Toshiba's 3D NAND has been a long time coming. The first generation BiCS 3D NAND never hit the market, and the second generation had a limited release last year in a few niche products. This third generation design with 64 layers is finally ready for the broader market, and both the 256Gb and 512Gb parts are in mass production. The first SSD Toshiba shipped with BiCS 3 3D NAND was the XG5 NVMe SSD for OEMs, and it was a great way to start things off. The Toshiba TR200 brings that same 3D NAND to retail SSD market, but the impact is very different. The Toshiba TR200 is an entry-level budget SATA SSD, and the performance reflects that on virtually every test. It's slower than its predecessors and slower than the entry-level SSDs from many other major brands.

With that said, it's not all bad news: the Toshiba TR200 is very power efficient, and its performance and power consumption don't get much worse when the drive is full. The Toshiba TR200 has higher than normal latency across the board, but unlike many budget SSDs, the TR200 is pretty good about keeping latency from shooting through the roof when it's subjected to a heavy sustained workload. Only the heaviest of write-intensive workloads will cause the TR200's latency to occasionally spike to be many times higher than normal for a budget SATA SSD, and even then the read latency doesn't get too bad. Power draw rarely exceeds 1W, even during synthetic benchmarks.

Given how NAND flash prices have been driven up over the past year by an industry-wide shortage, it's no surprise that Toshiba has switched their entry-level product over to a DRAMless controller to keep costs under control. Toshiba has shown before that they are willing to participate in a race to the bottom: the original Trion 100 was one of the products that led the transition from MLC to TLC, sacrificing performance to reach new levels of affordability.

SATA SSD Price Comparison
  240-275GB 480-525GB 960-1050GB
Toshiba TR200 (MSRP) $89.99 (37¢/GB) $149.99 (31¢/GB) $289.99 (30¢/GB)
ADATA SU800 $89.99 (35¢/GB) $158.65 (31¢/GB) $274.99 (27¢/GB)
Crucial BX300 $89.99 (38¢/GB) $149.99 (31¢/GB)  
Crucial MX300 $92.99 (34¢/GB) $149.99 (29¢/GB) $279.99 (27¢/GB)
Intel SSD 545s $99.99 (39¢/GB) $179.99 (35¢/GB)  
Samsung 850 EVO $99.95 (40¢/GB) $159.99 (32¢/GB) $327.99 (33¢/GB)
SanDisk Ultra 3D $99.99 (40¢/GB) $164.99 (33¢/GB) $284.99 (29¢/GB)
WD Blue 3D NAND $98.39 (38¢/GB) $164.65 (33¢/GB) $299.99 (30¢/GB)

At its initial MSRP, the TR200 isn't setting any records and isn't even the cheapest SATA SSD from a major brand. However, the arrival of Toshiba's 3D NAND in mass market quantities should start alleviating the NAND flash shortage and allow prices to start creeping downward over the next several months. The TR200 will probably drop a bit below MSRP once the novelty wears off and supplies are plentiful, and from there I expect Toshiba to adjust pricing to keep up with any overall industry shifts.

The cheapest SSDs from major brands currently go for at least 27 ¢/GB, while the TR200's MSRP starts at 30 ¢/GB. It probably needs to get down to around 25 ¢/GB to be a good deal. I'd like to see that happen for the holiday sales this winter, but I don't see that as likely. The manufacturers don't want to drop prices any sooner than they need to, and 64L 3D NAND still isn't quite plentiful from any of the manufacturers. There's hope that the situation will be much improved in the first half of next year, and the TR200 is an important step on that path.

But until Toshiba can bring the TR200 prices way down, it's making their 3D NAND look bad. Toshiba should hurry up and deliver a retail counterpart to the XG5 as the successor to the OCZ RD400. And for the consumer SATA market, they should seriously reconsider leaving the TR200 and VX500 as the only options until BiCS4 is ready. The last-generation controllers used in the TR150 and VX500 may not be ready for 3D NAND, but the consumers are, and the TR200 isn't enough to satisfy the demand. Going into 2018, Toshiba needs a higher-performing SATA SSD that goes up to 2TB.

Power Management
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  • r3loaded - Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - link

    Pwned by an 850 Evo but only $10 cheaper. Yay what a surprise.
  • ddriver - Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - link

    Cudos to toshiba for making an ssd that is as slow in sequential writes as a mechanical hdd. I can't imagine it was easy.

    It's a serious contender for "lousiest sata ssd of 2017".
  • masouth - Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - link

    of just 2017?
  • takeshi7 - Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - link

    correction: slower than an hdd in sequential writes. But then again a lot of these cheap TLC drives have lower sustained write speed than HDDs. What really amazes me is that Toshiba actually made an SSD that's worse than the Crucial BX200. I never thought that would be possible.
  • Samus - Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - link

    At 1/10th the power consumption though. As hard as it is to defend this drive, it’s clear toshiba had a very specific goal in mind with this drive: cheap upgrades for cheap laptops. As an OEM supplier for many vendors (including even Apple) this drive is adequate for many sub-$500 laptops: being dramless makes power loss protection mostly unnecessary as it will likely recover from sram loss inside the controller, as the indirection table is mirrored off then back to the nand after each write.

    However, I’ve never been a fan of dramless controllers. Seams like a mind boggling corner to cut when the cost of 512mb DDR3 is $4.
  • Lolimaster - Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - link

    Fact is Crucial MX300 is as cheap and way better, my way way way better,
  • Samus - Sunday, October 15, 2017 - link

    I've long stood by that assertion. Crucial and Samsung SSD's are the only mainstream drives worth considering. Sure, Sandisk, Intel, even Mushkin have their niche products, but Samsung and Crucial have no real "duds."
  • Flunk - Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - link

    Has Anandtech reviewed another budget SSD that's competitive with the 850 Evo, seems like that's the gold standard at the moment. I just bought one for my Mom for Christmas.
  • theramenman - Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - link

    The SanDisk Ultra 3D they reviewed a bit ago gets similar performance to a 850 Evo for $43 less (at least for the 1TB version).
  • sonny73n - Thursday, October 12, 2017 - link

    3 most valued SSD models currently on Amazon. One of them is the BX300 with capacity max out at 480GB which I can only compare it to the similar of the other 2.

    - Samsung 850 Evo 500GB $160
    - SanDisk Ultra 3D 500GB $170
    - Crucial BX300 480GB $145

    The first 2 are made of TLC NAND and the BX300 is made of MLC. No brainer to pick the best one here.

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