Using an SSD (solid state drive) instead of a hard disk drive, at least as a primary unit to install the operating system and the most used programs and games, is the best option to build a PC with good performance, and the 240/250 GiB drives are getting affordable. We tested a low cost SSD, the SanDisk SSD PLUS of 240 GiB. Let’s see how it performs.
The SanDisk SSD PLUS can be found on 120 GiB, 240 GiB, and 480 GiB capacities. The model we tested has 256 GiB total memory, but it is sold as 240 GiB because 16 GiB are reserved for “overprovisioning”.
In our tests, we will compare the performance of the SSD PLUS to the Crucial BX100 and the Corsair Neutron XT, both with similar capacity. However, keep in mind that the Neutron XT is not a direct competitor to the reviewed model, since it is a mainstream model, not an entry one like the SSD PLUS.
Before proceeding, we highly suggest that you read our “Anatomy of SSD Units” tutorial, which provides all the background information you need to know about SSDs.
In the table below, we compared the tested units. All of them use SATA-600 interface and the 2.5” form factor, with 7 mm height.
Prices we researched at Newegg.com on the day this review was published.
* This price refers to the BX200 model, which replaced the BX100.
In the table below, we compared technical specs of the tested drives.
|SanDisk SSD PLUS
|Silicon Motion SM2246XT
|Silicon Motion SM2246EN
|Corsair Neutron XT
|SanDisk SSD PLUS
|256 MB DDR3L-1600 Micron MT41K128M16JT-125 M
|Corsair Neutron XT
|256 MB DDR3-2133 Nanya NT5CB128M16FP-CG
|SanDisk SSD PLUS
|4x 64 GiB SanDisk 05446 064G
|4x 64 GiB Micron NW744
|Corsair Neutron XT
|8x 32 GiB Toshiba TH58TEG8DDKBA8C
[nextpage title=”The SanDisk SSD PLUS 240 GiB”]
Figure 1 shows the small box of the SanDisk SSD PLUS 240 GiB.
Figure 1: box of the SSD PLUS 240 GiB
Inside the box, we found the drive, a manual, a card with info to download a drive copying software, and a frame to stick at the top of the drive to make it mechanically compatible with laptops that require a 9.5 mm drive, since the SSD PLUS is only 7 mm thick.
Figure 2: package contents
The SSD PLUS has a very light plastic case.
Figure 3: the SanDisk SSD PLUS 240 GiB
The bottom cover is also plastic. In this cover is a sticker with the drive information, as seen in Figure 4.
Figure 4: bottom of the drive
The drive can be open with the help of a blade, since its cover is only fitted. Figure 5 shows the SSD PLUS open, unveiling its small PCB. On the solder side, we see only two flash memory chips.
Figure 5: the SSD PLUS open
On the component side, we see the controller chip and two more flash memory chips. There is no dedicated cache memory.
Figure 6: component side of the PCB
The SanDisk SSD PLUS uses a Silicon Motion SM2246XT controller chip.
Figure 7: controller
The NAND flash memory chips are marked as SanDisk. Unfortunately, we did not found more info about those memories.
Figure 8: memory chip
[nextpage title=”How We Tested”] During our testing procedures, we used the configuration listed below. The only variable component between each benchmarking session was the SSD being tested.
- Processor: Core i7-5960X @ 3.5 GHz
- Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty X99 Extreme6/3.1
- Memory: 16 GiB DDR4-2400/PC4-19200, four G.Skill F4-2400C15Q-16GRR 4 GiB modules
- Boot drive: Kingston HyperX Predator 480 GiB
- Video display: Samsung U28D590D
- Power Supply: Corsair CX750
- Case: NZXT Phantom 530
- Operating System: Windows 7 Home Basic 64-bit using NTFS File System
Error Margin We adopted a 3% error margin in our tests, meaning performance differences of less than 3% can not be considered meaningful. Therefore, when the performance difference between two products is less than 3%, we consider them to have similar performance.
[nextpage title=”Compressible Data Test”] As you will have gathered from the previous page, we measured the performance of each drive using CrystalDiskMark.
It is important to note that we connected the SSDs to a SATA-600 port on our motherboard rather than a SATA-300 port, which could cause performance limitations.
First, we set CrystalDiskMark to “All 0x00 Fill mode” to evaluate the performance of the SSD when dealing with compressible data.
On the sequential read benchmark, the SSD PLUS obtained similar performance to the other drives.
On the sequential write benchmark, however, the SSD PLUS performed similarly to the BX100, but was 27% slower than the Neutron XT.
On the read test with 512 kiB blocks, the SanDisk model was 5% slower than the Crucial BX100 and 35% slower than the Neutron XT.
On the write test with 512 kiB blocks, the SSD PLUS was 5% slower than the BX100, and 27% slower than the Corsair Neutron XT.
On the random read test with 4 kiB blocks, the SanDisk SSD PLUS was 25% slower than the Crucial model, and 84% slower than the Corsair Neutron XT.
On the random write test with 4 kiB blocks, the SSD PLUS was 5% faster than the BX100, and presented the same performance of the Neutron XT.
On the random read test with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the SanDisk drive was 33% slower than the Crucial BX100, and 61% slower than the Corsair Neutron XT.
On the random write test with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the SSD PLUS was 19% faster than the BX100, and 8% slower than the Neutron XT.
[nextpage title=”Incompressible Data Test”] For this test, we set CrystalDiskMark to the default mode, which uses incompressible data.
On the sequential read test, all the three models had similar performances.
On the sequential write test, the SSD PLUS was on tie with the BX100, but was 26% slower than the Neutron XT.
On the read test with 512 kiB blocks, SanDisk drive was 15% slower than the Crucial BX100, and 28% slower than the Neutron XT.
On the write test with 512 kiB blocks, the SanDisk SSD PLUS was 5% slower than the BX100, and 27% slower than the Corsair Neutron XT.
On the random read test with 4 kiB blocks, the SSD PLUS was 29% slower than the Crucial model, and 41% slower than the Corsair Neutron XT.
On the random write test with 4 kiB blocks, the SSD PLUS was 6% faster than the BX100, obtaining similar performance to the Neutron XT.
On the random read test with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the SSD PLUS was 36% slower than the Crucial BX100, and 55% slower than the Neutron XT.
On the random write test with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the SanDisk drive had a similar performance to the BX100, but was 23% slower than the Corsair Neutron XT.
When analyzing the results of our benchmarks, it is important to keep in mind that the SanDisk SSD PLUS is a value product and does not compete directly with the Corsair Neutron XT, which is a performance SSD. On the other hand, the Crucial BX100 is also an entry drive, being considered a direct competitor of the tested SanDisk model.
According to the results we found, the SanDisk SSD PLUS 240 GiB performed as expected, showing a high performance on the sequential read tests, but being slower on the random read and write tests. One strong point of the drive is that its performance is the same with compressible and non-compressible data, which means its controller does not rely on data compression to reach higher performances.
It is important to remember, however, that for the average user, even a low cost SSD like the tested model is an excellent overall performance improvement. Replacing a conventional HDD for an SSD as the boot drive dramatically reduces the load time of the operating system, programs, and games. The performance difference between a low-cost SSD and a high-end one is subtle and will be noticed only on certain tasks that use more intensive filesystem usage.
Therefore, being one of the most inexpensive models on the market, the SanDisk SSD PLUS 240 GiB is a great deal, keeping in mind it is an entry product.