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Toshiba XG3 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review

Toshiba XG3 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review
Toshiba's XG3 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD is an OEM SSD that packs a huge punch and doubles the capacity of its current competition. Let's take a close look at it.
By: Jon Coulter | m.2 SSDs in Storage | Posted: Apr 18, 2016 7:55 pm
TweakTown Rating: 96%Manufacturer: Toshiba

Introduction

 

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Toshiba first announced their XG3 series of NVMe SSDs at Flash Memory Summit last year. The XG3 family of SSDs is currently selling to OEM clients in capacities of 128GB to 1024GB. Obviously, the 1TB model is by far the most interesting of the bunch because it is double the current capacity of Samsung's competing OEM NVMe M.2 SM951 product line. The ability for consumers to order a laptop with 1TB of NVMe goodness built right in is very appealing to mobile enthusiasts and work professionals alike.

 

 

The problem with OEM drives is they are generally not sold through normal retail channels, so the chances of getting your hands-on the XG3 as a standalone piece of hardware are very limited. However, in the case of Toshiba's XG3, getting your hands-on one is really just a matter of waiting for the consumer version to launch. A consumer version of the XG3 will come via OCZ Storage Solutions (a Toshiba company) as their first consumer-based NVMe SSD, the upcoming RevoDrive 400. The RevoDrive 400 will be sold as an aftermarket product through normal retail channels.

 

Physically, we expect the RevoDrive 400 will utilize identical components. There will be differences, though. OCZ states they will be utilizing a different firmware, perhaps more performance oriented. And, OCZ's SSD GURU toolbox compatibility will make drive maintenance a breeze for RevoDrive 400 users. As enthusiasts, we need to be able to easily secure erase, clone, and optimize our after-market SSDs. System retailers (OEMs) and the consumers that buy their products typically have no need for user managed SSD maintenance, which is the reason Toshiba doesn't offer any "toolbox" software for the XG3.

 

Reliability is the number one requirement for any OEM product, and Toshiba has a reputation for building SSDs that are rock solid. One of the reasons for this reputation is Toshiba's proprietary error correction technology. The XG3 employs Toshiba's proprietary Quadruple Swing-By Code (QSBC) error-correction technology, a highly efficient error correction code (ECC), which helps protect customer data from corruption, improves reliability, and extends the life of Toshiba SSDs. QSBC is rumored to be even more efficient than LDPC.

 

In a notebook environment, power consumption is a primary concern. Toshiba engineered the XG3 family of SSDs for power efficiency, through lower power state modes and the use of components engineered for power efficiency.

 

Intel and Samsung offer a proprietary NVMe driver for their NVMe SSDs, but Toshiba does not. The XG3 utilizes the standard Microsoft NVMe driver that comes baked into Windows 8-10. This makes sense because the XG3 is an OEM SSD, and not needing an additional driver for best performance makes setup easier for OEMs. We don't know if we will see a proprietary NVMe driver with the RevoDrive 400, but we would certainly love to see an F6 NVMe driver made available for the hordes of Windows 7 users out there. An F6 driver would make it easy for Windows 7 users to utilize the XG3 and upcoming RevoDrive 400 as their boot disk. So far, only Intel seems to get this.

 

We've had our eyes on the XG3 ever since it was first announced, primarily because we feel that the XG3 is a drive that can give Samsung's OEM SM951 and even the consumer-based 950 Pro a run for their money when it comes to what we care about most - performance. Additionally, Toshiba's XG3 is the only non-Samsung M.2 form factor NVMe SSD on the market. It's one thing to make a blazing fast NVMe SSD like Intel's 750 Series, but it's a whole other thing to do it with a tiny M.2 "gum stick" drive.

 

We've finally got the XG3, at the capacity point we most desire, on our bench; so let's see what Toshiba's latest and greatest client SSD is capable of delivering.

 

 

Specifications

 

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The XG3 is available in four capacities: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1024GB (1-terabyte). There are two versions: a 2-lane 2.5" form factor SATA Express version and the 4-lane M.2 2280 form factor version we have on the bench today.

 

Sequential specifications show read up to 2516MB/s and write up to 1572MB/s. Toshiba does not specify random performance. Power consumption for the 1TB M.2 is Active 6.4W typical and Low Power State 6.0mW typical.

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