Review: Toshiba MQ01ABD100H & MQ01ABF050H Solid
Welcome to Myce’s review of the Toshiba MQ01ABD100H 1000GB Solid
State Hybrid Drive (‘SSHD’) and the very latest generation, MQ01ABF050H 500GB SSHD,
both of which have only recently become available for review by European
At the heart of the SSHD value proposition is the idea of
marrying the low cost per Gigabyte of a traditional rotating magnetic disk
(HDD) with the speed of NAND Flash Memory to deliver an SSD type user
experience. The key to success is a caching algorithm that intelligently
places a specific user’s most frequently accessed data in NAND memory so that a
higher proportion of data access is performed at SSD like speeds.
Both SSHDs have 8Gb of 32nm SLC NAND memory. So the
opportunity for storing data on NAND is limited, and the algorithm is going to
have to be very clever in the way it learns about a specific user’s most
frequently accessed data.
The other opportunity for an SSHD is to write to the NAND
and defer the writing of data to the magnetic disk, thereby improving the user
experience in writing as well as reading data.
Market Positioning and Specification
This is how Toshiba positions the MQ01ABDxxxH Hybrid drives –
Toshiba’s first generation of 2.5-inch (6.4 cm) hybrid
drives provide fast SSD-like performance combined with the high capacity of a
hard disk drive (HDD). The new MQ01ABDxxxH series is available in 1TB and 750GB
capacity points. This combined with 8GB of NAND flash make it ideal for high
performance gaming notebooks and PCs. Its lightweight design makes it ideal for
ultra-portable computing devices.
Toshiba’s hybrid drives utilize self-learning algorithms
that enable the drive to identify the user’s access patterns, allowing
frequently used data to be stored in the NAND cache making it quickly
accessible to the host. Likewise, data that is used less often is moved from
the NAND flash to the HDD for long term storage. This self-learning mechanism
continues to develop throughout the lifespan of the drive, constantly improving
the drive’s performance.
Toshiba is the only storage vendor that designs and
develops both HDD and NAND flash technology, the core components of hybrid
drive technology ensuring the highest quality and innovation.
Here is the specification for the MQ01ABDxxxH series of
drives, which is available in 750GB and 1,000GB capacities –
and here is the specification for the MQ01ABFxxxH series,
which is available in 320GB and 500GB capacities –
You can see that the specifications are nigh on identical.
The big difference is that the MQ01ABFxxxH series is a very slim 7mm thick, which
is suitable for deployment in the latest slimline laptops/ultrabooks.
Here are some pictures of the SSHDs that I tested –
The MQ01ABD100H 1,000GB SSHD is to the left and the
MQ01ABF050H 500GB SSHD is to the right.
Here are pictures of all the drives tested in this review.
On the far right you can see how slim the MQ01ABF050H is.
For interest here is a picture of the two hybrid drives
together with a classic Toshiba MK5076GSX magnetic spinning drive (to the
left). You can see the all the drives are very similar to look at and there is
little or nothing to give away the true nature of the hybrid drives.
Now let’s head to the next page, to look at the Testing