We wanted to publish SanDisk's new Extreme PRO 960GB SSD first since its performance was so far above the other 1TB class SSD products on the market. The smaller 480GB delivers the same exceptional performance but in a crowded market segment. Setting the Extreme PRO apart from other drives in the 512GB class size is SanDisk's new 10-year warranty and performance that doesn't decrease when the drive is worked hard.
SanDisk designed the Extreme PRO series for computer gamers and enthusiasts. Anyone who writes a lot of data to the drive at once can benefit from the Extreme PRO's talent. Modern games tip the scales at over 30GB each, and most gamers slam the storage media with more than one game after a fresh install of Windows. Most SSDs will suffer a performance hit by the time just a few games hit the flash, but the Extreme PRO is different; it's built to take the abuse and still perform at a high level. This means when you're finally ready to play your game, the drive is ready to deliver the high performance you paid for.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
SanDisk went with three capacity sizes for the Extreme PRO: 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB. These are overprovisioned capacity numbers. Each drive has flash area reserved for background activity like garbage collection and other flash management tasks. The sequential read performance for all three capacity sizes is the same at 550 MB/s. The sequential write performance is a bit higher on the 240GB model, 520 MB/s, and 515 MB/s for the 480GB and 960GB models. SanDisk is very conservative with their published performance numbers, and as we've shown several times in the past, 4-corner performance doesn't equate to real-world performance.
Random reads and writes come in at 100k IOPS read and 90k IOPS write. Over the past several months, several products tested performed significantly slower in smaller capacity sizes. SanDisk didn't follow suit with the shift to 128Gbit die that robs lower capacity products of performance. The entire Extreme PRO series uses premium 1Ynm (A19, 19mm x 19.5mm) ABL MLC Toggle flash in 64Gbit capacity. While more expensive than using 128Gbit die, 64Gbit die allow for higher interleaving and thus higher performance. The Extreme PRO is a performance product despite the mild specifications.
To coincide with the release of 1Y 19nm flash, SanDisk has also updated nCache. nCache debuted on the Ultra Plus SSD quite a while ago and went unchanged on the Extreme II SSD a few months later. The technology of using a small amount of MLC flash in SLC mode has gone bi-directional in the latest revision, and it is now optimized for mixed workloads. SanDisk calls the latest revision nCache Pro.
Until you see the actual performance data, the biggest news surrounding the Extreme PRO series has to be the new 10-year warranty. To put 10 years into perspective, 10 years ago I tested the fastest consumer hard drive on the market, a Western Digital Raptor with 74GB of capacity. For some of you, that was enough, but to really drive the point in, ten years ago Cameron was at Quakecon in Texas and a majority of PC gamers still used bulky CRT monitors. SanDisk's commitment to Extreme PRO users isn't just a nice marketing pitch either. As one of only six NAND flash manufacturers, the company will be around ten years from now to support the products.
Another new feature with the Extreme PRO actually works with all of SanDisk's consumer SSDs. SSD Dashboard is free for all SanDisk SSD owners and works to keep system performance high and to give users additional, value added features such as drive cloning. At the time of writing, not all of the features were working. In the coming weeks, we'll have an SSD Software Face-off and compare each company's software.
When we published the 960GB model, Amazon had sold out of every Extreme PRO capacity size, and Newegg had increased the price to slow demand. Newegg was sold out of the largest capacity size, and the two smaller models were higher than MSRP. Amazon shows all three capacity sizes in stock, and the 480GB model we're focusing on today is at $369.99 MSRP.
PRICING: You can find the SanDisk Extreme PRO (480GB) for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The SanDisk Extreme PRO (480GB) retails for $369.99 at Amazon.