Review: Toshiba PX04SMB Series Enterprise SSD
Reviewed by: J.Reynolds
Provided by: Toshiba
Firmware version: 0104
Welcome to Myce’s review of the Toshiba PX04SMB Series of SAS 3 Enterprise SSDs.
Frankly, I was disappointed by the first wave of SAS 3 drives which didn’t unlock the performance potential promised by SAS 3, and its 1200 Gbit/s bandwidth; but with this drive Toshiba smashes it out of the park!
Toshiba groups its series of Enterprise SSD products according to endurance – High Endurance (25 DWPD), Mid Endurance (10 DWPD), Value (3 DWPD), and Read Intensive (1 DWPD); where DWPD is the number of Drive Writes Per Day and one DWPD indicates that the drive can be written and re-written to full capacity once a day for five years.
The Toshiba PX04SMB160, which is the test subject of this review, is a member of the PX04SMB series, which sits in the mid endurance group. The PX04SMB series is available in capacities of 400, 800, 1600, and 3200 GB (the PX04SMB040, PX04SMB080, PX04SMB160, and PX04SMB320 respectively).
A ground breaking innovation also enables customers to configure the power characteristics of the PX04SMB series into one of two modes – Power Efficiency, and Maximum Performance (we understand Toshiba also refers to these as 9 Watt mode and 12 Watt mode).
It is also important to note that the maximum level of performance for the PX04SMB series is often achieved with the drive running in a ‘dual port’, multi-path IO operation. Dual Port operation enables IO traffic to be aggregated across the drive’s two ports (as provided by its SAS architecture). Alternatively, the two ports can be used for failover purposes so that access to the drive can persist even if one of the controllers/paths it is attached to fails. Dual Port operation can easily be confused with ‘Wide Port’ operation, which is another SAS feature that enables one to take multiple SAS ports and give them the same World Wide Name (WWN). A wide port also enables the aggregation of IO traffic across multiple ports (I must admit I have in the past been confused in my use of these terms).
So there are multiple configurations that the PX04SMB160 can be tested in, given by the combinations of power modes (power efficiency and maximum performance) and port operations (single and dual). With our typical commitment to providing readers with comprehensive test results we have elected to present results for our standard SNIA tests in single port for both power modes and results for our standard Myce/OakGate tests in single and dual port mode for both power modes. This means there are a lot of results to present – I will try and label things clearly, to reduce the risk of readers (and me) getting lost.
We take this opportunity to thank Toshiba for permitting Myce to test the drive in both power modes. The way in which the power mode is configured is only disclosed to customers once they have entered into a non-disclosure agreement.
Please read on as I feel this is the best Enterprise SSD I have ever tested!
Market Positioning and Specification
This is how Toshiba positions the PX04SMB series of drives –
Here is Toshiba’s specification for the PX04SMB series –
Here is a picture of the PX04SMB160 that I tested, plugged into a newly acquired dual port connector –
The PX04SMB series uses Toshiba’s 19nm eMLC NAND and a new Toshiba designed System on Chip (SoC) controller.
The case is thicker than most SSDs (15mm) and includes the distinctive cooling fins that you can see clearly in the following picture –
Now let’s head to the next page, to look at Myce’s Enterprise Testing Methodology…..