Yeah, I know. They’re not called Toshiba anymore. it’s now Kioxia, but Toshiba’s the name on the stick-on label. It’s stuck on a teeny tiny 2230 M.2 SSD I just installed in my Dell Optiplex 7080 Micro SFF PC. And in this case 2230 means it’s a package that measures 22 mm wide and 30 mm tall. It’s not much bigger than an SD card. It’s also reasonably fast and amazingly compact. That’s why I call it a tiny 1TB SSD Toshiba technology triumph.
What Makes for a Tiny 1TB SSD Toshiba Technology Triumph?
It just blows my mind that one can buy a 1TB SSD that’s so darn small. It uses the PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe 1.3b interface, so it also runs surprisingly fast. The specs page says it runs up to 2.3 GB/sec. I observed speeds of just over 2.0 GB/sec on CrystalDiskMark in the Dell 7080 Micro.
I confess I had to go to eBay to buy this device. In fact, they’re not currently for sale directly to end-users through conventional online outlets. That said, I paid under US$200 for the unit, which I consider an amazing deal given how much demand there is right now for such compact, capacious storage devices.
Seems Rock-Solid, But We’ll See
Having just received it in yesterday’s mail and installed it today, I can’t claim much experience with this unit just yet. Recalling issues with the Sabrent 2242 unit I tried out earlier, I’m reserving judgement. But I am stunned. It’s so small!
I’ve haven’t been this excited about miniaturization since I visited Madurodam in the Hague back in 1964 as a Boy Scout. There was a lot more to see there and then, but this little SSD definitely rocks the storage in today’s world. Stay tuned for more info, stats, and such as I get to know this little powerhouse better with time.
Interestingly, Dell doesn’t provide a hold-down screwport on the 7080 motherboard. I had to tape the drive down with some electrical tape to hold it in position. I have a nut I can superglue to the mobo at some future point instead. I’m still pondering that, as I get to know this device better. Stay tuned for more deets next week!
A couple of weeks ago, I read an online item bemoaning the variations in USB cables, especially those with USB-C connectors on one or both ends. This weekend, I experienced this phenom for myself. I also learned that the right USB cables make amazing differences in speed/throughput.
In the lead-in screenshots above, CrystalDiskMark speeds for the same device appear at left and right. To the left is the US$26 Fideco M.2 NVME External SSD Enclosure – USB 3.1. It’s linked to my Lenovo Yoga X390 through its USB 3.1 port using the vendor-supplied cable. Inside is the Sabrent 1TB Nano M.2 2242 SSD I’ve been writing about a lot lately. To the right everything is identical except I used a USB 3.1 Gen 2 cable. It’s rated at “up to 10 GBPS.”
No Lie: USB Cables Make Amazing Differences
Why on earth would the equipment vendor ship such a POS cable with an otherwise capable NVME enclosure? Speed results for the in-box cable (right) versus a US$7 cable purchased from Amazon differ starkly. For bulk transfers, the Amazon cable is 10 or more times faster. For 4K random reads and writes (bottom two rows), it’s between 6 and 7 times faster for queue depth = 32. That drops to 2 to 3 times faster for queue depth = 1.
Clearly, this is a red flag. It tells us that faster USB-C cables can speed peripheral I/O significantly. It also indicates that one should know what kinds of cables to buy. I got the speed-rated cables so I could see if they did make a difference. Little did I know I would actually benefit greatly from this experiment.
Wrinkles in the Plug-n-Play Experience
The question with USB-C cables is not “Will it work?” Rather, it should be “How fast does it go?” I’ve just learned that big differences sometimes present themselves. Testing your devices is the only way to confirm what kind of performance you’re getting. In my case, it quickly showed me that a high-speed USB-C cable is a worthwhile expense.
FWIW, this experiment also explained some of the cost differential between the US$26 Fideco unit linked above and the US$45 Sabrent units I also own. The latter ships with USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 cables that perform on par with the speed-rated cables I mentioned near the outset of this story. The NVME enclosures are more or less on par performance wise. That’s NOT true for the in-box USB-C cables, though. There indeed: you get what you pay for!