The SSD720 solid-state drive (SSD) is Transcend's new, high-end drive designed to rival the performance of the
At less than $1 per gigabyte however, the SSD720 is more affordable than many other SSDs and its included desktop drive bay converter and mounting screws are useful additions.
If your system is currently using a hard drive as its primary storage location, the SSD720 will provide clear performance gains at a reasonable price; however, in the world of SSDs, there are faster options.
Design and features
|Drive type||7mm-thick, 2.5-inch standard internal drive|
|Connector options||SATA 3 (6Gbps), SATA 2, SATA|
|Available capacities||64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB|
|Product dimensions||7mm-thick, 2.5-inch standard|
|Capacity of test unit||256GB|
|Flash memory type ||SanDisk's 24 nm Toggle-mode DDR MLC NAND|
|OSes supported||Windows, Mac, Linux|
Coming in the now-familiar 7mm chassis, the new SSD720 looks very similar to recent SSDs. The drive supports SATA 3 (6Gbps) and is backward compatible with SATA and SATA 2. We do recommend you use it with a SATA 3-enabled computer to get the most out of it, however.
The drive will fit it most computers, including some ultrabooks, that use standard 2.5-inch hard dives. For a desktop, it also comes with a drive bay converter and screws so you can easily install it in place of a desktop 3.5-inch hard drive. Transcend also includes a downloadable cloning software, called Transcend System Clone, that helps with the upgrade process.
I tried this software out, and while it worked well, it turned out to be very limited. The software can't clone a drive with a larger partition than the capacity of the destination drive, even when the actual amount of data on the source drive is much smaller than the capacity of the destination drive. This is a big problem because most existing hard drives come with larger capacities (and hence a larger partition size) than SSDs. Other cloning software, such as
The System Clone software is part of Transcend SSDScope, a toolbox desktop software for Windows that offers other utilities to manage the SSD720, including updating its firmware, checking its SMART status, and so on. I updated the review drive to the latest firmware (version 5.0.4); the upgrade process was very fast and I didn't even have to restart the computer.
On the inside, the new SSD720 is equipped with SandForce SF-2281 and SanDisk's 24 nm Toggle-mode DDR MLC NAND, which is exactly the same type of flash memory used in the SanDisk Extreme. Toggle-mode flash memory is generally used in high-end consumer-grade SSDs such as the Corsair Neutron GTX, or the Samsung 840 Pro.
Unlike other SandForce-based SSDs, the SSD720 doesn't have RAISE (SandForce's NAND redundancy feature) enabled, making it offer slightly higher capacity, at the expensive of slightly higher risk of data loss. This is, however, is a new trend since, per SandForce, RAISE is not exactly necessary for general consumers; it's more for enterprise products.
Cost per gigabyte
Generally prices of SSDs are subject to a great deal of fluctuation, mostly for the better. For now, the new SSD720 consistently cost less then $1 per gigabyte across all of its capacities, low enough to be called affordable. The 256GB version, for example, can be had for just around $225 or 88 cents per gigabyte.
The drive is not the most affordable on the charts, but for a drive that's relatively new on the market, its initial price point is a good start. It's likely that it will get even lower in the coming months.
I reviewed the 256GB-capacity of the SSD720, and used it both as a secondary drive and as the main drive that hosts the operating system.
As a secondary drive, the SSD offered the real-world sustained write speed of 231MBps, which is above average among all SATA 3 SSDs. In reading test, the drive did better with 270MBps.
When used as the main drive, SSD720's copy speed was reduced to just 109MBps, below the average on the charts. Note that in this test, the drive performed both reading and writing at the same time. Nonetheless, it helped improve the overall performance of the computer a great deal. The test system took just about 11 seconds to boot up and about 5 seconds to shut down, much faster than when it used a hard drive as the main storage. Applications also loaded much more quickly. Compared with other SSDs, however, it wasn't much different, and slightly slower than many. Since SSDs are generally very fast compared with standard hard drives, it's hard to quantify the difference between them when it comes to the overall performance of a computer.
Comprehensively, the SSD720's performance didn't match that of the Corsair Neutron GTX or the Samsung 840 Pro but still provides a significant boost when compared to any hard dive.
|As Secondary Drive||As OS Drive|
With its friendly pricing and decent performance, the Transcend SSD720 is a good buy for those looking to migrate their computer from a regular hard drive to an SSD.