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The best microSD card with capacity of 128 GB: comparative test 20 models

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This year, our lab decided to do tests memory cards microSD. These are based on flash memory miniature media information has become ubiquitous and is actively used not only in all sorts of gadgets to capture photos and video, but in the portable devices based on the Android operating system in smartphones and tablets. Consequently, their proper choice arose great interest that we have in process of forces and possibilities to meet.

The first article in the series was devoted to the comparison of microSD cards with capacity of 64 GB. To start with this volume we decided, based on its popularity, sales statistics says that, although the most popular goods are rather cheap memory cards 16 and 32 GB, the interest in the 64-Gigabyte cards are also considerable. But most importantly, the customers, the 64-Gigabyte cards treat them much more picky. A significant influence on the choice starts to have is not so much the price of the device, as its performance characteristics, reliability, warranty and brand reputation.

In the comments to our first material many readers requested to conduct similar tests and memory cards microSD larger volume of 128 or even 256 GB. We decided to ignore the request and move along axis of the container on. Of course, memory cards with capacity of 128 GB cannot be considered as popular choices as the 64-Gigabyte microSD cards: they are more expensive, and because they buy about half as often. However, if you look at the sales statistics for last year interest to a roomy microSD cards has increased almost four times. And that means that a 128-Gigabyte storage media for portable devices could from decisions of interest to only a especially demanding consumers, to turn into a quite popular product.

That is why the second article of the cycle affects memory cards with capacity of 128 GB. And immediately it should be clear that these cards are very different from the 64-Gigabyte, and their individual testing makes sense. Important features there are two. First, the composition of the products, available in capacity of 128 Gbytes, is different from the range 64-Gigabyte cards. Spacious microSD card is more difficult to manufacture, so offer them only to those manufacturers that have advanced technology and have the opportunity to purchase the latest types of flash memory. Second, the speed parameters of memory cards vary according to their capacity. More capacious options of microSD cards are built on more stacked cards inside the crystals NAND, which gives the opportunity to implement various techniques of alternating access, which increases the efficiency of the array of flash memory. As a result, the higher card volume are usually faster, but the relationship is not direct, because so much depends on the Manager, the flash memory controller.

#MicroSD memory cards: what you need to know

Nonetheless to reminisce about the past testing of memory cards today we will have repeatedly. After all that time we have not only identified the most attractive proposals among the 64 GB microSD card (then won Samsung EVO Plus), but also learned a lot about the current state of the market as a whole. The understanding of previously obtained results allows to approach more systematically and to better understand which features microSD are more critical and which signs you should pay the most attention.

First and foremost, we learned that almost all modern microSD card, running on the bus UHS-I read speed rests in the bandwidth of the interface. The situation here is the same as with a SATA SSD when any such drive will provide the same speed of linear reading. The only difference is that the bus UHS-I has a theoretical bandwidth of 104 Mbytes/s, this sets the maximum read speed with UHS-I microSD cards. In practice, almost any card will issue a sequential read speed of at 95-100 MB/s. Deviation is only possible for two reasons: either the device that uses the map has its own speed limit, or talking about some old or just a bad sample. For example, in the past testing the 64-Gigabyte microSD card low speed when reading was detected only in Kingston Canvas Select, from the cheapest of the cards SONY Russian-made and outdated models of Transcend cards.

Exceeding 100 MB/s speed performance for linear reading is possible only with the next version of the interface — UHS-II. Cards that use this already available for sale, but we do reserve outside the focus of attention for two reasons. First, they are quite rare and much more expensive UHS-I cards. Second, the gadgets, which support UHS-II cards are not so widely that ultimately makes the UHS-II cards niche or even a niche offer.

A second General conclusion concerns the fact that the main characteristic on which microSD card do differ is the speed of the linear record. Actually, it in most cases depends on whether the card to save the video stream at a particular resolution, or how it will manifest itself in serial photography. And at first glance here it seems all very clear, after all, the standardization organization of the SD Association, has developed a simple system of marking classes which describe the building of a map.

The standard stipulates three characteristics, the ranking speed of the linear record: speed class, UHS speed class and speed class for the video. They were introduced into circulation successively, and therefore set their minimum speed intersect. However, if the manufacturer indicates in the description of the card, what class speed it relates to choose the appropriate option seems to be a very simple task.

The minimum speed of the linear record, MB/s Speed class UHS speed class Speed class video
2 C2
4 C4
6 C6 V6
10 C10 U1 V10
30 U3 V30
60 V60
90 V90

But there it was. As shown, the correct description of high-speed classes are almost never found. But it’s not that manufacturers are overly optimistic about the capabilities of their products, quite the contrary. Speed classes are declared in most cases is conservative, promising more low, than is actually performance. Moreover, many manufacturers confine myself to an indication of the speed class and the UHS speed class, and the parameter “speed class” video in General is lowered. More or less follows the established ranking system only SanDisk, while the bulk micro SD products from other manufacturers explicitly promises only belong to classes C10 and U3, which means a guaranteed write speed at 30 MB/s. In reality, the recording speed can exceed this value and twice, and three times, but to learn about it on formal grounds in advance is not always possible.

Sometimes more specific indicators of performance memory cards when recording can be found on the websites of their manufacturers. But the practice detailed description microSD cards, which are perceived by many as a simple accessory for consumer electronics, not as a high-tech device based on flash memory, cannot be called universal. In other words, without thinking to find out which memory cards will work faster when recording data, not so easy. This task can hardly be solved, while in the store, and the answer to the question “What to choose?” can only give tests like those conducted on our website.

An even more serious problem arises if you need to know not the linear speed, and performance maps for arbitrary reading and writing. These characteristics are critical in the case when the card is used in Android-device for storing programs and user files, but usually they are not addressed at all. Generally speaking, in the specification, the SD Association provides the class definitions of the speed for applications A1 and A2 for the performance under arbitrary operations, but in fact I use them even less frequently than classes of speed for video.

Class performance for applications Minimum speed of random read IOPS Minimum speed of random writes IOPS The minimum speed of the linear record, MB/s
A1 1500 500 10
A2 4000 2000 10

When we tested the 64-Gigabyte microSD card, class A1 was specified for only three of the seventeen cards, but tests showed that in fact, under its requirements fit more than half of the tested cards. Thus, the performance in random read – option carries even more uncertainty. And adopted the industry classification system speeds while the issue of choice is absolutely not facilitated.

Past testing of memory cards allowed to find out one more interesting detail. It turns out that the memory card based on MLC NAND, is still present in the market. However, they take approximately the same position as the SSD of two-bit memory. Keep them in your range only a few manufacturers (especially Samsung and Transcend), while most of the market options – the microSD card on the basis of TLC 3D NAND. Such exclusivity of products with two-bit memory, allowing you to position them as specialized high-reliability solutions, e.g. for video recorders, time continuous use which can total several years. Resource entries when it is artificially restricted by lowering the speed, so often as the microSD card having the name or description of the phrase High Endurance (“high reliability”), are typically slower than standard cards with TLC-memory inside, despite the higher price.

Now that we briefly know what generalized conclusions we came to when testing memory cards microSD 64 GB, it’s time to move on to a memory card twice the volume, test, that you kindly asked after the last of the material.

#Table tested microSDXC memory card 128GB

Thus, this test includes microSDXC card with UHS-I interface and a capacity of 128 GB.

Recall that these memory cards are the most versatile. They are suitable for compact devices that have slots for microSD installation initially, but can be placed in devices that support regular SD cards. There are special adapters that manufacturers microSD cards are often included in the package. It should be emphasized that all such adapter is a passive component that does not have any logic inside. They provide only mechanical compatibility and therefore do not affect performance, and there is no reason to avoid using them are there.

Participants test their stated manufacturers specifications listed in the following table.

For this test we’ve tried to gather all the relevant options microSDXC card with UHS-I interface and a capacity of 128 GB available. And as you can see, we almost succeeded. Not included in testing only memory cards are small producers of the third echelon, whose sales are insignificant on the General background. In other words, we checked all major memory cards available and popular in Russia, and they were many – two dozen.

SOURCE

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Peripherals

Review of the ASUSTOR NAS AS4004T: 10 Gbps for the people

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Connect two Gigabit interfaces implemented even in home network storage for quite some time — unusual this approach is not called. But 10 GB/s until recently seemed to be only a lot of professional equipment, the cost of which is prohibitively high for the average home user. A couple of new NAS ASUSTOR proves that times are changing. A two-Bay NAS ASUSTOR ASUSTOR AS4002T and chetyrehmetrovy AS4004T, like many others, have two Gigabit interface, but in addition they have a third — desjatilopastnye. The cost of innovations clearly indicates their home purpose. We learned to chetyrehvetvevogo NAS and found out whether or not rush to change their outdated Gigabit file servers to a modern solution.

#Supplied

 

Supplied ASUSTOR AS4004T

The device comes in a cardboard white box with plastic carrying handle. Box with the drive is very light so that to bring it home in their hands will not be easy. Inside, in addition to the drive, was found to have the following accessories:

  • power adapter with removable power cables two standards;
  • two Ethernet cable to connect the NAS via Gigabit interfaces (category 5);
  • one Ethernet cable to connect the NAS via dezetilirovanny interface (category 6);
  • set of screws for mounting drives form factor 2.5 inch;
  • CD-ROM with software and user manual;
  • brief printed manual in several languages.

It is noteworthy that the manufacturer has not abandoned the CD-ROM in scope of supply, but the current version should be downloaded from the corporate website. Note also the presence of complete delivery of all the necessary cables that provide every type of connection device.

#Specifications

Feature / Model ASUSTOR AS4004T
HDD 4 × 3,5”/2,5” HDD or SSD interface SATA3 6GB/s
File system Internal hard drives: EXT4
external storage: FAT32, NTFS, EXT3, EXT4, HFS+, exFAT
RAID level Single disk, JBOD, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10
Processor Marvell ARMADA-7020 1.6 GHz
Operational memory 2GB DDR4
Network interfaces 2 × Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45
1 × 10Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45
Additional interfaces 2 × USB-A 3.1
Protocols CIFS / SMB, SMB 2.0 / 3.0, AFP, NFS, FTP, TFTP, WebDAV, Rsync, SSH, SFTP, iSCSI/IP-SAN, HTTP, HTTPS, Proxy, SNMP, Syslog
Customers Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2012
Mac OS X 10.6 and later
UNIX, Linux
iOS, Android
Cooling system Single fan 120×120 mm
Power Consumption, W Work: 31,5
sleep mode: 17,1
Dimensions, mm 170 × 174 × 230
Weight, kg 2,2 (without HDD)
Estimated price*, RUB 26 000

* Average price in “Yandex.Market” at the moment of writing of article

Системная плата ASUSTOR AS4004T

Motherboard ASUSTOR AS4004T

A two-Bay NAS ASUSTOR ASUSTOR AS4002T and chetyrehmetrovy AS4004T have the same hardware — these devices differ only in the number of installed disks. Below we will talk about the model AS4004T ASUSTOR as it was in our lab, but in General much the same can be said about ASUSTOR AS4002T.

Структура Marvell ARMADA-7020

The structure of Marvell, ARMADA-7020

The device is running a 64-bit processor Marvell ARMADA-7020 (88F7020), built on microarchitecture ARMv8 Cortex-A72. It is a modern dual-core SoC, running at a clock frequency of 1.6 GHz and low power consumption. Outside it is covered with a small aluminum radiator, which squares are still missing and on the adjacent chip RAM.

Радиатор процессора и модули оперативной памяти Samsung K4B2G1646Q-BCK0

CPU heatsink and memory modules Samsung K4B2G1646Q-BCK0

The processor works with RAM DDR4 DRAM memory modules are soldered directly on the motherboard. Replace them or increase the RAM capacity from ASUSTOR AS4004T will not work. The total volume of the modules is 2 GB. In this instance the used IC SEC K4A8G16 DDR4 SDRAM manufacturing company Samsung Semiconductor Inc..

Гигабитные сетевые контроллеры Marvell E881512

Gigabit network controllers Marvell E881512

Integrated graphics processor Marvell ARMADA-7020 can not boast, so the video outputs on Board ASUSTOR AS4004T not provided, as there is no other multimedia outputs. But there is dezetilirovanny Ethernet interface that is implemented using the capabilities of the SoC. However, a pair of Gigabit network ports on the motherboard of the NAS has two relevant controller Marvell E881512.

 

USB-controller Realtek RTS5412 (left) and the flash module Toshiba TC58NVG2S0FTA00 (right)

Interfaces USB 3.1 on-Board NAS provides controller Realtek RTS5412. Well, to store the firmware on the motherboard of the device has a removable NAND-Modul ADATA capacity of 512 MB, assembled on a single chip Toshiba TC58NVG2S0FTA00.

In General, the chipset novelties fairly predictable: nothing supernatural, but completely corresponds to the specifications and technical characteristics. Unless the manufacturer had to save on some components and solutions to achieve an acceptable cost home NAS with ten Gigabit Ethernet interface. For most ordinary users, this savings will not affect comfort and performance. Is that ASUSTOR AS4004T not suitable for those who require a video output.

#Appearance

Externally, the model is similar to AS4004T ASUSTOR NAS, which, in General, expected. The manufacturer has decided to abandon the metal casing, as in other models, so the new NAS is made in a plastic case consisting of two halves, which is mounted on the metal chassis. The outside metal can be seen only from behind — in this part of the case has a plastic coating.

 

Appearance ASUSTOR AS4004T

All major plastic components of the device is matte, with slightly pronounced surface roughness. Only the removable front panel and a vertical panel with indicators are the paint. Note that the lateral and front surface of the housing from ASUSTOR AS4004T not flat, but faceted, which gives the new product a certain playfulness — as this device clearly shows that it must be at home, not in the server.

Вид снизу

Bottom view

Without discs ASUSTOR AS4004T is very light and compact. There is no difficulty to choose a seat at the table next to the computer or on the bookshelf. While the NAS will rely on four rectangular legs, glued to the bottom surface of the housing.

 

The front panel

The front panel has magnetic mount and is only a feature. Behind it lies the disc compartment with the vertical placement of slides. To his left is the led panel that informs the user of activity of disks, network interfaces, and USB ports, and power status. Here is one of the two USB 3.1 ports and power control button.

Задняя панель

Rear panel

Almost the entire area of the rear panel is a grille, behind which inner side fixed with 120 mm fan. To the right is a second USB 3.1, three network interface RJ-45 (two one Gigabit and ten Gigabit), recessed inside the reset button to factory, as well as Jack for external power adapter placed on the plastic part of the case loop for laying and fixing of the cable. In the lower part of the housing there is a connector for attaching a security lock such as the Kensington.

In General, the appearance of new items though can not be called original, but can be attributed to the universal type. Such a device will easily fit into any interior, and even places will take a bit. As for interfaces, indicators, and buttons, and this indicator model ASUSTOR AS4004T deserves a positive assessment.

#Installation of hard drives and internal structure

 

Slide hard drives

As in the case of housing, the slide hard drives ASUSTOR AS4004T have the most simple design. They are completely made of plastic, but it does not require installation disks nor any fasteners. With this type of saddle we met when meeting with other NAS manufacturers. For fixing the disk in the sled are used side plastic plate with the pins and rubber bushings for the damping arising from the vibrations. Plate is easily removed and installed, so that the whole process of installation hard disk drives are unlikely to take more than a couple-three minutes.

 

Disc compartment

The disc compartment slides fixed in place by a simple lock that is opened by turning the plastic knobs on the front of the sled. An additional lock with a key is not provided. Note that the slides are partially framed structure with lots of holes, so that the cooling disks, no problems should arise. In case air is delayed by a fan through the holes and slits of the front panel and through the ventilation grille at the bottom of the hull. Well, it pushes out through the fan grille on the rear wall.

 

The internal structure of the body. The location of the motherboard

To open the device ASUSTOR AS4004T the user is not required. For mounting drives is not necessary, and to increase the amount of RAM in this case is impossible. However, if you want, you make it very easy. It is sufficient to Unscrew on the rear panel, four screws and slide the plastic half relative to the other. Inside the device has a rigid metal frame to which side is attached to the motherboard. A few cables are routed so that they are not even visible. While inside the case there is enough free space and the disk compartment walls have holes for free air circulation. Cooling system Board and installed inside the hard disk no problems should arise.

#Work with the device

   

Application Control Center ASUSTOR AiMaster and to locate and configure the NAS ASUSTOR

To install and configure the NAS, you can use the supplied CD, but it is better to carry out this procedure via Internet service start.asustor.com. To find the NAS on the network even in the absence of the PC via the smartphone, using an app AiMaster designed for initial setup of the NAS ASUSTOR and management. You can also find a connected to a local network drive using the proprietary app ASUSTOR Control Center. During the installation process the user will be prompted to mount your disk space and fully configure the NAS.

 
 

The initial installation of the operating system. ADM and configure NAS

During initial setup, the device will automatically download and install the latest universal for all ASUSTOR NAS version of the operating system ADM (ASUSTOR Data Master). Last time we met with ADM version 3.0, but at the time of testing for ASUSTOR AS6404T was available ADM 3.2. Fundamental differences, it is not received.

 
 

The ADM interface 3.2

Multi ADM interface remains the same. It is adapted for work with mobile devices, so even on a small smartphone screen all the menu items and icons are well readable. The usability of the ADM interface is no different from any other OS, where there is a choice of which to adjust the size of Windows and installation of widgets.

 

Configuring EZ-Connect

   

Mobile client AiData

To connect to disk space on the NAS via the Internet the easiest way by using services EZ-Connect. It does not need to configure the router. You just need to register on the manufacturer’s website and get the ID ASUSTOR Cloud ID with which the user will have access to the files and folders of the NAS as a desktop computer, and a smartphone. For the latest under Android OS and iOS has different apps for accessing and working with data. Note that in the app AiData integrated service Dropbox Box.net and Google Drive.

 

Library apps ASUSTOR

In the software Arsenal ASUSTOR is a mobile application for managing multimedia data, the program for work with CCTV cameras, the app to control the settings of the NAS. Library of built-in applications will also delight the user with its diversity: there are a lot of different media players, office programs and utilities for backup.

 

Configuring disk space

 

Setting the aggregation function ports

As for the features, disk space, network settings and services, here the ADM 3.2 gives the user a full range of capabilities, which will be enough for both home and corporate user. We wrote earlier about AES encryption with 256-bit key, and about the organization on the basis of the NAS ASUSTOR web server, and about the aggregation of network ports, so will not be repeated. You can read about it in the description of ADM version 3.0. In its capabilities and usability of the ADM is in no way inferior to the specialized OS leading players in the NAS market.

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Peripherals

The 2018: SSDS

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In the last few years to talk about what is happening in the SSD market in the final articles was not very easy. Major changes of global character, on which to focus in such reporting, it was very little, and everything had to be kept to a review published during the year specific products that are, however, rarely able to offer any fundamental change in architecture or performance.

However, 2018 is much more eventful, which can be called a turning point in the development of the whole SSD market. We may not have witnessed the emergence of some innovative technologies like 3D XPoint happened at least three very important things that will certainly have a strong influence on what will now happen with solid-state drives over the next years. First, all the NAND manufacturers have ceased production of the planar flash memory and have relied on memory with three-dimensional layout. Second, flash memory has finally stopped growing for 2018 showed a significant drop in prices that made and continues to make solid state drives more affordable mass product. And thirdly, 2018 was the year of the appearance of four-bit (QLC) memory, which soon needs to be available in consumer SSD high capacity. Look at these events in more detail.

#64 layer 3D NAND is becoming a mass

Three-dimensional NAND is no longer a new technology, but until recently really the full release of this flash was only the Samsung. Other manufacturers experimented with 3D NAND, but did not do much betting on their multi-layered products of the first generations. The reason was that despite the fact that 3D NAND in any case allows to increase the storage density, the benefits of a memory begins to emerge fully only after the transition to 64-layer design. Production of 3D NAND is more complicated and costly than the production of a planar flash memory. In addition, the release of 3D NAND requires conversion of the production lines, so in the end, made for aggressive 15/16-nm norms planar memory has a lower cost than 32 – or 48-layer 3D NAND. In the case of 64-ply memory investment is already paying off, and this fact has pushed all manufacturers to a long-awaited transition to large-scale production of 3D NAND.

A pioneer in the implementation and promotion of three-dimensional flash memory, Samsung company, delivers the end products, based on 64-layer 3D NAND, even with the third quarter of 2017. In the past year, it gradually expanded the range and volumes of supplies of a memory, seeking to maintain its 35 percent market share and ranks the leading manufacturer of NAND. In addition, in the second half of 2018, the company began the gradual introduction of memory of the fifth generation, with a 96-layer design. However, the overall slowdown in the growth of the NAND market and falling prices halted the process. It is obvious that in 2019, the majority of flash products will use 64-layer memory, though speaking specifically about Samsung, the company has already started delivery storage 860 series EVO with a 96-layer memory, and soon this way will update and 970 EVO.

The second largest manufacturer of flash memory, SK Hynix, focused primarily on the supply of chips for mobile devices, but, nevertheless, he made a bid for the production of multilayer memory. Designed this firm the technology is designed to produce 72-layer memory, and that this 3D NAND is the major share of SK Hynix products. It should be noted that the company intends to expand its presence in the segment of SSD and memory to solid state drives account for up to 20% in the structure of supply. In the future, the plan is to expand this type of product transition to the end of the year 96-layer design of chips.

Flash memory with 64 layers already by mid-year became the main type of products supplied by the company Toshiba. Moreover, in the near future, Toshiba is going to continue to increase the supply by expanding the production base. It is worth Recalling that in the middle of the year, the company introduced to the market debut drive XG6, which was tested more dense, 96-layer memory, but according to reports, the delivery of a variety of 3D NAND continue to carry only a pilot character, and before the mass distribution of a 96-layer memory of the Japanese manufacturer is still far away.

Approximately the same situation is and Western Digital, its 64-layer memory widely used in their own drives around the end of 2017, and the company is now ready to start production of the 96-layer memory. However, a rapid transition should not wait – at the moment, Western Digital has decided to limit capital investments in development of production and, consequently, this will limit the availability of its 96-layer 3D NAND on the market over the next few quarters.

Since the beginning of last year, has full supply 64 layer 3D NAND and Micron. Drives based on it are widely presented both under its own brands of Crucial and Micron, and in range of numerous partners. Along the way, Micron is preparing to transition to the memory issue of the third generation with 96 layers, but now the emphasis is on increasing the density of storage by increasing the number of layers, and through the implementation of four-bit cells QLC. In this regard, one should not expect a quick switch to release 96-layer and memory from Micron. In addition, the company’s strategy involves the reduction in the supply of 3D NAND to third-party SSD manufacturers, so the term prevalence Micron memory in solid state products of third-party companies may even decrease.

In the beginning of 2018, Intel broke off a partnership with Toshiba to develop advanced technologies of flash memory, however 64-layer and a 96-layer 3D NAND are not affected. It is therefore not surprising that 64 layer 3D NAND is also widely represented in the assortment of Intel: about the middle of last year, this memory has become dominant in a flash products of this company. Intel is now busy with expansion of production at its factory in Dalane, and the promotion of the 64-layer 3D NAND QLC. As for increasing the number of layers and the release of SSDs on the basis of the memory of the third generation, this will clearly not happen in the near future.

#Is a long-awaited reversal of the price trend

What all manufacturers of flash memory has prepared its production facilities to produce a 64-layer 3D NAND around the same time in the beginning of 2018, has played with them quite a cruel joke. In the previous few quarters, the demand for NAND chips exceeded supply. And it was connected at one end with the rapid increase in the consumption of flash memory data centers and mobile market, and with another – with the limited supply of such memory due to the fact that the producers were engaged in re-equipping its plants with a view to their transfer to the production of three-dimensional memory. Since the beginning of 2018, the situation began to radically change.

In the past year, manufacturers of smartphones has decreased the need for flash memory. New models of vehicles stopped aggressively increase the internal storage capacity, flagship smartphones were sold worse than expected, and the entire consumer electronics market has finished growing as fast as before, rate. On this is superimposed the decline in PC sales, exacerbated by including owing to the shortage of Intel processors.

However, speeding producers of flash memory had become unstoppable. After a reorientation to the production of 3D NAND, they continued to increase production throughout 2018. Ultimately, the annual increase in production of NAND chips in a capacitive equivalent reached polutorakratnoe size.

Поставки чипов NAND

The supply of NAND chips

It is quite natural that to absorb all this excess capacity on a flash memory the market was not able to, and all of this caused a deep crisis of overproduction of NAND chips. The proposal was to significantly exceed demand, and the price of flash memory has gone down.

Изменение стоимости чипов памяти производства Samsung

The change in the cost of memory chips made by Samsung

Изменение стоимости чипов памяти производства SK Hynix

The change in the cost of the memory chips production SK Hynix

And it was a very pleasant surprise for buyers, because after the flash, which after a long period of constant appreciation was losing in price from 10-15 % over the quarter, stretched, and prices on solid state drives. So, if you look at the dollar prices of a popular mass SSD, you will notice that in 2018, they declined by about half.

Изменение цены Samsung 860 EVO 500GB на Amazon.com

Change 860 Samsung EVO 500GB on Amazon.com

Изменение цены Crucial MX500 500GB на Amazon.com

Change Crucial MX500 500GB on Amazon.com

In fact, now SSD are cheaper than ever in its history, which should have a positive impact on their distribution. Moreover, a pleasant trend does not end, and further reduction in price of SSDs will continue. It is projected that in 2019 the price of NAND chips will fall by another 25-30 %. And there is a logical explanation. Memory consumption by manufacturers of smartphones and tablets is not increased, the PC market is still in decline, and data centers is capable of generating such a high demand to absorb the entire produce flash memory. Especially considering the fact that all of its manufacturers continue capital investment in production and do not give up their plans to introduce QLC-cell and 3D NAND with a large number of layers, that once again raise the density of chips and will increase the supply of flash memory.

Also now in the equation adds two more unknowns, a trade war between the US and China, plus the forthcoming launch of Chinese enterprises for the production of NAND-owned Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC).

If in 2018 the average unit price of GB capacity of the SSD has dropped from $0.35 to $0,23, in the next year it may drop to the value of about $0,16, especially given the emergence of market drives, built on QLC 3D NAND. I think the cost to buy terabyte SATA SSD for $100 will be possible in mid-2019.

#QLC the emergence of 3D NAND

It was the beginning of distribution QLC 3D NAND, we tend to be the third most important event in 2018. This memory stores four bits of information in the cell, allowing it to increase storage density by 33% relative to the usual TLC 3D NAND. Moreover, this change does not require any special modifications in the production process: everything you need to increase the density of the cells, in fact, implemented on the software level. Moreover, Samsung, Micron and Intel, which has already started the implementation of their drives QLC 3D NAND, used for output of four-bit memory of the same processing line, as in the case with 3D TLC NAND. The ability to store the cells for more bit – on the one hand, the result of the “aging” process and improve the quality of semiconductor crystals, and on the other – a consequence of the introduction of the SSD controllers more advanced algorithms of digital processing and error correction.

Clearly, the need for recognition in cell QLC NAND 16 levels of voltage instead of 8 to TLC is detrimental to reliability. And so far, QLC 3D NAND manufacturers declare three times lower endurance compared to TLC 3D NAND and the worst data security in an off state. This makes modern drives with four-bit memory more suitable for low loads and scenarios of type WORM (write once, read many). But it is worth mentioning that a similar road traveled by the TLC memory. Her first choices were not too reliable and gave buyers a well-founded suspicion. Now TLC 3D NAND is going to take place durable and high quality toppings. that in the near future will completely replace MLC-memory.

The same stages of adoption, must go through the QLC 3D NAND. Moreover, its distribution is directly linked future expansion of the habitat SSDS in personal computers. Estimates today, solid-state media identified only in 55 % of their existing user systems, but the prospects for significant price reduction, it is expected a convincing increase this share up to 90% by 2023. And drives on the base of QLC-memory may play an important role, because this memory significantly reduces the cost of SSD.

In addition, QLC 3D NAND solves another problem: it allows you to increase the capacity of solid state drives, including those made in a compact form factor. As example, the 2-terabyte version of the drive the Intel SSD 660p, which not only has a standard size M. 2 2280, and the same is made in a unilateral design. And speaking of 2.5-inch drives, the Samsung series 860 QVO there is already a model with a capacity of 4 TB, but the manufacturer promises that if there is demand lineup may be supplemented by versions for 8 and 16 TB.

However, it is impossible not to mention that QLC 3D NAND not only loses TLC 3D NAND from the point of view of endurance, but also significantly worse performance. This is due to the increase in the volume of crystals and more complex processing procedure stored in the data cells. However, the old rule that any SSD is faster than HDD, a priori, thus is not broken. The developers have learned quite effectively to mask the shortcomings of the slow flash memory using SLC caching, and this approach is working successfully in case of QLC drives based on 3D NAND. Moreover, the pilot model on chetyrehbalnoy memory – Intel SSD Crucial 660p and P1 is a NVMe SSD, it is normally protruding against the cheap TLC alternatives with high-speed interface.

#Flourishing NVMe, SATA sunset

Definitely talk about what drives advanced close to to displace old SATA SSD, is clearly premature. The demand for SATA hard drives remains very high and this is not surprising, because this interface is standard for systems of past generations, and the Park of such systems is huge. Additionally, SATA SSDS offer higher capacity, easier going in RAID and just cheaper. Therefore, such decisions would remain in the sale for many years.

However, the phrase about the decline of the SATA in the title not just. The fact that any sort of evolutionary development of such storage for a long time not happening. SATA SSDS have reached their “ceiling” a couple of years ago and all new models released in the last year, offer at best all the same as their predecessors. At worst, their characteristics degrade over taken by most manufacturers rate on the translation of the SATA proposals in the budget segment. As a result, the bulk of the SATA novelties, which appeared in 2018 – it drives with those or other technical defects: either unbuffered or limited parallelism of the array of flash memory, or both.

Against this background, would like to highlight only two of the SATA product which was released last year. The first is 860 Samsung EVO, which is a further development of the 850 EVO in a new controller and a new 64 – or 96-layer flash memory.

Samsung 860 EVO

860 Samsung EVO

And the second Crucial MX500 – drive, assembled on the basis of the 64-layer flash memory Toshiba and a good controller SMI. From the point of view of the performance of these SSDS, at least not inferior to their predecessors (true, except for the 500 GB EVO 860), and offer enough for everyday use and reliability.

Crucial MX500

Crucial MX500

But NVMe drives were able in 2018 to take new heights. A year ago, the benchmark for consumer NVMe SSD was made by Samsung EVO 960, demonstrating better performance compared to any other option, then in 2018, all changed radically. And despite the fact that the South Korean manufacturer has updated its core offering, releasing improved 970 EVO, today is the best in terms of price and performance NVMe SSD must be sought not in the range Samsung. There are currently at least two alternative platforms, storage devices on the basis of which can offer at least the worst consumer qualities.

First developed by Western Digital and is used in the latest version of WD Black NVMe SSD, which, together with the new corporate controller received and the original 64-layer TLC 3D NAND. In sum, as Western Digital was surprisingly attractive offer, which also often sold at more profitable than Samsung, price.

WD Black NVMe

WD Black NVMe

However, the main star in consumer NVMe SSD was still not the WD drive. Public controller that can compete with the decisions of Samsung and Western Digital suddenly released Silicon Motion, which immediately opened the way for the emergence of high-quality products by the manufacturers of the second-the third echelon. And they were not long in coming: again all was ADATA, offered on the basis of the 64-layer TLC 3D NAND, Micron drives, and the XPG Ultimate SX8200 Gammix S11, which provide performance at least not worse than the 970 Samsung EVO, but at a much more affordable price.

ADATA XPG Gammix S11

ADATA XPG Gammix S11

By the way, the efforts of Silicon Motion on consumer drives and there are still one interesting class of products – budget NVMe SSD with the price approaching the average SATA SSD, but with significantly higher performance. First, such products were already mentioned Intel and Crucial SSD 660p P1, which uses a new 3D QLC NAND produced by Intel and Micron, respectively. Secondly, appeared on the shelves and curious unbuffered NVMe SSD based on TLC 3D NAND. Makes them particularly interesting is the fact that the lack of DRAM buffer for NVMe storage devices often is not a problem. Progressive models get support for HMB (Host Memory Buffer), which allows for connected PCI Express storage to use for their needs the main memory of a computer, and this largely negates the lack of a platform own SSD DRAM.

Crucial P1

Crucial P1

In the end, NVMe drives for 2018 become faster, more diverse and more accessible. But it is obvious that the ongoing process will go on. Bandwidth interface PCI Express 3.0 x4 leaves space for growth, the improvement in performance when melkoplodnyj operations can be carried out at the expense of technology improvement of flash memory. And here we should recall the existence of a product such as the Intel SSD Optane, which cannot be called a massive decision due to the prohibitive high cost, but which shows the potential of the NVMe interface in reducing the latency of operations. Of course, the Optane SSD performance is largely determined by the use of innovative memory 3D XPoint direct, and not page access. However, comparable results are achievable and on the basis of the classic SSD NAND to confirm it in your Samsung drive family Z-SSD.

In other words, in 2018 only laid the Foundation for the further development of NVMe SSDS, and ahead of us a lot of interesting events.

#Meanwhile in Russia

In the final part of the reporting material we decided to talk about how global market trends solid state drives lay on the Russian soil. The fact that the domestic market SSD has its own specifics, connected with at least two circumstances: that against the cheaper NAND here is played by the gradual reduction of the national currency, as well as the excessive conservatism of the Russian buyers, which refer to any new technology with a strong distrust.

However, despite the negative economic factors, a significant drop in the price of SSDs could feel and consumers in Russia. According to the report of the analytical Agency GfK Rus, collect and process sales data SSD retail channels, unit price of the GB average SSD for the period from January to December 2018 fell from $0.5 to $0,26, that is almost half.

However, the Russian buyer noted this nice trend in its own way. Instead against the background of lower prices to start to move to SSD with a larger capacity, our customers decided to use a cheaper SSD for savings spent on components of the budget. As a result, while a year ago the average price of purchased in stores SSD was about 5900 rubles, by the end of 2018 the average check for a new SSD dropped to 3800 rubles.

However, in fairness it should be noted that the overall sales of SSDS in Russia during that time has grown in quantitative terms, more than 80 %. In other words, falling prices still affected the penetration of SSDs in the system and increased the mass introduction of SSD. Another thing is that the most popular option was, and still drives 120-128 GB. In 2017 and in 2018 they hit 51 % of all sales (in units).

However, the shift of interest of buyers in the direction of a more capacious models are still observed. Share SSD with the capacity of 240-256 GB compared to 2017, the company grew in sales from 32% to 35%, and the relative number of sold drives of polterabayta for the same period increased by a quarter and reached the share of 7 %. Noticeable strong increase in demand for products of higher capacities, although their sale in the General background remains small. Along with this has significantly decreased the number of sold retail SSD with a capacity of 64 GB or less. Attention to this category is supported only by family caching drives Intel Optane Memory. Classical same SSD with the same volume, actually, is not present to buyers the slightest interest.

Gradually begin to fight their place in the market and high-speed drives with NVMe interface. According to the collected statistics, such SSD on average 45 % more expensive than SATA models (with the same capacity), but nevertheless, every twentieth Russian buyer SSD went in 2018 from the store with NVMe product. Moreover, these buyers are more willing to spend on a more capacious modification. All this led to the fact that by the end of last year the share of NVMe drives in the Russian market in monetary terms increased by one third and reached 12 %.

The three most popular in the Russian market of manufacturers of SSD over the past year has not changed, but Russian buyers again showed their distinctive character. The fact that in Russia, this trio consists of Samsung, Kingston and Western Digital, which at year-end took 32 %, 15 % and 11 % of domestic market of solid state drives, respectively (in monetary terms). At the same time on the world market, the three leaders include Samsung, Western Digital and Toshiba, and Kingston products in popularity is only in seventh place. The reason for this imbalance is obvious: in the Kingston range is dominated by the budget proposals, and in Russia, the company maintains a very aggressive promotional strategies.

However, the percentage Kingston even on the Russian market over the past year has fallen dramatically. As in the whole world, in Russia the systematic increase of its influence can boast of only those producers who has its own manufacture NAND flash memory: Samsung, Western Digital, Intel. Manufacturers of the second and third tier gradually losing ground to the giants. But to this rule there is one interesting exception. To increase the impact on the Russian market are SSD ADATA to offer in 2018, a very strong lineup, which included the best ratio of price and performance drives with SATA and NVMe.

Another interesting trend of the domestic market is that in 2018 it began to be traced to the specialization of producers in certain price segments. So, Samsung and Intel has taken the leading position as providers of high quality and expensive products, while Western Digital, Kingston, ADATA and many manufacturers of the second-the third echelon began to primarily focus on sales of low-cost mass models. Due to this, the number sold in the past year, SSD Kingston could even surpass Samsung.

Why it happened, it is easy to understand if you look at those drives which have been most popular among domestic buyers. The most popular SSD proved to be A400 Kingston 120 GB of cheap unbuffered storage device on the basis of the two-channel controller Phison S11.

Kingston A400

Kingston A400

Second place in sales took the WD Green SSD 120 GB – approximately the same characteristics unbuffered model, like the Kingston A400, but on my controller the Western Digital/SanDisk. A full drive with a DRAM buffer and an eight-channel array of a flash memory able to hold the sales only third place, and 860 Samsung EVO 250 GB. Curiously, in the amount of purchased retail copies A400 Kingston 120 GB bypassed 860 Samsung EVO 250 GB is half that is a great illustration of how important it is for Russian users low price. For comparison it is worth mentioning that according to the statistics of the online store Amazon.com buyers from the opposite hemisphere the most popular models are polterabayta and terabyte Samsung EVO 860, and the notorious Kingston A400 120 GB is in the list of preferences only the fifteenth place.

Full top 10 SSDs on the results of Russian sales for 2018 is as follows:

  1. A400 Kingston 120 GB;
  2. WD Green SSD 120 Gbytes;
  3. 860 Samsung EVO 250 GB;
  4. Samsung 850 120 GB;
  5. A400 Kingston 240 GB;
  6. WD Green, SSD 240 GB;
  7. Kingston SSDNow 120 GB UV400;
  8. Ultimate SU650 ADATA 120 GB;
  9. Silicon Power Slim S55 120GB;
  10. Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB.

In the above list, there is no drive interface NVMe, but this is not surprising, given their considerably higher cost. However, the noteworthy and the most popular in Russia, high-performance model with a modern interface. So, the most sold NVMe SSDS for the year was 960 Samsung EVO 250 GB.

Samsung 960 EVO

Samsung EVO 960

In second place – 970 Samsung EVO 250 GB, and the third – 970 Samsung EVO 500 GB. In other words, the South Korean manufacturer has managed to capture just has an overwhelming advantage in the segment of NVMe drives in Russia. Most popular NVMe SSD from some other supplier – 760p is the Intel SSD 256 GB, but the number of copies sold, he concedes 960 Samsung EVO 250 GB exactly four times.

#Conclusion

Our story about the development of the situation with solid-state drives in 2018 is almost not affected by new solutions like Optane Intel or Samsung SSD Z SSD. And it is quite natural: in the past year, such nicoletia drives never gave me reason really remember them. They continue to exist in your parallel world, staying for its exorbitant cost ofonly niche solutions primarily for the server market. Besides as reduce the cost classic SSD, these drives separation from reality is becoming more and deeper. Apparently, the imminent recognition Optane Intel and Samsung SSD Z SSD can not wait: at the moment, 3D technology XPoint and Z NAND look unsuitable for use in consumer media.

The main plot on the market of SSDs in 2019 will obviously be a further decline in SSD prices and increasingly confident displacement of their mechanical hard drives. It is obvious that in the coming year, the cost of flash memory will fall below the psychologically important level of $0.1 gigabytes that will be a clear signal to the emergence of SSD with the capacity of 8 TB. In addition, cheaper entry-level models will come to the point that users will get the opportunity to purchase polterabayta SSD for the price of a terabyte HDD, and it will be another weighty argument in favor of a total rejection of the use of traditional mechanical hard drives.

From a technological point of view, no special breakthroughs are not yet in sight. SATA hard drives will remain popular for a long time and sunset this area in 2019 is clearly not threatened. As for NVMe models, they will probably continue to gradually move in the direction of utilizing all of the capabilities of the interface, which consumer drives while clearly not fully disclosed, even when using four lines of standard PCI Express 3.0.

So, 2019 seems to be a battleground for pricing but not for the technological war. However, certain new items, we still wait with great anticipation. So, in the near future will appear the next novelty from Samsung, as well as a curious hybrid drive Intel, combining the XPoint QLC 3D and 3D NAND. 3DNews traditionally will continue to follow closely what is happening in the SSD market.

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Peripherals

Review Toshiba S300 hard drives (10 TB) and V300 (2 TB)

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The hard drive market today belongs to three companies — Seagate, Western Digital and Toshiba. However, users of home PCs are often dealing with products Seagate and WD, while Toshiba works more for the corporate buyer. The Japanese company has a huge range of server disks with the interface SAS and OEM models with SATA ports, but only in the last two or three years, Toshiba has started to pay attention to the retail market internal HDD. At the moment Toshiba offers cover basic usage scenarios in the home and small office, including the X300 drives for workstations and series N300 NAS — one of the last model we tested last year.

The only thing that was missing in the consumer catalog Toshiba is drives for recording and broadcasting video content. All HDD manufacturers have already purchased these products, and for good reason. Desktop SSD still do not offer such a price and volume to replace magnetic drives in DVR (digital video recorders) and video surveillance systems. In addition, the drives designed for such tasks, have special functions for recording of multiple data streams that are not in the drives for desktop and NAS.

This year Toshiba introduced hard drives badged S300 — large storage capacity, designed for servers video surveillance and a series of budget Winchester V300 for HTPC (Home Theater PC) and DVR. Today we will explore the practical test two of the new models: Toshiba S300 volume of 10 TB, Toshiba V300 capacity of 2 TB.

#Specifications, price

Toshiba S300 family includes models with capacity from 4 to 10 TB. Disks 6, 8 and 10 TB built on the platform of MD06ACA-V spindle speed 7200 rpm (these HDD first appeared in OEM catalog Toshiba): the first two plates equipped with payload 1333 GB, while the 10-terabyte S300 contains seven plates at 1429 GB. It is noteworthy that Toshiba without helium for the production of hard drives this volume: they are all performed in a standard ventilated enclosure. We were not able to figure out the younger models Toshiba S300 volume 4 and 5 TB, but judging by the sustained bandwidth of 157 Mbytes/s and a spindle rotation speed of 5400 rpm, the inside may be a plate with a capacity of 1 TB.

Manufacturer Toshiba
Series S300
Model number HDWT140UZSVA HDWT150UZSVA HDWT360UZSVA HDWT380UZSVA HDWT31AUZSVA
Form factor 3.5 inch 3.5 inch 3.5 inch 3.5 inch 3.5 inch
Interface SATA 6 GB/s SATA 6 GB/s SATA 6 GB/s SATA 6 GB/s SATA 6 GB/s
Capacity, GB 4 000 5 000 6 000 8 000 10 000
Configuration
The spindle rotation speed, Rev/min 5 400 5 400 7 200 7 200 7 200
The useful storage density, GB/plate ND ND 1 333 1 333 1 429
The number of plates/heads ND ND 5/10 6/12 7/14
Buffer size, MB 128 128 256 256 256
Sector size, bytes 4 096 4 096 4 096 4 096 4 096
Performance
Max. sustained sequential read, MB/s 157 157 241 241 248
Max. sustained sequential write speed, MB/s 157 157 241 241 248
Burst rate, read/write, MB/s ND ND ND ND ND
Internal data rate, Mbytes/s ND ND ND ND ND
Average seek time: read/write, MS ND ND ND ND ND
Track-to-track seek time: read/write, MS ND ND ND ND ND
Full stroke seek time: read/write, MS ND ND ND ND ND
Reliability
MTBF (mean time between failures), h 1 000 000 1 000 000 1 000 000 1 000 000 1 000 000
AFR (annualized failure rate), % ND ND ND ND ND
The number of cycles Parking the heads 600 000 600 000 600 000 600 000 600 000
Physical characteristics
Power consumption: inaction/read-write, W 4,0/7,5 4,0/7,5 Of 5.59/of 7.88 6,33/8,61 7,15/of 9.48
Typical noise level: idle/search dB 26/ND 26/ND 34/ND 34/ND 34/ND
Maximum temperature, °C: drive on/drive is disabled 70/70 70/70 70/70 70/70 70/70
Impact resistance: included disk (read) /disk disabled 70 g (2ms) / 300 g (2 MS) 70 g (2ms) / 300 g (2 MS) 70 g (2ms) / 250 g (2 MS) 70 g (2ms) / 250 g (2 MS) 70 g (2ms) / 250 g (2 MS)
Dimensions: D × H × D, mm 147 × 101,9 × 26,1 147 × 101,9 × 26,1 147 × 101,9 × 26,1 147 × 101,9 × 26,1 147 × 101,9 × 26,1
Weight, g 720 720 770 770 770
Warranty period, years 3 3 3 3 3
Average retail price (US without tax) $ 151 (amazon.com) ND ND ND ND
The average retail price (Russia), RUB. 9 180 (market.yandex.ru) ND 14 504 (market.yandex.ru) 18 897 (market.yandex.ru) 24 747 (market.yandex.ru)
Manufacturer Toshiba
Series V300
Model number HDWU105UZSVA HDWU110UZSVA HDWU120UZSVA HDWU130UZSVA
Form factor 3.5 inch 3.5 inch 3.5 inch 3.5 inch
Interface SATA 6 GB/s SATA 6 GB/s SATA 6 GB/s SATA 6 GB/s
Capacity, GB 500 1 000 2 000 3 000
Configuration
The spindle rotation speed, Rev/min 5 700 5 700 5 700 5 940
The useful storage density, GB/plate 1 000 1 000 1 000 1 000
The number of plates/heads 1/2 1/2 2/4 3/6
Buffer size, MB 64 64 64 64
Sector size, bytes 4 096 4 096 4 096 4 096
Performance
Max. sustained sequential read, MB/s ND ND ND ND
Max. sustained sequential write speed, MB/s ND ND ND ND
Burst rate, read/write, MB/s ND ND ND ND
Internal data rate, Mbytes/s ND ND ND ND
Average seek time: read/write, MS ND ND ND ND
Track-to-track seek time: read/write, MS ND ND ND ND
Full stroke seek time: read/write, MS ND ND ND ND
Reliability
MTBF (mean time between failures), h ND ND ND ND
AFR (annualized failure rate), % ND ND ND ND
The number of cycles Parking the heads 300 000 300 000 300 000 300 000
Physical characteristics
Power consumption: inaction/read-write, W 3,0/5,7 3,0/5,7 3,3/4,7 4,2/5,4
Typical noise level: idle/search dB 19/ND 19/ND 22/ND 24/ND
Maximum temperature, °C: drive on/drive is disabled 65/70 65/70 65/70 65/70
Impact resistance: included disk (read) /disk disabled 70 g (2ms) / 300 g (2 MS) 70 g (2ms) / 300 g (2 MS) 70 g (2ms) / 250 g (2 MS) 70 g (2ms) / 300 g (2 MS)
Dimensions: D × H × D, mm 147 × 101,9 × 26,1 147 × 101,9 × 26,1 147 × 101,9 × 26,1 147 × 101,9 × 26,1
Weight, g 450 450 680 680
Warranty period, years 2 2 2 2
Average retail price (US without tax) $ ND ND ND ND
The average retail price (Russia), RUB. 3 580 (market.yandex.ru) 3 823 (market.yandex.ru) 5 380 (market.yandex.ru) 6 690 (market.yandex.ru)

The S300 series drives are drives network attached storage with access 24/7 and a decent resource of MTBF. By mounting the spindle on both sides and active compensation of rotational vibration is possible to install up to eight HDD in one chassis (models of 4 and 5 TB) or more (discs 6, 8 and 10 TB). Extension data transfer Protocol for ATA Streaming Command Set allows simultaneous video recording from 32 (4-5 TB) or 64 (6-10 TB) surveillance cameras. But note that ATA SCS should be supported on the server side if the user is interested in the most stable latency recording.

As for drives Toshiba V300, the appearance of the body can accurately identify a platform that went from Toshiba to Hitachi in 2012. The V300 family includes drives from 500 GB to 3 TB plates with a useful capacity of 1 TB. Due to the low spindle speed (5400-5700 rpm) these models have relatively low power consumption and noise level. At the same time, the device V300 as the older S300 series, willing to work 24/7, allow the installation of up to four HDDs in one NAS and record eight streams from surveillance cameras.

The warranty period Toshiba S300 is three years, and Toshiba V300 or two. Retail price of new items belong to the middle category — not cheaper and not more expensive than most drives the respective volume.

 

Toshiba S300 10 TB (HDWT31AUZSVA)

 

Toshiba V300 2TB (HDWU120UZS5A)

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