Transcend displayed its first NVMe SSD at Embedded World in Germany last week. This week, the company officially announced the new NTE850 M.2 SSD with Micron 3D MLC paired with the Silicon Motion, Inc. SM2260 dual-core controller.
Historically this combination of controller and NAND flash has been a disappointment, even with 256GB MLC. Crucial was the first to announce a similar product just over a year ago, but it canceled the Ballistix (By Micron) TX3 just days before its release. At the time, all of the data writes were fed to the SLC buffer first regardless of whether or not space was available. The data would then fold into the MLC or TLC area. We saw this firsthand with the inconsistent performance of the Intel SSD 600p products.
|Product||MTE850 128GB||MTE850 256GB||MTE850 512GB|
|Form Factor||M.2 2280||M.2 2280||M.2 2280|
|Interface / Protocol||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe|
|Controller||SMI SM2260||SMI SM2260||SMI SM2260|
|NAND||Micron 256Gbit MLC||Micron 256Gbit MLC||Micron 256Gbit MLC|
|Sequential Read||Up To 2,500 MB/s||Up To 2,500 MB/s||Up To 2,500 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||Up To 1,100 MB/s||Up To 1,100 MB/s||Up To 1,100 MB/s|
|Warranty||3-Years Limited||3-Years Limited||3-Years Limited|
The Transcend MTE850 is different fromother products we've tested with the Silicon Motion, Inc. SM2260 controller. We spoke with SMI and learned this is the first product to ship with the a new Direct-To-MLC write system that's similar to the Direct-To-Die write feature found on some Toshiba and Phison controllers. The feature increases sustained sequential write speeds while also improving performance consistency. At this time it's an undocumented feature but one that will positively impact the user experience.
We talked extensively about the feature in our OCZ Trion 150 Review in which we compared the drive to the Trion 100 without the feature. We observed a 50% sequential write performance increase over the older model just by enabling the new write algorithm. Bypassing the SLC portion of the NAND when full does have one small negative impact: the wear on the NAND increases. This shouldn't impact Micron's 156GB 3D MLC as much as it does planar TLC found in the OCZ Trion series.
Transcend didn't publish too many details in the press release but we do know the MTE850 supports up to 2,500 MBps sequential read and 1,100 MBps sequential write speeds. The series also features a 3-year warranty that is limited by the amount of data written to the flash. The endurance will change between the three capacity sizes that range from 128GB to 512GB.
At this time we don't have any pricing details, but the SM2260 paired with MLC flash has fallen in the mainstream NVMe pricing category with similar products from other companies. We expect the 512GB drive to sell for between $225 and $250 but have yet to confirm a street price.
Transcend has quietly built up a solid foundation of SSD products with value-add features users appreciate. Many of the SSDs in the current line cost less than similar configured products from other manufacturers. Transcend also includes SSD Scope, a software tool used to check the status of the SSD, clone existing products and update firmware. The software also includes other features that we'll detail in an upcoming review of the MTE850.