Thursday, January 10, 2019
At CES 2019 on Tuesday, Toshiba announced the BG4, the fourth generation of their ball grid array (BGA) series of solid state drives. Traditionally, these drives are embedded in consumer or enterprise products, though BG4 is also available as a field-replaceable M.2 2230 SSD, which does not require soldering.
Most notably, the BG4 is the first such drive to offer a 1 TB capacity in such a small physical package, enabled through the use of Toshiba's 96-layer 3D "BiCS" TLC NAND, according to a press release. The BG4 is available in 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB capacities, as a 16x20 mm BGA or single-sided M.2 2230 drive, and with an NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. For security-conscious applications, the BG4 is available as a Pyrite drive or Opal self-encrypting drive.
Toshiba claims up to 2,250 MB/sec sequential read and 1,700 MB/sec sequential write performance, and up to 380,000 random read IOPS and 190,00 random write IOPS, which are touted as being 50% better read and 70% better write performance, a 153% improvement in read IOPS, and 90% improvement in write IOPS over the last-generation BG3 product—which used a PCIe 3.0 x2 interface, the release added.
Compared to a standard SSD, the BG4 series lacks DRAM caching, instead relying on NVMe Host Memory Buffer (HMB) to compensate. This allows the BG4 to have a smaller footprint than standard SSDs, but does impact performance relative to a full-size, M.2 2280 SSD. That said, the BG4 and Toshiba's previous products in this category are a more compelling option in the OEM market for embedded devices where slower eMMC memory would be used, such as Chromebooks, tablets, and other systems for which board space is limited.
Samples of the BG4 are already in the hands of OEM customers, with general sample availability "expected later in the second calendar quarter of 2019."
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