To say that Sandisk is an Innovator in solid state drives would be an understatement as we can all thank them for getting the SSD ball rolling. Sandisk was the first company to release their Sandisk U5000 32GB SSD to the public in 2007 and, on August 18, 2007, I was one of the first to publish a SSD review on the net with my brand new Sandisk SSD.
Just under 4 years later, Sandisk once again enters the SSD arena with the Sandisk Ultra SATA 2 SSD thanks to just a little help from SandForce.
Our review today concentrates on Sandisks new release of the Sandisk Ultra 240GB SSD and their re-entry is not without innovation as the SSD is the first to contain Sandisks own asynchronous NAND flash memory. Specifications list the SSD as a SATA 2 product capable of 280MB/s read and 270MB/s write transfer speeds, respectively. The Ultra will be available in capacities of 60, 120 and 240GB and initial pricing for the 120 and 240GB versions is expected to be at $209 and $455. The Ultra also comes with Sandisks 3 year limited warranty.
WHY SATA 2 IN A SATA 3 ENVIRONMENT?
As with our recent review of the Patriot Torqx 2 SATA 2 SSD a few months back and that of the Intel 320 Series SSD before that, the world of SSD enthusiasts seems once again bewildered at why one would introduce a SATA 2 SSD when SATA 3 is all the rage. It’s true, of course, that all SATA 3 SSDs are fully compatible with SATA 2 with absolutely no leg work outside of the typical SSD migration. It’s also true that we can find competitively priced SATA 3 SSDs close to the price of SATA 2 as well. The simple fact is that there are an estimated 1.1 billion computers in the world and SATA 3 is only a drop in the bucket. Actually it isn’t even a drop in the bucket. Aa a typical computer user who doesn’t even know what SATA 2 is, would you even look at a SATA 3 SSD when 99% of PCs are SATA 2 compatible?
SANDISK ULTRA SATA 2 240GB SSD
The exterior packaging of the Sandisk Ultra SSD is a simple grey and red design with the necessary selling points that will grab the consumer. You can replace your hard drive with a durable SSD. There will be faster start-up and shut down times and less power consumption. The capacity is also listed on the front with 3 year warranty in bright yellow on the reverse.
The SSD casing is of black two piece metal design and I have to admit I wasn’t really floored with the material composition. It reminds me of an old sheet metal box that I made in highschool and sounds exactly the same. Don’t get me wrong because this casing does exactly what it is supposed to do but I have become a fan of the solid two piece aluminum SSD cases we have become so accustomed to. They are indestructable. They depict what an SSD should be. I even ran one over with my GMC Yukon once and its published somewhere here but, well, I wouldn’t dare with the Ultra.
The casing is held together by 4 screws, two on each side and one covered by a security sticker that would void the warranty immediately if damaged. Removal of the exterior case is where things get a bit interesting. Its no surprise that this SSD utilizes the SandForce SF-1222 processor but it certainly is good to see that Sandisk is trusting in its own 32nm asynchronous ABL NAND flash memory. Click on any of the pictures for a closer view.
Eight modules of Sandisk memory are located on each side of the PCB, each having a 16GB capacity for a total of 256GB RAW capacity. As SandForce requires a full module for their firmware and over provisioning needs, the capacity is reduced to the advertised 240GB and formatting leaves the user with a final available storage capacity of 224GB.
This is the first we have seen of NAND without the Intel, Micron, Toshiba or Samsung name attached and coincidentally, we have another SSD on its way from the far East that has yet another new NAND type that has never appeared in SSDs prior. Stay tuned!
TEST PROTOCOL AND INITIAL TESTING
ANVIL PRO AND PCMARK VANTAGE PERFORMANCE
THE SATA II SSD HIERARCHY AND OUR VERDICT