Let me say straight away that I feel the Toshiba PX04SMB160
is the best Enterprise drive I have ever reviewed.
I asked Toshiba how they have taken such a huge step forward
when compared to their previous generation of SAS 3, 1,200 Gbit/s drives. This
was their reply – The massive step forward originates from a combination of
three factors: Toshiba’s industry leading NAND technology, a new
Toshiba-designed system on chip (SoC) controller, and enhanced Toshiba-designed
firmware. All three parts are designed in-house and this control enables
designers to optimise every part synergistically.
The PX04 range offers outstanding flexibility to enable
customers to buy what they need to meet their specific requirements –
Endurance – Options include: High Endurance (25
DWPD), Mid Endurance (10 DWPD), Value (3 DWPD), and Read Intensive (1 DWPD);
Capacity – Options include: 400, 800, 1600, and 3200
Power Modes – Options include two power modes –
‘Power Efficiency/9W’ and ‘Maximum Performance/12W’
Performance and Quality of Service – Truly
outstanding performance coupled with phenomenal Quality of Service (the
consistency of performance).
Multi-Path IO – Customers can elect to use the two
ports as provided by the drive’s SAS architecture either for failover purposes
or to improve aspects of performance by using the drive in a Dual Port,
Multi-path IO operation, to aggregate IO traffic across two ports
Some observations –
Maximum Performance Mode proved to be no less efficient than
Power Efficiency mode in our testing (in terms of IOPS per mW for Random IO and
MBs per mW for Sequential IO). I suspect the real advantage of Power
Efficiency mode is that it will generate less heat (and therefore require less
cooling as of course cooling uses a lot of power). Neither of the Power Modes
drew more than 8.5W of power in our testing (so I don’t relate to the two power
modes also being referred to as 9W and 12W). The PX04SMB is one of the two most
efficient drives we have tested, the other drive is also a Toshiba (the
Power Efficiency Mode proved to provide a better Quality of
Service (consistency of excellent performance). Maximum Performance mode
forces greater bandwidth open so more IOs can pass at any one time, but this is
slightly at the expense of the consistency of latency. Regardless of Power
Mode, Quality of Service is arguably the best we have seen.
Generally Maximum Performance mode boosts Write performance
Generally Dual Port operation boosts Read performance
Even in Single Port Power Efficiency Mode, the PX04SMB160
has outstanding performance, that is way ahead of any other SAS or SATA drive we
have tested (though we will see significantly improved SAS 3 drives coming down
the line from other suppliers).
Toshiba is to be congratulated for an outstanding,
breakthrough product and I expect they will gain a lot of traction in the
marketplace as a result. They have placed the bar very high for other SAS 3
suppliers to follow.
For the many Enterprise users that are committed to a SAS
architecture it must be very reassuring to see SAS 3 achieve its potential, and
they can now look forward with a renewed level of confidence to the future of
SAS with the next stage of evolution to SAS 4 and 2,400 Gbits/s.
Of course, the other important factor is price. We found
the PX04SMB160 available at an online retailer (span.com) for GBP 2,664
(inclusive of VAT and transaction tax), which I believe puts it roughly on a
par with Intel’s DC P3600 NVMe drives. I imagine prices will reduce
significantly for volume purchasers.
Without any reservations whatsoever I am delighted to award
the PX04SMB160 our highest award of ‘Outstanding’ and name it as a ‘Myce Editor’s