Goodbye Sandforce, Hello Marvell
Sandisk Extreme II SSD 240GB
is set to operate in SLC mode, acting as a high-performance write buffer. The objective is to cache small random writes to this buffer and then commit them to the main MLC NAND storage when the drive is idle. Additionally, because the buffer is “built” into each MLC NAND die, this means that it is able to maximize all the memory channels that are built into the controller.
Compared to the older Extreme SSD, the new Extreme II offers much better performance. In our benchmarks, it showed that it is a faster drive in all respects. Write performance, a weakness of drives using the SandForce SF-2281 controller, improved by as much as 70% depending on the workload. On the other hand, the Extreme II SSD’s overall write performance was no better than the current crop of high-end SSDs, leading us to wonder about the true effectiveness of SanDisk’s nCache technology.
However, taking overall performance into account, the new Extreme II SSD is by no means a slouch and is capable of going toe-to-toe with other high-end drives such as the Corsair Neutron GTX, Seagate 600 and Plextor M5 Pro Extreme. However, top tier drives like the OCZ Vector and Samsung SSD 840 Pro still hold an appreciable performance advantage over the Extreme II SSD.
SanDisk has set a recommended retail price of $390 for the Extreme II SSD, which is on the high side, considering at this price you can easily get drives like the OCZ Vector and Samsung SSD 840 Pro. Fortunately, the street price of the Extreme II SSD hovers around a more reasonable $320.
Assuming you look at the right places, the Extreme II SSD is decent value for money as it is priced closely with its main competitors and offers a reassuring 5-year warranty too. All in all, the Extreme II SSD is more than a worthy successor.