Despite the name, there’s little that’s particularly extreme about the SanDisk Extreme SSD. It’s a small, black, two-point-five-inch solid state drive, with the words “SanDisk” in white on one corner. Just in case though, I made sure to go put a pair of safety goggles on before connecting it up. You never can tell.
One of the first things that you’ll probably notice about SanDisk’s extreme entry into the SSD market is that they’re pitching at an extremely lower price point than most of the competition. At around $230 AUD, their solid-state storage is available at $0.96/GB, which is an impressive margin of difference considering Intel’s 240GB offering is at the $300 mark, Crucial’s at $280, and Corsair’s Force Series topping $300 as well.
You might think that as a result the SanDisk Extreme gives you extremely less speed for your dollar, but the testing we conducted shows otherwise. SanDisk’s official website claims a theoretical sequential read of up to 550MBps and a sequential write of up 520MBps, with a random read/write of 39K and 83K IOPS respectively. While no tested drive ever fully lives up to their marketing claims, our own tests showed the SanDisk Extreme pulling anywhere between 490 and 530MBps read speeds, and write speeds of between 192 and 275MBps.
Tests performed on a fresh Windows 7 64-bit install using a SATA 6.0 Intel DX79TO motherboard with AS SSD Benchmark, ATTO DiskMark and CrystalDiskMark.
The SanDisk Extreme is powered by the SandForce SF-2281 controller and has eight 32GB NAND memory chips on board on the 240GB model. The same SF-2281 controller can also be found in the Corsair Force series as well as some Kingston, Intel and OCZ model SSD’s, so it’s not surprising that the SanDisk pulls the same high speeds as other SandForce models.
After formatting, the 240GB drive yields about 223GB of usable space, which is more than enough to run Windows off. SanDisk promises that the Extreme 240GB has a MTBF of 2 million hours, and the model supports SATA 3 (6Gbps), SATA 2 (3Gbps), and plain ol’ vanilla SATA (1.5Gbps). At 2.5” across and 9.5mm thick, the Extreme 240GB is actually a bit too extreme for any Ultrabooks (which use 7.5mm drives) but since most of you will be buying for desktops anyway, that shouldn’t be an issue. Ultimately, it’s a strong all-round drive with great speeds, and with the lower price point it’s a tempting option for people looking to make the jump to SSD.
Frustratingly, the main gripe with the SanDisk extreme is the lack of a mounting bracket to fit it into a 3.5” drive bay. As it’s a solid state drive you could of course just leave it at the bottom of your case – or even strap it to your dog by a really long SATA cable if you want to be truly extreme – but the reality is that most users will want to mount it in the bay, and that means shelling out for a bracket. It’s not exactly a deal breaker and you’re probably still saving money in the long run over other SSD models, but it’s something to consider.
- Great speeds on both read and write
- Cheaper than many comparable other brands
- Lacks a mounting bracket to fit into a 3.5” bay
The SanDisk Extreme SSD 240GB retails for around $230 at most stockists.