In this SSD build, SanDisk has not only moved to the new Marvell 9175 controller but also, they introduce nCache, a totally new performance and endurance enhancement that is possible only with the control of flash memory that a manufacturer of that memory would have.
Our SSD analysis today will provide you with, not only the information you need to decide if the SanDisk Ultra Plus is the SSD for you but also, a very easy understanding of nCache through the straightforward explanation of the most basic SSD principles, many of which most still don’t understand. Grab a coffee because class is in session!
The SanDisk Ultra Plus SSD is a SATA 3 solid state drive that is available in capacities of 64, 128 and 256GB. It is of an ‘ultra slim’ design and is only 7mm thick and includes a plastic adapter for 9mm SSD applications. Performance varies, depending on capacity, and the 256GB version we are reviewing today has listed specifications of 530MB/s read and 445MB/s write with 82,000 IOPS read and 39,000 IOPS write at low 4 k random aligned disk access.
A quick check of Amazon shows pricing at $120 for the 64GB, $109.99 for the 128GB and $209.99 for the 256GB version, leaving the most popular sizes of 128 and 256GB below the $1/GB price point which is very encouraging. Power is listed at a very low 0.12W active and the SanDisk Ultra Plus comes with a standard three year warranty.
Its exterior casing is black plastic and the exterior two piece container that protects the PCB is secured by four screws that are hidden under the rear white branding sticker. Removal of this immediately voids the warranty.
On disassembling the exterior of the SSD, we were very surprised to find that the printed circuit board (PCB) was just larger than that of a typical mSATA SSD. Our immediate thought was how easy it would be to fit a total size of 1024GB on a single PCB with SanDisk’s new 19nm memory.
Taking a closer look at the front of the PCB, we are able to identify a Samsung DDR2 128MB DRAM cache module, the new Marvell 88SS9175 4 channel controller and two modules of SanDisk’s new 19nm eX2 ABL MLC NAND flash memory. SanDisk’s claims of lower power draw would be the result of this new four channel architecture of the 9175 requiring much less power than other controllers on the market.
There are two additional memory modules on the back of the PCB, each being 64GB in capacity for a total RAW storage space of 256GB. Each of these modules contains 8x8GB die per package so, as one might imagine, this four channel controller is ideal for this memory configuration.