The importance of Toshiba in the flash industry cannot be overstated. Toshiba is not only one of the world’s largest flash suppliers, but also, they are often recognized as the prime choice when SSD manufacturers are making quality SSDs. Some SSD manufacturers refuse to use anything nut Toshiba NAND flash memory in their SSDs. So where has Toshiba been as a SSD manufacturer? It is no secret that Toshiba was late from the gate in the SSD race right off, but really, why has Toshiba taken so long to mature with respect to both client and consumer SSDs?
The answer to this is relatively simple and comes down to something as simple as the SSD controller; they weren’t really comfortable with their market positioning with respect to controller performance. For that reason, Toshiba sat back for some time until their partnership with Marvell enabled the two to work hand in hand in building a solid contender. This was recently shown in their updated THNSN releases where we reviewed and published reports on client 512GB capacities of their updated THNSN mSATA and newest M.2 SSDs ; this documenting their progress and success with a controller based on Marvell hardware and Toshiba engineering expertise. It is, in fact, the first Marvell controller release void of any requirement for a DRAM cache which demonstrates the vital role that Toshiba has played in this relationship.
TOSHIBA Q SERIES PRO SSD
For the most part, the Toshiba Q Series Pro SSD we are reviewing today is the same as both the mSATA and M.2 client versions we have linked above, except of course this is the consumer retail version and is 256GB vice 512GB. Specifications and exterior packaging list performance at 554MB/s read and 512MB/s write with a three-year warranty included. The exterior packaging is well laid out and clearly states compatibility with all Windows versions, including Windows 8.
The Toshiba website lists immediate availability of the Q Series Pro and pricing on their website is $159.99 (128GB), $309.99 (256GB), and $739.99 (512GB). BEFORE YOU JUMP to buy one of these babies at the Toshiba’s own website, you might be wise to check out this link to Toshiba’s own Amazon store that has better pricing at $94 (128GB), $169.99 (256GB) and $399.99 (512GB). These prices are presently the best prices found on Amazon for regular retail SSD pricing.
A first look at the Toshiba Q Series Pro SSD identifies a very simple 7mm aluminum design with a very nondescript front branding sticker. Packaging includes a rubber gasket for older systems requiring the 9mm width and includes installation instructions which identifies a link to FREE migration that we didn’t see on the exterior packaging.
Initial disassembly of the Q Series Pro revealed that all memory modules, as well, as the controller, contain a rubber padding that provides for heat dissipation as well as shock resistance. The frame opens by way of removal of the four screws on the front of the SSD, however, any damage to the ‘VOID’ security tape will immediately void the SSDs warranty.
The Q Series Pro PCB contains the Toshiba TC358790XBG controller along with eight modules of Toshiba 19nm MLC Toggle 2.0 NAND flash memory, all on the one side of the PCB. This controller matches the same physical size as the Marvell labelled controllers of the previously reviewed client SSDs that we have in the shop, however, the product number doesn’t match and the numbering goes back to traditional Toshiba product numbering that one might see on completely proprietary Toshiba components. We expect this to still be the same controller as the client products and we are awaiting clarification from Toshiba; this report to be updated only if this is a new and unannounced Toshiba controller.
Each module of memory is 32GB in capacity for a RAW total of 256GB. Once formatted, the total available storage available to the consumer is reduced to 238GB.