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Toshiba PX03SN 12Gb/s SAS3 Enterprise SSD Review

By: Paul Alcorn | SSDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: May 21, 2014 2:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: Toshiba

Final Thoughts




The PX03SN engages a rapidly growing customer base in the datacenter. Caching and tiering applications are by far the most common SSD use-case in the datacenter. Explosive acceleration of existing infrastructure is always an attractive option, leading to better CPU utilization and enhanced application performance. Server-side caching and tiering models provide the best of both world's. The high performance from SSDs boost application performance, and the tremendous capacity of HDDs provide enough room for the ever-growing amount of data.


Read-intensive applications and read-caching/tiering models do not always require bulletproof endurance, especially if they are dealing with relatively static datasets. This allows the use of value-based alternatives, but in many cases, those alternatives can skimp in areas that leave administrators open to catastrophic events. Installing consumer-grade SSDs without power loss protection features opens the door for data loss in mission-critical environments. Lower-tier SATA SSDs also lack enhanced High-Availability features provided by the dual-port 12Gb/s SAS connection on the PX03SN.


The enhanced random-read performance from 12Gb/s SSDs can also boost existing 6Gb/s SAS infrastructure. There isn't a 6Gb/s SAS SSD that can push the tremendous random read performance of the PX03SN. The integration of 12Gb/s SAS into server motherboards isn't entirely complete, but the transition has already started. The PX03SN can be connected directly to 12Gb/s-capable motherboards for an easy performance boost without populating another PCIe slot with an HBA or RAID controller.


The wisdom of integrating 19nm MLC into the existing Toshiba 12Gb/s platform was clear during testing. The same controller utilized with higher-endurance 24nm eMLC models wrung impressive performance from 19nm MLC. Delivering 134,000 4k random read IOPS is fantastic on any platform, and the terrific random read speed from the PX03SN is a definite bright spot. In our 8k read testing, the PX03SN blew past the PX02SM. In our web server workload, the PX03SN even provided more performance than the top-of-the-pyramid PX02SS. This highlights the advantages of Toshiba's tuning for read-centric workloads.


In our testing, we also noted improved consistency in mixed random workloads over the PX02SM, and much tighter performance in heavy-write workloads. The PX03SN supplied incrementally lower sequential write performance than the high-endurance SSDs, but sequential read speed was surprisingly robust, even outperforming the PX02SM by a healthy margin. The PX03SN suffered a notable reduction in IOPS-to-Watts performance, but it is important to specify these measurements were taken with write activity. The PX03SN is designed specifically for read-intensive workloads, where it is ranked at 24,400 IOPS-per-Watt, matching the PX02SS and above the PX02SM.


The PX03SN delivers tremendous performance in an economic package. The marriage of mission-critical features, such as High-Availability and power loss protection, with a lower price point provides significant value. The endurance trade-off does not show in performance, and the PX03SN blew away our expectations for a value-based SSD, winning the TweakTown Best Value Award for the 12Gb/s segment.



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