SanDisk ships superfast Extreme Pro SSD for gamers

Better read/write speeds mean fewer starts and stops -- and the SSD has a 10 year warranty

SanDisk today unveiled its highest performance and capacity solid-state drive (SSD) designed for gamers and enthusiasts.

The new Extreme Pro SSD is also the first drive to come with a 10-year limited warranty, something SanDisk attributes to its advanced caching software that reduces wear on NAND flash memory.

SanDisk's Extreme Pro SSD.

"We believe our product has the best endurance and reliability to date for our customers," said Philippe Williams, director of marketing for SanDisk.

The 2.5-in. form factor Extreme Pro SSD comes in 240GB, 480GB and 960GB capacities and has top sequential read/write speeds of 550MB/s and 515MB/s. The random read/write speeds are 100,000 and 90,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS).

Prices range from $189 for the 240GB drive to $369 for the 480GB drive to $599 for the 960GB model.

"Every second spent booting up or loading [gaming] levels is wasted game time. Skips and stutters destroy the realistic experience," Williams said.

Williams would not disclose the make of the SSD's controller.

SanDisk's previous SSD for gamers and enthusiasts was the Extreme II SSD. That SSD was released last year and used the SandForce 2000 controller. SandForce, a business unit of LSI, was just acquired by Seagate, a SanDisk competitor.

The Extreme II SSD offered capacities of up to 480GB, so the new Extreme Pro doubles that capacity. The Extreme Pro's predecessor also had markedly lower random read/writes speeds: 95,000 and 75,000 IOPS. SanDisk's Extreme II also came with a more typical 5-year limited warranty. The 480GB model of the previous Extreme II SSD retailed for $530.

Like its predecessor, the new Extreme Pro comes with SanDisk's nCache Pro firmware, a write cache technology that reduces SSD wear by assembling data to be stored in the most efficient manner.

The Extreme Pro also comes with Dashboard Monitor, a drive status and management tool that allows users to monitor drive status and management.

Industry-wide this year, PC hardware and gaming software revenue is projected to exceed $25 billion, and spending on on PC gaming hardware is projected to grow through 2016, according to Williams. That, Williams said, is why SanDisk is focusing hardware development on SSDs that serve the gamers and enthusiasts, such as media content professionals.

"The reliability and durability of this drive also means that critical shots [cutting and editing] don't become casualties of equipment failure," Williams said.

Lucas Mearian covers consumer data storage, consumerization of IT, mobile device management, renewable energy, telematics/car tech and entertainment tech for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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