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Toshiba XG3 M.2 NVMe SSD Review (1TB) – Rocket Ship NVMe SSD

The Toshiba XG3 SSD is a M.2 NVMe drive which just may be the most powerful SSD on the market….well not really on the market. It isn’t available through consumer sales and can only be found pre-installed in ultrabooks, unless of course you are lucky enough to dig one up on eBay.  The downfall of trying to get ones hands on such a OEM/client SSD that is not attained pre-configured in a new system, of course, is that there is no warranty.  It is the chance you take and the trade-off for owning the best.  On our test bench today is the 1TB capacity Toshiba XG3 M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD and we will be the first to admit that this SSD’s performance was totally unexpected.

Toshiba XG3 1TB SSD Angled 3

The Toshiba XG3 is a NVMe PCIe SSD and may be found within pre-configured ultrabooks, such as the Microsoft Surface Pro, and in capacities of 128, 256, 512GB or 1TB.  As a bit of a fair warning, most manufacturers don’t guarantee the model of SSD in use and many Surface Book owners have been disappointed to find a lesser performing Samsung SSD within, rather than Toshiba XG3.  For those wondering what NVMe is, it is Non-Volatile Memory Express and enables SSDs to run faster as it reduces the latency of SSDs significantly. If you are unsure of what latency is and how it relates to PC speed, check out this article.

For today’s evaluation, we will compare the XG3 to its true match, the Samsung 950 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD, but get ready for some interesting results as we throw in a number of other SSDs for a great comparison.

Toshiba XG3 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD With Samsung 950 Pro

Performance for the XG3 is variable, dependent on whether you get your hands on the 2.5″ or M.2 form factor.  Reason for this is that, although both rely on the PCIe Gen 3 interface, the notebook version uses only 2 PCIe lanes while the M.2 uses four, allowing for better transfer speeds.  The 2.5″ XG3 is capable of 1500MB/s read and 1300MB/s write while the M.2 boosts these speeds to 2400MB/s read and 1500MB/s write.  Both are rated at a 5-year lifespan and active power rating for the 2.5″ version is 6W and 7mW low power state while the M.2 is up to 6.4W active and 6mW low power state.

Toshiba XG3 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD FrontThe Toshiba XG3 M.2 SSD is a 2280 (80mm) form factor, and contains a proprietary Toshiba NVMe 4 lane controller, numbered TC58NCP070GSB.  This controller follows the codename ‘Fujisan’, is Toshiba IP,  and was displayed by OCZ last year at Computex 2015.  Clicking on the link will display a photo of the early prototype, then described as the OCZ Revo 400, which looks remarkably similar to the XG3 shown here.

Toshiba XG3 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD PCBThere are 4 Toshiba TH58TFTJFLBAEG 15nm mlc NAND chips and each has a 256GB capacity. As well, there is a Samsung 1GB LPDDR3 low power DRAM cache shown on the picture above to the left.

Toshiba XG3 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD BackOnce formatted, there is 954GB of available storage space available to the user.

CRYSTAL DISK INFO VER. 6.8.1

Crystal Disk Info is a great tool for displaying the characteristics and health of storage devices. It displays everything from temperatures, to the number of hours the device has been powered, and even to the extent of informing you of the firmware of the device.

Toshiba XG3 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD Crystal Disk Info

The latest version of Crystal Disk Info is compatible with the NVMe SSDs and the Toshiba XG3 is using PCIe 3 x4 (4 lane) with the NVMe protocol. It is worth mentioning that, unlike the Samsung 950 Pro NVMe SSD, the XG3 does not require any special drivers and works perfectly with Win 10 integrated NVMe drivers.  Of note however, best performance is reached by finding the XG3 within the PC Control Panel/Device Manager/Disk Drives/ and turning off Windows write cache buffer flushing under the ‘Properties’ menu of the XG3.  If you don’t do this, you will experience very low write performance.

  • Benjamin Hojnik

    Thats some pretty good stuff from toshiba. And from 2D MLC flash.

    I do wonder however what controller is that. Obviously its not made by toshiba. Something from OCZ maybe ? Or phison E7?

  • Benjamin Hojnik

    Thats some pretty good stuff from toshiba.

  • DarthDVD

    Bring on the 1Tb M.2 NVME Drives!!! (its the only thing stopping me from dropping a lot of moneys (and selling 1/2 a liver) and getting a new Rig.

  • Greg Zeng

    Your claim for Crystal Disk Benchmark is several times higher than mine, on my 2013 Dell XPS-15 notebook computer. The original factory mSATA SSD was replaced a few months ago with a terabyte Samsung 850 EVO.

    How comparable are the results of your tests, compared to those of your readers? If I install one of your tested products, how much performance difference should we expect? Several times?

    My next upgrade might be to replace to original terabyte spinning HDD with a SSD of one or two terabytes. Perhaps.

    • DarthDVD

      The Samsung 850 EVO SSD (mSata) uses the mSata Standard and can not go as fast as the drives in this review.

      The Drives in this review are M.2 (PCIE NVME) SSD’s and have access to 4 PCIE lanes which is Considerably much faster than Sata be it on: mSata on mini-pci(e) or M.2

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.2

    • Shamoy Rahman

      You should’ve bought an M.2 or PCIE SSD if you wanted pure speed and didn’t care about the cost.

    • SkOrPn

      All I will say is you can’t really get away with comparing mSATA or SATA against PCIe storage. Its kinda like comparing PCIe video cards to AGP video cards, or even PCI to PCIe, it just isn’t a fair comparison. The PCIe bus is magnitudes better at moving data than the SATA bus will ever be. Now if you want to put FOUR 850 EVOs into RAID0, then we can talk comparisons because that MIGHT (I stress might, lol) compete with the single PCIe SSD given the usage scenario.

  • dzezik

    The advice to disable cache flush is wrong. You should only mark this option is the SSD has capacitors to protect unflushed data on power loss. So the drive runs faster but Your data is not safe, this is trade off. pease be aware of that. if the performance without this option is low then the controller or firmware is not well designed or… other controllers do not respect host request to flush cache. Do You have any information what is the real issue? Regards

    • This is not uncommon. It is also much the same regardless of system and, yes is a tradeoff.

  • dravo1

    The SSD folks who improve performance by playing games with memory inherently increase the risk of data loss if the devices lack supercaps and ECC RAM. The topic of ECC RAM has never come up here but when the enterprise SSD/NVMe sizes climb into the Ts its a more valid concern. I’m not even sure if controllers can even catch internal bit errors in the RAM cache. I’ve never heard of ECC being available in single DRAMs.

  • Nevin Sweigart

    Does this fit into a hp omen?

  • Douglas Payne

    Guys. Thanks for an awesome review. Does anyone know where I can get the PCIe to USB 3.0 or to SATA adapter so I can get my data off this drive? I have a Dell XPS 15″ laptop that I paid $3,400 for and it won’t even turn on. Dell told me to take it to a local computer support specialist. Any help would be appreciated. EVERY SSD to USB adapter I found does not work with the M.2 Type 2280 NVMe pcie solid state interface. =-(

  • R. Rubb

    Hello have this drive ona Lenovo x1 (Gen 3) and have no way to get it accepted. 2103 Detection Error , and than in the installation process which starts Hardware is not supported… Any help for that issue (love that drive for what it is, just want it installed ) Thanks

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