Without a doubt, the Extreme II was one of the best SSDs we ever tested, and I wasn't sure if any company would be able to best its performance with a SATA based product. Little did I know it would be SanDisk looking to raise the bar again, this time with exceptional engineering rather than brute force.
This is our third article with the Extreme PRO SSD, and I feel like we still have a lot to cover. We've talked at length about the new 19nm flash and the increased clock speed on the Marvell controller but not a lot about nCache PRO. The new SLC-like layer in the programming was optimized for mixed read and write workloads. None of us just read or write data to our SSD, so SanDisk tuned the Extreme PRO for closer to real-world use cases. I'm not sure if the acquisition of SMART Data Systems played any role in the new programming, but the Extreme PRO feels like the SMART Optimus I played with a year ago.
The Optimus is still one of the fastest enterprise SSDs on the market today and gained its reputation by delivering consistent performance. The Extreme PRO will go down in history as one of the fastest consumer SSDs on a SATA III bus. We will always wonder how much of the technology inside the Extreme PRO came from the enterprise side.
It really doesn't matter where the tech came from. The Extreme PRO is fast, and in all three available capacity sizes. We like to split the drives up to do analysis on each capacity size since some drives perform better with different interleaving levels. Also, some companies use different flash on smaller capacity size drives than on the larger models. That makes giving a blanket statement difficult when it comes to price and performance. The Extreme PRO is different from other drives, though. We can say with 100 percent certainty that regardless of what capacity size you want to buy, it's the fastest, period. SanDisk hit a three-run homerun with the Extreme PRO.
Not all of the praise comes from the performance either, although it's hard to see past the best-in-class performance. SanDisk also raised the bar when it comes to warranty. The new 10-year warranty is a step above other products, some shipping with a 3-year warranty and others with a 5-year warranty. SanDisk set a new tone with the 10-year warranty, and others will concede defeat or attempt to match the new standard. Time will tell. Coming on the heels of the new Extreme PRO launch is also SanDisk's Dashboard software that works with all SanDisk SSDs. We'll have a feature article on Dashboard in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for it.
The last topic we need to cover is performance consistency in multi-drive arrays, commonly referred to as RAID. Last year, I handed over RAID Report responsibility to Jon, and he'll have a full RAID Report featuring the Extreme PRO in the coming weeks. The consistent performance makes the Extreme PRO a viable model for performance RAID arrays. If you work with 4K video and want to manipulate it in real-time, then you need a performance RAID array to achieve the high bandwidth needed. Using two consumer SSDs in RAID 0 is an easy and cost effective way to get the performance required.
We're waiting for confirmation from Futuremark before making a big deal about it, but we achieved over 600k Marks in Vantage with the SanDisk Extreme PRO 240GB...well, 16 of them to be exact on an Areca Technology ARC- 1883 Series adapter. One year ago, we set a world record at Computex with 16 Mushkin Chronos Deluxe drives with a score of 592,754 Marks. We believe the new score of 607,236 Marks is a new world record for the PCMark Vantage Storage Test. We'll follow up on this story when we have confirmation. Either way, the Extreme PRO is capable of delivering extreme performance in RAID thanks to its consistent performance.
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.
United States: The SanDisk Extreme PRO (240GB) retails for $199.99 at Amazon.