Today we take a look at a familiar device in an unusual form factor. While that is true, it is a standard and normed form factor. The Kioxia, previously known as Toshiba Memory, BG4 drive is an NVMe SSD, but in the tiny M.2 2230 form factor. The tiny size makes it perfect for small gadgets and devices where both space and weight counts as much as capacity.
In some ways, the BG4 from Kioxia is a drive like any other SSD. But in other ways, it is a very different drive. The most obvious difference is the size as the BG4 comes in a tiny M.2 2230 form factor. With just 22mm width and 30mm length, the drive will fit well into tiny and space-constrained systems such as ultra-mobile PCs, 2-in-1 PCs, and embedded devices.
Despite the tiny size, the Kioxia BG4 is available with up to 1TB capacity. Other capacity options include 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB.
While the drive itself is very tiny, the chip which actually handles it all is even smaller and also available as the single package it is for device builders. With a size of just 16 by 20mm, it doesn’t get much smaller. This tiny chip has the controller and the NAND all backed into one.
While the Kioxia BG4 is a tiny drive, it’s still a PCIe Gen3 x4, NVMe 1.3b base which is built with 96-layer BiCS FLASH. There’s also a TCG OPAL 2.01 option for SED available.
With a 1-chip build and a DRAM-less design, we naturally don’t get a performance reaching the limits of the bus. But that’s okay. The BG4 still promises great performance with sequential speeds of up to 2300MB/s when reading and 1800MB/s when writing. The random performance is rated at up to 390K IOPS when reading and 200K IOPS when writing.
As far as endurance goes, we don’t get a TBW rating, but we do get an MTBF which is set at 1.5 million hours.
“The BG4 series is a line-up of compact single package NVMe™ SSDs with capacities up to 1,024GB, and leverages a PCIe® Gen3 x4 interface and KIOXIA’s 96-layer TLC BiCS FLASH™. With higher bandwidth and improved flash management and Host Memory Buffer (HMB) technology, BG4 SSDs deliver best-in-class read performance in single package SSDs, of up to 2,300MB/s (sequential read) and up to 390K IOPS (random read), with active power consumption of up to 3.7W (Typ.).
The BG4 series is available in four capacities of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1,024GB in surface-mount M.2 1620 single package or removable M.2 2230 module form factor options, making them suitable for thin and light system designs for ultra-thin PCs, as well as embedded devices and server boot in data centers.
The BG4 series is with the option of a Self-Encrypting Drive (SED) model supporting TCG Opal Version 2.01.”
If you pay just a little attention to things, you will have noticed that the drive says Toshiba while I refer to it as Kioxia. Kioxia became a wholly-owned subsidiary company of Toshiba Memory Holdings Corporation (TMHC) on March 1, 2019. On July 18, 2019, TMHC announced it will change its name to Kioxia on October 1, 2019, including all Toshiba Memory companies. The origin of Kioxia is a combination of the Japanese word kioku, meaning memory, and the Greek word axia, meaning value.
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