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SanDisk Extreme 900 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Portable SSD Review

SanDisk Extreme 900 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Portable SSD Review
Our first look at the mighty impressive performance of USB 3.1 Gen 2 starts with the Extreme 900 portable SSD from SanDisk. Love high performance? Read on.
By: Tyler Bernath | Enclosures/Externals in Storage | Posted: Mar 29, 2016 2:08 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: SanDisk

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From late last year moving into early 2016, USB 3.1 is quickly catching on. While Gen 2 solution is still quite scarce, we finally have our very own introduction to the technology via the latest portable drive from SanDisk.

 

In the middle of 2015, around Computex, SanDisk announced both the Extreme 500 and 900. Each of these SSDs would fill SanDisk's market gaps with portable solutions. The 500 is a budget-friendly solution with capacities ranging from 120 to 480GB while the Extreme 900 is the top tier or flagship solution. This drive, in-house after months of waiting, enables capacity options from 480GB to 1.92TB. Performance, thanks to its USB 3.1 Gen 2 connectivity, is said to reach upwards of 850 MB/s read and write while adding to the package is SanDisk's Secure Access software allow encryption via the AES 128-bit standard.

 

Operating system compatibility includes Windows 8, 8.1, and 10 along with OS X10.6+. MSRP of the 1.92TB SanDisk Extreme 900 is listed at $799.99 with a three-year warranty.

 

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Starting with the packaging, we find the 900 (SDSSDEX2-1T92-G25) to use the standard red on black design. Capacity is listed at the top right with an image of the drive centered.

 

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On the backside, SanDisk has included a feature list of the drive in a few languages while warranty information is at the bottom.

 

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The scope of delivery includes both a straight Type-C cable and a Type-A to Type-C for backwards compatibility.

 

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A closer inspection of the drive shows its aluminum exterior - quite clean with a simple SanDisk logo to the right.

 

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Next up we have the reversible USB C connection.

 

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GO TO TOP OF THE NEXT COLUMN ^

 

On the back of the drive, the capacity is engraved in quite large fashion, and to the right in smaller print is the model number.

 

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Internally, the SanDisk Extreme 900 is using what appears to be two 1TB X400 SSDs. To pair these drives together, the ASMedia 1352R has been deployed along with the 1542 switch for reversible connectivity. This puts the drives in a RAID 0 doubling capacity and performance, enough to maximize the throughput of the Gen 2 USB 3.1 interface.

 

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Moving over to the drive properties, the total usable capacity is 1.74TB with a default exFAT file system.

 

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My first test results came from ATTO, which most if not all vendors use for a baseline. As you can see, the Extreme 900 had peak performance around 256 and 512KB reaching 1,015 MB/s read and 890 MB/s write.

 

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Adding this drive to our chart, the performance was able to reach 745 MB/s read and 730 MB/s write. Easily the quickest drive to date.

 

In just the first three months of this year, we have two vendors launching high-capacity, high-performance external SSDs in Samsung and SanDisk. While the T3 was able to get the capacity it needed using a single 850 EVO mSATA drive, SanDisk opted for dual 2.5" SATA SSDs to get both its capacity but also its now class leading performance. With the drive being our first look at Gen 2 USB 3.1 performance, I myself am not really that impressed because I have seen what Thunderbolt can do, at the same time I am excited that this kind of performance will no longer be contained in a niche product.

 

The performance of the SanDisk Extreme 900 is solid with 745 MB/s read and write. There aren't that many solutions on the market that can claim that kind of performance. Peak performance of this drive was seen over 1,000 MB/s with ATTO 3.05. Price/Performance of this drive, while not included in our chart due to its RAID nature, leaves this drive near the top coming in at 0.41 cents per GB. It rivals the T3 from Samsung while doubling the performance.

 

Overall, if you have the money and want the highest-capacity plus highest-performing drive for your money, the SanDisk Extreme 900 needs to be on your list.

 

 

 

Tyler's Test System Specifications

 

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance96%
Quality including Design and Build90%
General Features90%
Bundle and Packaging90%
Value for Money92%
Overall TweakTown Rating92%

The Bottom Line: SanDisk's Extreme 900 has all of the ingredients to be the best external SSD on the market including top notch performance and capacity, coupled with a three-year warranty and price per GB at 41 cents.

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