Affordability and top notch performance, these are two words that lie predominantly in our minds when considering SSD upgrades.
As far as affordable upgrades go, SanDisk’s Extreme II 240GB SSD is definitely one to consider, but with so many alternatives out there – does this SSD really bring anything new to the table?
Priced at an average of £160.00 (£0.66 per gb) and boasting read/write speeds in excess of 500mbs it certainly falls within range of the high performance, low cost category.
Design and Durability
The looks of the Sandisk Extreme II SSD remain faithful to SanDisk’s colour scheme and build. Sporting a metallic chassis and a rather unimpressive plastic cover, one could easily say that it does not look very durable.
However if you consider the fact that you will hardly ever see your SSD since it will be safely tucked away inside your machine, the need for a strong casing seems rather unimportant.
If this happens to be your first SSD installation, here’s a short two minute video on how to pull it off yourself in 3 steps.
Regardless of how you do it, just don’t forget to back up your old HDD to make sure you keep your existing data safe.
Performance & Endurance
Sandisk claims their Extreme II SSD is capable of achieving read speeds of up to 550 MBs and write speeds of 510 MBs.
Gamers will love the hiccup free almost instantaneous loading time of their games and media, and for those using memory demanding applications such as video editing software, you’ll immediately notice a welcome performance boost.
With this iteration of SanDisk’s SSD, they’ve decided to drop the SandForce controller in favour of the new Marvell 88SS9187. One of the main differences between Marvell and SandForce is how they deal with compressible or incompressible data. SandForce doesn’t fare well with incompressible data whereas the new Marvel controller performs well with both compressible and incompressible data and has superior read/write speeds.
Sandisk’s Extreme II SSD also benefits from having a 5 year warranty that pretty much covers it for its entire lifetime. All hard drives have a finite lifespan and the Extreme II is no exception, but even if you write 10GB per day it would take you around 4-5 years to exhaust the full amount of program cycles – or in other words, the amount of writes it takes for your hard drive to start failing. Considering that this SSD has a max program cycle of around 80TB it is highly unlikely that you will kill it prematurely.
The Extreme II model supports SATA 3 connectivity (6 GB/s) and is backwards compatible with previous iterations of SATA. However, if you run your SSD on a SATA 2 port you won’t be able to harness its full potential, as its read/write speeds will max out at around half of what they could be when run under SATA 3 (6 GB/s) environment.
Although, read/write speeds are greatly reduced when connected to a SATA 2 port (3GB/s) your SSD will still outperform any HDD in the market so they still remain a solid choice when it comes to upgrading your workstation.
Testing & Results
For benchmark purposes the Sandisk Extreme II was installed on a couple of machines. The first runs an Intel Core i7-2600 CPU @ 3.40GHz 3.40GHz with 16GB Ram, and the second is a slightly older machine which runs on Intel Pentium Dual CPU E2160 @ 1.80GHz 1.80GHz and 4GB DDR2 SDRAM. Both machines were tested under SATA 2, but only the Core i7 was used for SATA 3.
Benchmark analysis for both environments was done using Samsung Magician and CrystalDiskMark software, and here’s how they performed:
Under SATA II the Sandisk Extreme II benchmarked at an average of 269MBs read and 259MBs write on both machines, with no significant performance difference between them.
When tested on the i7 machine under a SATA 3 environment (6GBs), the Extreme II benchmarked with impressive 548MBs read and 486MBs write speeds thus showing its true potential.
Sandisk Extreme II SSD: The Bottom Line
SanDisk Extreme II SSD performs like a true champ with read/write speeds on a par with the renowned Samsung 840 Pro and OCZ’s Vertex 450 series. It’s definitely a choice that won’t break the bank and priced at an average of £0.66 per GB and boasting a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty, SanDisk’s Extreme II is as good a choice as any of the leading brand SSDs.