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SanDisk Extreme 240GB SSD Review

AkG

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Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
Partial and Full Drive Performance

Partial and Full Drive Performance


While it is important to know how a drive will perform under optimal conditions, more realistic scenarios are just as important. Knowing if a solid state drive will behave differently when partially or even nearly full than when it is empty is very important information to know. To quickly and accurately show this crucial information we have first filled the drive to 50% capacity and re-tested using both synthetic and real world tests. After the completion of this we then re-test at 75% and 90% of full capacity.

Synthetic Test Results


For our synthetic testing we have opted for our standard PCMark 7 test.




Real World Results


For a real world application we have opted for our standard Windows 7 Start Up with Boot Time A/V Scan Performance test.


As with the non-TRIM results, the fact this drive only has half the typical amount of NAND ICs slightly impacts its performance here. Of course, SanDisk's Extreme still exhibits great results and is for all intents and purposes the equivalent of either an OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS or an Intel 520 240GB drive. This is actually quite amazing considering that not that long ago these two drives were the cream of the crop. The very fact that a drive priced as frugally as the Extreme can accomplish this shows how good the new SanDisk NAND really is.
 
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AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
SATA 2 Performance

SATA 2 Performance


In a perfect world everyone investing in a new solid state drive would have access to a SATA 6GB/s controller which could pass on the TRIM command. In reality not everyone has this and for many the decision comes down either giving up TRIM – never a good idea with most controllers – and running it off a secondary controller; or taking a performance hit and running in SATA 2.0 mode.

These tests will consist of some of our real world and synthetic benchmarks run on our standard 1155 test-bed; but the drive will be attached to an SATA 2 port.

For synthetic we have opted for the newcomer to our charts: Anvil Storage Utilities Pro. For real world we have opted for our Adobe test. These two tests should give you a very good idea of the level of performance impact you can expect from running a modern SATA 6 drive in compatibility mode.






The performance loss by running the SanDisk Extreme in SATA 3Gb/s mode is typical for any SF2281 drive running stock firmware. To put that another way, the lack of filled NAND slots doesn't greatly impact its performance. You will get a blazing fast drive which will in all likelihood saturate your older motherboard's onboard SATA controller long before the Extreme becomes the bottleneck.
 
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AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
Conclusion

Conclusion


SanDisk’s Extreme series represents the entry of a serious competitor into the already crowded high end SSD market. For the most part, SanDisk has successfully differentiated themselves from the competition by delivering an impressive drive using a potent controller / NAND combination and focusing upon value without sacrificing performance. Throughout our testing, this drive truly did deserve its “extreme” moniker.

While the Extreme SSD 240GB serves up some impressive benchmark numbers, we feel that it represents a missed opportunity. With performance that came close to an Intel 520, we can’t forget that with a few modifications, SanDisk could have easily made the fastest LSI SandForce SF2281 240GB drive to ever grace the marketplace. While you can still make a case for the Extreme 240GB being one of the best, it is not the slam dunk it could have been. Perhaps it would have been different had the SF2281 been granted 16 of those highly binned Toggle Mode NAND ICs. It could be that SanDisk hedged their bets since they have something up their sleeves for the ultra high end consumers but we’ll leave that until another time.

The upside to populating only half the number of NAND slots on this drive’s PCB is a move towards some excellent power consumption numbers. This makes the Extreme 240GB one of our first choices for laptops and the other scenarios where efficiency does count. But we can’t forget that using fewer ICs has a fractionally negative impact upon non-TRIM environment performance and its ability to retain quick data access over time.

However, frugal power requirements are only a fringe benefit granted by this drive. Its real saving grace is quite straightforward: the almost unbelievably low price you’ll pay for a 240GB SSD that typically registers in the upper echelon performance brackets. The NAND inside of a solid state drive makes up a good portion of the overall cost of manufacturing, which in turn directly impacts MSRP. Thanks to their halving of the amount of ICs used versus the competition, SanDisk is able to offer a product which performs nearly as well as most other similarly sized SF2281 drives on the market. There are only a couple of ultra high performance drives – such as the Corsair GS 240GB - which can outpace it on a regular basis and even then, most end users won’t notice a difference. Considering this drive goes for just $185 it is hard to argue against SanDisk’s design philosophy, even if we are craving to see what a fully equipped version of the Extreme could accomplish.

In the end, even though we could have hoped for even more performance, the SanDisk Extreme 240GB is particularly impressive. For its excellent price we award this drive our Dam Good Value award. For its ability to hold its own against most 16 NAND IC equipped SF2281 based drives we also award it our Dam Innovative award. If you are looking for a fast 240GB SSD, the SanDisk Extreme deservers to be on your short list for consideration.


Pros:

- Amazing Price to Performance Ratio
- Excellent Performance
- Low power requirements


Cons:

- Half the NAND ICs does seem to limit performance in some scenarios
- Left us craving even more
- No 2.5” to 3.5” adapter bracket included
- So cheap that there is zero reasons to not buy another SSD, even if you don’t need one!




 
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