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Transcend SSD720 128GB Review (7.0mm)

Rating: 9.0.

If you are in the market for a new Solid State drive there is certainly no shortage of options available. Today we are looking at the new Transcend SSD720 128GB drive which features the class leading Sandforce 2281 controller.

The SSD720 is a 2.5 inch SATA III 6Gb/s drive designed for both notebooks/desktop systems and they are releasing 64 GB/ 128GB / 256 GB and 512 GB models in this series. It is shipped inside a super slim 7.0mm casing, ideal for space restricted Ultrabooks.

We will find out how it competes against a huge selection of leading drives from market competitors.

Product overview:

  • Next generation SATA III 6Gb/s interface
  • Supports TRIM, NCQ, and S.M.A.R.T. functions
  • Silent, low-power operation. Resistant to shock and vibration
  • Backwards compatible with SATA II (3Gb/s) and SATA I (1.5Gb/s)
  • Three-year limited warranty

The Transcend SSD720 drive ships in a small black box. We like the minimalistic approach.

Transcend don’t bundle any extras such as a 3.5 inch drive bay or cables, but they include plenty of literature detailing their product range.

The Transcend SSD720 drive ships in a plain metal enclosure with a sticker on the front of the drive, highlighting the storage capacity. Getting access to the insides requires the removal of two warranty invalid stickers and four screws. Transcend rate the drive up to 560MB/s read and 540 MB/s write.

The drive measures 100.3mm x 69.85mm x 7mm and weighs 95g.

One side of the PCB is naked, and will likely be fully populated with the 256GB and 512GB versions of the drive. The Sandforce SF-2281VB1-SDC controller looks rather lonely.

Transcend are using Sandisk SDZNPQBHER MLC NAND flash (16gb x 8).

The Sandforce 2281 controller can access eight separate NAND channels, and two NAND modules are placed on each channel. The drive uses the DuraWrite algorithm which delivers on the fly compression for improved overall performance. Mach Xtreme rate this particular 120GB drive capable of delivering sequential transfer speeds of 540MB/s read | 490MB/s Write.

On this page we present some super high resolution images of the product taken with the 24.5MP Nikon D3X camera and 24-70mm ED lens. These will take much longer to open due to the dimensions, especially on slower connections. If you use these pictures on another site or publication, please credit Kitguru.net as the owner/source.

For testing, the drives are all wiped and reset to factory settings by HDDerase V4. We try to use free or easily available programs and some real world testing so you can compare our findings against your own system.

This is a good way to measure potential upgrade benefits.

Main system:

CPU: Intel Core i7 2700k
Cooler: Thermaltake Frio OCK
Motherboard: Asus P8P67 Deluxe
Memory: ADATA DDR3 2000mhz 9-11-9-24
Graphics: Sapphire HD6950 Flex Edition
Chassis: Thermaltake Level 10 GT
Operating System: Windows 7 64 bit Enterprise
Monitor: Dell U2410

Other Drives (used in Core i7 2700k system above):
Kingston SSDNow V+200 90GB
OCZ Octane 512GB (V1.13 fw)
Mach Xtreme MX-DS Turbo 120GB
Corsair Performance Pro 256GB
Samsung 830 Series 512GB
Patriot Pyro SE 240GB
Patriot Wildfire 240GB
MemoRight FTM Plus 240GB SSD
Patriot Pyro 120GB SSD
OCZ RevoDrive 3 x2 480GB
Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD OCZ Agility 3 240GB
OCZ Vertex 3 240GB
OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPS 240GB
ADATA S511 240GB
Intel 510 120GB
Corsair F100 100GB
OCZ Vertex 2 120GB
Crucial Real SSD C300 64GB
MemoRight FTM.25 115GB SSD
Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB

PCIe drives test system:

OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid 1TB HDD/SSD &
OCZ RevoDrive 3 x2 480GB

Test System:
CPU: Intel Core i7 990x @ 4.8ghz
Cooler: Corsair H100 Performance Liquid Cooler
Motherboard: Asus Rampage III Black Edition
Memory: 12GB Kingston DDR3 @ 1600mhz 9-9-9-24
Graphics: Nvidia GTX580
Chassis: Lian Li X2000F
Operating System: Windows 7 64 bit Enterprise
Monitor: Dell U2410

Atto Disk Benchmark
PCMark 7
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call Of Pripyat

All our results were achieved by running each test five times with every configuration this ensures that any glitches are removed from the results. Trim is confirmed as running by typing fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify into the command line. A response of disabledeletenotify =0 confirms TRIM is active.

Crystalmark is a useful benchmark to measure theoretical performance levels of hard drives and SSD’s. We are using V3.0.1 x64.

4K QD32 performance isn’t class leading, however the sequential read performance is superb, especially as this mode is dealing with incompressible data.

We enabled the ‘compressible’ data mode, otherwise known as ‘0x00’. The gains with drive write performance are very noticeable, and the read performance also increases a little further.

Above, some included compares from other leading solid state drives which we have reviewed in recent months.

The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Measure your storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. Several options are available to customize your performance measurement including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode with the option to run continuously. Use ATTO Disk Benchmark to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host adapters, hard drives and SSD drives and notice that ATTO products will consistently provide the highest level of performance to your storage.

Performance with ATTO is class leading – measuring 559 MB/s read and 526 MB/s write. This claims the top position along with the ADATA S511 240GB drive. The other drives at the very top of the chart are specialised units, or Raid 0 configurations.

Some comparison results from other leading products available on the market today.

AS SSD is a great free tool designed just for benching Solid State Drives. It performs an array of sequential read and write tests, as well as random read and write tests with sequential access times over a portion of the drive. AS SSD includes a sub suite of benchmarks with various file pattern algorithms but this is difficult in trying to judge accurate performance figures.

The Transcend SSD720 128GB scores well considering AS SSD deals with strictly incompressible data. This is generally a weakness with Sandforce 2281 powered drives, although the read performance is very strong with this Transcend drive, scoring 475 MB/s in the sequential read test.

Some other comparisons from leading manufacturer drives, which we have tested in recent months.

PCMark 7 includes 7 PC tests for Windows 7, combining more than 25 individual workloads covering storage, computation, image and video manipulation, web browsing and gaming. Specifically designed to cover the full range of PC hardware from netbooks and tablets to notebooks and desktops, PCMark 7 offers complete PC performance testing for Windows 7 for home and business use.

The Transcend SSD720 128GB scores 5,184 points which is very impressive, one of the better scores from a SandForce SSD in recent months.

IOMeter is another open source synthetic benchmarking tool which is able to simulate the various loads placed on hard drive and solid state drive technology.

We use a custom Kitguru configuration for 4k random write to measure performance. We use the same test, but for random read performance also.

IOMeter performance is strong with both read and write tests. Every manufacturer can give different claims, but there are various ways to configure the software to achieve a final score. We consider our results worst case scenario.

It doesn’t matter how good any of the synthetic suites are, the real meat of the testing has to be under absolute real world conditions. This proves difficult as to record results we have to narrow down fluctuation. Therefore while we would say these are the most useful results to get from this review, there is always going to be a slight margin for error – its not absolutely scientific.

Firstly we installed a fresh copy of Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit Edition onto each of the drives and performed a clean update from Microsoft with all patches and security fixes. We then install a basic suite of software, such as Office, Firefox and Adobe Design, then we install AVG free antivirus. We used a digital watch for this startup and repeated the test five times for each drive – once we had these five results we averaged the results and took that for the final figure.

The drive performs exceptionally well in this test with a final time of 22 seconds, right up there with the Pyro SE and Wildfire drives.

The drive scores equally well in the STALKER game load test, comparible with the fastest Sandforce 2281 drives on the market.

This may be the first Transcend product we have reviewed, but the SSD720 128GB is without doubt, a monster. It performs better than many of the competing Sandforce 2281 powered drives thanks in part to the excellent choice of Sandisk MLC NAND flash.

Sandforce drives are well known to suffer from substandard incompressible data performance but the SSD720 128GB delivers 475 MB/s sequential read throughput with AS SSD. This is right up there with the class leaders, and as good as we have seen in the last year.

IOPS performance is also well above average, meaning that it can be used for more serious workstation/server duties while maintaining a high level of sustainable throughput.

During our real world testing, the Transcend SSD720 128GB managed to keep up with the fastest drives on the market, only falling behind the Patriot Wildfire when dealing with incompressible data. We would imagine that the 256GB SSD720 drive will perform even better due to the NAND configuration.

The market today is flooded with quality solid state drives today and the consumer is really spoilt for choice. Therefore a sizable percentage of the buying decision must be based on the pricing.

At time of press, you can get this drive direct from DABS in the UK for £129.99 inc vat, which is certainly competitive. 256GB and 512GB models are also available for £249.99 inc vat and £439.99 inc vat respectively.

Transcend have a three year limited warranty which is reassuring, especially considering some widely documented controller issues which have affected some Corsair and OCZ Sandforce 2281 products in the past.

We have no hesitation in recommending this drive as a versatile, fast and competitively priced choice for a high performance boot drive.


  • Fast.
  • strong incompressible read performance.
  • 3 year warranty.
  • well priced
  • 7mm, built for space restrictive Ultrabooks.


  • Better drives if incompressible data performance is a primary requirement.

Kitguru says: A really balanced, capable all round Solid State Drive.

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  • Brian D

    Excellent, might pick one up at the weekend. need a new SSD, my 60GB is too small 🙁

  • Destiny F

    Yeah thats pretty nice. so many drives though id go for the cheapest sandforce at the minute, which is about £20 less than this.

    but, good drive.

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