Several months ago, we covered the Toshiba BG4 launched. For Toshiba, and the industry, the BG4 represents something refreshingly different. Housed in a single package, the NVMe SSD is small. Very small. Indeed, it is small enough to run in SATADOM type applications, yet it is also much faster owing to being a NVMe SSD instead of SATA. In our Toshiba BG4 NVMe SSD review, we are going to show why the BG4 matters. We are then going to look at the performance of the NVMe drive. Finally, we are going to end with some of our final thoughts and market positioning.
Why the Toshiba BG4 M.2 2230 NVMe SSD Matters
The Toshiba BG4 is a single package NVMe SSD. For motherboard manufacturers, it can be installed directly on a PCB whether that is in a notebook or an embedded device. Doing so saves space and unlike eMMC, the NVMe drives tend to be much faster.
The other option is what we are reviewing the M.2 2230 or 30mm NVMe SSD. It takes that package and puts it onto a small PCB so it can mate with a standard M.2 connector.
Compared to the previous generation Toshiba BG3 series, the BG4 now has twice the PCIe bandwidth which means higher performance. Using the new 96-layer 3D BiCS and packaging also means that the drive’s Z-height is 0.2mm lower. Capacities also double hitting 1TB in the BGA package.
Next, we are going to take a look at the actual M.2 SSD.
Toshiba BG4 M.2 2230 NVMe SSD
Here we can see the top and bottom of the Toshiba BG4 which is a very small package at 30mm long using the M.2 2230 form factor. The Toshiba BG4 is mounted to the PCB via ball grid array (BGA). Various surface mounted components surround the BG4 to connect the BG4 to M.2 slot and filter power. The BG4 is a 96-layer TLC single chip package which houses the flash, PCIe Gen3 interface, and firmware.
Here we can see the size difference compared to an Intel Optane 800P M.2 which is 80mm in length. The small size of the Toshiba BG4 is important as it allows the drive to fit in extremely small spaces such as laptops or SFF embedded devices where space is at a premium. One can see that two BG4 SSDss can fit in the same space as the M.2 80mm form factor of the Intel 800P.
You can also see that Intel’s SSD has additional chips which do not allow it to shrink to a single side 30mm package. Overall, there is not much to show as the BG4 is a relatively simple-looking device when it is packaged and ready for deployment.
Let us move on with testing the Toshiba BG4 M.2 2230 NVMe SSD.