We threw SanDisk’s Extreme v2 into a pool of some of the best portable SSDs available, including its predecessor, the Extreme v1, and the faster Extreme Pro v2. Additionally, we put the SanDisk drives up against the Samsung T7 Touch, LaCie Rugged SSD, Crucial X8, WD My Passport SSD, and Samsung’s Thunderbolt 3 powered X5.
Game Scene Loading - Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers is a free real-world game benchmark that easily and accurately compares game load times without the inaccuracy of using a stopwatch.
SanDisk’s Extreme v2 delivered responsive game load performance in its Final Fantasy run. It nearly tied the Extreme Pro v2, and completed loading the total game benchmark assets two seconds faster than its predecessor. It even managed to outperform Samsung’s T7 Touch and the much more-expensive LaCie Rugged SSD.
Transfer Rates – DiskBench
DiskBench is a storage benchmarking tool that allows us to test the transfer or copy performance of a storage device with real data. We test external drives with three file transfers that consist of 25GB of photos (10GB of jpgs and 15GB of RAW photos), 50GB of movies, and 25GB of documents. First, we transfer each folder from a 1TB NVMe SSD to the external device; then we follow up by reading a 3.7GB 7-zip file and a 15GB movie back from the device.
In each of the large folder copies, the SanDisk Extreme v2 dominated the WD My Passport SSD with scores that average roughly 100MBps faster. Reading back the test files reveals read performance that is similar to that of the WD My Passport SSD, but faster than Samsung’s T7 Touch and the LaCie Rugged SSD.
Trace Testing – PCMark 10 Storage Test: Data Drive Benchmark
PCMark 10 is a trace-based benchmark that uses a wide-ranging set of real-world traces from popular applications and common tasks to measure the performance of storage devices. To test drives that store files rather than applications, we utilize the Data Drive Benchmark.
Overall, the SanDisk Extreme v2 offers similar application performance as the WD My Passport, but LaCie’s Rugged SSD and Crucial’s X8 deliver slightly faster responsiveness, with faster 4K random access. Still, the Extreme v2 takes out the T7 Touch and its predecessor.
Synthetic Testing - ATTO / iometer
iometer is an advanced and highly configurable storage benchmarking tool while ATTO is a simple and free application that SSD vendors commonly use to assign sequential performance specifications to their products. Both of these tools give us insight into how the device handles different file sizes.
The Extreme v2 delivered decent synthetic performance results, just as it did in the application rounds. Sequential performance is similar to that of most of its competition, but while the faster 10 Gbps interface enables high-speed sequential speeds, the Extreme v2’s 4K random read speeds are lacking in comparison to its predecessor.
Sustained Write Performance, Cache Recovery, and Temperature
Write speed and temperature are two important and inter-related metrics for external devices. Official write specifications are only part of the performance picture. Most SSDs implement a write cache, which is a fast area of (usually) pseudo-SLC programmed flash that absorbs incoming data. Sustained write speeds can suffer tremendously once the workload spills outside of the cache and into the "native" TLC or QLC flash.
We use iometer to hammer the SSD with sequential writes for 15 minutes to measure both the size of the write cache and performance after the cache is saturated. We also monitor cache recovery via multiple idle rounds as well as the temperature of the drive via the S.M.A.R.T. data and an IR thermometer to see when (or if) thermal throttling kicks in and how it impacts performance.
Surprisingly, while very similar in design to the WD My Passport, SanDisk’s Extreme v2 delivered faster sustained write speeds, outpacing the WD by roughly 100 MBps on average. It also left both the Samsung T7 Touch and Crucial X8 in the dust by the 15-minute mark. While its SLC cache is small, measuring just 12GB, it is quick to recover, nearly immediately after the last write finishes the static SLC is fully available for more writes. Plus, it stays cool under most use. After writing to half of its capacity, the SanDisk Extreme v2’s surface temperatures remained under 45 degrees Celsius, and no thermal throttling occurred.
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