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.
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See Toshiba H200 Hybrid Drive on Amazon


 

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

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  • 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

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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 ReadSeq512K4K4K QD32
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 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

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 ReadSeq4K4K QD64Acc. TimeScore
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 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

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 Read1KB4KB64KB256KB1MB8MB
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 H200 Hybrid32537555353
Toshiba Canvio Premium1041115115116116
Samsung T32071315365366388
Sandisk Z41069184419423426428
Samsung 850 Evo M.279251510526525525
Samsung 850 Evo83255519529534534
Samsung 840 Evo81260515527533534
Corsair Neutron GTX15142474470493498

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 ReadAverageAccess TimeBurst Rate
Toshiba H200 Hybrid90 MB/s16.9 ms86.5 MB/s
Toshiba Canvio Premium114 MB/s17.9 ms139.6 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

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.

See Toshiba H200 Hybrid Drive on Amazon

About The Author
William Judd

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