Transcend released the SSD370 in six capacity sizes that range from 32GB to 1TB. The two smallest sizes were left off the chart. They are intended for other roles, such as digital signage. We were surprised to see Transcend use the same model number for the smallest-capacity products.
Transcend didn't make it easy to find all of the product specifications. We tracked down a few documents and pieced together the above information. If you research the SSD370 model, you will quickly notice two different designs. Transcend made the SSD370 that we're testing today with a plastic case, but the company also offers a SSD370 model with an aluminum case. To spot the aluminum model while you're shopping, you need to look for the specific model number — TS512GSSD370 refers to the 512GB model we're testing today. Add an "S" on the end — TS512GSSD37S — and you have the silver brushed-aluminum model.
Controlling the drive is a Transcend TS6500 processor based on Silicon Motion's SM2246EN controller. Transcend added DEVSLP, a feature not always found on SSDs using the SM2246EN.
The NAND flash used in it is not as cut and dry. All but one unit shipped for review previously used genuine Micron Grade A flash. One reviewer in Russia received a drive with SpecTek flash, as we did on our 512GB sample. The SpecTek -AL flash is the Micron subsidiary's best NAND flash part, but it's not considered the same 20-nm 128-gigabit Tier 1 Grade A flash that Micron sells to customers or uses in-house. SpecTek sells Micron flash that often doesn't pass full performance or quality-control tests. At one time, OCZ Technology (prior to the Toshiba acquisition) shipped products with SpecTek flash, and other SSD vendors spoke up:
"When we took the cover off of this third, direct from OCZ SSD, we found a 'S' stamped over Micron logo on all the flash devices (see the image to the left). This indicates the device is 'off spec' product because it failed some parameter of Micron's full performance and/or quality specification testing. 'Off spec' memory is typically used in low-level applications such as toys, offering considerable cost savings over Tier 1 level to an SSD manufacturer." - Grant Dahlke, formally of Other World Computing (OWC)
The SpecTek 20-nm 128-gigabit part number we found in our SSD370 512GB sample is SpecTek's highest-grade offering. We still don't like seeing this flash used in products like SSDs where reliability trumps low cost. . Most users will not have an issue with it, but we were told by engineers in the industry that any part using this flash will have higher return merchandise authorization (RMA) rates than parts using Tier 1 Grade A flash. One SSD retailer we spoke with noted an increase in RMAs on products using less than Grade A flash. The difference is 1 in 300 products returned with Tier 1 Grade A flash, compared with 9 in 300 products returned using the lower-grade flash.
Our 256GB SSD370 sample did ship with genuine Micron 20-nm MLC flash. Given that nearly all of the reviewers have received Micron flash but products shipping in the wild are mixed, we can't say what flash you may receive in your retail product. Transcend never discloses which type of flash is guaranteed. This topic has come up with other low-cost SSDs from other manufactures in years past. The backlash from end users has never been positive, even when those users never experienced a single problem.