Wednesday, 25 June 2014 17:35

SanDisk aims latest SSD at performance market

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SanDisk's Extreme Pro SSD is aimed at gamers, media professionals and other users who need consistently high performance.

One of the biggest complaints about SSDs is that performance drops with use, as an entire block of data must be erased before an individual page within that block can be altered.

SanDisk product manager for client storage solutions Leo Huang told iTWire that the new Extreme Pro SSD features the company's nCache Pro technology - which in part augments the usual MLC flash with a smaller amount of faster but more expensive SLC flash - for faster and more consistent response, better endurance, and improved data integrity.

This allows the Extreme Pro to deliver around 30% faster results on the PCMark 8 consistency test, he said, and the drop-off between 'fresh' and 'real world' states is far less pronounced than it is with competing drives.

Sequential read speed is up to 550Mbps, with up to 520Mbps for sequential writes.

Consequently, the Extreme Pro is is being aimed at gamers and media professionals, but "everyone's schedule is very tight right now," he said.

"We are focussing on corporate upgrades a lot... that's the biggest ROI [for customers]" - spending a few hundred dollars on an SSD (not necessarily a high-performance part such as the Extreme Pro, which is SanDisk's 'best' series, joining the 'good' Ultra and 'better' Extreme II models) will extend the life of a notebook by a year or two and make employees more productive.

Disk I/O tends to be the bottleneck in notebook performance, and Mr Huang presented some real-world data showing that while a range of operations could each take up to 1.7 seconds with a hard drive, none of them took longer than 0.1 second with an SSD.

CONTINUED


The average employee loses the equivalent of two weeks per year due to slow boot and application-loading times, Mr Huang claimed.

"This is the product for you" if you use a notebook eight hours a day, he said.

An SSD can provide up to 1.5 hours additional life from a '10 hour' battery when compared with a hard disk, and the Extreme Pro supports the DEVSLP mode that allows some processing to continue while a notebook or similar device is in a deep sleep state

Mr Huang also stressed the reliability and endurance of the Extreme Pro: "We're the first company and product" to offer a 10-year warranty for an internal storage device, adding that third party testing had found SanDisk SSDs to be four times more reliable than others.

On the Windows software side, SanDisk provides the Dashboard drive management and Wave encryption software for free download, and buyers can also take advantage of a one-year free trial of Absolute's LoJack recovery service for lost or stolen computers.

Mr Huang said the free software bundle will be augmented with an application to clone an existing hard drive to the new SSD, and an on-demand antivirus scanner.

Shipping in July, the Extreme Pro will be offered in three capacities: 240GB ($279), 480GB ($449) and 960GB ($799). It is compatible with any computer or game console that accepts 2.5in SATA storage devices, company officials said.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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