First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Transcend 32GB ExpressCard SSD
- 32GB of storage, included ExpressCard-to-USB adapter
- Very poor write speeds, expensive
On the basis of its very poor write speeds, we simply can't recommend the Transcend ExpressCard, despite the mammoth 32GB of storage and the included USB adapter.
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SSD ExpressCards are a new release into the flash storage market, and claim to offer significant boosts to both speed and storage capacity. Transcend has joined the market with the release of their 32GB model, boasting full compatibility with ExpressCard/34 standards, but also including a convenient ExpressCard-to-USB adaptor and claiming low power consumption and shock resistance. Unfortunately, paltry write speeds mean you should look elsewhere for your storage needs, despite the large capacity being offered.
For testing, we once again used an Acer Aspire 4920G-3A2G16 notebook equipped with 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a T5450 1.66GHz CPU and Windows Vista Home Premium. Although we initially baulked at sliding the Transcend ExpressCard into the Acers much larger slot, once it clicked inside, it sits flush with the edge of the notebook, preventing it from being accidentally damaged.
To assess the Transcend ExpressCard's read and write speeds, we dragged and dropped a folder containing 397MB of JPEG files from the notebook onto the card, and vice versa. It took over eight minutes (8min47sec) to transfer the files onto the unit, which works out at a paltry 0.6MB per second. This is an extremely poor write speed; as a comparison, Lexar's latest 16GB ExpressCard SSD took just under three minutes to transfer the same files from the same notebook; hardly a speedy result, but certainly way ahead of the Transcend. To ensure our results were accurate and consistent, we performed the same tests on another notebook, this time the Fujitsu LifeBook A6030. The Transcend performed much better (5min 6sec), but this result is still very slow, and makes it not worth recommending.
Read speeds were good though, taking 29sec and 32sec on both the Acer and the Fujitsu respectively. Unfortunately though, no read speed could make up for the poor write performance of this device.
The Transcend includes a handy ExpressCard-to-USB adaptor, meaning those who have notebooks without an ExpressCard slot can still make use of these new flash drives, albeit at slightly slower speeds. We ran the same tests using the USB adaptor and achieved expected slower results - a write speed of 9min22sec using the Acer and 5min22sec using the Fujitsu. The USB adaptor is an excellent inclusion though, as users don't have to upgrade their older notebook straight away, and can still take advantage of this technology.
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