Sandisk Extreme 480GB SSD Review
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A while back we took an in-depth look at the SanDisk Extreme 240GB. What a drive it was; in-fact at the time we declared it to be the fastest SATA III drive available. It was the first LSI SandForce drive we had tested in our labs to break the 80,000 Vantage barrier. For a time we thought the new found performance was mostly a result of the new 24nm SanDisk Toggle NAND. This has not proven to be correct. We have come to find that the main factor for the new level of Vantage performance has proven to be the 5 series SandForce Firmware. What 24nm Toggle NAND has brought to the table that does stand out is by far the fastest read access times to date for SandForce Driven drives as you will see in our AIDA testing. SanDisk is the only drive mfg. we know of to date to pair the LSI SandForce processor with 24nm toggle NAND so kudos to them for that.
Today we have a very capacious 480GB Extreme drive in the lab for an analysis. This drive came with a newer version of 5 series firmware that was supposed to address the TRIM functionality issues we experienced with the 240GB Extreme. Had we fully realized the TRIM functionality problems at the time we reviewed the 240GB Extreme, we would have tested in a different order and went into more depth about the issue. Okay so now we have a drive with firmware that is supposed to re-instate the very important TRIM function. Will it? At this time it is also important to point out that very large capacity LSI SandForce drives like the 480GB sizes do not perform exactly the same way we have come to expect. The norm has been that the larger the SF drive the better the write performance. Not so when we get to a 480GB SF drive at least when it is using the 2281 processor the 2282 processor could be a different story. The sequential write performance is very good but when we get to 4k write performance it really takes a big dip due to the Channel/NAND configuration. This is somewhat offset by the 480GB drives ability to read faster than any of the smaller drives in certain instances. You will see what I mean in the testing.
Because the Extreme 480GB was shipped to me with 5 series firmware I will be testing using a revised benching order. Testing in this order will allow us to check the TRIM function at an early point in the testing regimen and if TRIM fails to work correctly we can see the impact it has on the rest of the benchmarks in this reduced performance state. The revised benching/filling order will be as follows:
I feel this will give the best assessment of this drives performance with the 5 series firmware.