SanDisk has finally jumped full tilt back into the world of SSDs and our report today will introduce you to the use of yet another brand of NAND flash memory that we haven’t seen in any SATA 3 SSDs, at least that I am aware of.
The benefit, of course, is that this memory is owned by SanDisk. This allows them a great deal of flexibility with respect to client SSD pricing, so much so in fact, that they can actually force competitors to reduce SSD prices in order to remain competitive.
There is, of course, a key here that many might not initially think of and that key comes in the name of LSI SandForce. LSI SandForce is a powerhouse in the SSD arena and remains king of the hill with respect to client SSD performance specifications. This position is important as most consumers seek an SSD of the highest performance, first and foremost.
Manufacturers recognized this some time ago and all jumped aboard the SandForce train, all but Samsung and Crucial that is. Thats right. The only main stream client SSD manufacturers that haven’t invested in SandForce are Crucial/Micron and Samsung which attests to LSI SandForce popularity. Now, imagine if you will, that SanDisk prices their ‘SandForce Driven’ SSDs below that of all others, all but one (Intel) who are forced to pay higher premiums for NAND flash memory externally. The SanDisk Extreme couldn’t have come at a better time, wouldn’t you agree?
SPECIFICATIONS AND PRICING
Let’s continue on this line of thought. In only it’s second week of release, a popular retailer priced the Extreme 120GB SSD at $130, resulting in an unheard of $1.08/GB for a new release top tier SSD. That sale is finished now but that just may be a great sign of things to come. Current prices can be found at $189.99 (120GB), $339.99 (240GB) and $744.99 (480GB).
The SanDisk Extreme 6Gbps SSD is available in configurations of 120, 240 and 480GB and comes with a standard three year warranty. Specifications list performance at 550MB/s read and 520MB/s write with a maximum of 83,000 IOPS at low 4k random write aligned disk access. All are TRIM capable and support S.M.A.R.T. features.
The exterior shell of the SanDisk Extreme is of black metal and, for anyone interested, there are four screws hidden under the rear specifications sticker that will allow access to the PCB once removed. We might suggest that, much like the security labels we normally see on most SSDs, any damage to that specifications sticker might void your warranty should something happen to the drive.
The heart and soul of the Extreme is the LSI SandForce SF-2281 processor which can be found on the printed circuit board along with eight modules of SanDisk 24nm toggle mode NAND flash memory.
The total RAW capacity of the SSD is 256GB as each module is 32GB in size, however, firmware and over provisioning needs reduce the Extreme to the advertised capacity of 240GB. Formatting reduces this further and leaves the consumer with an end capacity of 224GB.
somethin’s not right…vantage score should be ~85,000…
Thats not true. All of our testing is run within the same set of circumstances and this is indicative of the results we have consistenlty received within our site test benches. I would be concerned if this SSD hit 85,000 and the highest outside of that was only 74,000. Our guide which was provided by Sandusk, in fact, showed much lower results which could have been from dirty testing or a different configuration.
This is the beauty of using several different benchmarks; different results show through in different ways, however, it in no way negates what a great drive this is.
Your TRIM is FUBAR too just like mine was. It shows you using 10.6 drives, just like I was. I also tried 10.8, 11.0 and 11.1. My guy at RWL had the same issue and my new guy at RWL also ran into the issue with a brand new build two days ago.
This drive is faster than the Intel and is the fastest SF drive on the market. I spent two weeks backtracking my steps and testing different configurations of ORAM, chipset driver and RST driver. I found several combinations that do not work correctly.
Where are you seeing this?
The tell is in your CDM 4K single command numbers. I’m replying to your email now. I just walked in the door.
Maybe the same issue as TT?
I don’t compare our results to that of other reviewers, however, appreciate your sending that along. I have no reason to believe TRIM was not working and, in fact, every indication seems to say that it was and that our results are accurate.. I will be using the Sandisk and will watch performance results closeley in the next few weeks.
Hey Les, nice review! Minor correction, page one paragraph 8 “heart and sole” should be “heart and soul”. Nice to see SanDisk making such a splash on the pricing end of this market as well as holding their own on performance. As you say, it may just be a great indicator of things to come!
Amended and thanks for the heads up… It was a great review to complete.
Also, “its” and “it’s” are frequently confused:
it’s is a contraction for “it is”, e.g. it is well known that Les is enthusiastic!
its is the possessive form, e.g. its impact is predicted to be huge!
I know: this appears backwards, but THAT ENGLISH!! 🙂
Â«The total RAW capacity of the SSD is 256GB as each module is 32GB in size, however, firmware and over provisioning needs reduce the Extreme to the advertised capacity of 240GB. Formatting reduces this further and leaves the consumer with an end capacity of 224GBÂ»
As usual, the capacity figures are based on ignoring the distinction between gigabytes (power-of-10 units) used by storage vendors and gibibytes (power-of-2 units) used by chip vendors and operating systems.
In particular the advertised capacity is 240 gigabytes, but MS-Windows reports capacity as 224 gibibytes, which is the same. The NTFS formatting has a small overhead that does not change the outcome significantly.
The analysis should be:
* The raw capacity of the chips is 256GiB (which is 275GB), as there are 8x 32GiB flash chip modules.
* Over-provisioning accounts for around 14% of total capacity, leaving 240GB (which is 224GiB) as the visible volume capacity.
As much as we appreciate your clarification, this SSD is greared towards the consumer who would not understand such. For simplicity sake, each module has a capacity of 32GB (gigabyte) which totals 256GB. Over provisioning and firmware reduce that to the advertised 240GB. In my own opinion, the units of GiB and GB are an absolutely unnecessary distinction which only serves to cloud something that is a very simple and clear explanation.
Yes, I see: this is not a technical site (with technically correct formalism), but a consumer oriented site, with consumer-oriented lack of formalism.
no one uses GiB/KiB/MiB on any site that i am aware of. it is unnecessary for the purposes of general reviews.
Usually only people who like to argue bring this up….this sounds like someone i know ;o