IO-Data, well known for its myriad storage products, has announced their latest SSD model, SSDN-3TB. Built around a new Toshiba 6Gbps storage controller, it will deliver read and write speeds of up to 480 MB/s and 350MB/s respectively.
In addition, random performance is pegged at 73k IOPS for reads and 58k IOPS when it comes to writes. Initially available in Japan, the new drives should go on sale later this month, with the 120 GB model being priced at around $206.
The star of this show, of course, is the new Toshiba SSD controller, which was cryptically christened TC58NC5HJ8GSB-01, and seems to be making its first appearance in IO-Data’s new products. As many of you are no doubt aware, Toshiba has a history of rebranding Jmicron’s SSD processors, though they’re not the only ones guilty of doing so, Western Digital being another major example that comes to mind. However, seeing as the new controller doesn’t depend on external cache to drive its performance and has specs decidedly different from LSI Sandforce products, there is little reason to suspect subterfuge. Indeed, it appears that we may finally have another strong player in the current gen SSD game.
The only fly in the ointment I can think of, would have to be the slightly subdued data transfer speeds of Toshiba’s new tenderfoot, being somewhat lower than LSI Sandforce’s and Marvell’s latest offerings. Considering the potential for aggressive pricing and firmware tweaks, this may turn out to be a non-issue. Certainly, Marvell’s own entry serves as a prime example of how hard working software engineers can effectively make a product’s performance shift gears, as evidenced by Crucial’s souped up firmware released for their RealSSD C400 a couple of months ago. The reality is, the road to faster operation may actually be paved by a couple of optimized functions.
Another aspect to consider is reliability, which Toshiba has consistently delivered in spades when it comes to SSDs utilizing their homegrown controllers, and will no doubt be a major factor as they attempt to face down the competition. As we’ve seen time and again, nothing tarnishes a brand’s reputation more quickly than a product malfunction. Smooth RMA process or not, it’s always best not to require consumers to return a product in order to receive predictable operation. I’m sure firms that utilize Toshiba’s new controller will already have an understanding of that notion, and are likely willing to bet that many consumers will be extremely supportive of such a design decision.
All-in-all, it appears that Toshiba has an excellent ‘shot’ at being a strong influence in today’s SSD market, and seems intent on swimming in the deep end of the ‘pool’ from this point on. If the new controller can combine solid performance with a reasonable price, it may be that this compelling contender ends up being quite a hit with SSD manufacturers after all. At the very least, it will serve to put more established entries on notice. With a powerful presence like Toshiba now entering the fray, these ‘shark’ infested waters just got a whole lot smaller.
I have to say, after seeing what Toshiba is bringing to the ‘table’, this may be the perfect ‘cue’ to start saving your hard earned cash. With a US release likely just around the ‘corner’, make sure you check those ‘pocket’s!