Toshiba announced the THNSNF product line at Computex 2012, just over six months ago. The line consists of three form factors and each form factor divides further into capacity sizes. Each model has a unique ID since the capacity size is in each model number. Today we're looking at the THNSNF256GCSS, a 2.5"form factor drive with a 7mm z-height.
Since Toshiba almost exclusively sells SSDs directly to OEMs and system integrators, you may wonder why this drive is getting attention on TweakTown. There are a couple of answers to that. The first is to see what system builders are using - if I don't know, I can't tell you to buy an aftermarket SSD or to keep the one that shipped in your new shiny ultrabook. The second reason is this is a really cool drive with features we never expected to see on an OEM drive.
The THNSNF (you can call it Thin Sniff, we do) was the first drive with 19nm Toggle 2 NAND, it beat Plextor's M5 Pro by several months. So, the flash is from Toshiba, the controller is also from Toshiba, but they had some help from Marvell along the way. We know this because the controller says so. This is where things start to get interesting. Unlike every other Marvell SSD controller we're seen to date, this design does not have a DRAM buffer. There is an open space on the PCB, but this is a DRAM-less design. Given the performance, we have to wonder just how fast THNSNF would be with DRAM.
Speaking of performance... as you know OCZ Technology went to Marvell for their Vertex 4, at least for the hardware portion. Vertex 4 was the first drive on the market that we know of to limit single queue depth read speeds. When you cap single queue depth read performance, you leave bandwidth open for other requests, and it makes multitasking smoother. THNSNF does the same thing and this is the first time we've seen the feature used outside of OCZ Vertex 4 and Vector.
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