Toshiba MK4001GRZB 400GB SAS 6Gb/s Enterprise SLC SSD Review

CONCLUSION

A major tenant of our product evaluation today was to explore the difference between FOB and Steady State performance for our readers as we make our first venture into enterprise testing.  While the drop in performance among the various states may seem severe, when compared to other devices it is really very good. Make no mistake, this is a serious drive designed for serious 24/7 use in the most demanding environments.

This drive performs very well at these tests as it is tuned for Steady State usage from the drawing table to manufacture. Toshiba has great flexibility with the tuning of the device, as they design and test their own firmware for the Marvell controller in house. Having a dedicated firmware team is a perk that Toshiba enjoys, along with the manufacture and use of their own 32nm Toggle NAND.

There aren’t many companies that have the in-house ability that Toshiba does when it comes to SSDs. Toshiba has actually been widely credited with coining the very term ‘flash memory’!  In the 1980s a Toshiba engineer was observing memory through a microscope while it performed an erase function. Commenting that it erased “in a flash”, the term that is used throughout the world to describe NAND was born.

With this deep background in the NAND industry customers can feel assured that the product will deliver. This is very important in the enterprise space, as nothing short of 24/7 reliability, for years, is the desired level of performance.

One of the greatest aspects of this SSD is the fact that its power consumption is so low, while also still producing tremendous amounts of IOPS. This is key in environments where the power bill comes to millions annually. While a low power threshold hovering around 6.5 Watts may not seem like much, when deployed en masse the numbers can add up very quickly.

From some expanded reading on the device we have found that Toshiba designed this drive for excellent thermal performance and low power consumption from the very beginning of the design phase. This approach has certainly paid off, netting them the prestigious Director-Generals Prize, from the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy from the Energy Conservation Center, Japan (ECCJ). This really speaks volumes to the industry leading power consumption figures that this drive boasts.

Sporting SLC NAND that enables endurance levels others simply cannot match places this SSD above some of the competition from the jump, and connecting that to a solid Marvell design behind a SAS 6Gb/s connection is the final piece of the puzzle. SAS affords options for High-Availability and Failover that other connections simply do not.

Unlimited writes for the life of the 5-year warranty shows the level of faith that Toshiba has placed in their product, and bodes well for customers who are wary of ‘disruptive’ flash technology.  Overall, the Toshiba scores very high in all categories, and is certainly a Tier-o product, intended for the upper echelon of Enterprise effectiveness.

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lightminer

Thanks for the detailed report. Can you compare/contrast this with the OWC enterprise drive, which is 1700 vs 6000 for the Toshiba. Is it worth 3 times the price? I do see the attention they paid to heat and don’t know if OWC has done the same homework, but the OWC drive does use an enterprise SandForce chip which should have the same features as the Marvell.

Les@TheSSDReview
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Awaiting arrival of the OWC SSD.

Lightminer
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Lightminer

I guess the price difference is SLC vs eMLC, (correct me if I’m wrong) and their additional work on putting it together really well in terms of the heat dissipation. But in real terms I guess this comes down to longevity? It would be very interesting if you could do some applied but theoretical analysis of longevity comparisons. For example, if serving a database or web server with x writes and y reads per day how long would each last? I think the SLC is in the millions so that can be counted on for 5 yrs+ but the question… Read more »