Solid state drives that leverage the NVMe protocol offer an undeniable performance advantage over their SATA counterparts, but their relatively high cost (and the generally high cost of RAM and NAND chips right now) have kept us from making them regular recommendations in our system guides. It's possible, though, that Toshiba's new RC100 line of drives could be the value champions that this market needs.
The RC100 drives come in the M.2 2242 form factor, and pack Toshiba's own 64-layer TLC BiCS flash coupled with one of the company's own controllers in a single package. While the RC100 drives don't post the eye-watering synthetic results that we've seen from other NVMe drives like Toshiba's own XG5, they're still capable of respectable read and writes speeds—and that's without the use of an onboard DRAM cache. The drives can do sequential reads up at to 1620 MB/s and random reads up to 160 K IOPS. As far as write performance, the RC100 drives can hit 1130 MB/s sequential write speeds and 120 K IOPS random write speeds.
Toshiba promises to price the RC100 drives competitively enough to make them affordable, but is keeping the exact prices close to its vest. When the drives become available, they'll be sold in 120 GB, 240 GB, and 480 GB capacities, and Toshiba will back them with a three-year warranty.