I've been a PC enthusiast for the
last 30-years and it's great that the industry continues to
change and challenge itself. I remember when floppy discs (these
were the USB drives of the day) went from 720K to 1.4 megabytes
and I thought as a kid... how will I ever be able to fill that!
Then came my first 20MB hard drive and I thought the same thing.
Needless to say, I've soon since
realised that size does matter... to some extent! Fast forward
several years later and the SATA has moved aside for solid-state
drives (SSD) which boast exceptional speeds and performance but
unlike the giant sizes of SATA drives, the SSD are still
relatively small and still pricey.
Coming in a variety of sizes,
SanDisk have allowed Impulse Gamer to review their latest
technological release, the Ultra Plus 256GB SSD which not only
supports the SATA Revision version 3.0 but uses a considerable
amount of less power (0.12w) than traditional SATA or IDE drives
and best of all, offers superior boot up and shut down speeds.
Even though the review unit was just 256GB, it is the perfect
the drive to hold your operating system and programs that you
want loaded <insert pun> in a flash.
In terms of contents, this package
comes with the drive itself, a manual and a spacer. Users can
also download the free SSD Toolkit application from SanDisk
which monitors your drive and allows users to update the
firmware if and when available. The drive also supports advanced
Flash Management which includes three types of cache,
I'm always amazed at notebook
versions of SSD drives as they are extremely lightweight with
this unit weighing in at only 36grams. The drive also measures
at (give or take) 100 x 70 x 7.0 millimetres which is almost
non-existent when it comes to hard drives.
7mm-thick, 2.5-inch standard
SATA 3 (6Gbps), SATA 2, SATA
64GB, 128GB, 256GB
7mm-thick, 2.5-inch standard
Capacity of test unit
Marvell SS889175 (6Gbps
SATA/NAND combo controller)
Flash memory type
SanDisk 19nm eX2 ABL MLC
Windows, Mac, Linux
up to 530MB/s
up to 445MB/s
In terms of specifications, the
drive supports the Marvell SS889175 Controller which supports
6Gbps and uses 19nm Flash technology. With that said, the drive
is backward compatible with other SATA formats but you really
want SATA 3 to get the speeds this drive is created for.
The unit supports three operating
systems (we tested the unit with Windows 8) and when formatted
gives the user around 240GB of space to use. The remainder of
the space is used by the drive itself. Another highlight
which is ideal for notebooks is that the drive's shock
resistance is 1500G@0.5m/s and can run it at temperatures of up
to 70 degrees Celsius.
When installed in our test system
with Windows 8, the drive was extremely fast in terms of
boot-up. The Ultra Plus booted at 10.3 seconds and shut down our
system at 3.2 seconds. In terms of general use, applications
loaded faster, images displayed quicker, including games. We
tested World of Warcraft which actually reduced the loading time
of the game by 3 seconds, giving it a new time of 5 seconds.
Skyrim loaded the game in 8 seconds which is actually quite fast
considering the graphical intensity of this game.
With benchmarking, we used ATTO as
the primary program which had a maximum read speed of 530.23MB/s
and a write speed of 443.23MB/s. CrystalDiskMark (4K QD32
Performance) rated the drive at 308.2MB/s (write) with a read
speed of 192.2MB/s. However its sequential speeds were at 519.3
(write) and 454.3 (read) that is very impressive for a drive of
The SanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB SSD
may not be the fastest drive on the block but it still produces
some rather impressive results. We found the drive online for
$199AUD (March 2013) which makes it quite an affordable drive
when compared to its competitors.
Benchmarks are just that...
benchmarks and when it came to real-world testing such as Adobe
Photoshop, Microsoft Office, Surfing the Net and Playing Games,
the UltraPlus drive won on all fronts. We were also quite
impressed by the boot-up speed of Windows 8. Add in a 3-year
warranty and we could happily recommend this drive to anyone who
is looking at an affordable upgrade.
& SATA Revision