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
Capacity 32GB 64GB 128GB 256GB
Controller JMicron JMF667H
NAND Micron 128Gbit 20nm MLC
Sequential Read 189MB/s 364MB/s 530MB/s 518MB/s
Sequential Write 37MB/s 73MB/s 145MB/s 285MB/s
4KB Random Read 19K IOPS 33K IOPS 62K IOPS 67K IOPS
4KB Random Write 9K IOPS 17K IOPS 35K IOPS 68K IOPS
Idle Power 0.53W 0.53W 0.54W 0.55W
Load Power (Read/Write) 1.08W / 1.14W 1.41W / 1.33W 1.52W / 1.98W 1.63W / 3.75W
Endurance 33TB 66TB 106TB 141TB
Encryption No
Warranty Three years

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. 

Test System

CPU Intel Core i5-2500K running at 3.3GHz (Turbo and EIST enabled)
Motherboard AsRock Z68 Pro3
Chipset Intel Z68
Chipset Drivers Intel 9.1.1.1015 + 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

Performance Consistency & TRIM Validation
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  • farhadd - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link

    Newegg recently had the 840 EVO 1TB on sale for $390. So hopefully you'll be seeing that $250 price point by 2016. Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Monday, August 04, 2014 - link

    Getting a SSD just because it makes less noise is not going to be a cost effective way to reduce noise for the foreseeable future. Just throw some acoustic foam in the case and use the cheapest gig/$ HDD you can find. Reply
  • Strunf - Monday, August 04, 2014 - link

    Just put some RAM on the HTPC and set the torrent client to use a fair amount of it and minimize disk access, SSD for HTPC or torrenting is an overkill... the only real advantage of the SSD is to boot faster anything else wont really benefit from it. Reply
  • Zolcos - Monday, August 04, 2014 - link

    Storing all your movies on the HTPC isn't practical imo, at least once you get a sizable collection. HTPCs have high requirements for noise and physical size (great place for SSD) whereas mass storage is all about cost, density, and possibly redundancy (better for HDD). You're better off building a separate file server in another room and having your HTPC play the movies off a network share. A nice big cheap raid set of HDDs will provide enough throughput to saturate your internet upload via torrenting while also having smooth 1080p playback over the LAN. Reply
  • tuxRoller - Monday, August 04, 2014 - link

    As others have said you don't need a big ssd to meet your reqs. On Linux you could employ bcache with a small ssd (say, 32gb), and then get a big, slow saucer for bulk.
    I'd imagine windows offers something similar.
    Reply
  • Samus - Monday, August 04, 2014 - link

    You should really look at an SSHD for a media center. It won't cache playback of random media files, but it the 7200RPM drives have a sustained read of 150MB/sec and write of 120MB/sec at the outer sector, and the real benefit in an HTPC comes from caching startup/system data and program files. The overall response is very snappy, even SSD like.

    My 2.5" 1TB and 3.5" 2TB have both been excellent. Among the only Seagate products I've been happy with lately.
    Reply
  • TonyCL6 - Thursday, August 07, 2014 - link

    Seems like Transcend finally provides the new firmware? http://www.transcendusa.com/Support/No-502 Reply
  • ddriver - Monday, August 04, 2014 - link

    Too slow on sequential writes, even at its fastest it is as slow as SSDs 2-3 years ago. And 37 mb/sec? What is that? SD cards are faster... Reply
  • MrSpadge - Monday, August 04, 2014 - link

    Using the cheaper 128 GBit NAND chips means you can only use 2 of them in parallel for 32 GB capacity. Reply
  • hojnikb - Monday, August 04, 2014 - link

    i don' think any value 32GB sd card tops 37MB/s WRITE.
    And random write it will destroy pretty much every sd card you can throw at it.
    Reply

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