SanDisk Extreme 120GB SSD
Sata 3 Sandforce speedster
Review Another week and yet another new range of Sandforce controlled drives has been pitched into battle in an already crowded market place. Still, here’s hoping the increased competition will impact on prices. Arriving hard on the heels of Intel’s new 520 range reviewed recently, is the Extreme series from flash memory experts SanDisk – the company’s second generation of consumer drives using a Sandforce controller.
Second time around: SanDisk's Extreme SSD
While better known for its range of Compact Flash and SD products, SanDisk was actually among the very first companies to release an SSD into the mainstream market. The U5000 appeared in 2007 and had a whopping 32GB of capacity. Soon after, the company seemingly disappeared off the radar as far as mainstream SSD’s were concerned, returning to the fray in 2011 with the launch of the Ultra range of drives.
As with the Ultra series, the Extreme drives use a Sandforce controller but in this case it is the ubiquitous Sandforce SF2281VB1-SDC with its 6Gb/s interface. Yet unlike many of the drives with this controller on-board that rely on Sandforce’s own firmware, the one in the Extreme has SanDisk custom coded (R112) firmware.
Sandforce controller, but the SanDisk Extreme has its own firmware
At the time of writing, the line-up consists of just two capacities – the 120GB model, which is on test here, and a 240GB version. A third drive, the flagship 480GB version, is on the way. The quoted sequential read/write performance for the range is 550/510MB/s for the 120GB drive, 550/520MB/s for the 240GB while the 480 is quoted at 540MB/s reads and 460MB/s writes. The 120GB drive has a quoted random read/write performance of up to 23,000IOPS and 83,000IOPS respectively.
Next page: Up to the test
It's the old school method of changing scales.
Manufacturer: 1 GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes.
OS: 1GB = 1,073,741,824
120,000,000,000 / 1,073,741,824 = 111.7587 GB
What I want to know is - have the reliability problems of SandForce controllers been solved?
and the extra 8GB will be used by the drive for wear leveling...
2 points to make:
1 : Yes, this has been a marketing ploy for a very long time. Base 2 and Base 10 being interchanged as required in order to "appear" to provide disks bigger than they really are.
2 : If the percentage that is not available is so important, then you really should be looking for larger disks.
"Once formatted, the drive's capacity drops to 111GB"
I'm sure there's a very valid technical reason why you lose such a big chunk of storage space when formatting a drive but I wonder if there's reason why manufacturers tend not to provide an oversized drive so that - in this case for instance - a 128GB drive could be marketed as a 120Gb drive so that once it was formatted, you'd actually get the storage the box was claiming. My first thoughts are "bigger is better and therefore able to be sold for more dosh" but there's perhaps more to it than that.
I'm presuming, of course, that there's not some clever way to 'access' all 120Gb on this drive, thereby justifying its 120Gb description.
To my not-very-technical way of thinking, it feels a bit like buying a pint of beer, only to find that once it's placed into the glass, 10% of your pint will remain trapped at the bottom of the glass.
Icon for obvious reasons.