Before we embark on long-term endurance testing on the drive, we take a quck look at the latest market entrant from Sandisk which uses a Marvell 88SS9175 controller and 19nm MLC NAND.
In a bid to increase storage densities and performance, deep pocketed companies with fabs like Intel and Sandisk are investing in newfangled NAND technologies and controllers to drive the NAND chips used in the latest SSDs. These require months to years of stringent validation before they can be deployed.
Thanks to Samsung's and OCZ's aggressive retail pricing initiatives for their offerings, SSDs are no longer prohibitively expensive and have finally reached levels that are competitive with regular mechanical drives.
Depending on which territory you get the drive from, the pricing of the Sandisk Ultra Plus SSD can either be considered reasonable or borderline expensive. For example in the USA market, the 256GB model costs just USD$220 (or $0.85/GB) which positions it at the lower-middle tier of the market. In Singapore, the corresponding MSRP is a whopping SGD$360 (or $1.40/GB), placing it in the same league as premium drives like Intel 520 and just a notch below the current king of the hill OCZ Vector.
To take a look at the innards of the drive, one must tear open the white label sticker (which instantly voids the warranty) to access the screws holding the casing together.
Inside, we see a relatively small PCB occupying just a fraction of the usable space. The four Sandisk branded chips (two on each side) are the company's own 19nm eX2 ABL 64GB MLC NAND, which are flanked by a Marvell SS889175 6Gbps SATA/NAND controller and 128GB Samsung DDR2 DRAM cache. Although the effective number of flash write cycles was not disclosed, total MTBF is rated at a purported two million hours and the company offers a 3-year limited warranty.