Today we’re reviewing Toshiba’s budget A100 SSD. The 120GB model we’re testing goes for around £60 on Amazon, putting it a little higher than some competitors from Sandisk, Crucial and Kingston. Does it offer better performance? Let’s find out!

 

Design

The A100 is a standard 2.5-inch, 7mm thick SSD, suitable for use in desktops or (older) laptops. To hook it up, you’ll need a SATA data cable and a SATA power cable, ideally SATA III.

The A100 adopts Toshiba’s standard branding; a silver chassis with a black and red sticker. This is a basic SSD, so we don’t get any exciting visuals, promises of exceeding high performance, etc. No worries. Let’s get on with testing.

 

Testing

In order to test the speed of the drive, we ran four synthetic benchmarks with varying payloads: CrystalDiskMark, AS SSD, ATTO and HD Tune Pro. Combined, these should give us a good idea of the drive’s performance compared to others at a similar price.

We’re most interested in how the drive performs against the similarly priced Drevo X1 Pro drive (£48 for 120GB), but comparisons to faster drives are also useful.

To see the test rig’s specifications, check out our component breakdown here!

 

CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark has been one of my favourite benchmarks for evaluating storage speeds for a while now, thanks to its varied incompressible workload and extremely readable results. Here’s the 3.0.3 x64 version of the benchmark; all results are in MB/s.

CDM 3 ReadSeq512K4K4K QD32
Toshiba A100 SSD49032833350
Drevo X1 Pro SSD34222935278
Toshiba P300 HDD150480.61.6
Toshiba H200 Hybrid115380.62.5
Toshiba Canvio Premium118430.50.6
Samsung T33863513335
Sandisk Z41050835713146
Samsung 850 Evo M.250244745368
Samsung 850 Evo51347238408
Samsung 840 Evo51547335397
Corsair Neutron GTX45037627328

 

CDM 3 WriteSeq512K4K4K QD32
Toshiba A100 SSD43840684315
Drevo X1 Pro SSD26927288269
Toshiba P300 HDD155690.61.0
Toshiba H200 Hybrid114522224
Toshiba Canvio Premium117501.31.3
Samsung T33573526977
Sandisk Z41040735597250
Samsung 850 Evo M.2474394113316
Samsung 850 Evo50447968352
Samsung 840 Evo50039086313
Corsair Neutron GTX48046869158

We get quite strong results from the A100 initially, particularly when it comes to sequential read speeds which hit 490 MB/s. This is nearly as fast as much more expensive SSDs from a few years ago. The drive isn’t quite as competitive for writing lots of smaller files, but still shows good results and offers a noticeable upgrade over a mechanical hard drive or hybrid.

 

AS SSD

AS SSD is another benchmarking tool quite similar to CrystalDiskMark, which uses predominantly incompressible data across a range of workloads including sequential tests, random performance and access times. First three numbers are MB/s and access time is in ms.

AS SSD ReadSeq4K4K QD64Acc. TimeScore
Toshiba A100 SSD48937319N/A405
Drevo X1 Pro SSD32527249N/A308
Toshiba P300 HDD1550.51.6N/A18
Toshiba H200 Hybrid731.81526.315
Toshiba Canvio Premium1130.50.623.02112
Samsung T334524320.10091
Sandisk Z410501111450.045206
Samsung 850 Evo M.2493403280.093417
Samsung 850 Evo516343820.059467
Samsung 840 Evo513323300.059413
Corsair Neutron GTX507253340.068N/A

 

AS SSD WriteSeq4K4K QD64Acc. TimeScore
Toshiba A100 SSD430742880.209405
Drevo X1 Pro SSD258762470.046349
Toshiba P300 HDD1140.50.616.713
Toshiba H200 Hybrid4619518.239
Toshiba Canvio Premium1110.50.517.612
Samsung T336756710.055163
Sandisk Z410407782150.237333
Samsung 850 Evo M.2475952510.075393
Samsung 850 Evo497662990.051415
Samsung 840 Evo497692070.054326
Corsair Neutron GTX473622950.062N/A

The A100 again impresses, outperforming the X1 Pro SSD in sequential tests. Again, the sequential read is one of the higher scores we’ve seen. There appears to be a bug with reading access times in Windows 10; there is always an error message for that portion of the test and no result is rendered.

ATTO Disk Benchmark

Atto Read1KB4KB64KB256KB1MB8MB
Toshiba A100 SSD76286552548561561
Drevo X1 Pro SSD71232348347348348
Toshiba P300 HDD2785129123135190
Toshiba H200 Hybrid92026262626
Toshiba Canvio Premium933117117117118
Samsung T31867329371377404
Sandisk Z41078247518531536533
Samsung 850 Evo M.283286537553552553
Samsung 850 Evo80269538551558558
Samsung 840 Evo94280535551555555
Corsair Neutron GTX1561336452530540

 

Atto Write1KB4KB64KB256KB1MB8MB
Toshiba A100 SSD53231524533534543
Drevo X1 Pro SSD68201270270267271
Toshiba P300 HDD1674120113123128
Toshiba H200 Hybrid32537555353
Toshiba Canvio Premium1041115115116116
Samsung T32071315365366388
Sandisk Z41069184419423426428
Samsung 850 Evo M.279251510526525525
Samsung 850 Evo83255519529534534
Samsung 840 Evo81260515527533534
Corsair Neutron GTX15142474470493498

Atto is always an interesting test because it shows the relationship between data set size and read and write speeds in considerable detail. You can see that the A100 performs best for data sizes of 64KB or larger, reaching its maximum speed soon thereafter.

It’s the fastest drive we’ve tested when it comes to reads and writes at the 64GB marker, perhaps due to its more modern 3-bit-per-cell flash memory. Note that read and write speeds are nearly level too, whereas older drives tended to have strong read speeds but weaker write speeds.

 

HD Tune Pro

We conclude with HD Tune Pro, a benchmark which produces three scores for average read speed, read access time, and burst read rate.

 

HD Tune Pro 5.50 ReadAverageAccess TimeBurst Rate
Toshiba A100 SSD330 MB/s0.042 ms99 MB/s
Drevo X1 Pro SSD356 MB/s0.042 ms248 MB/s
Toshiba P300 HDD126 MB/s14.6 ms294 MB/s
Toshiba H200 Hybrid90 MB/s16.9 ms87 MB/s
Toshiba Canvio Premium114 MB/s17.9 ms140 MB/s
Samsung T3269 MB/s0.090 ms171 MB/s
Sandisk Z410358 MB/s0.035 ms140 MB/s
Samsung 850 Evo M.2321 MB/s0.087 ms221 MB/s
Samsung 850 Evo370 MB/s0.044 ms250 MB/s
Samsung 840 Evo358 MB/s0.041 ms231 MB/s
Corsair Neutron GTX340 MB/s0.059 ms231 MB/s

The HD Tune benchmark shows a relatively low average speed, a fast access time but a worryingly low burst rate. It’s hard to tell whether this is an issue with HD Tune Pro itself (as highlighted here) or whether the drive actually has an issue. Toshiba have reportedly released a firmware update for the drive, so we will re-test to see if the issue is fixed afterwards.

 

Wrapping up

The Toshiba A100 shows better performance than many older drives, even those which were once flagship material. If you want to experience faster boot times and minimise app load times, then it’s well worth upgrading. Write performance has also improved significantly, and the A100 seems well priced for its performance at around £60. You can see the latest prices on Amazon linked below.

 

Amazon Links

About The Author
William Judd

Editor-in-Chief for XSReviews. Find me @wsjudd or on G+.