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Transcend SSD370S review: An excellent upgrade to any hard drive

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The Transcend SSD370S is great news for fans of solid-state drives (SSDs). It's both fast and affordable.

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8.2

Transcend SSD370S

The Good

The Transcend SSD370S delivers fast performance at low cost, has high durability and features data encryption.

The Bad

The three-year guarantee is short compared to the five- to 10-year warranties of competing drives.

The Bottom Line

The Transcend SSD370S is an affordable and satisfying upgrade for any computers that still run on a hard drive.

With the top 1TB capacity going for just $360 or £230 (converted, that's AU$470), the new drive is the currently the least expensive solid-state drive (SSD) on the market. (The drive is also available in 512GB, 256GB, 128GB, 64GB and 32GB for proportionally smaller sums.) Yet in my testing, its scores in certain tests were close to top drives' on the market. What's more, the new internal drive has a high endurance rating and also supports data encryption.

There's a little catch, however: the new Transcend SSD comes with only a three-year warranty, which is not as generous as a five- or 1o-year ones offered with some high-end drives, such as the OCZ Vector 180 or the Samsung 850 Pro.

All things considered, if you're not put off by the warranty period, the Transcend SSD370S is an excellent buy. It's a budget SSD with the performance that can measure up to that of high-end drives. For those looking to upgrade their aging computer, this is the internal drive to get. Having no moving parts, an SSD like the Transcend will make the machine so much faster and more reliable.

For more options on excellent standard SSDs, however, check out this list of current top SSDs.

The SSD370S is a standard 2.5-inch internal drive. Josh Miller/CNET

Standard design

The Transcend SSD370S is a standard 2.5-inch internal drive. Like most drives of its type, it comes in a 7mm thickness, slightly thinner than the 9.5mm of a true standard laptop hard drive. The slimmer profile means it can work in more situations, from desktops to standard laptops, and even some ultrabooks. The SSD370S is compatible with virtually all consumer applications where a standard SATA hard drive is used. It features the latest SATA 3 6Gbps standard, but will work with previous revision of the SATA standard.

The new SSD370S is housed in an aluminum casing that's both light -- at just 1.86 ounces (58 grams) -- and sturdy. Note that Transcend also offers another version, model SSD370, that has plastic casing. The two versions are essentially the same, including the pricing.

The Transcend SSD includes a 3.5-inch bracket which will enable it to fit easily inside most desktop computers. You don't really need this bracket to make the drive work -- in most cases you can just leave the drive hanging loose since it doesn't have any moving parts -- but it's always good to have your drive mounted tightly inside the computer.

If you build your own rig, you can install the operating system in exactly the same way that you do you a regular hard dive. For those wanting to upgrade their computer's existing hard drive with an SSD, which is likely the majority of the use cases, there's a piece of software called Transcend SSD Scope included. I found this software quite handy.

Other than managing the drive itself, the SSD Scope software also has a System Clone function that enables users to quickly clone one drive to another another. In my trial, this System Clone function was a bit over-simplistic but it got the job done. If you want a more intuitive option, I'd recommend the free version of Macrium Reflect.

Transcend SSD730S Specs

Drive type 2.5-inch 7mm standard
Capacities 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Controller Transcend TS6500
Flash technology Synchronous MLC NAND flash memory
Sequential read (up to) 520 MB/s
Sequential write (up to) 460 MB/s
Random read IOPS (up to) 75,000
Random write IOPS (up to) 75,000
Main feature Advanced Global Wear-Leveling and Block management
Endurance (TB written) From 45TB to 1,180TB depending on capacity
Accessories 3.5-inch bracket, cloning and utility software
Warranty Three years

Features

Though priced as a budget SSD, the SSD370S has a quite impressive set of features. First of all, Transcend says it sports an advanced garbage collection and recycling system with built-in wear-leveling and error correction code (ECC). The result is that the drive has an ultra-high level of endurance.

In an SSD, endurance (also known as program/erase or P/E cycles) is the rating that quantifies the total amount of data that can be written to an SSD before the drive becomes unreliable. You can think of endurance as the drive's durability. (For more on the endurance of SSDs, check out this post.)

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The Transcend SSD Scope's cloning function, though simple, gets the job done. Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

Generally, the endurance rating increases with capacities, which is exactly the case of the Transcend. The drive is available in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacities that have total written capacities of 45TB, 80TB, 150TB, 280TB, 550TB and 1,180TB, respectively. Take the 128GB capacity, for example: If you write 20GB to it every single day, it will take you more than 20 years to wear out the drive. On average, we write just about 5GB to the computer's drive per day, and definitely not every day. In all, it's safe to say that you'll need to replace your computer much sooner than the Transcend SSD370S drive itself.

On top of that, the drive also features real-time full drive encryption with advanced encryption standard (AES). This feature is available only when the drive is used with compatible motherboards, mostly used in business laptops and workstations.

Cost per gigabyte

Pricing is the most important factor for SSDs, and the SSD370S delivers. The drive's two top capacities, the 512GB and 1TB models, are currently priced in the US at just $176 and $360, respectively, or just about 34 cents per gigabyte, currently the lowest on the market. Many other drives touting similar performance (or slightly higher), such as the Samsung 850 Evo, or the SanDisk Extreme Pro costs more than 50 cents per gigabyte.

In all, the Transcend's pricing is one of the most friendly I've seen and there's a good chance that it will go down even further by the end of the year.

SSD cost per gigabye in US dollars

OCZ Vector 180 (240GB) $0.58SanDisk Extreme Pro (240GB) $0.57Samsung SSD 850 Pro (256GB) $0.56Intel SSD 730 (240GB) $0.55OCZ Vector 180 (480GB) $0.53Plextor M6S (256GB) $0.52Samsung SSD 850 Pro (512GB) $0.50Transcend SSD370S (128GB) $0.47SanDisk Extreme Pro (480GB) $0.46Crucial MX200 (250GB) $0.40Crucial MX200 (500GB) $0.40Transcend SSD370S (256GB) $0.39Samsung SSD 850 Evo (250GB) $0.38SanDisk Ultra II (240GB) $0.38OCZ ARC 100 (240GB) $0.37Samsung SSD 850 Evo (500GB) $0.36SanDisk Ultra II (480GB) $0.35Transcend SSD370S (1TBGB) $0.35Transcend SSD370S (512GB) $0.34WD Black 2 Dual Drive $0.12
Notes: Measured in cost per gigabyte based on current prices on Amazon. Shorter bars/lower numbers indicate better value.

Performance

The Transcend SSD370S' performance was a nice surprise. Considering its low cost, I didn't expect much but the drive excelled in most tests.

The SSD370S did best in sequential tests with a sustained write and read speed of 311MBps and 390MBps, respectively, higher than some high-end drives such as the OCZ Vector 180. When both reading and writing at the same time, it averaged 151MBps, a bit lower on the chart but still quite impressive.

CNET Labs SSD data transfer performance

SanDisk Extreme Pro 250.98 450.59 457.46Samsung SSD 850 Pro 246.25 454.32 448.11Crucial MX200 190.3 433.49 412.46Transcend SSD370S 150.69 311.73 390.08OCZ Vector 180 175.3 347.32 353.67SanDisk Ultra II 126.49 210.21 319.23Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 236.18 269.78 270.8Transcend SSD720 145.26 230.58 269.55Intel SSD 730 Series 189.52 265.53 266.84WD Black 2 Dual Drive 174.65 114.66 228.2Plextor M6S 155.34 144.78 227.89Samsung SSD 850 Evo 182.78 114.45 205.63SanDisk Extreme II 224.27 255.86 203.42OCZ Vector 150 231.42 265.32 200.46
  • As OS drive (read and write)
  • As secondary drive (write only)
  • As secondary drive (read only)
Notes: Measured in megabytes per second.

The drive also did well running PC Mark 8 storage benchmark tests, earning a storage score of 4,927 and the storage bandwidth of more than 210MBps.

PC Mark 8 overall storage performance

Samsung SSD 850 Evo 4,983 276.16Samsung SSD 850 Pro 4,979 267.32Crucial MX200 4,968 256.94SanDisk Extreme Pro 4,957 244.17Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 4,948 236.18Transcend SSD370S 4,927 210.4SanDisk Ultra II 4,922 208.55OCZ Vector 180 4,921 204.04OCZ ACR 100 series 4,948 203.72
  • Storage score
  • Storage bandwith (MB/s)
Notes: Higher numbers indicate better performance.

The drive's application performance was also quite good, similar to that of most SSDs. This is because for end-users, it's very hard to detect the differences between different SSDs in this category due to the fact that most, if not all, SSDs deliver so much better performance when compared to regular hard drives than compared to one another.

That said, if you haven't used an SSD before, you'll experience a huge change in performance, but if you have, the change will be minimal. Nonetheless, with the SSD370S, it's worth noting that test computer's overall performance was greatly improved compared over when the machine was running a fast hard drive.

PC Mark 8 storage application performance

Samsung SSD 850 Evo 58 133.4 359.2 28.2 9.2 9.2Crucial MX200 58 133.6 361 28.2 9.2 9.2Samsung SSD 850 Pro 58.1 133.8 361.8 28.3 9.1 9.2SanDisk Extreme Pro 58.4 133.9 361.1 28.3 9.2 9.2Transcend SSD370S 58.6 134.3 363.9 28.4 9.3 9.3SanDisk Ultra II 58.8 134.6 363.1 28.4 9.3 9.3OCZ ARC 100 series 58.9 134.7 362.3 28.4 9.4 9.3OCZ Vector 180 59 134.8 361.2 28.5 9.4 9.4Standard laptop HDD 138.9 366 565.19 51.7 26.6 27.4
  • World of Warcraft
  • Battlefield 3
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
Notes: Measured in seconds. Shorter bars indicate better performance.

At the end of the day, from a performance perspective, upgrading your computer from a standard hard drive to the SSD370S will make a huge difference. But if your computer has already been running an SSD, the only reason you'd want to move to this new SSD would be its greater storage space.

Conclusion

The Transcend SSD370S won me over with its pricing alone. Its excellent performance and extremely high endurance are just gratifying icing on an already tasty cake.

In all, this new SSD has a lot going for it. In fact, other than the comparatively short three-year warranty, there's nothing I can complain about it.

Keep in mind though, this is not the fastest drive on the market in terms of speed and features. If you're looking for a top performance drive with lots of bells and whistles, I'd recommend the Samsung 850 Pro or the SanDisk Extreme Pro. On the other hand, if you just want to boost your (aging) computer's performance, quite significantly, without digging a hole in your wallet, the SSD370S (or the SSD370) is the way to go. Considering its cost, this is easily one of the best deals out there.

transcend-solid-state-drive-2260-001.jpg
8.2

Transcend SSD370S

Score Breakdown

Setup 8Features 8Performance 8Support 6