SSDs are steadily displacing HDDs in the consumer market, but progress is slow in some areas. Yes, more notebooks are coming with SSDs by default, but adoption in OEM desktop PCs has been slower. Today we take a close look at Toshiba’s latest OEM-oriented SSD. Toshiba designed the XG6 for desktop PCs, mobile systems, embedded systems, and even data centers.
That means the XG6 could power your next laptop or pre-built PC. More importantly for us, the XG6 comes with Toshiba's new 96-Layer TLC BiCS flash that will soon power the newest enthusiast-class SSDs from multiple vendors. The new flash promises more performance and efficiency at a lower price point, and based on our testing, it delivers.
As mentioned, the Toshiba XG6 is the industry’s first SSD with Toshiba’s latest 96-Layer 3D TLC flash. Toshiba’s new 512Gbit die provides a 40% capacity increase over the company's previous-gen 64-layer flash. The increased density results in lower manufacturing costs, which in turn allows Toshiba to be more aggressive with its SSD pricing.
Toshiba's new flash supports Toggle 3.0 speeds (667-800 MT/s), which means its program and read latency is lower than the company's previous-gen Toggle 2.0 flash (400 MT/s). Toshiba's new flash is not quite as fast as Samsung’s latest 256Gbit 3D flash that supports Toggle 4.0, but Toshiba's increased capacity is the big attraction.
We normally expect new flash to be paired with a new SSD controller, but the XG6 uses the same controller as the XG5. Toshiba's firmware and flash improvements, update to the NVMe 1.3a spec, and focus on improved power efficiency have yielded tremendous improvements, though.
Toshiba’s XG6 uses an enhanced SLC write buffer to provide higher sequential write speeds than the XG5 and up to twice the performance in random workloads. That's a surprisingly big improvement considering the SSD uses the same controller, but it's clear the advantages of the much faster 96-layer flash are shining through.
|Product||Toshiba XG6 256GB||Toshiba XG6 512GB||Toshiba XG6 1TB|
(User / Raw)
|256GB / 256GB||512GB / 512GB||1024GB / 1024GB|
|Form Factor||M.2 2280 S2 (Single-sided)||M.2 2280 S2 (Single-sided)||M.2 2280 S2 (Single-sided)|
|Interface / Protocol||PCIe 3.1 x4 / NVMe 1.3a||PCIe 3.1 x4 / NVMe 1.3a||PCIe 3.1 x4 / NVMe 1.3a|
|DRAM||NANYA LPDDR3||NANYA LPDDR3||NANYA LPDDR3|
|Memory||Toshiba BiCS FLASH 96-layer 3D TLC||Toshiba BiCS FLASH 96-layer 3D TLC||Toshiba BiCS FLASH 96-layer 3D TLC|
|Sequential Read||Up to 3,180 MB/s||Up to 3,180 MB/s||Up to 3,180 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||Up to 2,960 MB/s||Up to 2,960 MB/s||Up to 2,960 MB/s|
|Random Read||Up to 355,000 IOPS||Up to 355,000 IOPS||Up to 355,000 IOPS|
|Random Write||Up to 365,000 IOPS||Up to 365,000 IOPS||Up to 365,000 IOPS|
|Encryption||TCG Pyrite and OPAL 2.01 as an option (TCG Pyrite: x = 0, TCG OPAL: x = A)|
The Toshiba XG6 comes in three capacities of 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. The drive offers up to 3.18/2.96 GB/s of sequential read/write throughput and up to 355,000/365,000 random read/write IOPS. Toshiba measures performance when the data lands in the SLC cache, a fast buffer that absorbs incoming data, which means these measurements are peak values. We recorded ~1.6 GB/s of throughput when data spilled over to the native TLC flash. That's actually very competitive compared to other SSDs.
Power consumption is one of the most important considerations for OEM devices. Toshiba's new flash features a 1.2V I/O rating. That's 33% lower than the previous gen’s 1.8V, which equates to big power savings. The XG5 is rated for 4.2W of active power consumption and falls to just 3mW in its lowest power state (L1.2). We'll put those claims to the test.
The XG5 is an OEM-oriented product, so pricing varies based on the customer. Toshiba also offers models that support either TCG Pyrite or TCG OPAL 2.01 encryption. Toshiba backs the XG6 with a five-year warranty, but OEMs have wide latitude in how they pass that warranty down to their customers. Toshiba didn't provide us with an endurance rating because the OEM also dictates it.
A Closer Look
The XG6 comes in an M.2 2280 S2 single-sided form factor with the Toshiba TC58NCP090GSD SSD controller. This controller communicates with the host over a PCIe 3.1a x4 interface with the NVMe 1.3a protocol.
The 1TB XG6 has a 512MB Nanya DRAM buffer. Most SSDs have a 1MB-to-1GB DRAM-to-NAND ratio, but recent SSD designs appear to signal a move to lower ratios. For instance, the 1TB Intel 660p only comes with 256MB of DRAM.
The XG5 packs 1TB of storage into just two flash packages. That equates to 953GB of usable space after you format the drive in Windows. Laptop makers are intensely focused on reducing weight, and the XG6's 7.3 grams is much more palatable than the typical 40-70 grams for a SATA SSD.
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