Final words and conclusion
Final Words & Conclusion
When you first look at the Extreme PRO series you will raise an eyebrow and will start to wonder that exactly has been changed over the Extreme II series from SanDisk. Well, when we purely talk about peak performance, sure nothing much. However by redesigning the PCB and using the latest batches of their NAND flash memory SanDISK has made the best even better. The performance of the Extreme II series was hard to beat, as these are enthusiast class SSDs. The overall write performance has been bumped up a notch. But the main focus for the Extreme PRO series has been endurance and lifespan. If you will pick-up a Crucial MX100 then you'll notice that performance is going to degrade rather fast. That is totally different with the Extreme PRO series, our tests have shown that overall SDD performance over a long time of usage is going to be very consistent. Secondly SanDISK has been placing a focus on lifespan. It is the most dreaded conundrum everybody faces, when will the SSD run out of its writable cell cycles and starts moving its data towards healthy cells. Well, these days there are so many factors that it is very difficult to determine how long an SSD will last. Even if the SSD starts dying, you'd still not notice it as the data that cannot be written on bad memory cells will be written to healthy ones. Basically Sandisk claims that this SSD series can handle as much as 80.000 Gigabyte of writes. Though we feel that even that is a conservative number. If you write 20 GB of data each day for every day of the year, this would result into a 10 years lifespan. It is a respectable number, and to top that off, Sandisk now will give you a limited warranty of 10 years on that as well.
Performance wise the PRO series is fast, enthusiast class fast. Even the 240 GB models will easily pass 500 MB/sec in most scenarios in read performance. Where the SSD series shows massive strength is trace based testing, sustained read performance and writing compresses files. Overall these SSDs are the fastest in our ranking charts. So overall; SanDisk is releasing an incredibly fast product series. The good thing is, they shouldn't be too expensive either as SanDisk embeds their own manufactured 19nm NAND flash memory, and by doing so SanDisk can keep the prices much lower. Combined with the Marvell 88SS9187 the end result is a product series that rocks hard. I mean, we've passed 550 Mb/sec today for read performance.
When we tested the Extreme Pro series, it was just exceptional in its overall IO. There is an improvement over the previous Extreme II series when it comes to write and IOPS write performance. And that did show in a couple of read tests alright as overall it is among the fastest read performance based SSDs we have ever had the pleasure to test with. That is testimony towards the latest Marvell 88SS9187 controller versus the latest 19nm SanDisk NAND memory. Sandisk has a very fast SSD series in their hands. Where the SSD really shines are the trace tests and realistically I personally always focus on the trace tests as it's the best test for your real world experience.
Overall SSD usage
An SSD is enjoyable, very much so. As stated, we very much enjoy the grand overall performance of this SSD series, so when you copy a vast amount of compressed data, then the SSD will perform seriously fast in performance. Make no mistake, replacing an HDD with an SSD in your desktop PC or laptop eliminates the random access lag of the HDD head, it is no longer mechanical. That combined with the performance SATA3 offers these days is simply a massive difference and probably the best upgrade you can make for your computer anno 2014.
Some overall recommendations then. Should you be in the market for a SATA 3 SSD then we have a couple of hints. First and foremost if you have a SATA2 controller only on your motherboard, then you'll get limited at roughly 270 MB/sec read and writes. SATA3 (=6Gbps) will free you up from that allowing the SSD to perform in the 500 MB/sec range. It is however important that you connect your SSD towards the proper controller. We absolutely prefer the performance of the Intel Series 6 and 7 (H67/P67/Z68/Z77/H77/X79/Z87/H97/Z97) integrated SATA 6G controller over anything else available in the market. If you run the SSD from a 3rd party controller with say a Marvell 6G motherboard controller, you will see lower performance. The new AMD series 8 and 9 chipsets also offer fantastic performance. The more recent Asmedia controllers we spotted lately on motherboards are also offering good performance, albeit still 20%~25% slower than Intel's controllers. Also make sure you run your drive in AHCI mode, it does make such a difference in performance -- really guys, a big difference. New with H97 and Z97 motherboards is the SATA Express and PCIe M.2. SSD interface. These slots offer even faster bandwidth at 10 Gbps, but do not use the SATA interface. If interested, then be sure to check out one of our articles on that.
Prices HDD versus SSD
First a generic rule that I always apply; you should probably stop looking at the Solid State Disk technology as if it were a traditional HDD. We all will be old and grey before the two reach the same prices or top the multiple TB volume storage the HDD offers for less money. Comparing an SSD with an HDD is making a comparison in-between an integrated IGP or a dedicated graphics card, that last one will cost you a heck of a lot more yet you gain incredible overall performance. It is the very same with an SSD, use it as boot drive on Windows and applications and you instantly have removed a huge bottleneck, namely load and access times. It is a difference in-between night and day (in a proper system). For massive storage like movies, MP3 files and bulky data you do not access on a regular basis, sure that's where the HDD remains the winner as a cheaper storage solution. Guru3D's rule of thumb; the magic is simply finding a good combination in-between the two and balance things out. Use a nice 240GB SSD for your operating system and applications, and park these movies and MP3 files onto a separate TB HDD. That's where the magic happens. I kid you not, all my test systems and work systems run on SSDs, not once have I considered going back to HDDs. The benefits of a good SSD are simply grand. But that doesn't mean I do not understand the budget and cost dilemma that many of you are facing though.
All three models are already listed. And admittedly, the prices of these SSDs need to be more competitive (but remember there are enthusiast class SSDs and not mainstream):
- Sandisk Extreme Pro SSD 240GB € 154 / €0,64 GB
- Sandisk Extreme Pro SSD 480GB € 309 / €0,64 GB
- Sandisk Extreme Pro SSD 960GB € 514 / €0,53 GB
The Sandisk Extreme Pro is the Extreme II evolved, and it is working out well. We noticed better write performance, enthusiast class speeds, improved endurance and it manages to do so without dropping too much in performance after long term usage.
If anything, our new consistency test does shock and awe for SanDisk.
As shown in a previous chapter in the benchmarks, we can see that the SanDisk Extreme Pro shows fantastic consistency in performance, this is nearly enterprise class NAND storage. And SSD that can stay above 200 MB/sec here is enthusiast class. This means that through the many years of use, your SSD will manage to keep its fast performance. Slowly but steadily SSDs truly have advanced into reliable and extremely fast storage solutions. We class the Extreme Pro series in enthusiast class as overall whether it is sustained, compressed, trace or IOPS, all the numbers rock hard with this product series in all scenarios. We really hope to see SATA4 anytime soon. All high-end SSD products these days perform in the upper class of performance, and that is the 500 Mb/sec segment. While that is fantastic, it slowly is becoming more of the same. That is not the problem of the SSD manufacturers of course, but the limitation of SATA developers like Intel. We need faster connectors as NAND technology needs to move faster in terms of evolving. The SanDisk Extreme PRO SSD series overall is an excellent product series, you'll have spot on fast write performance throughout the board.
The dilemma for most of you guys will be pricing though. These SSDs are more expensive opposed to what Micron and Samsung are pulling these days. But quality vs quantity -- that's all I am saying here. As shown in this article, Sandisk offers these units in 240, 480 and 960 GB versions. The series overall is great and we can recommend these SSDs very much. Added bonus is the increased 10 year carry-in warranty. A product that remains fast, reliable and will last a very long time. Nice job Sandisk!