- SSD Drives are affordable
- Greatly improved performance possible
- Compact and silent
- NTI Echo doesn’t work!
- No clone software provided for Macs
There are many ways to speed up your computer, but one of the most effective, especially if you do a lot of photo editing, is replacing the slowest thing in your computer (normally the Hard Disk Drive: aka HDD) with a new Solid State Drive (SSD). Here we find out if installing a new Toshiba SSD Q300 Pro drive gives a noticeable speed improvement.
Features and Handling
The Toshiba Solid State Drive (SSD) Q300 Pro gives you a faster hard drive, by using NAND flash (solid state) memory, instead of a physical spinning platter in a normal Hard Disk Drive (HDD). With no moving parts, there is no noise, and the drive should not suffer from wear and tear. The drive also comes with a 5 year warranty.
There is built-in error correction technology, plus optimised SSD access to accelerate the speed of data read/write performance. The drive is said to run cooler, with lower energy consumption (using 3.3W in use, and 125mW when idle), and is also resists shocks better than normall HDDs.
- 2.5inch SATA III / 7mm SSD
- 2-bit per cell NAND flash technology
- Data Migration Software (free download for Windows only)*
- Low power consumption
- 5-year warranty
- Includes spacer
The Installation Process: For Windows PCs, Toshiba recommends the use of NTI Echo which is available as a free download for Toshiba drives. The software is designed to make it easy to transfer your Windows install over to the new drive. However, the software says it works on Windows 7 and earlier. When we tried to use it, it basically stopped the PC from booting, and we had to spend several hours repairing the install of Windows. Needless to say, we won’t be using NTI Echo again, and have had to find another clone tool. *Do not use NTI Echo!
There is no software provided for Mac users. We’ve previously used Samsung SSD drives, with the clone software that comes provided, and had no issues. There are also a number of free clone tools out there, including AOMEI Backupper, that works smoothly and easily without problems. So once we’d reinstalled Windows and got the PC running again after NTI Echo broke it, we then used AOMEI Backupper to clone the HDD to the SDD. This can be quite a time-consuming process, depending on how much data is on your drive to be cloned, and it’s a good idea to take the opportunity to clean up your computer to get rid of unwanted or unneeded files.
There is a spacer in case you need the drive to fit in a 9.5mm space, but if you need the drive to fit a 3.5inch HDD bay (common in most desktop and tower PCs), then you’ll need to buy a cage or bracket for the drive.
The performance section is where we look at the performance of the drive. Additional product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
We ran CrystalDiskMark on our existing hard drive (a Western Digital 7200rpm, 500GB drive), to see how it performs, and got the following results.
We ran the same test on the new Toshiba SSD Q300 Pro drive:
Toshiba Q300 Pro Ssd Speed
Performance – As you can see, the increase in speed is between 3.6x faster (Seq write), and 181x faster (4K Q32T1 read), depending on the test used.
We also measured the difference this new SSD drive made to start-up time for Windows, and loading Adobe Photoshop CC 2017:
|HDD||HDD (Fresh Windows Install)||SSD|
|Windows Startup (to logon screen)||1min 31s||40s||25s|
|Photoshop Startup (1st time)||1min 11s||1min||10s|
This made the startup time for Windows 38% quicker, and Photoshop around 83% quicker. It doesn’t just make Photoshop and Windows quicker, it makes every program you load quicker.
Value For Money
The 480GB (£99/$148) and 240GB (£68/$102) versions of this drive are particularly good value for money, giving you a price of roughly 20.6p per GB and 28.3p per GB. These prices are very competitive with other drives from Sandisk. It’s certainly an extremely cost effective upgrade to a PC, compared to replacing the whole PC. The Toshiba SSD Q300 Pro is available in 256GB, 512GB and 1024GB sizes.
The Toshiba SSD Q300 Pro performs very well and runs silently. It gives an impressive boost to the speed of your computer, in both startup time, and loading time for programs such as Photoshop. It can make your whole PC feel much quicker in operation, particularly if you’re dealing with large files. The only fly in the ointment was the recommendation for using NTI Echo, which completely broke the computer, requiring a fresh install of Windows. As long as you avoid this, then you can get your system setup easily with free software AOMEI Backupper Standard. Installation of an SSD hard drive to replace a standard HDD is an excellent upgrade and once you’ve done it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this much much sooner.