KIOXIA XG6 solid state drives - balancing performance, power consumption, quality and price

KIOXIA XG6 solid state drives – balancing performance, power consumption, quality and price


In recent years, solid state drives have become more affordable and, accordingly, have gained significant popularity. NVMe drives are becoming more and more popular as they offer the highest data transfer rates and performance. KIOXIA offers several series of client SSDs, the most advanced of which are the XG6 and BG4.

Due to financial difficulties in 2018, Toshiba Memory was separated from Toshiba Corporation, which helped to avoid bankruptcy. Last year, the already independent Toshiba Memory was renamed KIOXIA in order to renew its image and help the company become independent. So KIOXIA can be called with complete confidence a young company with a very rich history, no matter how paradoxical it may sound.

The history of the current KIOXIA is really very rich. Suffice it to say that it is to this company that we owe the existence of publicly available flash drives as they are today. After all, it was the Japanese professor Fujio Masuoka who worked at Toshiba who first invented NOR memory, and then NAND, which underlies the vast majority of modern solid-state storage media.

Professor Masuoka hoped that flash memory would gradually replace hard drives – and, as we can see, today his prediction is gradually coming true. Modern solid-state drives are quite close to hard drives in such an important indicator as the ratio of price and volume. Moreover, in current realities, this applies not only to the cheapest solid-state drives with a SATA interface, but also to more advanced NVMe drives.

Already now, for the price of a SATA drive, or just a little more, you can buy much more productive and high-quality NVMe drives. In fact, 80% of the cost of an SSD comes from NAND flash memory, and accordingly, the cheapness of SATA drives translates into savings in component quality and manufacturing culture.

And of course, there is a huge speed gap between the designated SSD types: the NVMe interface offers much higher bandwidth and is optimized from the outset to work with an array of flash memory. In fact, now we can say that SATA drives have no future. For storing large amounts of data, it is better to use traditional hard drives, since they offer more volume for the same money. And for installing programs, constantly working with data and files, and other scenarios of active use, it is better to use a high-speed NVMe SSD.

The XG6 series of solid state drives includes the fastest solutions in the KIOXIA consumer SSD range. They are based on proprietary fourth-generation BiCS Flash TLC flash memory chips, consisting of 96 layers and capable of storing three bits of information in one cell (3D TLC NAND). The XG6 family includes 256 and 512 GB drives, as well as 1 TB. In turn, the XG6-P (Professional) family offers drives up to 2 TB.

The XG6 drive is controlled by a proprietary eight-channel controller, and for connection it uses four PCIe 3.0 interface lines and the NVMe 1.3a protocol. The random read speed reaches 3180 MB / s, and the random write speed reaches 2960 MB / s. True, this applies to the older 1 TB model. The rest of the versions differ in slightly more modest speeds, which are nevertheless very high.

The performance indicator for random access to data is equally important. Random read performance reaches 355K IOPS (I / O operations per second), and random write performance reaches 365K IOPS. These are very high numbers, which means a high speed of the SSD.

In turn, the KIOXIA BG4 series of drives combines more affordable solutions, which are also built on 96-layer BiCS Flash TLC memory and use the PCIe 3.0 x4 interface, but with the NVMe 1.3b protocol. They are available as modules for desoldering directly on the motherboard and as M.2 modules for installation in the corresponding slot. The key feature of the latter is that it is the smallest M.2 drive in the industry – dimensions are only 22 × 30 mm. This allows it to be used in the most compact systems.

The BG4 series offers drives ranging from 128GB to 1TB with sequential read speeds up to 2300 MB / s and sequential writes up to 1800 MB / s. Read and write IOPS reaches 390 and 200 thousand, respectively.

The manufacturer recommends the XG6 series for use in productive workstations, ultrabooks, laptops and desktops, as well as in the corporate sector. The BG4 series is designed for systems of the same type, but which do not require maximum performance. Separately, it should be noted that these drives can also be used in servers, including as an OS boot disk.

KIOXIA also emphasizes the low power consumption of its solid state drives, which will be especially useful when used in notebooks and other portable systems. The more powerful XG6 models consume no more than 4.7W during active operation, and only 3mW in standby mode. In turn, BG4 boasts a consumption of up to 3.7 watts.

KIOXIA solid state drives stand out with the highest Japanese quality. The manufacturer guarantees high reliability for its XG6 and BG4 series solid state drives, and claims a time between failures (MTTF) for them of 1.5 million hours. We will immediately add that the fact that the SSD is made within the same company also speaks in favor of reliability. As a result, all the components are better matched to each other and work better with each other. That is, the KIOXIA controller is made specifically for the KIOXIA memory, and the memory for the controller.

Also, as a manufacturer of memory chips, KIOXIA has access to the entire volume of produced flash memory, which allows you to keep chips that are better in performance than those available to third-party manufacturers on the open market. In addition, we note that there are not so many such vertically integrated SSDs on the market: in addition to KIOXIA, only Samsung, WD and Crucial (Micron) can offer them.

Finally, the company values ​​its reputation and wants to play at the highest level. Accordingly, it does not pursue the lowest possible price due to savings on memory quality. Plus, your own memory is cheaper than what is on the market.

As a result, in the face of KIOXIA drives, we get balanced solutions that provide good performance, consume little power and have high reliability. And all this from a company with a rich history and a proven track record.

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