Toshiba RC100 NVME SSD: A good bar­gain SSD for lap­tops

It’s thin, short, and en­ergy-ef­fi­cient, if not par­tic­u­larly fast.

PCWorld (USA) - - Reviews | Toshiba Rc100 Nvme Ssd - BY JON L. JACOBI

Even though Toshiba’s RC100 is the slow­est NVME SSD we’ve tested, it’s still a kick in the pants af­ter SATA. And be­cause it’s so thin and light, it’s a wor­thy lap­top up­grade ( go.pc­ The RC100 caught us just a tad off guard. We hadn’t seen a drive in the 2242 form fac­tor (22mm wide, 42mm long) since…well, never. The longer 2280 form fac­tor has been the name of the game around here since we started cov­er­ing NVME SSDS. De­spite its diminu­tive na­ture, the RC100 is avail­able in ca­pac­i­ties up to 480GB. Check out our reg­u­larly up­dated guide to the best SSDS for other stor­age op­tions ( go. pc­


As I said, the RC100 is a shorty. One might even say it’s cute. The drive is PCIE 3.0 us­ing two lanes, rather than the four that en­thu­si­ast drives em­ploy. This lim­its per­for­mance, but also re­duces en­ergy con­sump­tion, and most likely cost.

The drive uses Toshiba’s own con­troller (which Toshiba wouldn’t spec­ify af­ter a query) and 64-bit BICS 3D (Lay­ered) TLC (Triple-level cell/3-bit) NAND. It’s avail­able in 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB fla­vors. On Newegg they’re cur­rently priced at

$65 ( go.pc­ eg65), $95 ( go.pc­world. com/eg95), and $190 ( go. pc­, re­spec­tively. Darn in­ex­pen­sive, and we ex­pect that to drop at least slightly as the mar­ket re­acts.

The drives carry a three­year war­ranty, and are rated for 1TBW (Ter­abytes Writ­ten) for every 2GB of ca­pac­ity— about par for the course.

Note that the 120GB ver­sion is rated as sig­nif­i­cantly slower than the other ca­pac­i­ties.

This is of­ten the case with smaller ca­pac­ity SSDS that have fewer data chan­nels and less cache.

The RC100 has no DRAM for pri­mary caching. In­stead, it’s the first drive we’re aware of to take ad­van­tage of NVME’S Host Mem­ory Buf­fer fea­ture. HMB al­lows a drive to use a por­tion of your com­puter’s sys­tem mem­ory as a cache. This is largely what Sam­sung does with its RAPID soft­ware, though Toshiba told me this drive em­ploys only 38MB’S worth.

Us­ing HMB ob­vi­ously low­ers costs, and for the av­er­age user, there’s min­i­mal chance of los­ing data if the com­puter shuts down un­ex­pect­edly. About the only sce­nario that

could cause data loss is ex­po­sure to flu­ids, which might short-cir­cuit power to main mem­ory im­me­di­ately. Most moth­er­boards re­tain power even when the power sup­ply is shut off for at least a se­cond or two, which should be plenty of time to clear a cache.


While the 480GB ver­sion of the RC100 is the slow­est NVME SSD we’ve tested, it’s still quite a boost from SATA un­der nor­mal con­di­tions. That’s largely be­cause Toshiba ac­tu­ally be­stowed enough sec­ondary NAND cache (some of the TLC treated as 1-bit Sin­gle Level CELL/SLC) on the drive—around 20Gb—to han­dle the ma­jor­ity of write oper­a­tions. As sec­ondary cache (The HMB dis­cussed above be­ing the pri­mary) is gen­er­ally al­lot­ted as a fixed per­cent­age of ca­pac­ity, this is likely 10GB for the 240GB ver­sion, and 5GB for the 120GB model.

Gen­er­ous cache or no, the RC100 (gold bars) is no match for a PCIE x4 drive such as the Sam­sung 970 EVO ( go.pc­world. com/97ev), or even Kingston’s PCIE x2 A1000 ( go.pc­ (red bars), as you’ll note from the re­sults be­low. How­ever, you still get in­cred­i­ble seek times (while on cache), which has a lot to do with the hy­per­snappy feel that NVME im­parts to your sys­tem.

Write per­for­mance does drop quite a bit when the RC100 runs out of cache, from 1Gbps to around 400Mbps. Few files or copy oper­a­tions ex­ceed that size, but you’re back to SATA speeds when they do.

To re­it­er­ate, the RC100 is not a fast NVME SSD, but it is fast com­pared to SATA and light­ning-fast com­pared

to the av­er­age hard drive while the cache is in play.

Toshiba claims that the RC100 uses only 70 per­cent of the juice of an en­thu­si­ast drive, though the com­pany didn’t state which drives they con­sider en­thu­si­ast types. It’s likely true, as it’s lever­ag­ing only half the PCIE lanes and no DRAM.

Above I talked about the seek times, They’re very good while the the RC100 is in cache, fall­ing within the 0.1 ms to 0.3 ms win­dow within which most drives per­form. How­ever, as with some other drives, no­tably Apacer’s Com­mando ( go.pc­ apcd; over 9ms write seek) and In­tel’s 760p ( go.pc­; about 7ms write seek), it nose-dives when off of cache, to roughly 2.75ms in our tests.

Bom­bard­ing a drive with that many con­sec­u­tive seeks is not some­thing your OS does, how­ever, so take this as merely an in­for­ma­tive hard­ware test—it will never af­fect you in real life.


If you’re penny-pinch­ing, or on a weight-re­duc­tion kick, the RC100 will save you quite a bit of coin and a gram or so. I’m giv­ing it the nod with the caveat that it’s not as suit­able for heavy work­loads as the com­pe­ti­tion. It’s a very nice lit­tle up­grade drive—es­pe­cially for lap­tops.

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