Transcend SSD370S review: An excellent upgrade to any hard drive
Fast and affordable, the new Transcend SSD370S is a satisfying upgrade that brings a new level of performance to any computers that still use a hard drive. Here's CNET's full review.
The Transcend SSD370S is great news for fans of solid-state drives (SSDs). It's both fast and affordable.
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 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
|2.5-inch 7mm standard
|32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
|Synchronous MLC NAND flash memory
|Sequential read (up to)
|Sequential write (up to)
|Random read IOPS (up to)
|Random write IOPS (up to)
|Advanced Global Wear-Leveling and Block management
|Endurance (TB written)
|From 45TB to 1,180TB depending on capacity
|3.5-inch bracket, cloning and utility software
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.