Toshiba recently released two new solid-state drive (SSDs) geared towards the entry-level and mainstream storage drive markets. The more high-end competitor, the MLC-based Q300 Pro, promises to be a fierce competitor in its market in terms of price and performance.
Toshiba released the Q300 Pro along with the more standard, less pricey Q300 shortly after the 2015 Flash Memory Summit. The drives’ predecessors were widely regarded as underwhelming. This in itself was nothing out of the ordinary; business analysts and private consumers tend to be unimpressed by Toshiba’s somewhat misaligned prices and lackluster marketing techniques.
A comprehensive understanding of what the Q300 Pro has to offer requires a passable understanding of the more standard Q300 does. It’s basically just a Toshiba-branded OCZ Trion 100; it’s got the same Toshiba TC58NC1000 controller and 128Gb 19nm TLC flash memory. The Q300 doesn’t use Toshiba’s new Quad-Swing-By-Coding (which is basically just an advanced form of ECC), so its controller is almost exactly the same of that of Phison’s S10.
That said, the Q300 does offer something somewhat revolutionary in that it’s the only newly released Toshiba SSD to be able to store 1 terabyte without over-provisioning. Its ability is reflected in its price; the 480 GB model will set back buyers by about $190, making it enormously expensive for an entry level TLC-based SSD.
Then there’s the Q300 Pro. Its general design differs little from its Toshiba-produced, client-focused SSD ancestors like the HG6 and Q-Series Pro. It sports the same DRAM-less design and unusual dynamic SLC caching algorithm. It also shares the same exorbitant price.
The Q300 Pro comes in three different capacities ranging from 128 GB to its top-end, 512 GB capacity. Its TC358790 controller is designed in-house and is identical to the processor used on the Q300 Pro’s last iteration, the HG6. In general the two devices are relatively similar, though the Q300 Pro’s revitalized firmware does increase sequential and random write performance ensures that the Q300 Pro remains a head above its older sibling. That said, they share the Toshiba A19 NAND and lack DRAM buffers.
But about that significantly improved sequential and random write performance: Toshiba doesn’t disclose the specifics in terms of each capacity and instead defines each speed with an up-to rating. Some skeptics like to call these stats “hero numbers” because the lower-capacity, less pricey models can’t actually achieve them. Apparently you’ll see up to 550 MB/s sequential read and 520 MB/s sequential write speeds tops. Random 4KB performance supposedly ranks around 92,000 IOPS for reads and 63,000 IOPS for writes.
The Q300 Pro utilizes both QSBC ECC and Toshiba’s Adaptive SLC technology. The Adaptive SLC helps to accelerate the Q300 Pro’s performance, but also can create abnormalities during synthetic testing. All in all, it’s thought to have a net positive effect on the SSD.
And now for the ever-important warranty information. After all, every drive will fail at some point, and it’s important you get your money back when you can. The Q300 Pro is covered by a different warranty than the older HG6. Toshiba certifies it with five-year coverage, which ranks it two years above the SSD’s predecessor. Also available is the 7mm to 9.5mm adapter bracket and free access to NTI’s Echo software, which enables buyers to quickly and easily clone existing drives.
And then, of course, there’s the price. The 512GB Q300 Pro puts a buyer back a fair amount, to the tune of $210; the 256GB model is priced somewhere around $130, and the 128GB model goes for $80. Prices may vary depending on the retailer, market fluctuations, and chosen warranty package.