Transcend SSD320 (256GB) - A Mainstream SandForce Drive

Launch SRP: S$330

SandForce X Asynchronous NAND

SandForce X Asynchronous NAND

Not too long ago, SSDs were too expensive for most people to have in their systems. They were considered a novelty, a luxury for which only those with deep pockets or an unhealthy passion for performance could afford. Nowadays, prices of SSDs have come down drastically and are much, much more affordable thanks to falling costs of memory and also the sheer number of SSD solutions in the market today.

The Transcend SSD320 uses the same SandForce controller but packs cheaper and slower asynchronous NAND.

To stand out in the crowded market place is difficult, which is why we are already seeing some companies moving away their focus and energies from the SSD business. We heard that Patriot is going to distance itself from the SSD marketplace and focus on memory/flash solutions instead. Transcend, however, is a very strong and big player in the SSD market and seems to only be forging full steam ahead.

We reviewed their flagship SSD720 drive back in June and found it to be a very competent SandForce SSD, offering good, consistent performance at an attractive price. Today, we are looking at the SSD720’s little brother, the SSD320.

The Transcend SSD320 is the company’s mainstream offering and although it uses the same SandForce SF-2281 controller as the SSD720 and also has the same SATA 6Gbps interface, it differs in that it uses slower asynchronous NAND memory. The difference between synchronous and asynchronous NAND memory is that synchronous NAND memory transmits data on both the rise and fall of the signal wave, which translates to higher raw data throughput and faster response times. How much of an impact will this have on performance will be interesting to see.

But before we continue, here’s a quick look at the drive.

The Transcend SSD320 comes with an installation drive adapter to fit into standard 3.5-inch drive bays, but no SATA data and power cables.

Peeling the drive cover open reveals eight NAND chips. These chips are of 16GB density. Further investigation into the serial code reveals that they are sourced from Micron.

Flipping the PCB aside reveals an additional eight NAND chips and the SandForce SF-2281 controller. 

The Good
Decent performance for an SSD with asynchronous memory
Good write performance
Comes with hard drive bay adapter
The Bad
Read performance significantly poorer than high-end SSDs
No SATA data and power cable
Pricing makes no sense

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