Toshiba H200 1TB hybrid drive review: a hardy crossbreed

toshiba-h200

The Toshiba H200 is a hybrid drive, promising the best of both worlds: fast boot times and capacious storage. We reckon it’s a noticeable upgrade over a traditional HDD at a fraction of the cost of an SSD, so take a look!


Pros

  • Noticeably faster boot times
  • Competitive price point
  • Just works; easy to install
Cons

  • Reading or writing large files is still slow
  • One SSD and one HDD is better for desktops

Summary and Score

The Toshiba H200 is a successful hybrid drive, combining fast flash memory with a large capacity mechanical disk. It costs about 50% more than a traditional mechanical hard drive, but it’s way quicker at starting Windows and launching commonly used programs — and that makes it a worthwhile investment in my eyes, particularly in laptops and games consoles where you only have space for one drive.
score7
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What is a hybrid drive anyway?

h200

Hybrid drives combine a chunk of fast flash memory with a traditional spinning disk mechanical hard drive. That allows them to offer high capacities and high speeds at a low cost. Even though they’re slower than dedicated SSDs and more expensive than dedicated hard drives, there’s definitely some wisdom in a single drive that can do both — it’s ideal for a laptop or game console where you might want both qualities in one drive, without spending a lot of money.

Let’s take a look at the cost of the average 1TB drive of various types (at the time of this review). The traditional mechanical HDD is the cheapest, at around £40. The H200 and other hybrid drives are about 50% more expensive, at £60. However, they’re way cheaper than SSDs, which cost a whopping £200 to £250 for a 1TB drive. So by paying a little extra, you should theoretically get the best of both worlds: a fast drive available in large capacities for a low price.


 

Specifications & Design

img_8292

  • Format: 2.5-inch SATA drive
  • Capacity: 500GB, 1TB
  • NAND: 8GB MLC
  • Rotational Speed: 5400 RPM
  • Buffer: 64 MB
  • Dimensions: 100 x 70 x 9.5mm
  • Weight: 117 grams
  • Warranty: 2 years

 

Benchmarks

We’ll be comparing the H200 against our previous contenders, including internal and external drives, to see how it stacks up against the competition.

IMG_7156

We’ll be testing the drive in our new test rig, which has a Core i5 6600K processor, 16GB of Crucial DDR4 RAM and runs Windows 10.

Thanks to NZXT for providing the Manta case and Kraken X61 liquid cooler. Thanks to Samsung for providing the Evo 850 M.2 boot drive. Thanks to Zoostorm and Crucial for providing the DDR4 RAM.


Boot times

img_8298

We installed Windows 10 on this drive and booted it up four times, measuring with a stop watch from hitting the power button to seeing the desktop, in order to allow the drive’s ‘optimised self-learning algorithm’ to take effect. Here’s how it went:

  • Run 1: 18 seconds
  • Run 2: 16 seconds
  • Run 3: 5 seconds
  • Run 4: 5 seconds

As you can see, the drive got faster with each run, although the biggest jump happened on the third boot and it stayed fairly consistent afterwards. This is a pretty big difference if you switch your PC on and off frequently, although installing Windows 10 also brings huge improvements.

Note that your boot times will vary depending on your motherboard and its configuration; you may be able to shave off more seconds by turning on ‘fast boot’ features in BIOS.


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 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 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

2016-09-19-20_01_21

The H200 doesn’t show better performance than a mechanical hard drive in this test, with speeds of around 115 MB/s for both reading and writing, although performance at higher queue depths is significantly better.


AS SSD Benchmark

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 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 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

2016-09-19-21_06_02-as-ssd-benchmark-1-7-4739-38088

The raw throughput results here are again disappointing until the queue depth is increased, at which point performance rises until the end of the test. This makes sense; the 8GB of NAND only comes into play once the drive ‘learns’ which data access often. This learning effect also makes it harder to judge these benchmarks, so take them with a grain of salt.


ATTO Disk Benchmark

ATTO produces rather less comprehensible results than CrystalDiskMark, but still provides a good test of compressible data transfer. It also provides a lot of data points; I’ve selected six from across the range. Settings were the default: 256MB total length and queue depth of 4, testing from 1KB to 8MB. All results are in MB/s.

Atto Read 1KB 4KB 64KB 256KB 1MB 8MB
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 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

2016-09-19-20_05_21

The results here are a little puzzling, with the drive showing reasonable write rates of 50 MB/s, but poor read rates — about half that — for most of the tests. I expected a slow start working up to around 100 MB/s, but it didn’t happen in this test. We may put this down to the learning effects mentioned earlier.


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 H200 Hybrid 90 MB/s 16.9 ms 86.5 MB/s
Toshiba Canvio Premium 114 MB/s 17.9 ms 139.6 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

2016-09-19-19_53_27-hd-tune-2-55-hard-disk-utility

You can clearly see the speed trends here; starting strong around 100 MB/s but then degrading to around half that by the end of the test. As transfer rates decrease, access times increase. We eventually end up at an average of 90 MB/s, and an access time of 17ms. Sadly, that’s our worst result ever; even worse than the external / mechanical Canvio Premium drive.


 

Wrap-up

The H200 is a good example of a hybrid drive, combining an 8GB chunk of flash memory with a reasonably sized 1TB mechanical hard drive. It can reduce boot times, make frequently used programs load faster, and it’s dead easy to install – just plug it in as you would any other hard drive. If you have just one drive slot in your desktop, console or laptop and you don’t want to spend hundreds of pounds on an SSD, this is as nearly as good for a fraction of the price.

That said, the hybrid’s advantages are mainly shown in boot times and launching programs; copying large files and loading game levels won’t be noticeably faster than a mechanical drive. If that’s important to you, then going for a smaller SSD (and maybe adding an internal or external hard drive later) will provide better performance.

Support XSR: Buy for $117.71 from Amazon.com
The Toshiba H200 is a hybrid drive, promising the best of both worlds: fast boot times and capacious storage. We reckon it's a noticeable upgrade over a traditional HDD at a fraction of the cost of an SSD, so take a look! Pros Noticeably faster boot times Competitive price point Just works; easy to install Cons Reading or writing large files is still slow One SSD and one HDD is better for desktops Summary and Score The Toshiba H200 is a successful hybrid drive, combining fast flash memory with a large capacity mechanical disk. It costs about 50% more than a traditional…
 

A hardy crossbreed

Throughput - 5
Boot times - 8
Value for money - 8

7

GREAT

A worthwhile investment, particularly in laptops and games consoles where you only have space for one drive.

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About William Judd

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

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