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SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD (1TB)

The vast storage maestro SanDisk, now a skill of Western Digital Corporation (WDC), is jumping into a unexpected prohibited diversion of 3D TLC NAND. That might sound like a nerdiest parlor diversion ever, yet it’s indeed customarily a latest trend in SSD technology—and where a volume sales in a SSD marketplace are moving.

The new Ultra 3D SSD is indeed a same expostulate underlying a parent’s WD Blue 3D NAND SSD (which we are also in a routine of reviewing). It’s sole underneath a SanDisk badge for SanDisk code loyalists, with a dual companies now underneath one practical roof.  If we were flay off any SSD’s outdoor shell, though, you’d find a same core components inside.

SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD (Box)

This new SSD is a SanDisk brand’s initial spin during this new “3D” form of memory, yet it is not SanDisk’s initial indication to make use of TLC NAND. The SanDisk Ultra II we reviewed a while behind used TLC, in a SSD pre-Cambrian epoch of 2015. The 3D accumulation is a new form of TLC NAND flash, though. In an architectural nutshell: The tangible memory cells are built vertically, instead of laid down corresponding like on a prior drive. That allows for space assets and other efficiencies. (Of course, all of this is invisible from a pattern of a expostulate itself.)

Not customarily is a peep built plumb now, yet SanDisk is roving on a heading corner of SSD tech with a 64-layer design. That said, given this is a expostulate formed on budget-minded TLC memory, a Ultra 3D SSD is entrance to marketplace not as a fire-breathing, benchmark-busting flagship expostulate yet rather a midrange, affordable, high-capacity indication targeting home users, PC builders, budget-minded enthusiasts, and business users. This line is fundamentally a step above entry-level SSDs, with some modernized technology, glorious endurance, opposition performance, and an affordable price.

SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD (Side View)

Design Features

Unlike a WD Blue counterpart, a Ultra 3D is available only in a 2.5-inch, 7mm-thick form factor. In contrast, a WD Blue 3D comes in both customary 2.5-inch container and in a newer M.2 “gumstick” format. The good news is that many SSD buyers need a 2.5-inch expostulate in an upgrade, as customarily a newest desktop motherboards and laptops offer support for a M.2 form factor. (Many skinny laptops use M.2 nowadays, yet some-more a emanate is removing inside those laptops to outcome any kind of component-level upgrade.) This will concede a expostulate to be used with any desktop PC on a marketplace with a giveaway SATA port, or in a thicker laptop with an comparison SATA tie and a 2.5-inch expostulate bay, as against to an M.2 slot.

SanDisk offers a Ultra 3D expostulate in 4 capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB. The final is a initial 2TB expostulate offering by SanDisk. It is also a pointer of a times: NAND peep has turn affordable adequate that a association would even consider rising such a ability in a non-enterprise-grade SSD. Such high-capacity drives used to be price-prohibitive and good over $1,000, yet a 2TB expostulate was “only” $549 (the travel price) during a time we wrote this in early Sep 2017.

SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD (Box Contents)

Inside a Ultra 3D is SanDisk’s possess flash, manufactured in a corner growth with Toshiba, total with a Marvell controller. As we wrote in a introduction, this is 3D TLC peep with a 64-layer design, that is a many layers probable given stream technology. Intel, too, customarily expelled a possess 64-layer 3D SSD a brief while ago, so this is literally a unequivocally latest in mainstream-market SSD tech. (See a examination of a Intel SSD 545s Series for some-more on that.)

The Ultra 3D SSD is specified by SanDisk to strike a limit of 560MB per second on consecutive reads, and 530MB per second for consecutive writes, that is right-on for a Serial ATA drive. The fanciful roof on SATA allows for customarily 600MB per second; once we trim off a bit of opening due to over on a channel and other “not in a ideal vacuum” factors, we finish adult with numbers like these. They are common for a late-model SATA drive, in other words.

Like many other TLC drives on a market, a SanDisk Ultra 3D uses what is famous as a “pseudo-SLC” cache, in SanDisk’s parlance called “Ncache 2.0.” This is used to overcome a debility of TLC peep when it comes to write operations, and it mostly works utterly well. The expostulate writes to a “SLC-like” cache first, afterwards when a expostulate is idle, it transfers a information to a peep array instead of essay in real-time from it.

This function helps for smaller information writes (in a area of a few gigabytes), yet if we need to write a hunk of information in one shot that is bigger than a cache, you’ll see opening reduce considerably. This proceed was a deliberate one by SanDisk/WD, as this customarily isn’t a problem for home users; many of them don’t need to write, say, singular hulk 10GB files unequivocally often. The distance of a cache varies, too, and it’s never unequivocally transparent how vast it is during any given time, and it also varies according to how many giveaway space a expostulate has.

One of a intensity categorical advantages of this drive’s 3D NAND pattern is softened endurance. Since a pieces of peep are built plumb instead of side-by-side, they can be a bit incomparable than they would be otherwise, that allows for some-more room to work (and so narrower tolerances necessary) in a design. It also reduces division between cells. This allows for increasing endurance, and on this expostulate a numbers are indeed impressive. According to SanDisk, a 250GB chronicle is good for 100TB of information created to it before it starts to uncover wear (i.e., decommissioning of some of a cells), that no customary user would ever be means to grasp in a drive’s three-year guaranty period. Going adult a scale, a 500GB chronicle can hoop 200TB, a 1TB is rated for 400TB, and a 2TB expostulate is good for 500TB. Unless a drives were deployed in a server situation, with consistent essay by a horde of users, no customary singular user would ever be means to write adequate information to a drives to even approach any of these numbers. So, sufficient it to say, that a endurance, if it’s even tighten to a rated figures, is some-more than ample.

To assistance we conduct your SSD, SanDisk includes a easy SSD Dashboard software, which we lonesome in progressing form in fact in a prior SanDisk SSD review. The module radically lets we check a health of a drive, refurbish a firmware, secure-erase it (the homogeneous of a bureau reset), check out a performance, and entrance support features. It also includes cloning module so we can duplicate your existent expostulate to a Ultra 3D, a good additional that not any SSD builder includes. The download locations come on a little trip that comes with a drive…

SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD (Download Slip)

As distant as pricing goes, given a Ultra 3D SSD uses TLC flash, it’s flattering affordable relations to a market. According to a early Sep 2017 pricing on Amazon, here’s how it breaks down…



That’s assertive pricing, and Amazon has already undercut a central MSRP on this drive, so clearly SanDisk is not messing around in a try to unseat a Samsung SSD 850 EVO as a 2.5-inch TLC expostulate of choice. It’s indeed less costly than a Samsung during both 500GB and 1TB, that is a relations pricing conditions frequency seen, given how opposition Samsung is in this locus and how it can occupy a economies of scale to make life very formidable for a SSD competition.

The Samsung expostulate still has a longer warranty, during 5 years, yet given a high continuation ratings of these 3D NAND drives, that doesn’t seem utterly as vast of an emanate as it was a few years ago. The Samsung expostulate does have an altogether improved ancillary module bundle, too, yet given how intermittently many people indeed entrance SSD application software, that’s also a flattering teenager issue.

The genuine emanate over pricing parity, of course, is performance. Oh, what a ideal segue.

Performance Testing

If you’re new to a universe of solid-state drives, a few things are value observant when it comes to performance. For starters: If you’re upgrading from a customary spinning tough drive, any complicated SSD will be a outrageous improvement, speeding adult foot times and creation programs launch faster. Most of today’s high-end 2.5-inch SSDs make use of a specific interface, SATA 3.0 (also called “6Gbps SATA”), to grasp limit speed contra older, yet still common, SATA 2 ports, that tip out during 300MB per second. We exam all a SSDs on a SATA 3.0-equipped test-bed PC to uncover their full opening abilities. To get a many speed probable from complicated drives, you’ll need a complement with SATA 3.0 capability, as well.

SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD (Angled)

If your complement is formed on a new Intel chipset, after than those ancillary 2nd-Generation “Sandy Bridge” processors (or one of a newer AMD chipsets), your laptop or desktop roughly positively has this interface. Be certain before buying, though. If your complement is creaky and doesn’t have SATA 3.0 support, there’s little indicate in profitable a reward for a expostulate with a limit probable performance. SATA 3.0-capable drives will work customarily excellent with previous-generation SATA ports, and there’s meagre reason to compensate additional for expostulate speed that your complement can’t take advantage of. Any simple stream SSD will work customarily as well, in that SATA 3.0-less scenario.

AS-SSD (Sequential Read Write Speeds)

This exam uses a AS-SSD benchmark utility, that is designed to exam SSDs, as against to normal spinning tough drives. It measures a drive’s ability to review and write vast files. Drive makers mostly quote these speeds as a fanciful limit on a wrapping or in advertising.

Sequential speeds are critical if you’re operative with unequivocally vast files for picture or video editing, or we play lots of games with vast levels that take a prolonged time to bucket with normal tough drives. We secure-erase all SSDs before using this test…

WD Blue 3D SSD (M.2, 1TB) (AS-SSD Sequential Reads)

The review apportionment of this exam isn’t utterly insightful, given SSDs have been means to sate a SATA train for a few years now. So, as we can see, roughly all of a drives perform similarly. The SanDisk expostulate was right in a thick of it with a display of 510MB per second. That’s to be approaching from flattering many any complicated SSD, though, so a SanDisk gets a measure of “pass.”

When it comes to write speeds, things are a bit reduction uniform, and a wheat starts to apart from a chaff…

WD Blue 3D SSD (M.2, 1TB) (AS-SSD Sequential Writes)

As we can see in a chart, yet a SATA train has a limit bandwidth tip of 600MB per second, a fastest expostulate we tested in this lot hit only 500MB per second, and a SanDisk Ultra 3D wasn’t too distant behind that. It’s engaging that a SanDisk expostulate is customarily a little bit forward of a other new entrance in a 64-layer 3D TLC NAND expostulate race, Intel’s SSD 545s drive. This shows that in this test, a peep done by Intel is utterly tighten in opening done by a corner Toshiba/SanDisk fab. Overall, this is a flattering opposition outcome from a SanDisk 3D drive, fixation it adjacent to a Samsung SSD 850 EVO, that also uses 3D TLC NAND.

AS-SSD (4K Read Write Speeds)

This test, also a partial of a SSD-centric AS-SSD benchmark, measures a drive’s ability to trade little files. Often overlooked, 4K performance, utterly 4K write performance, is critical when it comes to foot speed and module launch times.

When booting adult and rising programs, many little files get accessed and edited frequently. The faster your expostulate can write and review these kinds of files (especially energetic couple library, or DLL, files in Windows), a faster your OS will “feel.” Since little files like these get accessed many some-more frequently than vast media or game-level files, a drive’s opening on this exam will have a larger impact on how quick a expostulate feels in bland use.

WD Blue 3D SSD (M.2, 1TB) (AS-SSD 4K Reads)

It’s engaging that a SanDisk expostulate and a WD uncover some illumination between in this test, notwithstanding being a same underneath a skin. Still, a SanDisk landed solidly in a center of a container here, sandwiched between dual entry-level SSDs from Samsung and Crucial, so while it’s not a super-strong showing, it’s about where it should be as a TLC-based drive.

WD Blue 3D SSD (M.2, 1TB) (AS-SSD 4K Writes)

This draft indicates that a infancy of late-model mainstream SSDs are identical when it comes to essay little files. Nine of a 12 drives in a draft were all within 6MB per second of any other, combining a plain line true adult a center of a draft and display opening parity. The SanDisk Ultra 3D is right nearby a tip of this grouping, a good display for this TLC drive. It is interesting, though, once again, how a WD M.2 expostulate was a hold faster.

Anvil’s Storage Utilities

Anvil’s Storage Utilities is, like AS-SSD, an SSD-specific set of drive-benchmarking tests. We’ll news here a Overall Score, that is subsequent from a Read and Write scores with a application using during default settings. (That is, with 100 percent incompressible data.) The expostulate was secure-erased before a exam was run.

WD Blue 3D SSD (M.2, 1TB) (Anvil)

The SanDisk Ultra 3D achieved utterly good in Anvil testing, alighting nearby a tip of a benchmark draft and once again behaving somewhat improved than a 3D TLC opposition from Intel. Its measure of 4,892 was good adequate for fourth-fastest SSD of a lot in this test, despite by a comparatively little domain as several drives are built adult utterly tighten to one another during a tip of a chart. Indeed, in this exam a Ultra 3D is customarily about 150 points behind a fastest expostulate overall, a MLC-based Samsung SSD 850 Pro, roughly within a domain of error. That’s damn good for an affordable SATA SSD. Once again, a WD 3D expostulate was a smidge faster.

Crystal DiskMark (QD32 Testing)

Crystal DiskMark uses incompressible information for testing, that stresses many complicated SSDs utterly a bit given they rest on information application to grasp their limit turn of performance. This sold exam is designed to replicate a duties of an SSD located inside a Web server, as it’s asked to perform a smattering of little reads, 4K in size. While it’s reading these files, a reserve of 32 superb requests is lined adult (a “queue depth” 32 requests deep). That’s customary of a high-volume Web server, that has to perform requests entrance in during a same time from several clients.

WD Blue 3D SSD (M.2, 1TB) (Crystal 4K QD32 Reads)

The SanDisk Ultra 3D once again landed precisely in a center of this chart, display it can hang with a vast boys, if not disintegrate them. It was noticeably closer to a WD Blue 3D this time around, too. In this test, zero can hold Samsung’s multiple of a possess peep and controller, yet a Toshiba/SanDisk peep and Marvell controller came close, so that speaks good of WD’s engineering and firmware.

On to a write test…

WD Blue 3D SSD (M.2, 1TB) (Crystal 4K QD32 Writes)

The SanDisk Ultra 3D and WD Blue 3D aligned here, surprisingly nearby a tip row of a leaderboard in this exhausting benchmark, holding fourth and fifth place respectively. This sold charge is one of a many perfectionist things an SSD can do, so it’s comforting to know that even yet this exam is a bit impractical for a mainstream expostulate (since a consumer will never have a reserve of 32 superb requests), a SanDisk Ultra 3D was adult to a task. Like in a other tests, it’s not a fastest drive, yet adult there close.

PCMark 7 Secondary Storage Test

Our final exam is a PCMark 7 Secondary Storage Test. This holistic hearing simulates bland expostulate accesses in a Windows environment.

WD Blue 3D SSD (M.2, 1TB) (PCMark 7)

This is another one of those tests that gives we a good visible illustration of customarily how tighten complicated SATA SSDs are in real-world performance. Most of this new lot of drives we’ve tested fared likewise in this test, with a SanDisk Ultra 3D blank out on a tip mark by a pardonable margin. That outcome radically means all of these drives are tighten adequate that it’s a tie for bragging rights; they’re all pretty fast, as distant as SATA drives go, and a SanDisk SSD is clearly not a slouch.


More than dual years after a recover of a Samsung SSD 850 EVO array of SSDs, we’re finally starting to see a few challengers to a supremacy, interjection to a adoption of 3D NAND by some of a rivals. This new form of memory has given a business a shot in a arm, as it has lead to new drives with considerable endurance, performance, and ability while also permitting for reduce prices. Though SATA drives are seen as “legacy” inclination these days, due to a age of a customary (and a fact that PCI Express has muscled into a high finish of a market), drives like a SanDisk Ultra 3D (and a WD Blue 3D) are utterly tighten to what we’ve all been seeking for in a SATA-SSD universe for a while now, in terms of performance, endurance, and pricing.

SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD (Drive)

Though a SanDisk Ultra 3D doesn’t indeed disintegrate a Samsung SSD 850 Series on tender opening or warranty, a Ultra 3D is still a plain package and could feasible give a Samsung SSD 850 EVO a run for a money. We’re not awarding it an Editors’ Choice award; it can’t quite compare a Samsung’s expostulate performance, warranty, and software. But for many users it’s not customarily some-more than sufficient, it’s doggone good.

The best partial is if we like a Ultra 3D’s numbers and vitals, yet need it in an M.2 form factor, we can customarily get a WD Blue 3D M.2 version. WD and SanDisk have done a unequivocally plain family of drives with their 64-layer 3D NAND SSDs, so we won’t go wrong with either code if we burst into 3D TLC.


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