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Transcend uses 3D Flash storage technology in its SSD230 solid-state drive

Storage product manufacturer Transcend Information released a new 2.5-inch solid-state drive on Thursday that relies on 3D NAND flash technology. Called the SSD230, the new storage solution makes for a great choice as a hard drive replacement for consumers on a tight budget, as pricing starts at $51. The read speeds reach up to 560MB per second while the write speeds can hit 520MB per second, which is not too shabby for a SSD with such a low price point.

The big deal with 3D NAND flash is that it enables manufacturers to build on a drive’s capacity by expanding upward instead of outward. Normal NAND flash is eventually limited due to the amount of physical real estate, like a city restrained by its specific limits. That is not the case with 3D NAND, which builds skyscrapers to play host to floors of offices (cells) with residents (data) inside. 3D NAND is supposedly faster too, given data travels up and down “elevators” rather than seeking out a destination using “streets.”

Related: Transcends builds tiny 1TB M.2 solid state drive for super-thin laptops

“To achieve higher densities, 2D planar NAND flash technology shrinks each memory cell onto a single layer of cells,” Transcend Information explains. “However, this technology increases cell-to-cell interference and hence reduces reliability as it approaches its physical scaling limit. 3D NAND flash was developed to resolve this bottleneck, as it features multiple layers of memory cells stacked vertically.”

In addition to using 3D NAND flash, the new SSD also includes a DDR3 DRAM cache that increases the drive’s 4K random read and write performance. Given that SSDs include a built-in controller to manage all the data that goes in and out of the drive’s virtual skyscrapers, this controller needs a small area to work as it shuffles around all the local residents. The drive also includes a built-in RAID engine for pairing it with other SSDs, low-density parity check coding, and an ECC algorithm that keeps your data secure.

Here are the specs and pricing of each capacity:

128GB 256GB 512GB
Storage media: 3D NAND TLC Flash 3D NAND TLC Flash 3D NAND TLC Flash
Sequential read speed: 560MB per second 560MB per second 560MB per second
Sequential write speed: 300MB per second 520MB per second 520MB per second
4K random write performance: 30,000 IOPS 60,000 IOPS 87,000 IOPS
4K random read performance: 76,000 IOPS 87,000 IOPS 87,000 IOPS
TRAM & NCQ Command: Yes Yes Yes
S.M.A.R.T. tech: Yes Yes Yes
DDR3 DRAM cache: Yes Yes Yes
Advanced garbage collection: Yes Yes Yes
DevSleep mode: Yes Yes Yes
Casing: Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum
Size: 3.93 x 2.75 x 0.26 inches 3.93 x 2.75 x 0.26 inches 3.93 x 2.75 x 0.26 inches
Weight: 0.14 pounds 0.14 pounds 0.14 pounds
Mac Support: No No No
Interface: SATA 3 (6Gb/s) SATA 3 (6Gb/s) SATA 3 (6Gb/s)
Model number: TS128GSSD230S TS256GSSD230S TS512GSSD230S
Price: $51 $82 $162

What is great to see here is that pricing of SSDs are coming down while the read and write performance stays relatively great. The maximum write speed of the 128GB model is somewhat slow compared to its siblings but overall, all three seem to provide a great speed boost to a laptop or desktop for very little money. All three drives can be managed by the company’s SSD Scope software for optimizing performance and maintaining their health.

The SSD230 drives can now be purchased online through Amazon, Newegg, and more.