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Toshiba A100 120GB SSD review

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 Read Seq 512K 4K 4K QD32
Toshiba A100 SSD 490 328 33 350
Drevo X1 Pro SSD 342 229 35 278
Toshiba P300 HDD 150 48 0.6 1.6
Toshiba H200 Hybrid 115 38 0.6 2.5
Toshiba Canvio Premium 118 43 0.5 0.6
Samsung T3 386 351 33 35
Sandisk Z410 508 357 13 146
Samsung 850 Evo M.2 502 447 45 368
Samsung 850 Evo 513 472 38 408
Samsung 840 Evo 515 473 35 397
Corsair Neutron GTX 450 376 27 328

 

CDM 3 Write Seq 512K 4K 4K QD32
Toshiba A100 SSD 438 406 84 315
Drevo X1 Pro SSD 269 272 88 269
Toshiba P300 HDD 155 69 0.6 1.0
Toshiba H200 Hybrid 114 52 22 24
Toshiba Canvio Premium 117 50 1.3 1.3
Samsung T3 357 352 69 77
Sandisk Z410 407 355 97 250
Samsung 850 Evo M.2 474 394 113 316
Samsung 850 Evo 504 479 68 352
Samsung 840 Evo 500 390 86 313
Corsair Neutron GTX 480 468 69 158

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 Read Seq 4K 4K QD64 Acc. Time Score
Toshiba A100 SSD 489 37 319 N/A 405
Drevo X1 Pro SSD 325 27 249 N/A 308
Toshiba P300 HDD 155 0.5 1.6 N/A 18
Toshiba H200 Hybrid 73 1.8 15 26.3 15
Toshiba Canvio Premium 113 0.5 0.6 23.021 12
Samsung T3 345 24 32 0.100 91
Sandisk Z410 501 11 145 0.045 206
Samsung 850 Evo M.2 493 40 328 0.093 417
Samsung 850 Evo 516 34 382 0.059 467
Samsung 840 Evo 513 32 330 0.059 413
Corsair Neutron GTX 507 25 334 0.068 N/A

 

AS SSD Write Seq 4K 4K QD64 Acc. Time Score
Toshiba A100 SSD 430 74 288 0.209 405
Drevo X1 Pro SSD 258 76 247 0.046 349
Toshiba P300 HDD 114 0.5 0.6 16.7 13
Toshiba H200 Hybrid 46 19 5 18.2 39
Toshiba Canvio Premium 111 0.5 0.5 17.6 12
Samsung T3 367 56 71 0.055 163
Sandisk Z410 407 78 215 0.237 333
Samsung 850 Evo M.2 475 95 251 0.075 393
Samsung 850 Evo 497 66 299 0.051 415
Samsung 840 Evo 497 69 207 0.054 326
Corsair Neutron GTX 473 62 295 0.062 N/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 Read 1KB 4KB 64KB 256KB 1MB 8MB
Toshiba A100 SSD 76 286 552 548 561 561
Drevo X1 Pro SSD 71 232 348 347 348 348
Toshiba P300 HDD 27 85 129 123 135 190
Toshiba H200 Hybrid 9 20 26 26 26 26
Toshiba Canvio Premium 9 33 117 117 117 118
Samsung T3 18 67 329 371 377 404
Sandisk Z410 78 247 518 531 536 533
Samsung 850 Evo M.2 83 286 537 553 552 553
Samsung 850 Evo 80 269 538 551 558 558
Samsung 840 Evo 94 280 535 551 555 555
Corsair Neutron GTX 15 61 336 452 530 540

 

Atto Write 1KB 4KB 64KB 256KB 1MB 8MB
Toshiba A100 SSD 53 231 524 533 534 543
Drevo X1 Pro SSD 68 201 270 270 267 271
Toshiba P300 HDD 16 74 120 113 123 128
Toshiba H200 Hybrid 3 25 37 55 53 53
Toshiba Canvio Premium 10 41 115 115 116 116
Samsung T3 20 71 315 365 366 388
Sandisk Z410 69 184 419 423 426 428
Samsung 850 Evo M.2 79 251 510 526 525 525
Samsung 850 Evo 83 255 519 529 534 534
Samsung 840 Evo 81 260 515 527 533 534
Corsair Neutron GTX 15 142 474 470 493 498

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 Read Average Access Time Burst Rate
Toshiba A100 SSD 330 MB/s 0.042 ms 99 MB/s
Drevo X1 Pro SSD 356 MB/s 0.042 ms 248 MB/s
Toshiba P300 HDD 126 MB/s 14.6 ms 294 MB/s
Toshiba H200 Hybrid 90 MB/s 16.9 ms 87 MB/s
Toshiba Canvio Premium 114 MB/s 17.9 ms 140 MB/s
Samsung T3 269 MB/s 0.090 ms 171 MB/s
Sandisk Z410 358 MB/s 0.035 ms 140 MB/s
Samsung 850 Evo M.2 321 MB/s 0.087 ms 221 MB/s
Samsung 850 Evo 370 MB/s 0.044 ms 250 MB/s
Samsung 840 Evo 358 MB/s 0.041 ms 231 MB/s
Corsair Neutron GTX 340 MB/s 0.059 ms 231 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

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