SanDisk Extreme solid-state drive review: SanDisk Extreme solid-state drive

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MSRP: $272.75

The Good The 2.5-inch SATA 3-based SanDisk Extreme solid-state drive offers great performance and is affordable.

The Bad The SanDisk Extreme SSD doesn't come with accessories to help it fit in a desktop computer's 3.5-inch hard-drive bay, though it can be used in one.

The Bottom Line With very good performance and even better pricing, the SanDisk Extreme makes a great replacement drive for a standard laptop or desktop computer.

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7.3 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7
  • Support 8

There isn't anything extreme about the SanDisk Extreme SSD. It is, rather, a standard 2.5-inch, 9.5mm-thick solid-state drive that supports SATA 3 (6Gbps). And this is a good thing since the drive can be used in any computer that currently uses a SATA hard drive.

Like most SSDs I've reviewed, the SanDisk offers a great speed boost over a regular hard drive, especially in terms of boot, wakeup, and shutdown times and application performance. Where the SanDisk Extreme holds more appeal than its peers is the pricing: at just around $1.30 per gigabyte, it's one of the most, if not the most, affordable SATA 3-based SSDs on the market.

In short, if you have a computer that's currently using a hard drive as the boot drive, the SanDisk Extreme will make an excellent replacement. If your computer is already using an SSD, though, there's no need to switch to this one.

Design and features

Drive type Internal drive
Connector options SATA 3 (6Gbps), SATA 2, SATA
Available capacities 120GB, 240GB, 480GB
Product dimensions 9.5-mm thick, 2.5-inch standard
Capacity of test unit 240GB
OSes supported Windows, Mac, Linux

Like the SanDisk Ultra, which was released in August 2011, the new SanDisk Extreme has an aluminum chassis, making it look very good and feel sturdy.

As a 9.5mm, 2.5-inch drive, the SanDisk Extreme can be used in any standard laptop or desktop computer. Unlike the recently reviewed Intel 520 Series, the SanDisk is too large to fit in ultrabooks designed to use 7mm 2.5-inch drives. This is not a big deal, however, since most ultrabooks already come with an SSD inside.

What is slightly a big deal is the fact that the SanDisk doesn't come with an adapter bracket to make it fit inside a desktop computer. However, since SSDs have no moving parts and a desktop is generally stationary, in most cases, you can get away with having the drive hanging inside the computer's chassis.

In my trials, the SanDisk Extreme worked with SATA 3 (6Gbps), SATA 2 (3Gbps), and SATA (1.5Gbps). To see its top performance, you want to use it with a computer that supports SATA 3, but regardless of what version it was used with, the drive helped improve the computer's performance a great deal when used as the main boot drive.

The SanDisk Extreme is powered by the popular SandForce SF-2281 controller, which has integrated DuraClass technology. According to SanDisk, the technology offers high performance, security, power efficiency, and endurance with a mean time between failures (MTBF) of 2 million hours. Basically, the SanDisk Extreme promises a good combination of performance and reliability.

Cost per gigabyte
The SanDisk comes in 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB capacities, with street prices of $180, $318, and $799. These translate into about $1.33 per gigabyte for the first two and $1.66 per gigabyte for the 480GB version. These are currently the best prices on the market for SATA 3-based SSDs. Compared with regular hard drives, however, like any SSD, the SanDisk Extreme is still very expensive. Note that SSD prices have been fluctuating a great deal since the beginning of the year, so if you wait a bit, chances are prices will drop below the ones listed here.

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