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WORLD EXCLUSIVE - Toshiba PX02SM Series 12Gb/s Enterprise SSD Review (Page 1)

WORLD EXCLUSIVE - Toshiba PX02SM Series 12Gb/s Enterprise SSD Review

The Toshiba PX02SM series of SSDs leverages the enhanced speed of dual port 12Gb/s SAS, the Toshiba/Marvell controller and 24nm eMLC NAND to provide bleeding edge performance.

By Paul Alcorn on May 30, 2013 04:55 pm CDT
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: Toshiba



Toshiba's launch of the PX02SM series of eSSDs also brings about the unveiling of 12Gb/s SAS connectivity for storage devices. Through a lucky set of circumstances, and an undisclosed 12Gb/s adapter on loan from an R&D department, we happen to have an 800GB PX02SMF080 on hand and the necessary equipment to give us a peek into the coming world of 12Gb/s SSD's. The dual-port 12Gb/s SSD features sequential read/write speeds of 900/400 MB/s respectively, and random read/write IOPS of 120,000/30,000.

Last week Toshiba announced full availability of the PX02SMx eSSD (enterprise SSD's) for European markets. Understandably, this caught us by surprise as there are currently no 12Gb/s RAID adapters or HBA's on the market. Our early samples of the PX02SMx series have been languishing in the enterprise storage lab for nearly a month, while we awaited the key component for testing a 12Gb/s SSD: a 12Gb/s adapter. All 12Gb/s adapters from the normal vendors are under NDA or currently only sampling to OEMs. Luckily, we had already set plans in motion to gain access to the necessary equipment for testing.

The launch of 12Gb/s SAS brings a doubling of bandwidth that on the surface seems to be the most compelling feature. PCIe 3.0 and SAS 12Gb/s seem to be the perfect match, but in reality, the insatiable speed provided by 12Gb/s SAS already outstrips the available bandwidth of PCIe 3.0.

12Gb/s also brings other enhancements and changes to the SAS storage fabric that will allow for an expansion of the SAS ecosystem. SAS has long been an interface just begging to be let out of the box, and with the inclusion of new connectivity features, SAS is finally able to expand beyond its current limitations. We will cover some of these improvements on the following pages.

The major players with NAND foundries are all now rapidly expanding their presence in the enterprise realm with a variety of tiered solutions that appeal to different environments. The Toshiba PX02SMF080 series of eSSDs is the leading edge of a full frontal assault from Toshiba into the enterprise SSD battleground.

The PX02SM aims for Tier 0 applications with a dual-port 12Gb/s SAS interface and is Toshiba's first eSSD to feature 24nm eMLC (enterprise Multi Level Cell) NAND. The entry and mid-level PX02AM series also features 24nm eMLC NAND, but utilizes a SATA connection. The low-cost PX03AN series rounds out the offerings by leveraging standard 19nm MLC NAND and a SATA connection for entry-level and read-centric applications. All three SSD's support cryptographic-erase functionality in addition to AES 256-bit self-encryption.

The SED versions of the PX02SM series, the PX02SMQ/U, also offer Trusted Computing Group (TCG) enterprise protocol self-encryption. These features are important in today's computing environment where, according to Symantec, the average loss of an enterprise data breach is $5.5 million.

The PX02SM flagship product we are evaluating today features a Toshiba/Marvell controller in conjunction with 24nm eMLC and comes in capacities of 200GB, 400GB, 800GB and 1,600GB with a slim 7mm Z-height. The PX02SM series also features longevity that scales with capacity, with up to 29.2PB of write endurance for the 1,600GB model, which translates to roughly 10 DWPD (Drive Writes Per Day). This endurance promise is backed by a five year warranty.

The PX02SM also utilizes Toshiba's proprietary Quadruple Swing-By Code (QSBC) to protect from read errors, an integral component of a layered ECC approach for improved error correction capabilities. The addition of power loss protection defends data from power loss events.

The Px02SMF080 is designed to support mission critical enterprise applications that demand performance, endurance and frugal power consumption. Toshiba has extensive history and experience with flash memory; they actually invented NAND flash over 25 years ago in 1987. Leveraging these decades of experience brings forth a serious contender to the enterprise SSD market.

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Paul Alcorn


The quest for benchmark world records led Paul further and further down the overclocking rabbit hole. SSDs and RAID controllers were a big part of that equation, allowing him to push performance to the bleeding edge. Finding the fastest and most extreme storage solutions led to experience with a myriad of high-end enterprise devices. Soon testing SSDs and Enterprise RAID controllers at the limits of their performance became Paul's real passion, one that is carried out through writing articles and reviews.

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