Review: Toshiba OCZ RD400 M.2 NVMe 512GB
Reviewed by: Wendy Robertson
Provided by: Toshiba OCZ
Firmware version: 1.02
OCZ is now fully integrated into the Toshiba Corporation, with all the advantages and disadvantages of being part of a global giant. I have very fond memories of the old independent OCZ who were the company that brought SSDs to the masses, at truly affordable prices. They were always on the cutting edge of SSD technology, and in most cases were first to bring new SSD technology to the market. Being first to the market with a new technology also had its disadvantages, and in OCZ’s early years in the SSD market, quite often SSDs were launched that weren’t fully validated.
All this changed in later years, where SSDs such as the OCZ Vector were both cutting edge, and properly validated before they were launched. With OCZ now being fully integrated into Toshiba, the validation of their products is among the best in the world. This does mean that OCZ are now slightly later to the market with new products, but you can now be pretty sure that these products are ready for primetime.
Consumer grade NVMe SSDs have been around for approximately nine months, the first being the Samsung 950 Pro. There have been a few NVMe SSDs launched during this period, but none until now have seriously challenged the 950 Pro in terms of performance at an affordable price. Enter the new Toshiba OCZ RD400 M.2 NVMe range of SSDs.
The Toshiba OCZ RD400 SSDs are available in capacities of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1024GB. Today I'm looking at the 512GB version of the Toshiba OCZ RD400 M.2 NVMe SSD. Utilising the new NVMe (Non Volatile Memory Express) interface. NVMe SSDs are PCIe based and are installed in a standard PCIe slot, M.2 socket, or via the brand new U.2 connector. PCIe SSDs are not new, and have been around for several years. However, the PCIe SSDs of the past required a special controller which sat between the SSD hardware and the PCIe system bus, to allow the SSD hardware and the PCIe bus to perform the translation and communication between the two interfaces. This was of course a very complex and time consuming task, which inevitably led to increased latency.
NVMe is a native solution, with its own highly optimised protocol, which features a very much reduced command set, much lower latency when compared to AHCI, and is specifically optimised for Non Volatile Memory (FLASH memory).
Toshiba OCZ was kind enough to send me one of their brand new RD400 M.2 series NVMe SSDs for review. In this case the 512GB M.2 NVMe version.
So let's find out how this new SSD performs in our range of tests.
Toshiba OCZ company information
Toshiba OCZ should need no introduction, but those of you who would like to find out more about Toshiba OCZ, can do so at their website.
The Toshiba OCZ RD400 NVMe 512GB SSD
Toshiba OCZ RD400 M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD mounted in the optional PCIe3 x4 adapter card
Toshiba OCZ RD400 M.2 NVMe SSD
The Toshiba OCZ RD400 M.2 NVMe SSD utilises a Toshiba branded NVMe SSD controller, coupled with 512MB of LPDDR3 RAM as a cache. The NAND is Toshiba’s own 15nm NAND in an MLC configuration.
Getting the best performance from the Toshiba OCZ RD400 will require a native Hyper M.2 socket supporting PCIe gen3 x4. These are found in most Z170 chipset, and X99 chipset motherboards.
Alternatively, you can mount the Toshiba OCZ RD400 M.2 NVMe SSD on the optional PCIe3 to M.2 adapter card, and then plug this combination into an X16 PCIe3 socket on the motherboard. However, your motherboard needs to be capable of booting from NVMe in order to use this combination as your boot device.
Drive maintenance features
For Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 users, and some distributions of Linux, the Toshiba OCZ RD400 SSD supports TRIM to keep the NAND clean. The Toshiba OCZ RD400 also has advanced garbage collection to clean the NAND during drive idle periods.
OCZ SSD Utility
The SSD utility software allows the user to maintain the SSD, and has the following features.
- Dashboard: Brings up useful information about the SSD, including its health status and how much data has been written to the SSD. It also displays how the SSD is connected, the firmware and NVMe driver version and if any updated firmware or drivers are available. There is also a handy temperature meter.
- SSD details: Brings up more details about the SSD, including its hardware ID string.
- System details: Allows the user to see a mass of information about the PC that the RD400 is connected to.
- SMART: Displays the S.M.A.R.T. information of the RD400.
- Benchmark: Performs a very basic benchmark on the SSD.
- SSD Tuner: Allows you to manually ‘over-provision’ the RD400. In other words, set aside an amount of NAND for the exclusive use of the SSD controller. Using this feature will reduce the amount of user storage.
- OS Tuner: Allows operating system features that can affect SSD performance, to be switched on or off.
- Updates: Allows the Toshiba OCZ RD400 firmware to be updated.
- Tools: Allows the SSD to be 'secure erased', clearing all NAND and returning the SSD back to its default factory state.
- Alerts: Displays any pending problem with the SSD, or the system that it’s connected to.
- Bootable SSD Utility: Allows the user to make a bootable USB version of the SSD utility.
The settings tab allows the user to change various settings in the OCZ SSD Utility. For example, if the monitoring part of the utility should run in the background on closing the application, or if the OCZ SSD Utility should be run automatically at Windows start up.
The help tab creates a system report which can be saved as a file, ready to be sent to Toshiba OCZ, should the user require technical support from Toshiba OCZ.
Does the SSD support TRIM?
To allow TRIM to function you first need an SSD that supports the TRIM command. You then need a storage stack that will allow the TRIM command to pass-through to the SSD, and this includes the driver.
Thankfully this is now very easy to check with some degree of reliability, using a small utility written by Vladimir Panteleev called TRIMCheck.
According to TRIMCheck, TRIM is functioning correctly on the Toshiba OCZ RD400 M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD.
Let’s head to the next page where we take a look at our testing methods and the review PC....