Sure, you might have the fastest CPU, GPU, RAM and other three-letter acronyms that money can buy, but there’s one aspect that often gets overlooked – storage. While you might squeeze higher frame rates from the rest of your hardware, your gaming and general computing experience will be significantly improved by opting for a shiny new SSD.
We recently got to test out the new(ish) Sandisk Extreme range of SSD’s. Sandisk should be an immediately recognisable name to anybody who’s even sniffed flash-based storage, being pioneers in that particular field – so their flash-based hard drives should be pretty decent, right?
Here are the specs for their Extreme range – and we had a go with the 240Gb variant.
Utilising the once buggy, but now fixed through firmware SandForce SF-2281controller (the same controller Intel uses for its SSD’s) , the drive performs pretty much as you’d expect; really damned well, provided you have a SATA III controller, that is. In our test system, an Intel i5 2300K on an MSi Z77A-G41, we found the SDD to perform well within Sandisk’s rated specifications, sometimes even exceeding them.
For our tests, we ran the drive through ATTO Disk Benchmark, HD Tune Pro and Crystal Diskmark to get an idea on sequential read and write speeds, using a 1Gb transfer for the baseline.
As you can see, it performed quite admirably in all tests – but for some reason fell apart in Crystal disk Mark. It seems that the Sandforce controller just doesn’t scale all to well when it comes to larger transfers. When it comes to 4K performance, the drive just doesn’t match the performance of drives with newer controller, like the OCZ Vertex 4.
In real-world testing, don’t expect extra frames-per-second from your games – but do expect your load times and general OS performance to increase significantly. Significantly enough that you’ll never go back to using a mechanical hard drive again.
Whatever performance deficits you might encounter though, they’re mitigated by the fact that the Sandisk Extreme is one of the cheaper high performance SDD drives available, offering a tempting cost per gigabyte, starting at R1 299 for the 120GB, going up to R4999 for the 480GB version.
Unfortunately, we just didn’t have the drive for long enough to test its longevity – but in general, modern modern SSD’s are more than capable of hundreds of thousands of read and write operations, and the dreaded “SSD Degradation” is largely a thing of the past.
Sandisk’s range of SSD’s provide pretty top notch performance, at a price that won’t break the bank – and as such are pretty easy to recommend.