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Toshiba TR200 SSD Review

Conclusion

We'll let the performance charts do most of the talking about the TR200's performance. We can’t ignore the DRAMless market as a whole, but these products promised to deliver in two key areas; lower prices and reduced power consumption. It's obvious they don't deliver on those promises.

Removing the expense of one or two DRAM packages provides minimal cost savings. DRAM prices are up, just like NAND, but companies like Toshiba buy the components on a large scale, so they shouldn't bat an eye at the expense. The results do not justify the means, even with a $10 decrease in component expense. The only price that users care about is what they pay, and DRAMless SSDs are not cheaper than products already on the market.

Surprisingly, DRAMless SSDs do not reduce power consumption. A single picture doesn't tell a complicated story. You could argue that less power consumption in a snapshot is better, like during a test while the SSD is at idle or under heavy load, but SSDs are complex and dynamic instruments. Our battery life tests are a better measure of real-world power consumption, and the TR200 trailed the competing products.

For the most part, DRAMless SSDs have failed to deliver a single benefit to end users. Dollar for dollar we struggle to find a viable reason to even consider this product class. We have to question why companies would bring these SSDs to market given the current competition and pricing, especially the existing models that have dominated the landscape for years.

The next generation of DRAMless products promises to address many of these issues. DRAMless NVMe SSDs technically do not have DRAM, but the protocol supports using your system memory as a buffer for the physical-to-logical address map. It's a great theory, and it might even work in the mass market. Companies keep displaying the promising technology at trade shows, but they aren’t releasing samples or products. That leads us to believe it may have issues under the surface that we don’t see on the trade show floor.

The TR200 series is an odd bird. With most SSDs you pay for larger capacities and increased performance. With this series, you pay for more capacity but don't receive increased performance. It’s not much of an issue with the 240GB model, but we feel like users are getting shortchanged as prices increase with the 480GB and 960GB models. The money is there, the capacity is there, but the performance is stagnant.

Toshiba made sure to price the 960GB well below the Samsung 850 EVO 1TB, but the other two capacities are only $10 less. We don't think the 240GB and 480GB are worthy of consideration at launch pricing. They are not even on the list of SSDs to investigate, at least until pricing drops. 

The TR200 960GB at $289.99 is roughly $45 less than the 850 EVO 1TB. For some readers that may be enough to take a closer look at this product. I don't think it's a large enough difference for you to actually roll the dice.

When it comes to gambling, Toshiba put quite a bit on the line with this release. The company sent out samples of the XG5 NVMe SSD to show off BiCS NAND, which was a very good move. If the TR200 was our first taste of BiCS we would quickly draw similarities to Micron's first generation 3D NAND. In contrast, at least we know that BiCS has potential. It just fell flat in a DRAMless configuration.


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  • Sakkura
    Why do they even bother releasing this as a retail product. Just work with the manufacturers of laptops and prebuilt desktops, who are only looking for a cheap way to put "SSD" on their spec sheet and don't care about performance.
    Reply
  • Flying-Q
    We don't think the 240GB and 480GB are not worthy of consideration at launch pricing.
    Can you sort out the double negative please?
    Reply
  • AgentLozen
    It drives me crazy thinking that companies like Toshiba are filled to the brim with talented engineers and yet they still think the best route forward is with a DRAMless design. Are you telling me that not a single high level person compared their SSDs to the competition and said "These things are garbage. Let's stop wasting our money developing them."

    Sakkura suggested that these SSDs are meant to be put into prebuilt desktops as a cheap means of adding an SSD to the spec sheet. In the conclusion, the author states that "The results do not justify the means, even with a $10 decrease in component expense. The only price that users care about is what they pay, and DRAMless SSDs are not cheaper than products already on the market." NOBODY benefits from DRAMless SSDs even in a $450 prebuilt desktop.

    The situation is frustrating to me because I would rather have big companies like Toshiba not waste their effort designing this crap. I enjoy reading about disruptive new products that shake up the market. I want to experience the Back to the Future 2 utopian future. Products like this take us backwards to a dystopia where the world is ruled by tremendous idiots and as of 2017 we STILL don't have flying cars.
    Reply
  • 2Be_or_Not2Be
    I really dislike DRAM-less controllers. Put this terribly-performing Trash-200 drive on the same level as the Intel 600p - that is, things not to buy!
    Reply
  • gjbaker003
    In the "Pricing & Warranty" section it suggests that the $89.99 SSD is 120GB, but the rest of the article states that the $89.99 SSD is 240GB. I would assume at that price point, that 240GB is the correct size of the drive?
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    Yes, 240GB. We'll fix it now.
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    (non-zero origin in the sequential read graph again)

    I bet if they were included, the 840 Pro, Vector, Vertex 4 and Neutron GTX from five years ago would still be better than these new Toshiba models. I long for the day when something as good as the 850 EVO is available at a price the 850 EVO was 2 years ago (250GB for 53 UKP, 500GB for 113 UKP).

    Whatever happened to SanDisk's promise to release 8TB SSDs for the consumer market by now?
    Reply
  • derekullo
    Some one lied to Toshiba marketing.

    The drive barely hits 300 megabytes a second with that wavy pattern.

    It almost looks like the drive was thermal throttling with that pattern.
    Reply
  • HERETIC-1
    So sad-with Toshiba 3D available was thinking the "Race to the bottom"
    was finally over.
    A few dollars worth of Ram could have possibly made these a decent SSD.
    Thro the controller could also be part of the poor performance...........
    Reply
  • kookykrazee
    I will consider SATA technology outdated when I can get 6-10TB drives that are reasonably priced. That will not happen for awhile, so when I got a free $200 BB gift card I got a 8TB drive for $179. This replaced 3 1.5-3TB drives. Gained a few degrees in my case, too :)
    Reply