Photos and Breakdown
Apacer gave the ZS720 a champagne color and on top are lines that remind me a lot of the old photo backgrounds from when I was in school. While they did try, I don’t think anyone is going to be picking up the AS720 for its looks. The colors don’t really go with any standard color scheme. That said, it does remind me a lot of the external USB drives on the market and in a way, this is an external just as much as it is an internal drive.
The back side of the drive looks more like a normal SATA drive. In the middle is a sticker with the Apacer logo, the drives capacity, and serial number.
The drive has the standard SSD mounting points on the side and bottom of the drive.
The drive ships with a rubber plug that covers up the SATA data and power connections on the end of the drive. This way if you use the drive for USB the sensitive connections aren’t going to get broken off. SATA isn’t really designed to be in your pocket or in a bag.
On the opposite end of the SATA connection is where we find the USB 3.1 connection. Some of you have maybe not seen a Type C connection yet, well here you go, welcome to the future. Type C connections are similar in size to the Micro-USB plugs you find on most devices but they are rounded on the ends. This is because you can plug the connection in both ways, so there is no trying to get the plug in correct anymore. Type C is interesting because it was introduced with USB 3.1, but it isn’t exclusive to the format. This makes it a little interesting when shopping for cables because you can get Type C cables that only support USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 and both are slower than USB 3.1.
Getting into the AS720 wasn’t very hard. I had to cut the warranty sticker across the bottom. Then from there I just had four screws on top of the drive to unscrew. They were a small Phillips head. Inside the PCB itself is attached to the bottom plate with four more screws. The top plate of the AS720, however, is made of an extremely thin plastic, with this being an external drive as well it does cause a little concern.
To fit in the USB circuitry Apacer has completely packed the entire PCB full. It’s funny because recently a lot of the drives have been using partial PCBs that don’t even fill up the 2.5-inch format but here we have to use it all. So what is on the PCB. The AS720 runs on a JMicron JMF670 controller. This is a four channel controller introduced last year for lower budget drives. It has proven to be reliable over the past year but there are other options for the same market now like the SM-2256. Below it is a Nanya DDR3 256MB cache.
Because of the filled up PCB Apacer has put the NAND on both sides. They have a total of 8 Micron L95B NAND. This is a 128Gbit, 16nm MLC NAND.
Down at the end, the Type C USB connection sticks out past the PCB. Just behind it is an ASMedia ASM1351 USB3.1 to SATA 6Gbps bridge.