Toshiba XG5 NVMe SSD Review: Strong Performance With 64-Layer BiCS 3D Flash

The Toshiba XG5 With 64-Layer BiCS 3D Flash Memory

At Dell EMC World a few weeks back, we gave you a glimpse of an unnamed Toshiba NVMe SSD that featured 64-layer BiCS 3D flash memory. We couldn’t reveal much about the drive back then, but Toshiba eventually lifted the veil, and revealed a new family of drives dubbed the XG5. The Toshiba XG5 is the follow-up to the successful XG3, and is designed to offer a combination of high performance and high density, at what should be competitive price points.

If you're unfamiliar with the technology, Toshiba’s BiCS flash memory employs a three-dimensional (3D) stacked cell structure that is designed for high density applications, but it also offers higher endurance than typical 3D NAND flash memory. Because triple pages can be programmed simultaneously, BiCS 3D flash memory is capable of higher performance as well, and the unique structure of the 64-layer BiCS 3D flash memory allows Toshiba to offer XG5 drives in capacities of up to 1TB, using a single package. That's actually the drive we'll be showing you here...take a look...

toshiba xg5 straight

Toshiba XG5 NVMe M.2 SSD
Specifications & Features
Model XG5
Form Factor M.2 2280 (Single Sided Module)
Memory 64-Layer BiCS FLASH
Capacity Up to 1TB
Sequential Read Up to 3GB/s (2.9GiB/s)
Sequential Write Up to 2.1GB/s (2GiB/s)
Physical PCIe Base Spec. Revision 3.1a
Maximum Speed 32 GT/s (Gen 3x4 Lane)
Command Set NVMe Rev. 1.2.1
Active Power: Read < 4.6W typ.
Active Power: Write <3.5 W typ.
L1.2 (non-operation mode) <3mW typ.
Dimensions 22mm x 80mm x 2.23mm
MTTF 1.5M Hours

toshiba xg5 top

As you can see in the table above, the Toshiba NVMe XG5 series' specifications are rather impressive. The drives will conform to the standard M.2 2280 "gumstick" form factor and offer sequential read and write performance of up to 3GB/s and 2.1GB/s, respectively, over a PCIe 3 x4 interface. As we'll show you a littler later, under some conditions, those numbers can actually be higher.
toshiba xg5 front
Typical read power is under 4.6W, while low-power L1.2 mode comes in at under 3mW, typically. And the MTTF is 1.5 million hours. Save for a few traces and some markings, the back-side of the XG5 is totally clean and devoid of any components. The front-side of the XG5, however, has a lot more going on. On this 1TB drive, there are two BiCS memory modules paired to a Toshiba controller, and a piece of Nanya DRAM cache.

toshiba xg5 back

Toshiba XG5 solid state drives will initially be available in capacities up to 1TB and will target a variety of systems, from mainstream PCs, to thin and light notebooks, and enthusiast-class desktops and laptops. We should point out, however, that the Toshiba XG5 will not be sold at retail (at least initially). These drives are destined for OEMs and system builders at this time. We are told that consumer drives featuring similar technology are in the works, but don't have any official details we can disclose just yet.

Tags:  SSD, Storage, Toshiba, nvme, bics, m.2

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