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128 KB And 2 MB Sequential Performance

Toshiba's $7000+ 400 GB SSD: SAS 6Gb/s, SLC Flash, And Big Endurance
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128 KB Sequential

At a queue depth of one, Toshiba's SSD offers sequential read speeds just north of 200 MB/s, putting it on par with the SSD 320 and 710. As you scale up, however, the MK4001GRZB's performance peaks and plateaus at 510 MB/s. That's substantially better than Micron's P300, which is only able to reach a top speed of 450 MB/s.

In read-heavy enterprise workloads, Intel's SSD 520 looks like an attractive option. It's able to nearly match the much more expensive MK4001GRZB when there are more than eight outstanding I/O commands.

Although performance plateaus at a queue depth of two for all of our tested SSDs in this 128 KB sequential write test, there are substantial differences between the various models. Toshiba's MK4001GRZB falls just shy of 300 MB/s, while Micron's P300 pushes closer to 350 MB/s.

Interestingly, the SandForce-based SSD 520 hits speeds just over 500 MB/s when it's presented with compressible data. At the other end of the spectrum, when you hammer it with incompressible information, the SSD 520 barely outperforms the SATA 3Gb/s-capable SSD 320 and 710.

Moving to a larger block size makes the effect of queue depth less important. Using 2 MB transfers, Intel's SSD 520 leads the pack with a sequential write speed close to 550 MB/s (so long as you're working with compressible data, that is). The MK4001GRZB falls right behind at 520 MB/s, which roughly matches the performance of the SSD 520 as it operates on incompressible data.

Although Toshiba's offering doesn't top this chart, it still outperforms the Micron P300, which plateaus at sequential read speeds of 450 MB/s.

Sequential 2 MB writes look a lot like the 128 KB chart without the impact of queue depth weighing on performance. The SandForce-based SSD 520 still reigns king when it comes to compressible data, though switching to incompressible information knocks Intel's newest desktop drive closer to the bottom of the chart. 

Amongst the more purpose-built enterprise SSDs, Micron's P300 delivers the best performance at 350 MB/s. In comparison, Toshiba's MK4001GRZB falls a ways behind with speeds just shy of 300 MB/s.

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    bennaye , February 24, 2012 4:41 AM
    nebun$7000 any company willing to pay this much for an SSD is fullish


    ...fullish of cash? Definitely. Foolish? Probably not.
  • 15 Hide
    spazoid , February 24, 2012 9:36 AM
    amdfreakIt is too expensive for the performance it offers. You can get a RAID array of many Intel SSDs beating Toshiba in every segment.


    You've clearly not understood the purpose of this article. Stick to commenting the desktop drive reviews in the future, please.


    Thank you for this review, and especially your estimations on the endurance of the drive. It's something that's damn near impossible for us IT professionals to get accurate estimations of in the real world. For some reason, bosses tend to want the expensive hardware to be put to use instead of being thoroughly tested.

    More of these types of articles please! :]
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    compton , February 24, 2012 4:09 AM
    Good job, Mr. Ku.

    Perhaps the Enterprise SSD Fairy will bring you a Hitatchi UltraStar with Intel's 6gbps controller. I'd be eager to see how it compares.

    There is no substitute for SLC though.
  • 23 Hide
    bennaye , February 24, 2012 4:41 AM
    nebun$7000 any company willing to pay this much for an SSD is fullish


    ...fullish of cash? Definitely. Foolish? Probably not.
  • 6 Hide
    nebun , February 24, 2012 5:57 AM
    bennaye...fullish of cash? Definitely. Foolish? Probably not.

    damn the english language.....there are way to many words that sound alike
  • -7 Hide
    confish21 , February 24, 2012 6:00 AM
    How is this $7000 drive profitable over it's competition again?
  • -4 Hide
    nitrium , February 24, 2012 8:03 AM
    Why is the 4KB Random read/write performance shown as IOPS, but 128KB and 2MB performance is in MB/sec? What speed (in MB/sec) does this drive achieve in 4KB? I guess I could calculate it from (IOPS * 4KB) / 1024 (I think that's right), but why should I have to?
  • 15 Hide
    spazoid , February 24, 2012 9:36 AM
    amdfreakIt is too expensive for the performance it offers. You can get a RAID array of many Intel SSDs beating Toshiba in every segment.


    You've clearly not understood the purpose of this article. Stick to commenting the desktop drive reviews in the future, please.


    Thank you for this review, and especially your estimations on the endurance of the drive. It's something that's damn near impossible for us IT professionals to get accurate estimations of in the real world. For some reason, bosses tend to want the expensive hardware to be put to use instead of being thoroughly tested.

    More of these types of articles please! :]
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , February 24, 2012 10:57 AM
    @spazoid, so you are telling me that you are willing to pay 10x for an endurance of 3x over the INTEL 520 SSD?
    Even when the INTEL SSD already has an endurance longer than your refresh cycle for your tech stack?
  • 6 Hide
    EJ257 , February 24, 2012 2:17 PM
    frozonicLOL, i can just imagine myself in ten years telling my kids that we had to pay 7000$ for a 400gb ssd...by that time we are gonna have 400+ TB ssds


    "Back in my days storage drives used to have moving parts. Now its all solid state."
  • 2 Hide
    jaquith , February 24, 2012 2:50 PM
    I own a small data center and thankfully have access to a 'major' financial institutions test data, and I agree with your conclusions especially regarding deployment into production. $7K SSD is a tough call with a 5-year, but if it were 7~10-year then probably an easy call.

    Unlike super-sized enterprise which I am not, the cost/benefit calculations would be difficult for myself. I know firsthand the money that i.e. financial institutions push into their data centers, and for those folks $7K isn't out of the question.

    Interesting SSD and if the prices come down and warranty extended then IMO it would be something to consider and compare against Intel's products.
  • 8 Hide
    willard , February 24, 2012 3:12 PM
    I came into this article expecting people to bitch about prices, compare to consumer products and just misunderstand enterprise class hardware in general.

    I was not disappointed.
  • 3 Hide
    therabiddeer , February 24, 2012 3:36 PM
    nebun$7000 any company willing to pay this much for an SSD is fullish

    I refer you to the ~$20,000 1.2TB fusion-io SSD's.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , February 24, 2012 4:47 PM
    I've got one of those $20,000 fusion IO drives... and it stomps all over my $130,000 storage san...
  • -2 Hide
    andywork78 , February 24, 2012 5:30 PM
    Good review and test.

    but wow... $7000...

    I go with 10 of 128GB SSD....
  • 6 Hide
    nforce4max , February 24, 2012 5:31 PM
    nebun$7000 any company willing to pay this much for an SSD is fullish


    Hell I'll gladly pay that much because drives like this save money in the long run. They are cheaper and much easier to set up and maintain vs hundred of mechanical drives in a raid setup. In power alone over the live of the drive vs mechanical drives adds up. So $7k isn't that bad and this isn't the most expensive SSD that I have seen.
  • 6 Hide
    holyprof , February 24, 2012 7:26 PM
    amdfreakIt is too expensive for the performance it offers. You can get a RAID array of many Intel SSDs beating Toshiba in every segment.


    Throw 50TB daily writes on that Intel SDD array of yours and it will last you only 3 months until full failure.
  • 9 Hide
    A Bad Day , February 24, 2012 8:01 PM
    nebun$7000 any company willing to pay this much for an SSD is fullish


    "Hey uh, our entire rack of $50 SSDs simply died on us, along with all of our business files."
  • -3 Hide
    garciam , February 24, 2012 9:05 PM
    Anyone thinking this can last longer than a few SSD's raided obviously does not know *** about how NAND works and how much it lasts.
    Throw 3 Intel MLC 480 GB SSD's in RAID-5 (1k each), make an agressive overprovisioning...and they will both last MUCH longer and also run circles to this expensive piece of hardware being reviewed.

    Heck, it's pretty much touching Fusion-IO pricing without even coming close on speed.

    This will only work for people needing plug & play replacement for their SAS drives AND with very deep pockets. Since i suspect the replacement should be made in batches...it will be VERY expensive.

    Anyone else with brains can find a lot of cheaper, faster AND more reliable solutions.

    I'd wait for a Velodrive, raid a couple of them and just have regular backups on a storage with regular HDD's (that is, read GB/s from a couple SSD's...write GB/s sequentially to a storage).

    I do understand though that there are out there companies that can't risk innovation and smart choices and have to recur to handwritten promises and warranties of the big guys.

    Reason why buying a Dell costs a hell lot more than building it yourself.
    Reason why building your own storage is a fraction of the price of an EMC solution.

    And so on...
  • 1 Hide
    Reynod , February 25, 2012 12:57 AM
    Anybody checked to see if it is worth it's weight in gold or platinum ?


    For $7000 that is the first thing I would have done Andrew.

    :) 
  • 2 Hide
    peevee , February 25, 2012 9:45 AM
    EJ257"Back in my days storage drives used to have moving parts. Now its all solid state."


    "Why are they called drives, granpa?"
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