At CES 2017, we had the chance to catch up with Western Digital to check out the updates from their end in the direct-attached storage space. After the acquisition of SanDisk, a consolidation of sorts led us to interacting with G-Technology (from the HGST side) also at the same suite. While G-Technology indicated that they have some announcements lined up for the NAB show in April, SanDisk did launch a couple of interesting products.

The minor product launch was the 256GB version of their Extreme PRO USB flash drive. The high-capacity 'SSD on a flash drive' boasts read and write speeds of 420 MBps and 380 MBps respectively. These are obviously peak numbers. SanDisk wouldn't confirm whether they are MLC or TLC drives, but, they did indicate that the drive does NOT have TRIM support.

The key here is the form factor, with the 256GB version being one of the smallest drives we have seen in that size-class. The drive will be available on Amazon early next month for $130. The CES press release mentioned a MSRP of $180, but, even considering the current flash shortage in the market, it would have been a bit too high for what is likely to be a TLC flash drive with a SLC cache in front.

The more interesting product was the 256GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-I card. It is compliant with the recently-introduced A1 application-class which mandates minimum read and write IOPS. Beyond the usual numbers (reads of up to 95 MBps), the demonstration of the benefits offered by the A1-class card was more impressive. In particular, storage-bound scenarios like game loading times showed a marked improvement.

The card is currently available for $200 on Amazon, a steep price in terms of $/GB, but, something to be expected for this form factor.

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  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Monday, January 23, 2017 - link

    "The minor product launch was the 256GB version of their Extreme PRO USB flash drive. The high-capacity 'SSD on a flash drive' boasts read and write speeds of 420 MBps and 380 MBps respectively. These are obviously peak numbers. SanDisk wouldn't confirm whether they are MLC or TLC drives, but, they did indicate that the drive does NOT have TRIM support."
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    Corsair Voyager GTX $102 @ Newegg or less than $90 when its on sale
    includes Trim Support, 450MB/sec Read Speed and "CONSISTENTLY" high performance

    That's MB/s, not Mb/s
    Reply
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Monday, January 23, 2017 - link

    Sorry, missread MBps
    Thought it said Mbps

    need more coffee
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, January 23, 2017 - link

    Yes, we have reviewed the Voyager GTX before. The Extreme PRO is smaller, though, and can fit into more USB slots easily. Reply
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Monday, January 23, 2017 - link

    "The Extreme PRO is smaller, though, and can fit into more USB slots easily."
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    That's great but GTX fits in all my USB ports

    I can also run GTA-V from the GTX with Windows2Go just fine and it probably boots up faster than the Sandisk for $40 less, even after your price drop next month

    I have Windows 10 to Go on one GTX and Windows 8.1 to Go on another

    Windows2Go v8.1 on the GTX boots in 12 seconds from a 35 Watt 2.6Ghz Dualcore Sandy Bridge

    Without a lower price, consistent performance, a "Fixed Disk" option and Trim, the Sandisk is for someone other than me!

    Might be good for Linux though?
    Reply
  • Zizy - Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - link

    Nah, Voyager doesn't fit when the next port is filled with a similarly large thing. It isn't easy finding fast and small drives. This is a viable product for a niche. I just doubt this niche is really relevant. Reply
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - link

    Even though the Voyager GTX fits all my USB ports, I still use a 12/18 or 24" USB3 extension cable because the GTX is HEAVY, not because it doesn't fit

    Therefore, I don't care if something big is in the next port
    Reply
  • fangdahai - Monday, January 23, 2017 - link

    How's the endurance? I am wondering whether I can host virtual machines there. Reply
  • hojnikb - Monday, January 23, 2017 - link

    if its tlc, then a few 100 p/e Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - link

    I've had a lot of generic flash drives die after as few as 10 P/E's, such as Microcenters house-brand drives (they claim to be Toshiba but the NAND die isn't Toshiba NAND) and an older drive from ADATA failed in my security camera DVR after 1 month from what I can only attribute to overheating from constant small-byte writing. Reply
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Monday, January 23, 2017 - link

    fangdahai
    "How's the endurance? I am wondering whether I can host virtual machines there."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you are referring to the SD card, mostly NO!
    If you load the VM into RAM? Sure
    If you try running Windows2Go directly from the card by using WINtoUSB to boot directly from a Virtual Machine? HELL NO!

    If you meant the Sandisk thumb drive? You should be fine for VMs
    It may still be very slow when running demanding tasks when booting Windows VMs directly from the thumb drive when using WINtoUSB, but other VMs, like Windows XP run fine from older Sandisk extreme thumb drives when loading them in Virtualbox from a Linux Mint installation

    speed of the guest depends each link in the chain

    VMWare Player is slower than Virtualbox

    Linux Host O.S. is less demanding than Windows O.S.

    Demanding tasks will make ALL thumb drives unusable with a Windows host unless they have Trim Control/garbage collection and at least 8GB Ram

    Windows XP Virtual Machines seem VERY fast on older Sandisk Extremes when hosting with Linux Mint and 8GB Ram (Even 4GB works - mostly) but only if the tasks are not too demanding and only with Virtualbox

    VMware Player is much slower and glitchier than Virtualbox

    TEST EVERYTHING!
    Then pick what works for your needs
    Reply

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