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Toshiba MG04 Enterprise 5TB HDD Review

By: Paul Alcorn | HDDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Jan 15, 2015 3:11 am
TweakTown Rating: 95%Manufacturer: Toshiba

Final Thoughts




The Toshiba MG04 series provides robust performance metrics with a five-year warranty, and an innovative new power-loss protection scheme. Toshiba's PWC (Persistent Write Cache) leverages electromagnetic energy and non-volatile cache to protect data in transit during an unexpected power loss. This excellent addition provides an extra layer of protection for mission critical data.


Toshiba's move to 5TB signified a jump in capacity for Toshiba in comparison to their existing product lines, but other manufacturers have taken the lead, and are shipping 6TB drives. Toshiba is upgrading the connection to 12Gb/s SAS, and increasing density with their 6TB MG04 refresh in Q1 of 2015. The new MG04 will close the capacity gap with Toshiba's competitors to address the only shortcoming of the MG04 series.


The MG04 series delivered amazing performance in our testing, and routinely topped the charts in the majority of workloads. Our MG04 test sample features the 4Kn format, which provides a performance increase for larger files. The other drives in the test pool feature the 512e format, which provides an advantage with smaller file sizes. Some of the performance advantages observed in our testing can be chalked up to the 4Kn format, but many of the attractive features are simply the result of solid engineering.


The MG04 delivered leading speed in all of our 4k and 8k random tests, which fueled an optimal Latency-to-IOPS ratio that led the test pool. Mixed random workloads also benefited from the great performance. This translated well to our server workloads, and the MG04 took a comfortable lead in both tests.


Power consumption metrics revealed close competition with the Seagate Enterprise Capacity in random workload power draw. These comparisons are based upon the raw power consumption of the devices, but the Seagate and HGST HDDs offer an additional 1TB of capacity. This alters power-per-TB metrics, and requires consideration during power consumption analysis. The MG04 regularly rivaled the HGST He6 in random write workload IOPS-per-Watt, largely due to its very high performance in those workloads.


SSDs are altering the role of the HDD in the datacenter as they filter into caching and tiering roles. This shifts HDDs away from random workloads to sequential workloads. The MG04's impressive performance with sequential data tailors it well for a large variety of applications. The MG04 came close to unseating the He6 in sequential workload efficiency, which is surprising considering the HGST He6 is designed specifically to deliver low power consumption. The MG04 provided such surprising efficiency with sequential activity due to its incredibly low power draw during sequential access. The MG04 matched its low sequential power consumption with great overall sequential performance, which is quite the tandem.


Overall, the Toshiba MG04 provided superior performance and excellent power consumption metrics across the board. It is hard to place the MG04 for an award, specifically the Editor's Choice Award, largely because it is the first 4Kn drive in the lab. We need to do a deeper analysis of performance with other 4Kn drives in the test pool, so stay tuned for a future article with direct comparisons. We are also working on an article that explores performance variations between two of the same models with different formats.

Product Summary Breakdown

Quality, Design, Build and Warranty94%
General Features94%
Performance Consistency94%
Power Consumption and Efficiency95%
Overall TweakTown Rating95%

The Bottom Line: Toshiba's MG04 series with the 4Kn format provides incredible performance and is available in 6Gb/s SAS and SATA models, and 512e formats. The MG04 delivers amazing power efficiency and offers an innovative power loss protection technique.

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