Transcend Announces SSD320 As Max IOPs Becomes Irrelevant

Transcend, well known for their myriad storage and memory solutions, has announced the release of its new SSD320 6Gb/s SSD. The LSI Sandforce based drive will deliver read and write speeds of up to 560MB/s and 530MB/s respectively.

Also offered is random 4k performance of up to 87,000 IOPS, up from from the 60,000 IOPS seen on most garden variety SF-2281 based products; it looks as though the so called unlocked firmware is really making the rounds.

The new drives will be available in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512 GB capacities, all in a 7mm form factor.  Pricing has yet to be announced.

An interesting thing about this release is the new drives’ comparative similarity to Transcends’ SSD720 which has been on the market for a few months now. Indeed, the main difference appears to be the different types of flash memory used, with the 720 integrating toggle mode NAND, and the 320 utilizing something slightly more pedestrian, perhaps even asynchronous flash. Whatever the case, it seems that the 320 is being promoted as a more value oriented solution, with the 720 being reserved for those with somewhat higher end tastes. This is fine, however, because when it comes to filling the needs of multiple price segments, the more the merrier. I just can’t help but wonder if Transcend may actually end up cannibalizing their own sales by creating two products with such similar specs, but hey, it worked fairly well for OCZ, and when in Rome.

Speaking of similar products, we’ve been seeing a lot of new LSI Sandforce based drives with ever higher random performance specs. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for higher performance in hardware, usually in any form I can get it. The issue I have with these new “Max IOPs” drives and firmware, is that they don’t really provide any real world performance advantage to the vast majority of (if any) end users. I know high numbers look sexy and all but I honestly thought these types of psychological marketing experiments ended when Intel mercifully scrapped development on their Netburst architecture. I would much rather see enhancements or additions that consumers are likely to actually benefit from.

blankAs an example, is it really all that difficult to make caching software a standard part of SSD product packages. How about longer warranties?  I know I would certainly welcome a guarantee that assures me I’ll be able to hold on to my investment for at least half a decade. Don’t forget the inclusion of Class A game titles, and though it seems we are fortunate enough to have several firms that understand the value of this last aspect, it really would be nice to see more companies take advantage of this extra incentive. I’m sure if marketing departments put their heads together, they could think of all sorts of creative and effective ways to wet the palette of potential buyers. Enough with the past preconceptions that impressive but un-useable power is a good thing, I prefer real world utility and I’m sure many in the market for an SSD will agree with me.

It’s time for the industry to wake up and smell the pragmatism.


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