SanDisk Extreme II 480GB
SanDisk delivered three drives, one of each capacity size, but we didn't receive the retail package to show today. We don't expect much of a change from the Ultra Plus or original Extreme. This is a 7mm z-height product with a metal base and a plastic top cover.
The capacity size, model and serial number are all located on the back of the drive.
The 7mm z-height, 2.5" form factor uses the same mounting points on the bottom and sides as traditional notebook drives that are 9.5mm tall.
The SATA power and data connectors are also the same as standard notebook drives. The Extreme II will fit in your notebook and many ultrabooks without issue. Desktop users can purchase the Desktop Replacement Kit and receive a desktop adapter bracket that puts the drive in a standard 3.5" HDD bay.
Here we get our first real shot of the SanDisk Extreme II. Unlike the 120GB model, the 240GB and 480GB populate all eight of the flash pads. Each NAND chip, the controller and the DRAM module all get a thermal pad to help transfer heat to the 7mm metal housing.
Extreme II has many open pads on the back for large surface mount capacitors. These aren't used on Extreme II so we can't help but wonder what other products SanDisk has cooking in the lab with this PCB.
As we mentioned in the introduction, the Extreme II uses the Marvell 88SS9187 controller. This is an 8-channel design, the same used Plextor's M5 Pro and M5 Xtreme as well as Crucial's M500. It's a solid controller known for high performance when paired with quality NAND and well written firmware.
The 480GB size uses a Samsung DDR3 DRAM buffer that is 4GB in size.
In the 120GB Extreme II review posted earlier today, we talked about the SanDisk NAND quite a bit. In the 512GB class size, the flash has more interleaving, so SanDisk's architecture advantage shouldn't stand out as much. Let's dive right in and see how that theory works out.