SSDs continue to squeeze hard drives out of PCs and laptops. We switched to the current format and portable accessories, which provided high speed of access to files, compact size, and a good resource of work. Transcend ESD370C belongs to one such model. Let’s find out what a Portable SSD drive with a USB interface is capable of.
Portable SSD Evolution
For a long time, the segment of portable drives on the market was divided into two types of devices: ordinary flash drives and traditional HDDs with USB interfaces. But now the classic “hard” ones are hopelessly outdated. Despite the relatively affordable price, they have substantial drawbacks. The main one is low productivity. When copying a text file, this is not particularly noticeable, but transferring movies or distributing games in high quality can spoil the mood of even the most patient user.
The second disadvantage of classic HDDs is in their design. They can work for a long time in a steady state, but outside the PC case, they are vulnerable to vibrations, drops, and other impacts. In addition, a large amount of “mechanics” are demanding the power supply and may refuse to start without a separate mains adapter. Such drives are much heavier than their electronic counterparts. Yes, and large, so it is not always comfortable to carry it in your pocket.
SSD external drive models have become an alternative to older models, as is the case with desktops. They are not inferior to “hard drives” in storage capacity while providing high read and write speeds. Their electronics take up a minimum of space. That means the case could be a lot more compact than the 2.5-inch Classic. A Universal USB port is typically used to connect to a computer. Its bandwidth is less than that of PCI-Express, but when connected to a modern Type-C, it is still much faster than any SATA hard drive.
A small part of a Huge building
In this Transcend ESD370C review, we have the 1TB version of the Portable SSD drive, which is compact and also available in 250GB and 500GB storage. Despite the dimensions comparable to a credit card, the accessory received full-fledged hardware. Composite construction: a dense silicone cover stretches over a rigid aluminum body. This combination was chosen not only for design reasons. The metal container acts as a heatsink for heat dissipation, reducing the possibility of throttling. The case, in turn, prevents scratches on the body and makes the device less hot.
An external SSD will help in many scenarios. For example, it will replace a USB flash drive when working with large files like video projects. It is also suitable for expanding the internal memory of Sony and Microsoft consoles, and at the same time, will significantly reduce the loading time of games. The accessory is also irreplaceable as file storage for a Chromebook or other laptop that does not support drive upgrades. When our Transcend ESD370C review model came to us, it is formatted in exFAT. This nuance should be taken into account because the USB SSD external drive does not support the TRIM cleaning algorithm, that is, the speed on such filesystems will be much lower. However, changing the file system will only take a few seconds.
Transcend ESD370C Specifications
- Type: SSD
- Volume: 1024 GB
- Memory Type: TLC 3D NAND
- Declared read/write speed: up to 1050/950 MB/s
- Interface: USB 3.1 Gen 2, USB Type-C connector
- Dimensions: 96.5 x 53.6 x 12.5 mm
- Weight: 87 grams
- OS support: Microsoft Windows 7 / Mac OS X 10.5 and later
Another useful property of this combination of materials is its high survivability. Yes, SSDs don’t have moving parts like regular hard drives, but they shouldn’t be used for playing football either. Transcend has provided good mechanical protection. It is certified according to military standard MIL-STD-810G, but only according to METH. 516.6 Procedure IV”, i.e. protection against mechanical shocks and falls. So it’s not worth connecting the drive to the laptop underwater, but you might be a little less afraid for precious data when it falls off the table.
Much more than just a USB stick
The vendor chose USB 3.1 Gen 2 with a Type-C connector as the main interface. The portable SSD drive, unlike the budget model, supports UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol). Without going into the woods of specifications, it is an interface for high-speed communication with USB storage devices. They did not forget about support for mobile devices: the SSD can connect to smartphones and tablets via the OTG protocol. In addition to the high-speed cable with Thunderbolt support, the kit also includes a cable with a USB Type-A connector, which helps with older PCs.
The powerful SCSI protocol has many useful features that reduce the time it takes to copy files. Thus, the Transcend ESD370C has a declared maximum read speed of up to 1050 MB/s and a write speed of up to 950 MB/s. That’s almost twice as much as the consumer SATA model. In the dry language of numbers, the device can write a 20GB file in about half a minute – in theory. And what about in practice?
During Transcend ESD370C review, we took MacBook Pro 2017 laptop. Unlike using a test bench with flagship hardware, this technology gives more realistic performance characteristics. Furthermore, the laptop is equipped with both traditional and high-speed USB ports. This made it possible to make measurements in different operating scenarios.
Synthetic benchmark CrystalDiskMark showed results close to those declared by Transcend when connected to Thunderbolt 3. Peak values for sequential reads and writes of blocks of different sizes fluctuate around 1036 and 941 MB/s, respectively. The use of a USB Type-A connector, as expected, reduced the speed characteristics to the level of SATA solutions: 540 MB/s for reading and 470 MB/s for writing. Owners of older hardware should take into account this nuance, which does not depend on the drive.
According to established standards, slightly more than 10% of the SSD capacity is reserved for the SLC cache. Before filling this buffer, the linear write speed in AIDA64 Extreme was about 890 MB/s, after which it dropped to the range of 90-140 MB/s. By the time when the free disk space was about 20%, the indicators were almost equal to the usual HDD: from 70 to 85 MB/s. With linear reading, the Transcend ESD370C overclocked to an average of 940 MB/s. PCMark 8, whose launch is closer to a real-life scenario, squeezed 5017 points out of the drive—a figure on the level of cheap NVMe solutions. The accessory does get a little hot when used for a long time. Heat dissipates in the case through the thermal interface – this is sufficient for drives operating in less stressful conditions. There was no apparent throttling other than a drop in performance when the cache was full (but this is a standard feature of non-buffered SSDs).
The Transcend ESD370C is a versatile option for those who value the high speed of a portable SSD drive combined with a reliable case. It would be useful both for videographers to store footage and for an IT specialist who often deals with backups. The drive will easily fit in your pocket and will survive rough handling. It makes the most of the capabilities of the USB 3.1 Gen 2 standard and is also compatible with older devices, albeit at the cost of a little speed loss.
The only disadvantage associated with the SLC cache is compensated by the price adequate for its class, starts from $72.99 for 200GB, $148 for 500GB, and $229 for a 1TB storage model on the Amazon.com website.
Recently, Transcend has also introduced the new JetFlash 930C, a dual-slot flash drive. One connector is USB Type-A, the other is USB Type-C. They expand the new USB memory stick‘s compatibility by making it easy to transfer data between desktops, laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, and other compatible devices.