SanDisk Extreme 120GB SSD Review

By on August 2, 2012
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A solid performer by SanDisk.

Good: Fast speeds for 120GB drive and good price/performance ratio.
Bad: Cumbersome firmware upgrade and packaging doesn't come with 3.5" bracket.
Price: AED 550
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

When you hear the name SanDisk, USB drives, SD cards and CF cards comes to mind. However, given that all these products are flash memory based, it’s surprising that SanDisk didn’t enter the SSD market sooner.


Finally today we have our hands on the new SanDisk Extreme solid state drive; our particular test unit comes in the 120GB capacity. Combined with the SandForce SF-2281 controller, we expect this SATA 3 (6Gbps) drive to perform spectacularly.

The SanDisk SSDs are one of the cheaper options in the market, still it would have been nice if the packaging included something more than just the drive and a SanDisk SSD branded sticker. I guess the cost savings are applied directly to the product itself.

Once plugged in, our SanDisk Extreme 120GB drive showed an impressive 117GB of available space after formatting it for the first time. Updating it from the existing R112 to R201 firmware required the SSD Toolkit to be installed, which then downloaded and created a bootable USB (or CD) for the firmware update to be done. An archaic way to do things, but it had to be done. Now let’s see how it performs.

Benchmarking Testbed

For testing the SanDisk Extreme 120GB SSD, the below setup was used.


I have used ATTO Disk Benchmark to get the sequential read and write speeds and Crystal Diskmark for 4K speeds.

PCMark 7

The PCMark 7 Storage benchmarks are some of the most stressing tests designed for modern hard drives and solid state drives. There are a number of tests performed, focusing on different aspects of the drive and eventually churn out a score based on the overall performance of the drive. Below I have shown the total PCMark 7 storage score for multiple hard drives and SSDs.


The SanDisk Extreme 120GB is a very versatile and capable performer, with some surprisingly fast speeds for a 120GB drive. While it suffers in the 4K read and write speeds a little, we found that in daily usage everything went just as smoothly as in our testbed Kingston 240GB HyperX SSD, as was proven with the PCMark 7 overall usability benchmark. The price is almost right, and it’s only a matter of time before the price goes down even further so SanDisk can remain competitive against other SSD manufacturers.


From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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