Introduction

Transcend has long been a player in the memory and storage arenas, both through the manufacture of hardware under their own brand name as well as OEM services for several other companies. Founded in 1989, the company has had a recent period of accelerated sales growth due to increased demand for its products, particularly in the flash memory segment (SD cards). As their success has grown, however, so has the number of competitors vying for their market share. With an eye to this, Transcend has been slowly expanding their portfolio of devices intended to replace the traditional hard disk. Their most recent entries have been 2.5" SSD disks, and we'll be focusing on their 16GB model that is designed for the industrial sector for this review.

Background

Solid state drives essentially replace the mechanical workings of a traditional hard drive (platters, spindle, motor, etc) with flash memory, resulting in incredibly fast seek times but - to date at least - slower overall transfer rates than mechanical disks. As solid state drives have no moving parts, their survivability in very harsh conditions, tolerance to shock, and noise output are all vastly superior to their mechanical counterparts. The fact that nearly all long-time computer users have had a hard drive failure in their lifetime leads many people to hope that a solution like SSD might someday replace mechanical hard drives as the storage medium of choice. SSD devices do, however, have several shortcomings.
  • Cost: Solid state disks remain expensive, approaching $20 per Gigabyte in cost versus 40 cents per Gigabyte (less for desktop models) for conventional hard drives.
  • Relatively Unproven Technology: Mechanical hard drives have been around for ages and their reliability levels are well known. Solid state disks are still relatively new, and their long term reliability has yet to be determined.
  • Transfer Rates: While the highest-performing solid state disks are now boasting vastly improved transfer rates, most of these devices continue to lag far behind the conventional drives they seek to replace in terms of the speed at which they can transfer data.
The good news for solid state disk proponents is that all of the weaknesses (price, transfer rate, etc) have made very dramatic improvements during the last few years due to increased adoption of the technology in mobile devices. The future of solid state looks promising indeed - but what about the present? Let's have a look at Transcend's newest 16GB SSD offering, the TS16GSSD25-S.
Specifications
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  • Pirks - Tuesday, October 23, 2007 - link

    Everybody read this! -> http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/RAID-Flash-SSD,revie...">http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/RAID-Flash-SSD,revie...

    This is what I would like to see from anandtech

    Raid them guys, RAID 'em

    mmmm! [salivating again]
    Reply
  • AnnihilatorX - Tuesday, October 23, 2007 - link

    Indeed. I wish Anandtech did something similar but with more testing.

    I plan on building such a setup with SATA adaptors and motherboard RAID instead of using a PCI channel.
    It'd be much more affordable for such a performance for my next PC set-up. ($300 24GB ultra fast SSD anyone?)

    Someone can even have 4*16GB CF cards for ultra fast 64GB RAIDing. It may even match a 64GB MTRON at quarter the price.
    Reply
  • Pirks - Tuesday, October 23, 2007 - link

    Actually, this is the best and the most brilliant avenue for anandtech reviews! Hey Anand and Co - drop this PSU stuff, that's boring - give us at least some regular reviews of this CF RAID stuff. Looks like the tech is ripe and people are doing it already. Time to wake up, Anand! Give us a regular monthly column with updates and fresh links/info of the best cost effective way to build our own cheap and darn fast RAIDed SSD clones!

    Everybody cheer with me! Woohoo!

    We need Anand to do this ASAP!
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, October 23, 2007 - link

    It doesn't seem like the CF + RAID approach is really very affordable either. Top quality 266X CF cards cost as much as these SSDs. For example, here's the http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...">IDE Super Talent 16GB that costs $290. Or there's the http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...">32GB IDE Super Talent for $489 - not even twice as much anymore! So we're down to a price of only $15.28 per GB.

    Looking for fast 266X CF cards, they currently top out at 8GB sizes, which start at around $120. $30 for an adapter makes it $150, and you'll need two for 16GB which brings you back to $300. Two 8GB CF 266X cards in RAID 0 would indeed be faster than the single 16GB Transcend/Super Talent SSD, but then two 8GB SSDs cost around $170 and would also be in the same performance range.

    The Raptor 150GB in contrast is a whopping $1.20 per GB, or you can pick up something silly like the 750GB Hitachi for $0.27 per GB - not that anyone could possibly fill 750GB, right? (And yes, there's some sarcasm in those statements.) While these are desktop drives, RAID and SSD basically means using a desktop in most cases as well.

    The one oddity right now is that the SATA SSDs seem to cost about twice as much as the IDE SSDs, probably a supply/demand thing. (Or a "milking the bleeding edge" thing - which is just another facet of supply/demand.) None of the various flash drive options are even remotely affordable, however. That will likely change over time, and when we can get 64-128GB SSDs with something in the realm of 100-150 MB/s transfer rates for under $100, I can see them being nice for people that don't need lots of storage. With Vista sucking down 15GB or so, though, and increasing application sizes, 32GB would be a bare minimum I think.
    Reply
  • AnnihilatorX - Tuesday, October 23, 2007 - link

    The fact that SATA SSDs are much more expensive than IDE counterparts is not mainly down to the interface. The link to the IDE SSD you posted are generally quite old intermsof flash I/O tech and performance in ranges of 20-30 MB/s; 25% slower than a 266x CF card.

    Therefore, CF cards are still more cost effective if you want to match HDD in terns of transfer rate with a RAID setup than buying either IDE/SATA SSDs. (you need to RAID three slow IDE SSDsfor same performance as two 266x CF cards.)
    Reply
  • Pirks - Tuesday, October 23, 2007 - link

    Guys, I can't believe you haven't put two and four of these cheaper 8GB transcends in RAID0 and tested them.

    Holy creepers, I can't even imagine how FOUR such drives would work in RAID 0.

    Arghhhh... you guys just were afraid to do this, that's be just toooo damn good to show us, huh?

    Just kiddin'

    I'm sure four such transcends would kill any raptor or anything. 90 megabytes/sec sustained transfer and 1 ms seek - gosh I need me some lucky lottery ticket!

    [salivating violently and dreaming about raid 0 with these babies]
    Reply
  • cableman67 - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I have a netbook which utilizes the new solid state drive and I have to admit that although I prefer the regular sata and ide hard drives that these new drives do have a lot of good options going for them.

    For one thing there is not really the space for conventional hard drives in these new netbooks which are so small and I have found the performance to be really great. It really exceeded my expectations because I didn't really see it performing any where near the performance I received.

    The only thing that I really regret so far is the fact that it is hard to get the size memory that I would like to have but for what I use my netbook for it hasn't really been a problem yet. Overall I must say that I am impressed with the performance and well satisfied fr now.

    For those people that aren't happy with these drives then just spend the few extra bucks and get a full fledged laptop and be done with it.
    Reply

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