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Toshiba 500GB SSHD (MQ01ABF050H) Review

Toshiba 500GB SSHD (MQ01ABF050H) Review

Toshiba stirs up the market with its latest SSHD. The MQ01ABFH offers tremendous performance at a price point that's hard to ignore.

@TylerBernath
Tyler Bernath
Published Thu, Sep 5 2013 9:12 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:32 PM CDT
Rating: 96%Manufacturer: Toshiba

Introduction and Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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The MQ01ABFH lineup is the next generation of SSHDs in the slim 7mm z-height from Toshiba, coming in both 320GB and 500GB capacities.

These drives feature a generous 32MB of DRAM cache, assisted by a full 8GB of 19nm MLC NAND from Toshiba. As with most drives aimed at thin computing, the ABFH lineup spins its platters at 5400RPM.

As the Hybrid drive market begins to heat up, consumers are taking advantage of the additional performance of SSHDs without the sacrifice of capacity. With Seagate launching its flagship Laptop Thin SSHD, and WD jumping onboard with their OEM-only model it was only a matter of time before Toshiba jumped in leveraging their extensive knowledge of NAND flash memory and caching solutions.

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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Specifications have the Toshiba ABFH SSHD available in 320GB and 500GB capacities. Further, each of these drives feature 32MB of DRAM cache and 8GB of NAND manufactured on the 19nm process. SATA compatibility starts with gen. three and allows backwards compatibility with generation one and two.

The ABFH series of drives both feature a single platter design, offering 12ms average seek times with non-operating shock listed at 900G and operating shock at 400G.

Warranty of the Toshiba ABFH series is listed at three years from date of purchase. Pricing of the 320GB model is set at $56.99, with the 500GB capacity listed at $94.26.

Toshiba 500GB SSHD

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Our sample of the 500GB Toshiba SSHD was delivered in bare drive form. Listed on the drive is the manufacturing date of June 21 2013, followed by the capacity at 500GB and firmware AA10/ARF02A.

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The back of the drive houses a teal colored PCB with the standard SATA connections.

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The SATA power and data connections are placed in position for wide compatibility.

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With our scale, we were able to weigh the Toshiba SSHD at just over 3 ounces.

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Setting up our Starrett 799, we found the Toshiba SSHD to measure in at 6.73mm.

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Removing the PCB from the drive, we found the motor to use a set of four contact pins, with the drives head using an 18 pin clip.

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Looking over the electrical component on the PCB, we find 32MB of DRAM cache manufactured by ESMT. Following this we also found the Marvell 9317 for controlling the platter portion of the drive, and the LAMD for the cache portion of the drive. Up top to the left there is 8GB of NAND cache.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and ATTO Baseline Performance

Desktop Test System

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ATTO Baseline Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.34

Many disk manufacturers, to determine the read and write speeds that will be presented to customers, use ATTO.

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Our first benchmark takes us over to results from ATTO. Here we found the drive to reach an amazing 172 MB/s read and write speed came in at 87 MB/s.

Benchmarks - Sequential Performance

HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.00

Developer Homepage: http://www.efdsoftware.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

HD Tune is a Hard Disk utility which has the following functions:

Benchmark: measures the performance

Info: shows detailed information

Health: checks the health status by using SMART

Error Scan: scans the surface for errors

Temperature display

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has gained popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.

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Within HDTune, we found the Toshiba drive to reach 120 MB/s at its peak with an average of 66 MB/s.

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Write performance peaked at 92 MB/s, averaging out at 70 MB/s.

Benchmarks - AIDA64 Random Access Time

AIDA64 Random Access Time

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.60

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

AIDA64 offers several different benchmarks for testing and optimizing your system or network. The Random Access test is one of very few if not only that will measure hard drives random access times in hundredths of milliseconds as oppose to tens of milliseconds.

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Read access times were on par with about every drive in our charts. Peaking at 22ms and averaging out at 17ms.

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Write access times were significantly lower than most drives in our chart. At its peak the Toshiba offered 20ms, averaging at 17ms.

Benchmarks - Anvil Storage Utilities

Anvil Storage Utilities

Version and / or Patch Used: RC6

So what is Anvil Storage Utilities? First of all, it's a storage benchmark for SSDs and HDDs where you can check and monitor your performance. The Standard Storage Benchmark performs a series of tests, you can run a full test or just the read or the write test or you can run a single test, i.e. 4K DQ16.

Anvil Storage Utilities is not officially available yet but we've been playing with the beta for several months now. The author, Anvil on several international forums has been updating the software steadily and is adding new features every couple of months.

The software is used several different ways and to show different aspects for each drive. We've chosen to use this software to show the performance of a drive with two different data sets. The first is with compressible data and the second data set is incompressible data. Several users have requested this data in our SSD reviews.

Incompressible Data

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0-Fill Compressible Data

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Read IOPS through Queue Depth Scale

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4K performance of the Toshiba was astonishing, thanks to its self-learning caching, the drive picked up rather quickly topping out at 7K IOPS.

Write IOPS through Queue Depth Scale

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Random write showed the same story, we found the drive peaking at 5800 IOPS.

Benchmarks - PCMark 8 Hard Disk Tests

PCMark 8 - Hard Disk Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/pcmark8

PCMark 8 is the latest version in our popular series of PC benchmarking tools. Improving on previous releases, PCMark 8 includes battery life measurement tools and new tests using popular applications from Adobe and Microsoft. Whether you are looking for long battery life, or maximum power, PCMark 8 helps you find the devices that offer the perfect combination of efficiency and performance for your needs.

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Overall storage score for our Toshiba SSHD came in at 2419.

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In WoW, the SSHD came in at 120.1 seconds, just behind the Seagate offering at 103.8.

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Battlefield 3 had the Toshiba SSHD coming in at 340.6 seconds, just behind the WD Slim and Seagate SSHD.

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Utilizing Photoshop under light use, the Toshiba came in at 203 seconds.

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A heavy use scenario allowed the Toshiba drive 492.5 seconds, slightly ahead of the WD Slim and just behind the Seagate offering.

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The Excel application trace allowed the Toshiba to close the gap between it and the Seagate offering. Here we found the Toshiba coming in at 18.5 seconds, just two seconds behind the Seagate Laptop Thin.

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The PowerPoint trace had our Toshiba again close to the Seagate drive at 16.8 seconds.

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Lastly, the Microsoft Word application trace had the Toshiba coming in at 53.2 seconds.

Benchmarks - BootRacer and Resume from S4 Hibernation

BootRacer - System Boot Time

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.0

Developer Homepage: Greatis

Product Homepage: BootRacer

Download here: http://www.greatis.com/bootracer/download.htm

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Time to desktop came in at 30 seconds, making the Toshiba SSHD the quickest drive to desktop in our testing.

Resume from S4 Hibernation

Hibernation or S4 is part of the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface specification. In our custom "Resume from S4" testing, we allow the drive to enter hibernation for a period of ten minutes; from there we use our trusted stopwatch and time how long it takes for the drive to resume to a working desktop environment.

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In our custom resume from S4 testing, the Toshiba SSHD once again was the quickest. Resuming in just 6.02 seconds.

Final Thoughts

SSHDs are the latest in technology that enables users of notebook and ultra-books to maintain the capacity they desire, without sacrificing the performance they crave.

Providing 8GB of NAND flash, Toshiba delivers on the promise of remarkable performance where it matters. In our 4K random testing, the SSHD was top dog in every aspect, both read and write thanks to the drives ability to utilize its self-learning caching algorithms that are engineered to adjust to user access patterns.

Additionally, the majority of testing outside the 4K random results also had the Toshiba SSHD towards the top of the group. Using the power of PCMark 8's application trace testing, we were able to put the Toshiba through its paces, and while it wasn't the quickest drive, the results were commendable. Taking into account we test drives on a level playing field, running each test in the same manner, if we were to run the Toshiba SSHD through PCMark 8 a number of additional times, results would only increase as the LAMD controller recognized it as "Hot" data.

At the time of writing the MSRP of the Toshiba SSHD in the 320GB capacity is set at $56.99 with the 500GB model we tested here today at $94.26. This pricing effectively puts the pressure on Seagate with its top capacity 500GB Laptop Thin offering coming in $79.99.

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Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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