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SanDisk Extreme II SSD Review: Striking At The Heavy-Hitters

Results: PCMark Vantage And PCMark 7

Futuremark's PCMark 7: Secondary Storage Suite

PCMark 7 uses the same trace-based technology as our Storage Bench v1.0 for its storage suite testing. It employs a geometric mean scoring system to generate a composite, so we end up with PCMarks instead of a megabytes per second. One-thousand points separate the top and bottom, but that encompasses a far larger difference than the score alone indicates.

PCMark 7 is a vast improvement over the older PCMark Vantage, at least for SSD benchmarking. The storage suite is composed of several small traces. At the end, the geometric mean of those scores is scaled with a number representing the test system's speed. The scores generated are much different from PCMark Vantage, and many manufacturers are predisposed to dislike it for that reason. It's hard to figure out how PCMark 7 "works" because it uses a sliding scale to generate scores. Still, it represents one of the best canned benchmarks for storage, and if nothing else, it helps reinforce the idea that the differences in modern SSD performance don't necessarily amount to a better user experience in average consumer workloads.

This test's storage benchmarks use Intel's IPEAK trace testing to evaluate performance over several scenarios. Representatives from several manufacturers have told us that PCMark 7 does a good job portraying average user workloads, which include things like media consumption and system maintenance.

The composite scores we're generating are pretty similar for most of the faster SSDs. In terms of percentage difference, the deltas are miniscule.

OCZ's Vector flagship and Plextor's M5 Pro sit at the head of the class, though all three Extreme IIs are in hot pursuit. They don't quite make it, but the 120 GB drive is around 2% behind; that's not much at all.

Futuremark's PCMark Vantage: Hard Drive Suite

PCMark's Vantage isn't the paragon of SSD testing, mainly just because it's old and wasn't designed for the massive performance solid-state technology enables. Intended to exploit the new features in Windows Vista, Vantage was certainly at the forefront of consumer storage benching at the time. Vantage works by taking the geometric mean of composite storage scores and then scaling them a lot like PCMark 7 does. But in Vantage's case, this scaling is achieved by arbitrarily multiplying the geometric sub-score mean by 214.65. That scaling factor is supposed to represent an average test system of the day (a system that's now close to a decade behind the times). PCMark 7 improves on this by creating a unique system-dependent scaling factor and newer trace technology. Why bother including this metric, then? A lot of folks prefer Vantage in spite of or because of the cartoonish scores and widespread adoption.

It'd be hyperbole to say that SanDisk crushes its competition, but the 240 GB Extreme II takes first place, the 480 GB model takes third, and the 120 GB version gets an honorable mention in fourth.

We'll single out that 120 GB repository again, even if high Vantage scores aren't really the best indicator of performance. Smaller amounts of transferred data over smaller LBA spaces seemingly play right into the nCache scheme's strengths.

  • Someone Somewhere
    Where's the 840/840 Pro?
    Also, you appear to have put one of the labels back on the wrong way round.
    Reply
  • awez
    My thoughts exactly, where's the 840 and 840 pro?
    Reply
  • boulbox
    I have always been a fan of Sandisk SSDs, can't wait until to try this out in someone else's build as they usually sell their products that is very acceptable for budgets.
    Reply
  • Dixevil
    heavy hitters with no 840pro
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    I am also curious about the selection of the comparative models. Having the Extreme (not II) in the charts for comparison between the two generations would have been a welcomed addition along with the inclusion of the 840 series.
    Reply
  • flong777
    I know a lot of people have already pointed this out but can't Tom's Hardware afford a damn 256 GB 840 Pro? I mean come on, it is the fastest SSD on the planet right now.
    Reply
  • raidtarded
    Seriously, what is the point of this article? The fastest car in the world is as Yugo if you dont test against a Lamborghini.
    Reply
  • teh_gerbil
    Why are there 2 of your most recent SSD reviews lack the Samsung 840/Pro? Are you being paid by the respective companies to avoid using them, as for both SSD's, as per other reviews I have read, the 840 Pro cr@ps all over both of them, but due to your lack of them, they're both top of your benchmarks! Very very bad benchmarking.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/vertex-450-256gb-review,3517.html
    Reply
  • merikafyeah
    Want an 840 Pro comparison and far more in-depth review?
    See here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7006/sandisk-extreme-ii-review-480gb
    It's Anand's new favorite SSD, and based on the results, I'm inclined to agree.
    It's peak performance is right up there with the 840 Pro, but what's really extreme is the drive's consistency. It's performance when the drive is close to full is unmatched.

    There are no high peaks accompanied by low valleys in performance when it comes to the Extreme II. It's pretty much smooth and fast sailing all the time, which in my book, places the Extreme II a step above the 840 Pro. The 840 Pro would have to be at least $30 cheaper than the Extreme II for me to even consider it over the Extreme II.
    Reply
  • JPNpower
    Why is the 840 Pro the fastest SSD on the planet? It has its share of drawbacks, and is slower than the OCZ Vector, and the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme on many benchmarks. Don't make broad statemets that aren't always true.
    Reply