to those.
Friendly0Fire - Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - linkThe point is that according to the table in this review you can get a flat-out better SSD *for the same price*, unless you're looking for the 64gb size in which case a measly $20 will upgrade to 128gb. The value proposition just isn't there.
jabber - Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - linkWell I got mine for £65 and the next cheapest 200+GB SSD was £85 so was worth it. Thats pounds...not dollars. Thats a $32 difference for very little difference in general usage.
MrFixitx - Monday, August 4, 2014 - linkI am honestly not at all surprised by these results. Transcend has for years been the maker of "value" NAND based products. From camera memory cards to usb thumb drives.
I have been burned by their compact flash cards before and would not recommend their flash based products for anything where reliability is critical.
velanapontinha - Monday, August 4, 2014 - linkHi, Kristian.
Any chance of reviewing the SSD370 line anytime soon? These are dirt cheap and should prove a lot better overall than the SSD340.
Kristian Vättö - Monday, August 4, 2014 - linkI don't have the drive yet but it's certainly on the list of SSDs to review.
saliti - Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - linkWhat about Samsung 845 DC Pro review?