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DATABASE

Storage Buyer’s Guide - SSD For The Masses (Part 2)

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SanDisk Extreme II 240GB

The new kid on the block

Price: $239

SanDisk is one of the largest manufacturers of flash memory on our little planet, yet their past SSDs have failed to match the leaders of the pack. The Extreme II is the company’s latest attempt to catch up, and it looks like SanDisk might finally be on to something.

SanDisk Extreme II 240GB

SanDisk Extreme II 240GB

Using a Marvell controller instead of SandForce helps differentiate it from other SSDs and it’s paired with memory that uses a unique mode known as nCache, which is intended to increase performance. Our benchmarks indicate that this hardware combination delivers solid performance, near the top of the pack for read speed but hovering around the middle for write. Unfortunately, the newness of the drive means its price is a little inflated, with the price of 99s per Gigabyte not quite as competitive as Samsung’s older 840. Give it a few months and it should drop though, which will make the Extreme II a contender for your PC.

Verdict: 8/10

SanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB

Cheaper than chips

Price: $189

SanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB

SanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB

Given the name, we expected this SSD to perform even better than SanDisk’s Extreme II, as Ultra indicates the top of the tier. Powering the drive is Marvell’s SS889175 SSD controller, a chip designed for low power usage, suggesting this drive is primarily intended for mobile PCs. On the desktop we don’t give a damn about such things, where our limitless power supply means performance is king. It’s paired with SanDisk’s own MLC NAND memory, which is built using a cutting-edge 19 nanometer process. Again, this smaller process should help with power savings. Unfortunately performance isn’t competitive compared to the faster drives, with a write speed about 15% slower than the best. However, at a price of just 74c per Gigabyte, by far the cheapest in the roundup, this gap is easy to accept. If you’re looking for decent performance at rock bottom prices, the Ultra Plus is the SSD for you.

Verdict: 8/10

Seagate 600 240GB

Seagate arrives at the SSD party

Price: $275

Seagate 600 240GB

Seagate 600 240GB

Seagate has been one of the biggest mechanical drive makers for years, but has been conspicuously absent from the SSD market since its inception. It has finally decided to see what all the fuss is about, releasing its first SSD in the Seagate 600, almost half a decade after everybody else. Can they catch up to companies with years of experience? The surprising answer to that question is…almost. The Link_A_Media Devices controllers power this drive to the front of the pack for read performance, but write performance is definitely lacking. Combine this with the highest price of all SSDs in the roundup, at $1.15 per Gigabyte, and there’s very little reason to buy the Seagate 600. However, considering it’s the company’s first attempt at an SSD, it could have gone a lot worse. If they can start off this well, we can’t wait to see what Seagate has in store for its second and third generation products.

Verdict: 6/10

Sequential Read Performance (MB/sec)

·         Higher is better

·         Intel SSD 335 240GB: 487

·         SanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB: 493

·         OCZ Vector 256GB: 503

·         Seagate 600 240GB: 504

·         SanDisk Extreme II 240GB: 504

·         Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB: 509

Sequential Write Performance (MB/sec)

·         Higher is better

·         Intel SSD 335 240GB: 315

·         SanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB: 431

·         OCZ Vector 256GB: 442

·         Seagate 600 240GB: 477

·         SanDisk Extreme II 240GB: 487

·         Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB: 490

 

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