We've already tested the two larger capacity Extreme PRO SSDs from SanDisk and found each to dominate their capacity class in performance. On paper, the 240GB Extreme PRO is even faster than the 480GB and large 960GB models, so it shouldn't come as any surprise that this is the fastest consumer SSD money can buy.
The Extreme PRO 240GB is so fast that money is even an issue. The drive has an MSRP of just $189.99, but you can't buy the drive at that price. Most e-tailers have settled on $199.99 due to high demand, and some are charging even more. SSDs are a low margin category for discount e-tailers, but when the market and product are right, some do what they can to make an additional profit.
If you are just now reading about the Extreme PRO series from SanDisk, that should tell you quite a bit about this drive. Not only is the supply limited, but end users are also paying more than MSRP just to get the fastest consumer SATA SSD available today.
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 its 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, which 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 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 240GB model we're focusing on today is at $199.99, $10 more than MSRP.
PRICING: You can find the SanDisk Extreme PRO (240GB) 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.
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