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Toshiba HG5 512GB review

The heavyweights of the NAND market weigh in with a chunky SSD

Our Verdict

For

  • Impressive real-world performance
  • Good for larger capacity drive
  • Good build quality

Against

  • Weak 4K random figures
  • A bit pricey compared to performance of 256GB drives
  • Only 1-year warranty

Toshiba isn't a name that readily comes to mind when choosing a solid-state drive, which is surprising considering it invented NAND flash 25 years ago. But while companies like OCZ, Intel, Kingston, Corsair, Samsung and myriad others are shouting about their SSDs, the fact that Toshiba makes SSDs as well as the NAND chips inside them tends to pass people by.

Back in June 2012 Toshiba announced the world's first 19nm NAND equipped SSDs, but only now do we have a drive for review. Unfortunately for Toshiba, in the time since the announcement two other manufacturer's drives using its latest NAND have already visited our test bench: Plextor's M5 Pro Series and the latest drive from Kingston, the SSDNow V300.

Toshiba quotes the max sequential read speed at 524MB/s, with the sequential write speed quoted at 461MB/s for everything bar the 64GB drive. Under test conditions using the ATTO benchmark these figures seem a little on the safe side, as the drive produced a read score of 554MB/s and 511MB/s for the writes. That performance sits the Toshiba drive in between the two other 19nm NAND users we've tested.

Control yourself

Unlike the ubiquitous SandForce controller, the Marvell controller isn't particularly bothered about what type of data it is working with. Comparing sequential read/write scores for the default incompressible and compressible data tests in AS SSD shows this nicely, and results in 512MB/s and 477MB/s for the read/writes respectively for the default test, and 509MB/s reads and 495MB/s writes for the compressible data test.

However, the 4K read performance isn't that strong, and the writes are disappointingly low, which is something we've seen before with larger capacity SSDs.

Back in the real world, the drive's performance is pretty impressive. It took just three and a half minutes to copy a 50GB folder of fixed file types and sizes, while copying a 4GB image took a mere 17 seconds. A 17GB Blu-Ray file took a speedy 76 seconds too.

Benchmarks

Sequential read performance
AS SSD: Megabytes per second: Higher is better

TOSHIBA HG5: 512
PLEXTOR M5 PRO: 500
KINGSTON SSDNOW V300: 556

Sequential write performance
AS SSD: Megabytes per second: Higher is better

TOSHIBA HG5: 477
PLEXTOR M5 PRO: 309
KINGSTON SSDNOW V300: 527

4K random write performance
AS SSD: Megabytes per second: Higher is better

TOSHIBA HG5: 23
PLEXTOR M5 PRO: 53
KINGSTON SSDNOW V300: 57

Toshiba is keeping quiet about details of the controller, so we grabbed a deerstalker hat and a screwdriver and started investigating. Toshiba certainly doesn't make it easy.

Four tiny screws hold the case together, and four slightly larger ones hold the PCB in place. Releasing the PCB revealed individual thermal pads protecting the NAND and controller. The controller is branded Toshiba, but has 'Marvell N8B97202.4JW' underneath it, so it looks like custom Marvell silicon with Toshiba-written firmware.

The Marvell silicon means it can take on incompressible data with ease, but the curse of the high-capacity SSD strikes again with weak 4K random figures. That's the price you pay for large-scale storage right now, but prices are tumbling, with this Toshiba coming in at 72p per GB.

One worry is Toshiba's seeming lack of confidence in its product based on the warranty. Just one year isn't good enough for an expensive new SSD.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSolid State Drive
Product FamilyTHNSNFxxxGxxS
Drive InterfaceSATA
Drive Width2.5"
Drive Interface StandardSATA/600
Brand NameToshiba
Drive TypeInternal
Storage Capacity512 GB
Maximum Read Transfer Rate524 MBps
Maximum Write Transfer Rate461 MBps
Height7 mm
Width69.9 mm
Depth100 mm
Product SeriesTHNSNFxxxGxxS
ManufacturerToshiba
Product ModelTHNSNF512GCSS
Product NameTHNSNFxxxGxxS World's First 19 nm Nand cSSD
Manufacturer Part NumberTHNSNF512GCSS
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.toshiba.co.uk
Marketing InformationThis family of solid state drives (SSDs) utilises the advanced Multi-Level Cell (MLC) 19nm NAND technology from Toshiba. With an unrivalled combination of capacity, performance and power efficiency, the THNSNF range delivers an uncompromised storage solution for high end notebooks, tablets, PCs, all-in-one desktop computers as well as industrial PC applications. The small form factor drives boast a high capacity of up to 512 GB and are available in a range of sizes: THNSNFxxxGBSS (9.5mm height, 64, 128, 256, 512 GB), THNSNFxxxGCSS (7.0mm height, 64, 128, 256, 512 GB) and the THNSNFxxxGMCS (mSATATM).
The THNSNF range of SSDs features Toshiba's QSBCTM (Quadruple Swing-By Code), a strong and highly efficient Error Correction Code (ECC) protecting against any read errors in the device. Furthermore, deterministic zeroing TRIM function is supported, allowing the host operating system to inform the SSD about data blocks which are no longer in use and can be wiped internally. The THNSNF series also utilises Advanced Power Management (APM) technology to ensure the lowest levels of energy consumption.
The THNSNF is one of the most desirable SSD solutions available on the market today ensuring Toshiba as the NAND Flash technology leader.
Weight (Approximate)52 g