SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D SSD Review: SanDisk Joins The NVMe Club

The SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D SSD is like the hot sister of Western Digital's new enthusiast SSDs. We tested the WD Black SSD recently and found it to be a worthy alternative to the Samsung 960 EVO. SanDisk's first consumer NVMe SSD has the same components, performance, and price, as the Black, but it targets a different type of user.

SanDisk products have always been marketed specifically to photographers, videographers, and other so-called "creative" types. The category has grown over the years, but companies can't restrict excellent products to specific applications. The SanDisk Extreme, Extreme II, and Extreme Pro are all good examples of breakout products that bled over to the enthusiast market.

The Extreme Pro SATA SSD was more than just an excellent product, though; it was the best for years. It was also the last Extreme Pro branded SSD to come to market. Even though the new WD and SanDisk SSDs use the same components, we had several reasons for not combining them into the same review. The Black branding has its own storied history that dates back to the days of spinning disks, but the Extreme Pro was a giant among flash. The Extreme Pro was the first consumer SSD with a ten-year warranty period, so early adopters still have up to six years of warranty coverage left.

The Extreme Pro raised the warranty bar, and Samsung was forced to match it with the 850 Pro. In most capacities, the Extreme Pro delivered better performance. For years, the two companies battled it out with performance-improving firmware updates.

Today we'll see if the new SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D SSD is a gem like its predecessor, or if it's just another rock in a growing pile of NVMe SSDs.

SanDisk will bring its first retail consumer NVMe SSD to market in 1TB and 500GB capacities. The Extreme Pro delivers up to 3,400/2,800 MB/s of sequential read/write throughput. The 1TB model also boasts up to 500,000/400,000 random read/write IOPS, but these performance specifications vary by capacity. Most users will not notice these differences during normal use.

Features

We covered the full feature set in the WD Black 3D NVMe SSD review, so we won't go through the slide deck here. The important takeaways come from the controller that SanDisk has worked on for the last three years. It's a three-core controller designed by SanDisk using the latest NVMe 1.3 protocol and the company's new aggressive nCache 3.0 SLC buffer system, which boosts performance.

Pricing, Warranty, & Endurance

SanDisk covers the new Extreme Pro NVMe series with a five-year warranty that covers up to 300TB of data writes for the 500GB model and 600TB for the 1TB drive. Pricing at retail appears to be holding steady at $229.99 and $449.99, respectively.

Packaging

The new Extreme Pro comes to market with a better-looking retail package than the WD Black, but it conveys the same information on the box.

A Closer Look

We thought the Extreme Pro's metal sticker would make it faster than the new Black, which comes with a plastic sticker, but it turned out to be nothing at all. In our testing, neither SSD entered a thermal throttling condition during typical workloads, so the sticker doesn't appear to have an impact.

Specifications


SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 3D NVMe (1TB)SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 3D NVMe (512GB)
Capacity (Raw / User)1024GB / 1000GB512GB / 500GB
Form FactorM.2 2280 S3M.2 2280 S3
Interface / ProtocolPCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3
ControllerSanDisk Custom 8-Channel 3-CoreSanDisk Custom 8-Channel 3-Core
DRAM1GB DDR3512GB DDR3
NANDSanDisk 64L TLCSanDisk 64L TLC
Sequential Read3,400 MB/s3,400 MB/s
Sequential Write2,800 MB/s2,500 MB/s
Random Read500,000 IOPS410,000 IOPS
Random Write400,000 IOPS330,000 IOPS
Encryption
Endurance600 TBW300 TBW
Product NumberSDSSDXPM2-1T00-G25SDSSDXPM2-500G-G25
Warranty5-Years5-Years

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  • marcelo_vidal
    still testing without meltdown and spectre patch!???? Our that review will be what we will get ???
  • Giroro
    You guys really need to invest in a 1TB Intel 760p - It performs way better and it is priced very similarly to the 600p.
    I'm not even sure if Intel is still making the 600p any more because the pricing is inconsistent and there's no official Amazon/Newegg listing only third party/resellers.
  • sunday_afternoon
    "is like the hot sister"

    Sexism much?
  • CRamseyer
    Anonymous said:
    still testing without meltdown and spectre patch!???? Our that review will be what we will get ???


    It takes time to retest the 180 or so drives needed for SATA and NVMe to fill the different capacity charts. The newer tests we're dropping in like the Final Fantasy load time run on a fully patched system. Please keep in mind that patches are still coming out. Just this week a new Intel patch arrived so every existing retest result is invalid...again.

    The patches do not change the ranking. The fastest drive before the patch is still the fastest drive after. The only question is how much percent gets shaved off of every single product. In our testing so far it's a linear drop.
  • CRamseyer
    Anonymous said:
    You guys really need to invest in a 1TB Intel 760p - It performs way better and it is priced very similarly to the 600p.
    I'm not even sure if Intel is still making the 600p any more because the pricing is inconsistent and there's no official Amazon/Newegg listing only third party/resellers.


    The 600p represents a number of drives purchased last year with the SMI SM2260 controller and 1st gen IMFT 3D flash. The 760p uses the SM2262 controller and 2nd gen IMFT 3D flash. It's a good drive but we've shown that the Adata SX8200 and HP EX920 are better due to improved firmware. Even if I had a 1TB 760p, it wouldn't likely appear in many reviews.