Editor Note: After this article was published we learned that TRIM was not working on our test system at the time the Extreme 240GB was tested. A follow up article has been published with accurate benchmarks. Please read it here.
For me, the progress made by SanDisk with their new 24nm Toggle Mode flash is very exciting. For you, the end result of using a smaller die size for the flash is exciting. This is because with each die shrink more flash can be manufactured per 300mm wafer. This takes place during the lithography process. The cost of a 300mm wafer stays the same, but when you're able to get more chips per wafer, the savings trickle down to the final product. The SanDisk Extreme 240GB already costs less than the OCZ Vertex 3 240GB at Newegg, which is our current pricing benchmark in which all SSDs are compared against.
The lower cost doesn't equate to lower performance with the SanDisk Extreme. The Extreme isn't as fast as the new Intel 520 Series, but it does cost significantly less, a benchmark for the people. Still, the SanDisk Extreme isn't that much off the pace set by Intel a couple of weeks ago and I doubt you would notice the difference between the two under real-world conditions.
One area that you will notice a difference between the SanDisk Extreme and several other popular drives is the accessory package. The Extreme ships bare, no desktop adapter bracket, no disk cloning software and the warranty sits in line with other companies selling drives with a low cost pricing model. With Intel touting their five year warrant and "Intel Optimized Firmware" for reliability, it would be nice to see SanDisk increase their warranty to five years as well.
For most people looking to purchase their first SSD, the accessory package doesn't matter. The SanDisk Extreme 240GB we tested today delivers what you need, solid access times, fast boot times (measured at 19 seconds on our test bench), good sustained sequential performance and at a price that is much low than many offerings on the market today. I hate to do it, but we are just loving the price of this drive. At the time of writing the SanDisk Extreme is the lowest priced SF-2281 240GB drive at Newegg with good flash, i.e. NOT asynchronous IMFT flash.
The flash makes a big difference in real-world performance and the SanDisk Extreme isn't going to leave you in the slow lane like asynchronous flash drive, even though the price is the same.