SanDisk Ultra II 240GB SSD Review
Today I’ll be taking a look at the new SanDisk Ultra II 240GB SSD (SDSSDHII-240G). I’m not going to lie, this comes as a little bit of a surprise as I’ve often overlooked SanDisk in favour of other brands, that seem to me more familiar with PC Gaming, rather than a well recognised manufacturer of micro SD cards that you can conveniently pick up in your local Supermarket. Well as it turns out (rather embarrassingly for me…) and after a very small amount of research, SanDisk are actually one of the biggest players in the SSD game, in fact only Samsung produced more SSDs last year! Talking of the Korean tech giant, they were the ones who introduced the TLC (Triple Level Cell) NAND to the SSD market and the only ones using it. Up until now and with the introduction of a new little number from SanDisk. So what do we know of the Ultra II so far?
The SanDisk Ultra II 240GB SSD features a Marvell® 88SS9190 controller with Custom Firmware and SanDisk 2nd Gen 128Gbit 19nm TLC, a quoted Read speed of 550 MB/s and a Write speed of 500 MB/s, with 4KB Random Read speed of 91K IOPS and 4KB Random Write Speed of 83K IOPS. All this wrapped up with a three year warranty. So all sounds promising so far, but what sets it apart from the competition?
|Boost your PC’s performance up to 28x** with an easy and affordable upgrade to SanDisk Ultra® II SSD. You’ll enjoy no-wait boot up and shorter application load and data transfer times than your traditional hard drive ever delivered—plus longer battery life and much cooler, quieter computing, too**. No matter how you use your PC, the SanDisk nCache™ 2.0 technology makes for a better experience, delivering consistent high speed and endurance.|
The SanDisk Ultra II 240GB SSD arrived at pcG in a small predominantly grey box. The front of which has an angled depiction of the drive inside, then highlights the SSD capacity, read and write times, the model name and a rather large SanDisk logo (or perhaps a regular size logo on a small box???).
Flipping over to the back and despite looking rather busy, doesn’t really tell us a lot of interest. We have the SanDisk website address, warranty information, SKU number, it also tells us the SSD uses SATA 3.
Opening up the box is ever so slightly disappointing. You see the box is sealed at either end and difficult not to damage whilst opening (sadly I’m a bit of a clepto and like to keep all packaging in tip top condition). The contents inside the package are well protected in a clear plastic tray, with the SanDisk Ultra II 240GB SSD inside a heavy duty plastic bag and very unlikely to suffer damage in transit.
As you can imagine, the box contents are pretty sparse. We have the SanDisk Ultra II 240GB SSD itself, a 9.5mm spacer, installation and warranty guide, as well as download details for SanDisk SSD Dashboard.
From the front the SanDisk Ultra II is fairly plain in its appearance. The SSD casing is partly made of a black textured plastic, which is the first I’ve come across (every other SSD I’ve seen has an entire metal casing of some kind). Whilst not as durable as other SSDs out there, it’ll certainly be tough enough for all your needs, but this also has the side effect of making the Ultra II the lightest SSD I’ve ever held (ideal when trying to save weight in your Gaming laptop). Other than that we can clearly see a nicely uncomplicated glossy black sticker on the front with the model name in silver, product description in white and SanDisk logo in bright red. It’s nothing flash, but will suit almost any build it’s likely to live in.
Over on the back we simply have a large white specifications and warranty sticker.
courtesy of SanDisk
Everything You Do On Your Computer—Faster
How fast does your data transfer? How fast do your apps load? Could you brush your teeth in the time it takes for your PC to boot up in the morning? For most users, speed is the first thing on the wish list. Thanks to the innovations in our nCache 2.0 technology, SanDisk Ultra II SSD literally does every task faster than a typical hard disk drive. What used to take minutes happens in just a few seconds.
Performance Means More Than Just Speed
Speed is important, and SanDisk Ultra II SSD delivers it, but our performance test results measure more than the fastest speed a computer can achieve for a few seconds at a time. Performance means how long you can count on that speed, how consistently your PC responds, how many things you can do at once without stalling out. It means how well your drive withstands the stresses the world hands out. On a whole range of important metrics, SanDisk Ultra II SSD performs up to 28 times** better than the hard disk drive you’re using now.
Huge Storage Capacity, Built In
You keep lots of tunes, photos and videos on your PC. You use it for socializing, shopping, banking, email and your online classes. You play games—by yourself or with other people. Add a few more dozen handy apps. And then there’s work. Amazing how much space those presentations, PDFs, spread sheets and documents take up. With SanDisk Ultra II SSD, you can add enough capacity for everything you do on your computer, up to a monster 960GB**, and still have room to spare.
Runs Cool and Quiet
Hard disk drives were great in their day, but let’s face it—they had their downsides. First your laptop would get so hot you couldn’t really hold it on your lap. Then the fan would start up and make a lot of noise. Sometimes you blew through your battery in what seemed like the blink of an eye. With a SanDisk Ultra II SSD, all that is history. With no moving parts inside, your PC will run cool and quiet, your battery will last up to 15% longer and you’ll use less electricity too**
Always Know What’s Going On
With our SanDisk SSD Dashboard, you always have visibility into how your drive’s performing, what firmware updates are available, and what you can do to maintain peak performance. Additional third-party software features include:
Available capacities: 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB**
Dimensions: 2.75 x 3.96 x 0.28 in. (69.85mm x 100.5mm x 7.0 mm)
Shock: Resistant up to 1500G
Vibration: Resistant 5 gRMS, 10-2000 HZ / 4.9 gRMS, 7-800 HZ)
Temperature: 32ºF to 158ºF (0ºC to 70 ºC)
Interface: SATA Revision 3.0 (6 Gb/s)
Endurance: MTBF: 1.75 million hours**
Warranty**: United States: 3-year limited warranty. All other regions: 3-year warranty
The test bed for this review (shown below) was treated to a fresh install of Windows 7 64Bit Home Premium (service pack 1) with all associated Drivers installed. I also ensured that AHCI was set in the UEFI (although this is now the default settings for most modern MBs). The drive was connected to the Intel SATA 3 (6GBs) port (4) of the MSI Z87 G45 GAMING motherboard. No special or other BIOS/UEFI options are required…
|Case||Cooler Master HAF XB||Power Supply||Corsair AX760i|
|Motherboard||MSI Z87 G45 GAMING||CPU||Intel Core i5-4670K|
|CPU Cooler||Raijintek Themis||RAM||Kingston HyperX Beast 8GB 2400MHz|
|Graphics Card||MSI R9 290 GAMING 4G||SSD||SanDisk Ultra II 240GB SSD|
We use PCMark 8 to help ascertain Gaming performance. The test used measures the performance of the drive while loading real game data for both World of Warcraft and Battlefield 3. In addition to this we will also use ATTO Disk Benchmark to confirm the drives claimed performance levels.
- ATTO Disk Benchmark
For the pure throughput test using ATTO, the SanDisk Ultra II 240GB has an approximate drop of 1% in its 550 MB/s quoted read speed read and gives us a maximum of 546 MB/s, the write speed is actually slightly faster with 510 MB/s giving a 2% increase over the 500 MB/s quoted. How will the SanDisk Ultra II 240GB perform for us Gamers though?
- PCMark 8 Storage Test
|Drive||World of Warcraft (Load Time)||Battlefield 3 (Load Time)|
|Crucial MX100 256GB (SSD)||57.8 s||132.9 s|
|Toshiba HG6 512GB (SSD)||57.8 s||132.9 s|
|SanDisk Ultra II 240GB (SSD)||58.4 s||133.8 s|
|Kingston M.2 120GB||58.5 s||134.0 s|
|Kingston Now 60GB (mSATA)||58.9 s||136.2 s|
|HyperX Fury 120GB (SSD)||58.8 s||136.4 s|
|ADATA mSATA SX300 64GB (SSD)||59.0 s||136.7 s|
|Kingston HyperX Na’Vi Limited Edition 240GB (SSD)||59.2 s||137.6 s||Kingston 200V+ 60GB (SSD)||59.8 s||138.2 s|
|Toshiba MQ01ABD100H||91.6 s||285.0 s|
|Western Digital Black 1TB (HDD)||123.6 s||303.9 s|
The SanDisk Ultra II 240GB, whilst not being the fastest SSD tested here at pcG, puts in a stirling performance. Despite the crown belonging to the Crucial MX100 256GB and Toshiba HG6 512GB, the difference is so small that outside of these figures and in practice, you are very unlikely to notice the difference at all.
The SanDisk Ultra II 240GB also features a software suite in the form of the SanDisk SSD Dashboard (available here). This allows us to monitor the drives performance, schedule TRIM ( or do so manually), update Firmware, use Secure Erase, Sanitize (kinda like an extreme Secure Erase, Crypto Erase, S.M.A.R.T diagnostics or check up drive and system details. Just as handy are the additional featured software, SanDisk have seen fit to include drive cloning software from Apricorn in the form of EZ GIG IV, anti-virus software by way of Titanium AV Plus from Trend Micro and theft recovery software from Absolute Softwares LoJack. What more could you need?
Here we have our first product from SanDisk at pcGameware and it puts up a sterling performance all areas.
The Ultra II offers a nice and simple design that is predominantly black with a rather dominant red SanDisk logo. Rather oddly and unlike other SSDs we’ve seen here at pcG, the SanDisk offering doesn’t feature a full metal case of any kind, instead the SanDisk Ultra II 240GB is encased in a hard black plastic and aluminium combination. Which if I’m honest I really didn’t like at first, thinking that it perhaps lowered the build quality of the SSD somewhat. After a little thought it suddenly struck me (and also pretty obvious with hindsight…) that by doing this, SanDisk have also dropped a hell of a lot of weight making it ideal for any Gaming laptop out there. Whilst the SSD colour scheme will work well in any Gaming rig at all.
The performance as shown on the ATTO test, doesn’t quite match up to the quoted speeds (up to: 550 Read / 500 Write Vs Benchmarked: 546 Read / 510 Write) and the PCMark 8 shows the SanDisk Ultra II 240GB is right up there with the best we’ve tested when it comes down to Game load times, but the reality is that the performance difference is so small that in the real world you’d never notice the difference.
The SanDisk SSD Dashboard software may not be essential, but is certainly a welcome addition and one of the most comprehensive suites I’ve seen with any SSD (it literally contains everything you’ll likely need for a storage device plus more).
The SSD market is highly competitive segment of the PC hardware market. Whilst not being the fastest or cheapest SSD currently available, the SanDisk Ultra II 240GB certainly does enough to hold its ground and even stand out with the additional software. At a current price of £83.15, the Ultra II faces stiff competition from the likes of Crucial with their MX100 series and if asked which one I’d recommend, the choice would come down to a question of aesthetics.
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Many thanks to SanDisk for providing this sample for review