SanDisk Extreme II SSD Review (240GB) – SanDisk Finds That Sweet Spot and Hits a Home Run

SanDisk Extreme II SSD Featured ImageIn baseball, there is a ‘sweet spot’ on the bat that everyone strives to hit when they strike the ball.

It is the spot that home runs are made of and finding it means that the baseball will rebound  with velocity never seen through contact with any other part of the bat. If the performance of the new SanDisk Extreme II SSD is any indication, SanDisk has just found that spot in SATA 3 performance.

The new SanDisk Extreme II SATA 3 solid state drive is SanDisk’s second generation of the Extreme family and, in this move, they have moved SandForce for Marvell.  Many will wonder if they chose wisely considering the obvious performance curve between the two, but the new Marvell controller has a definite feature that suits SanDisk very well.  It allows SanDisk’s in-house engineering team to create and fine tune their own firmware, thus creating the challenge of a higher performance. As we spoke of at Computex a few weeks back, this trend seems to be growing.

SanDisk Extreme Marvell 9187 Controller

 Firmware isn’t the only key to this SSDs success as SanDisk now supports its own proprietary advanced flash management through tiered caching.  It seems that SanDisk picked up on something that we happened upon a few years back, and that is that small 4K blocks are accessed more than any other disk access size. For this, SanDisk has created nCache.

SanDisk nCache

Without getting too complicated, nCache dedicates a very small portion of each NAND module to a ‘virtual’ SLC cache where small 4K writes accumulate.  When called, these 4K files are flushed at a speed much higher than they might normally be. Does it work?  Lets watch the benchmarks closely and then revisit this in our report summary.

SanDisk Extreme II SSD FrontSanDisk Extreme II SSD BackThe SanDisk Extreme II SSD is a SATA 3 SSD fully backwards compatible with SATA 2, comes in capacities of 120, 240 and 480GB, and has a standard 5 year warranty which is plus 2 years from the previous generation.  Performance is very surprising for a Marvell controller and speaks to read and write disk transfer speeds of 550 and 510MB/s, consecutively, with an IOPS high of 95,000.

Pricing for the Extreme II SSD is below $1/GB for all capacities and can be found at Amazonblank at $116.99 (120GB), $224.99 (240GB) and $456.20 (480GB), which will make this SSD extremely competitive. The Extreme II is TRIM and SMART compliant, is rated at 80TBW endurance and has a 7mm ultra form factor with a black plastic casing protecting the interior components.

SanDisk Extreme II PCB FrontSanDisk Extreme II PCB BackLooking at the printed circuit board (PCB), we have the Marvell 88SS9187-BLD2 ‘Monet’ controller, Samsung 256MB DDR3-1600 DRAM cache below the controller and eight modules of SanDisk 19nm Toggle Mode eX2 ABL MLC 3K P/E cycle NAND flash memory.  Each module is 32GB in size for a total of 256GB RAW capacity, however, 7% over provisioning reduces this to the advertised capacity of 240GB.  Formatting the drive then leaves the user with 224GB of available disk (or rather SSD) space.


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    Finally a Marvell SSD with decent OP…about time!

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    Now that’s what i like to see!
    Great performance up there with the top dogs!
    That 4K numbers are on par with the summys!
    Wait to see pricing here in Greece!
    Thanks for the review!

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    where are your steady state benchmarks? testing for several hours under load? the other good review sites do it and its the only thing i look at. please add them!

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      Different sites have different methods of testing. Although we look very closely at steady state number for enterprise drives, we don’t feel this is a major factor with consumers. Our test methodology was determined after abreat deal of feedback with readers.

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    Hello, your Samsung 840 Pro 512GB SSD Review is dated September 24, 2012 and you gave it your Editor’s Choice award, with the final-awards-0211.png graphic.

    The SanDisk Extreme II SSD Review on this page is dated June 26, 2013 and you also gave it your Editor’s Choice award, no graphic though. Which SSD currently has your Editor’s Choice award?

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    Look at the current this thing draws: 1.6A at 5V would require two USB 3 ports or three USB 2 ports to power it in a portable case. It is only suitable for use in cases with external power or inside a computer.

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