SSD vendors that make one or more components of their drives tend to do better than those who just slap commodity parts on a board and call it a day. Sounds reasonable, right? SanDisk’s Extreme SSD is yet another drive based on the LSI SandForce SF-2281 controller, a 6Gb/s SATA SSD controller with speedy sequential reads and an emphasis on hyper-fast queued random writes.
However, because it is a NAND manufacturer, SanDisk has the means to use its own 24nm toggle-mode NAND—eight 256Gb packages in the 240GB version—instead of commodity NAND. Like other SF-2281-powered drives, the Extreme SSD uses the extra 16GB of NAND for overprovisioning and write caching.
SanDisk’s Extreme is a plain black metal box with a sticker on it and speed inside.
Contrary to its name, the Extreme SSD isn’t very extreme—at least not in the sense of being unusual. It’s a good implementation of the SF-2281 controller combined with high-quality NAND, so it’s not exactly rare, but that still means it’s one of the fastest consumer drives on the planet. With sustained read speeds over 480MB/s and writes around 280MB/s, its performance is what you’d expect from a good SandForce drive—faster than the Intel 520 in reads, slower in writes. Its random performance is classic SandForce territory too—heavily optimized for high-queue-depth 4KB random writes, with over 90,000 IOPS at a queue depth of 32.
There aren’t any surprises with the SanDisk Extreme SSD, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s fast, inexpensive (just over $1/GB at this writing), and based on a proven platform. You really can’t go wrong.
SanDisk Extreme SSD 240GB
A fast, inexpensive, but fairly standard SF-2281 drive.
A fairly standard SF-2281 drive.
SanDisk Extreme SSD
OCZ Vertex 4
Patriot Pyro SE
Samsung 830 Series SSD
Sustained Read (MB/s)
Sustained Write (MB/s)
Seq. Read (MB/s)
Seq. Write (MB/s)
4KB Read (IOPS)
4KB Write (IOPS)
64KB File Read (MB/s)
64KB File Write (MB/s)
4KB Random Write
Max Access Time (ms)
Premiere Pro Encode Write (sec)
PCMark Vantage x64 HDD
PCMark 11 x64 SST
Best scores are bolded. Our current test bed is a 3.1GHz Core i3-2100 processor on an Asus P8 P67 Pro (B3 chipset) running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. All tests used onboard 6Gb/s SATA ports with latest Intel drivers.