Toshiba BG SSDs pack 3D TLC flash into tiny M.2 NVMe drives

On August 8, beautiful Santa Clara, California is hosting the 2016 Flash Memory Summit, and it's no surprise that Toshiba will be there. The Japanese electronics giant is already talking about a new series of products it will be showing at the summit. The so-called BG Series are NVMe SSDs that mount the controller and flash on the same 16x20mm package. The new drives will come in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities, and in both BGA and removable (M.2) forms.

Toshiba's current-generation BG1 SSDs

The new drives aren't likely to set any performance records, as they're limited to two lanes of PCI Express 3.0. Still, they are NVMe SSDs, and among the first devices to combine the new protocol with 3D TLC flash memory. Toshiba says using its latest BiCS 3D flash memory allowed the company to fit a 512GB SSD on an M.2 card just 30 mm long. Given the emphasis on the drives' compact dimensions, they're probably intended for laptops, NUCs, and other tight spaces. Still, the removable M.2 version is the standard 22mm in width, so it should slot into motherboards with the appropriate slot.

Toshiba didn't share any specific performance information, unfortunately, but it did emphasize the drives' support for the NVMe-standard Host Memory Buffer technology. In short form, this technology allows the drive to requisition a portion of the system's main memory for caching. The flipside of this emphasis is that these drives are probably DRAM-less, which has become common on budget-oriented TLC drives. If true, these may be the most cost-effective NVMe disks yet. We'll probably find out more next week during the Flash Memory Summit.

Comments closed
    • blahsaysblah
    • 3 years ago

    I would buy an M.2 NVMe 2230 SSD instantly to replace my laptops Wifi card.

    Im guessing there would be considerable interest for adding more storage to laptops and or just adding more drive options easily into any case with 2230 form factor.

    The WAN/Cellular port is SATA capable in my laptop, but its 2242 form factor and not many choices there. Would be nice for Toshiba to offer that too.

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    Amazing, tiny and modern.

    This week I have removed three 500GB spinning rust drives from brand new laptops and put in SSD’s that are barely any more expensive.

    WHAT IS THE POINT, DELL, LENOVO, HP? WHY DO YOU TORTURE YOUR CUSTOMERS SO?

      • smilingcrow
      • 3 years ago

      You are either paying way too much for 500GB HDDs or have access to stolen SSDs!

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        I would never buy a 500GB HDD but I was surprised to discover the other day that the cheapest new mechanical drive of any capacity was about £40, and that was only a measly 320GB model.

        On the other hand, whilst a 500GB SSD is probably closer to double the price, there’s always at least one model that’s on special. Last week it was an Integral-branded Phison S10 480GB for £66

      • UberGerbil
      • 3 years ago

      Be careful what you wish for: at least you could replace those drives. Once cheap BGA-based RAM-vampire SSDs are soldered into every Dell, Lenovo, and HP, you’ll just be stuck with whatever they give you. Running out of space? Buy a new laptop. It’ll be delightfully thin, though (bonus feature due to no user-upgradable components!)

        • blahsaysblah
        • 3 years ago

        Im running into UEFI issue on dell laptop where it can force install crappy “drivers” instead of using generic/certified/baked into Windows.

        edit: for example, ive never once installed realtek drivers, ive always used the generic MS drivers.

        Can only imagine what large amounts of soldered storage would enable the OEMs to do.

        Anyone know if i disable UEFI UpdateCapsule in UEFI and do a clean install, that will disable the forced driver installs during clean install?

        • the
        • 3 years ago

        Well there is the M.2 variant which is replaceable. Given the incentives Dell, Lenovo and HP have for cutting corners even on circles to lower prices, expect them to go with the BGA version to save 5 cents on hardware costs.

        • cynan
        • 3 years ago

        You could be right, but there is no real reason for it. SODIMM slots take a bit of height clearance due to their archaic spring-loaded slots (not that they are a bad desing, just that they are from an erra before the thin and light craze). They would take op less room of they could be mounted almost flush with the MB and secured with a screw, and negligibly more than surface-soldered BGA. Like M.2.

      • albundy
      • 3 years ago

      mainly because many are too lazy to educate themselves and fall for marketing gimmicks on overpriced cr@p!

    • blastdoor
    • 3 years ago

    Would these make sense for use in a smartphone?

      • UberGerbil
      • 3 years ago

      Theoretically: maybe eventually, when the smartphone SOC is integrated in as well. Phones are all about reducing the number of components and driving costs down; they’re not going to add something like this unless it offers some kind of compelling feature that people would go out of their way to get and pay extra for.

      Practically: not a chance. These days, all of the movers behind phone tech want you to be storing your data in the cloud, where they can mine it and charge you for accessing it, so the idea of giving you massive local storage is bad for their future bottom line.

        • blastdoor
        • 3 years ago

        The iPhone 6s uses NVMe and maxes out as 128 GB, so it seems like there must be *some* chance in practice if there is a chance in theory.

      • DPete27
      • 3 years ago

      Yes, but in BGA form. See this link. [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/10166/samsung-demos-its-first-bga-ssd[/url<] The biggest hurdle is cost and capacity.

      • albundy
      • 3 years ago

      sure, but many phone makers are following apple and removing useful features.

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