SanDisk Extreme 120GB: First Take

Summary:High-performance solid-state drives like SanDisk's Extreme 120GB are dropping in price, making them much more cost-effective as an upgrade for your storage subsystem.

As a purveyor of all things memory-related, it comes as no surprise to find that SanDisk has a couple of SSD drive ranges. The high-performance Extreme series is the current flagship, and although the Extreme 120GB has been around for a little while, the current price-cutting frenzy in the SSD market means you can now buy one of the fastest 120GB SSD drives for around £70 or less if you shop around.

sandisk-extreme-1

The Extreme series combines an LSI SandForce SF2281 controller (with custom SanDisk firmware) with SanDisk's own 24nm Toggle NAND, four 32GB modules of which make up the 120GB drive's capacity. These four chips sit on one side of the PCB, while the controller sits on its own on the other side.

SanDisk quotes sequential read/write performance figures for the drive of up to 550MB/s and 510MB/s respectively, both of which the review drive actually bettered slightly in the ATTO benchmark — especially when it came to write performance, with read/write figures of 556MB/s and 521MB/s respectively:

sandisk-extreme-atto

The Achilles heel of the LSI SandForce controller is how it deals with incompressible data, as can be seen from the lower AS SSD and CrystalDiskMark benchmark scores:

sandisk-extreme-asssd-cdisk

However, switching to the compressible data mode (0x00 0Fill) in the CrystalDiskMark test shows a marked improvement in the results — particularly in some of the write performance tests:

sandisk-extreme-cdisk-c

The SanDisk Extreme 120 doesn't come with any migration software — or, for that matter, any mounting hardware. SanDisk backs it with a three year warranty.

Topics: Storage, Hardware, Reviews

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