Intel 530 240GB and Transcend SSD 340 256GB

3/19/2014 12:30:11 AM

These two drives lock and load an older SandForce controller

SandForce has spent years supplying controllers to prominent SSD manufacturers, with its SF-2281 chip leading the way, but it’s more recently come under pressure from firms such as Samsung, Toshiba and OCZ, who have either developed their own controllers or switched allegiances.

Intel’s 530 Series relies on the SF-2281 controller, although Intel has optimised its firmware to eke out a little more performance from SandForce’s venerable silicon. The 530 also sees Intel move from 25nm to 20nm MLC NAND. These new Micron-made flash chips are more efficient than their predecessors, bringing this drive into line with the NAND used by most of its rivals.

Intel 150 series 240GB $155.73 inc VAT

It’s a good-looking 7mm drive, finished with brushed metal, and with a shiny Intel logo and a neat chip graphic in one corner. Plus, Intel is generous with its box contents; there’s a 9.5mm spacer, a 3.5in adaptor, a SATA cable and a Molex-to-SATA power adaptor. The five-year warranty is good too, matching the best of the other drives on test.

Inside Intel 150

Transcend’s drive makes use of the SandForce SF-2281 controller too, and it has a slimmer 7mm form factor, so it will fit inside tiny ultrabooks as well as desktop PCs. Meanwhile, the three-year warranty is a standard offering that isn’t as generous as the fiveyear deal provided by several of this month’s drives. It also has the honour of being the cheapest SSD in this month’s Labs, at $166.28 – the next cheapest SSD, from Crucial, is $9.98 more expensive.

Transcend SSD 340 $1,166.28 inc VAT

However, while Intel might have tweaked its controller and used new 20nm NAND chips, neither of these modifications helped the 530 perform well in our benchmarks. In AS SSD, the 530 was always in the bottom half of the results tables, and in four of the six tests, it was in the bottom five –in the sequential write benchmark, that meant a result of 322MB/sec, which is a long way behind the Samsung 840 Evo 250GB’s 503MB/sec. Likewise, in AS SSD’s 64-queue-depth random read test, the Intel SSD managed 210MB/sec, compared to 347.2MB/sec from the OCZ Vector 150 240GB.

The situation was similar in CrystalDiskMark, where the only glimmer of hope came in the 4KB random read and write tests – the 530 was towards the top in the former benchmark, and mid-table in the latter. The Intel drive returned mixed results in real-world tests too. Its mid-table scores in the two PCMark 7 benchmarks were bolstered by one of the best boot times in the Labs. However, its Iometer result of 26,989 was in the bottom half of the results table, showing that you can get better drives for more intensive storage workloads.

Transcend’s drive, reliant on the same controller, fared no better. It was in the bottom half of the results tables in every AS SSD and CrystalDiskMark test, and its AS SSD sequential write pace of 259.9MB/sec was the worst on test – almost half the speed of the top drive. The Transcend’s performance was underlined in real-world tests. It propped up both PCMark 7 tables, had an average boot time and sat towards the bottom of the Iometer rankings too.



Both these drives struggle to compete in terms of speed, and the Intel 530 is also hamstrung by one of the most expensive pound-per-gigabyte figures on test. And, while Transcend’s drive offers superb value at 42p per gigabyte, that doesn’t justify its benchmark results – it’s just too slow compared to good-value competition. The Samsung 840 Pro 256GB is a better mid-sized drive than both these products in terms of speed and bang per buck, while the Crucial M500 240GB is a better drive if you’re on a tight budget. SandForce’s SF-2281 controller is clearly now past its best.


The SandForce SF-2281 controller is now past its best – you can get better performance and value for money.

  •  Crucial M500 240GB, 480GB and 960GB
  •  SQL Server : ONE-WAY ENCRYPTION (part 3) - Reducing Vulnerability: Salting a Hash
  •  SQL Server : ONE-WAY ENCRYPTION (part 2) - Known Vulnerabilities
  •  SQL Server : ONE-WAY ENCRYPTION (part 1) - How One-Way Encryption Works, Benefits and Disadvantages of One-Way Encryption
  •  SQL Server 2012 : Measuring SQL Server Performance (part 7) - Viewing the Data Collector Data - Query Statistics History
  •  SQL Server 2012 : Measuring SQL Server Performance (part 6) - Viewing the Data Collector Data - Disk Usage Summary
  •  SQL Server 2012 : Measuring SQL Server Performance (part 5) - Viewing the Data Collector Data - Server Activity History
  •  SQL Server 2012 : Measuring SQL Server Performance (part 4) - Setting Up the Data Collector
  •  SQL Server 2012 : Measuring SQL Server Performance (part 3) - Dynamic Management Objects, Data Collector
  •  SQL Server 2012 : Measuring SQL Server Performance (part 2) - Performance Monitor
    Top 10
    SG50 Ferrari F12berlinetta : Prancing Horse for Lion City's 50th
    The latest Audi TT : New angles for TT
    Era of million-dollar luxury cars
    Game Review : Hearthstone - Blackrock Mountain
    Game Review : Battlefield Hardline
    Google Chromecast
    Keyboards for Apple iPad Air 2 (part 3) - Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air 2
    Keyboards for Apple iPad Air 2 (part 2) - Zagg Slim Book for iPad Air 2
    Keyboards for Apple iPad Air 2 (part 1) - Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2
    Michael Kors Designs Stylish Tech Products for Women
    - First look: Apple Watch

    - 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cell Phone Battery (part 1)

    - 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cell Phone Battery (part 2)
    Popular Tags
    Video Tutorail Microsoft Access Microsoft Excel Microsoft OneNote Microsoft PowerPoint Microsoft Project Microsoft Visio Microsoft Word Active Directory Exchange Server Sharepoint Sql Server Windows Server 2008 Windows Server 2012 Windows 7 Windows 8 Adobe Flash Professional Dreamweaver Adobe Illustrator Adobe Photoshop CorelDRAW X5 CorelDraw 10 windows Phone 7 windows Phone 8 Iphone