Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

SanDisk Extreme 240GB SSD – Review

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 March 2012 - We recently tested the SanDisk Extreme 240GB SSD for the commerical marketplace. This drive has a SATA III (6Gbps) interface and features SanDisk’s 24nm Flash cells as the core memory. This is a desktop and oriented drive that come in an eco freindly minimalist package without the mounting bracket, SATA cable, or power cable. The drive uses MLC Flash with a raw capacity of 256GB and a user capacity of 240GB so it is minimally overprovisioned at 7%. The device features a custom controller on the drive that is the latest from SandForce with new firmware that is optimized for the small geometry MLC flash. The drive is targeted at being the primary drive for desktop and laptop applications in a single drive solution.

Sandisk Extreme 240GB SSD retail package

Of the consumer class drives we have tested, the SanDisk Extreme SSD is one of the fastest overall drives, this is due to a high speed balance for both read and write. Both of these averages in the 550MBps range. Most other drives have either been optimized for read or write, but not both. As a result, the drive is good for gaming as it has great Read speed and performance, and with the overprovisioning and the new low BER controller for MLC, the high speed write makes it usable for video transfer and editing. The storage of multiple video streams, from high speed sources such as USB3 and Thunderbolt devices, has long been a challenge for consumers. The drive operated at a very low power in that it did not get warm as have prior generation SSDs.

The drive performed extremely well on random reads in the several benchmarks as well as applications such as Office applications, presentation creation and graphics processing. For large data files, such as used for videos and video editing archive and gaming, the write performance with the 6Gbps interface and the MLC core was balanced with the read performance. The drive stayed pretty uniform in performance on random and sequential writes ranging from 4KB to 16MB.

The drive worked well as an internal drive for both the boot primary drive and as a data secondary drive. When used for gaming applications in a secondary drive configuration, the device performed very well and returned the same game response as if it were the boot drive.
The drive was tested also in an external drive configuration with a USB3.0 enclosure. In this application, due to protocol interactions, there was an overall reduction in performance of only 10% on large block data, and no perceptible change on small file reads/writes.

The drive, is a very good upgrade or replacement drive for an existing system or as a new main drive a high end gaming system or video editing system.. It should provide increased performance while providing the same or increased battery life for laptop applications.

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