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Reviewed: Transcend's 128GB Portable Solid State Drive

written by: Rebecca Scudder•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 1/28/2010
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Recently, 128GB Thumb drives became available. Transcend's 128GB portable SSD is an alternative worth considering, and not an unreasonable price for a SSD of that size. And, though a bit bigger than a thumb drive, you can take it anywhere, without the worry of breaking off the USB connector

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    Transcend brought its portable 128GB SSD to market recently, and is a worthy alternative to the new 128GB USB flash drives. The drive is smaller than a box of Sucrets, and far more sturdy

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    Cost, connectivity, and compatibility

    Rating Average

    Transcend 128GB SSD18M box 

    The Transcend 128GB SSD18M is not cheap. The MSRP for it is $440, although it has been found online for over $100 less than that, and the price should continue to drop as time goes on.

    In the meantime, there are all sorts of comparisons you can do which show how much more a GB of storage costs with the Transcend SSD18M than with either the equivalent amount of storage using multiple thumb drives, with internal SSD drives, or, especially, with conventional hard drives with moving parts. The last holds true whether they are fixed internal hard drives for desktops or laptops, or with the roughly comparable portable hard drives like My Passport.

    The connectivity is better than the normal USB thumb drive, with both a high speed USB 2.0 port and an eSata port. However, eSata ports can be found on some internal drives and on some portable hard

    drives as well.

    It is completely compatible with Windows XP and Vista, and so also with Windows 7, and with MAC X and up. It is USB compatible with MAC OS 9 and under,and with Linux. Since I already have a Netbook running Linux with a (much) smaller internal SSD it, I expect that the Linux drivers to take advantage of the eSata connection will be available in the not too distant future.

    Probably the least desirable feature of the Transcend SSD18M is the you need a USB port to power it and a port to transfer data. It comes with two Y cords, one for the eSata port and a USB connection, and the other for two USB ports on the Y end of the cord, for your desired method of transferring data.

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    Features

    Rating Average

    Speed

    stock pic Transcend 128GB SSD18M The price is, yes, pricey. However, there area couple of very special features which make this portable drive a serious option to consider buying if you need that much portable storage space.

    With the eSata connection, it is amazingly fast. Probably close to twice as fast a read speed as virtually anything else on the market. Write speeds are good too. Read speeds are up to 78MB/s, and read speeds are nearly 46MB/s. There just isn't anything else out there with that speed- and when you consider that you can put it in your pocket too.... USB speeds are also on par with the best of other USB devices, averaging about 30MB/s and 24MB/s read/write speed,

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    Features

    Rating Average

    Durability

    Its other unparalleled virtue is its toughness. While a number of manufacturers have portable hard drives, some with double or more the capacity at much less than half the price, the portable hard drives on the market seem to lead a fairly short life, because the movable disks inside the drives can only survive a certain amount of disruptive treatment, no matter how careful the owner. The life of a portable drive is going to be a lot less than an internal drive in a desktop, and shorter too than an internal drive in a laptop.

    Mil drop-tested approval 

    Solid state drives have no moving parts to damage, and Transcend's SSD18M drive series (32GB, 64GB and 128GB) have passed the US military drop standard test. (MIL-STD-810F 516.5—Transit Drop). While I wouldn't recommend holding it under water and bashing it with a rock at the same time, this drive will jostle in your pocket with your keys, be knocked off the table on to the floor and sit locked in a hot car without ever affecting thTranscend 128GB SSD18M side view connectors e data on the drive. It comes with a two year warranty, as long as you to not try to disassemble or modify the drive.

    There is a rubber plug for the larger eSata port on the side of the drive, but the USB port, also on the side, is open.

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    Associated costs

    Rating Average

    If you loose the Y cord for the eSata connection, you currently will need to get a new cord from Transcend's website. Other than losing a cord, when you have bought the drive, you are set.

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    User reviews

    Rating Average

    There are not a lot of user reviews yet- and some of the reviews on one site are duplicates of other sites, but the overwhelming conclusion is that users are very satisfied. The users who did not give it a five said they were knocking off a point for the price. Small, fast and sturdy is the repeated consensus. CNET reviewed it and found that the eSata speed claims were borne out by their testing, and left other similar devices in the dust.

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    Conclusion

    Rating Average

    128GB USB flash drives are available for sale, and while they are even smaller than the 3” x 2” by 1/2” Transcend 128gb SSD18M size of the Transcend portable SSD18M drives, they do not have the speed the Transcend can deliver. Their current price is also about the same or more than the Transcend portable SSD.

    Bright Hub gives the Transcend 128GB SSD18M drive an over all 5, for speed, quality and sturdiness. While it would be delightful if the price dropped by half in the near future, the new USB flash drives in the same size are this expensive or even more. It is costly, but if you need a high capacity storage device with a lot of space and the ability to survive rough treatment, this seems like the best option currently on the market.

    The last point I'd like to mention about the Transcend 128GB SSD18M is that I can not find a single case, when searching the Internet, where a SSD has been counterfeited to appear to be a different size. This can not be said about the 128GB USB thumb drives, where the fake drive problem is world wide.

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