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  1. #1
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    SSD Choices: SanDisk vs. Samsung

    I've recently been taking a look at SSD's. Two which especially caught my attention were offerings from SanDisk and Samsung.

    SanDisk Extreme II 240 GB SATA 6.0 Gbs 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SDSSDXP-240G-G25

    SAMSUNG 840 Pro Series MZ-7PD256BW 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

    I discovered that "Hard OCP" gave the SanDisk a mighty favorable review, while "SSD Review" seemed to fancy the Samsung.

    Can you think of a good reason(s) why I would opt for one over the other, or alternatively otherwise? I can imagine CLiNT might also have some really good input on this. I can say that I have enjoyed nothing but good luck with SanDisk products, and though Samsung makes some incredible performing stuff, I have had rotten luck with their reliability.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    In terms of SSD reliability alone, Intel, Crucial, Samsung and, probably, Plextor are tops.

    I would buy the Samsung, no question.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I'm rather partial to most any favorable review from Hard OCP.
    They tend to put their hardware through it's paces, both methodically and consistently, in all their reviews.

    The Bottom Line
    The SanDisk Extreme II is a solid entrant from a respected OEM with its own NAND foundry. Years of experience in the OEM market infers a focus on reliability, and the five-year warranty backs it up. This is a great warranty period for the new SSDs with smaller NAND. Many manufacturers have gone to lower warranty periods with the new NAND geometries.

    One aspect of the tightening SSD market is the expectation for a company to be there to honor the warranty. Many of the manufacturers without foundries will exit the market in the coming year or two. SanDisk, in concert with Toshiba, produces half of the world's NAND output. Punching out over 2 million flash products per day is mind boggling, and something that should guarantee their long term presence in the market.

    The performance of the Extreme II with its Marvell controller and SanDisk custom firmware is excellent. The only dark spot was steady state trace-based performance in PCMark Vantage, but we would expect this to be ironed out as the SSD matures. All other tests indicate that the Extreme II is a top three contender for the enthusiast dollar. For good performance, a great warranty period, and a software tool that eases the management of the SSD, we give the SanDisk Extreme II the Silver [H]ardOCP Editor's Choice Award.
    I'd choose the SanDisk
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  4. #4
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    Thank you, gentlemen... that really does help. I have a first generation SD extreme (still unused) with which I thought to upgrade the 5400 rpm spinner in my laptop. Thus, I can look to get some sort of new generation SSD for my yet-to-assemble desktop.
    Last edited by Gerard3; 2013-08-02 at 05:37.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Either one you decide on, the five year warranty ought to keep you covered.
    I like to keep an extra SSD on hand, it need not be an expensive one, in the event the primary takes a dump.
    I have had at least one incident with an SSD so far where this arrangement was needed.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    Either one you decide on, the five year warranty ought to keep you covered.
    I like to keep an extra SSD on hand, it need not be an expensive one, in the event the primary takes a dump.
    I have had at least one incident with an SSD so far where this arrangement was needed.
    Since neither brand seems to enjoy a significant performance advantage over the other, I think I'll stick with SanDisk, just because I have had much better luck with their products than the Samsung. Your advice about a backup SSD sounds prudent to me.

  7. #7
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    I have bought 3 SSDs over the last couple of years for use in my main PC. The first was a Crucial m4 64GB. I found it good for the first few months then I experienced the occasional lockup which it always recovered from with a power down and was back online in a minute or so. The drive became rather full so I then got a SanDisk SSDP-128G and I cloned my existing system to it using Macrium Reflect. This took about 20 minutes all together to be up and running again including expanding the partition into the full space. At this time I decided to move the swap space onto my HDD. The SanDisk has performed flawlessly since 9th March until I decided to replace it with a Sandisk 256GB Ultra Plus on 19th July as I had nearly filled the 128GB. My SSDs get worked fairly hard with testing software and production of presentations and I have never had a failed SanDisk NAND product out of the 25 or 30 I have purchased over the past few years. I suspect that the Intel 256GB is using the SanDisk chip with the Marvel controller although I have not looked inside, if so it is probably the same performance and reliability as the SanDisk Extreme II.
    Expert help is less costly than inexpert help

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    One thing you should definitely check before buying an SSD is how thick your existing hard drive is. Yes, seriously. The old standard was 9mm thick, but over the last few years a slimmer 7mm standard has emerged. If you get one that's too thick and it won't fit .... you're gonna hate yourself!

    The other point to consider is that the usable capacity of most SSDs is less than the advertised capacity. I'll skip the long-winded explanation and just tell you that a 240GB SSD has around 223GB usable capacity according to Windows. I wouldn't base my buying decision based on one model having a bit more usable capacity than another model, but it's good to know before you spend your money.

    We have two Sandisk SSDs. The first one we got was the Sandisk Ultra 120GB a SATA II model (with 111GB usable). Using the famous (and equally infamous) Sandforce 1200-series controller, Sandisk came late to market after long-term testing to avoid a variety of bugs that badly affected other brands (the most notorious of which was, without a doubt,OCZ). Our Sandisk Ultra 120 has been in daily use for about 2 years or so and has been entirely problem-free.

    The second one we bought was a Sandisk Extreme 240GB (SATA III). It's been in heavy use every day and is over 52% full, yet still maintains close to as-new performance (SSD Write speed can slow down as they fill up - some more than others, it seems!) Now, here's an interesting point. Even though there was yet another Sandforce controller bug which caused TRIM to not work over time in some systems, most Sandisk users had no problem. This is because Sandisk also incorporated a similar TRIM-like feature known simply as "garbage collection". All it needed was for your computer to have some idle time sometime during the day and it took care of erasing data blocks of deleted files just like TRIM would do if it was working. (Garbage collection is probably there to maintain performance in Windows XP which doesn't have TRIM at all.) This is another design factor that shows the care taken by Sandisk. They released a firmware update (called R211) which fixed the TRIM issue. Compare that to some brands that rush a new design to market then issue firmware updates month after month after month to deal with a string of shortcomings their guinea pigs - er, excuse me - their customers have found. Also worth a mention, Sandisk has their own NAND memory factory so they don't have to buy chips from a third party. Every little bit helps.

    We also have three earlier generation Kingston SSDs. The two 96GB models have been solidly reliable and one is still in daily use. The 64GB model was glitch-free until we noticed a major slowdown in Write speed after about a year. Kingston quickly replaced it with an updated version which has worked great.

    Also, we have an Intel X25-M 80GB SATA II SSD which we got on sale for $39.99 - yes, 80GB for $40 !! When we installed it in a six year-old Intel Socket 775 motherboard with an Intel Core2Duo processor, it was not recognised at all. The computer just didn't admit it was there. Weird. However, as soon as we tried it in two other newer computers it worked perfectly. Go figure. OK, it was an early Intel model and a budget price motherboard. Today, compatibility is nearly universal ..... but there's always that skinny 7mm space in some laptops that won't accept a 9mm thick drive .... so watch it!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by greytech View Post
    I have bought 3 SSDs over the last couple of years for use in my main PC. The first was a Crucial m4 64GB. I found it good for the first few months then I experienced the occasional lockup which it always recovered from with a power down and was back online in a minute or so. The drive became rather full so I then got a SanDisk SSDP-128G and I cloned my existing system to it using Macrium Reflect. This took about 20 minutes all together to be up and running again including expanding the partition into the full space. At this time I decided to move the swap space onto my HDD. The SanDisk has performed flawlessly since 9th March until I decided to replace it with a Sandisk 256GB Ultra Plus on 19th July as I had nearly filled the 128GB. My SSDs get worked fairly hard with testing software and production of presentations and I have never had a failed SanDisk NAND product out of the 25 or 30 I have purchased over the past few years. I suspect that the Intel 256GB is using the SanDisk chip with the Marvel controller although I have not looked inside, if so it is probably the same performance and reliability as the SanDisk Extreme II.
    Thank you kindly for your reassuring testimony, Greytech. (I like your signature)!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by starvinmarvin View Post
    One thing you should definitely check before buying an SSD is how thick your existing hard drive is. Yes, seriously. The old standard was 9mm thick, but over the last few years a slimmer 7mm standard has emerged. If you get one that's too thick and it won't fit .... you're gonna hate yourself!

    The other point to consider is that the usable capacity of most SSDs is less than the advertised capacity. I'll skip the long-winded explanation and just tell you that a 240GB SSD has around 223GB usable capacity according to Windows. I wouldn't base my buying decision based on one model having a bit more usable capacity than another model, but it's good to know before you spend your money.

    We have two Sandisk SSDs. The first one we got was the Sandisk Ultra 120GB a SATA II model (with 111GB usable). Using the famous (and equally infamous) Sandforce 1200-series controller, Sandisk came late to market after long-term testing to avoid a variety of bugs that badly affected other brands (the most notorious of which was, without a doubt,OCZ). Our Sandisk Ultra 120 has been in daily use for about 2 years or so and has been entirely problem-free.

    The second one we bought was a Sandisk Extreme 240GB (SATA III). It's been in heavy use every day and is over 52% full, yet still maintains close to as-new performance (SSD Write speed can slow down as they fill up - some more than others, it seems!) Now, here's an interesting point. Even though there was yet another Sandforce controller bug which caused TRIM to not work over time in some systems, most Sandisk users had no problem. This is because Sandisk also incorporated a similar TRIM-like feature known simply as "garbage collection". All it needed was for your computer to have some idle time sometime during the day and it took care of erasing data blocks of deleted files just like TRIM would do if it was working. (Garbage collection is probably there to maintain performance in Windows XP which doesn't have TRIM at all.) This is another design factor that shows the care taken by Sandisk. They released a firmware update (called R211) which fixed the TRIM issue. Compare that to some brands that rush a new design to market then issue firmware updates month after month after month to deal with a string of shortcomings their guinea pigs - er, excuse me - their customers have found. Also worth a mention, Sandisk has their own NAND memory factory so they don't have to buy chips from a third party. Every little bit helps.

    We also have three earlier generation Kingston SSDs. The two 96GB models have been solidly reliable and one is still in daily use. The 64GB model was glitch-free until we noticed a major slowdown in Write speed after about a year. Kingston quickly replaced it with an updated version which has worked great.

    Also, we have an Intel X25-M 80GB SATA II SSD which we got on sale for $39.99 - yes, 80GB for $40 !! When we installed it in a six year-old Intel Socket 775 motherboard with an Intel Core2Duo processor, it was not recognised at all. The computer just didn't admit it was there. Weird. However, as soon as we tried it in two other newer computers it worked perfectly. Go figure. OK, it was an early Intel model and a budget price motherboard. Today, compatibility is nearly universal ..... but there's always that skinny 7mm space in some laptops that won't accept a 9mm thick drive .... so watch it!
    Most interesting post Starvinmarvin, thank you. I hear you about the 7 mm. Quite recently, I got to try to do a drive swap in a notebook, and realized that 7 mm (which is what the SanDisk is of course) was indeed the practical limit.

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