It is a busy day in the client SSD space as earlier today AMD announced the company's first SSD, the R7, and now SanDisk is releasing the Ultra II to the mainstream market. The Ultra II is based on SanDisk's second generation 19nm TLC NAND, which means that the Ultra II is the first non-Samsung SSD to ship with TLC NAND. We have covered TLC NAND several times already, but in short TLC NAND provides lower cost at the cost of performance and endurance, making it a feasible option for value drives.

Similar to SanDisk's other client drives, the Ultra II is based on the Marvell 88SS9187 platform. SanDisk's expertise lies in the firmware development and NAND know-how, which has generally given them an advantage over other Marvell based solutions. 

SanDisk Ultra II Specifications
  120GB 240GB 480GB 960GB
Controller Marvell 88SS9187
NAND SanDisk 2nd Gen 19nm TLC
Sequential Read 550MB/s 550MB/s 550MB/s 550MB/s
Sequential Write 500MB/s 500MB/s 500MB/s 500MB/s
4KB Random Read 81K IOPS 91K IOPS 98K IOPS 99K IOPS
4KB Random Write 80K IOPS 83K IOPS 83K IOPS 83K IOPS
Warranty Three years
Price $80 $115 $220 $430

Unfortunately I do not have the full spec sheet yet, so I have to go by the limited details listed in the press release, but I will be updating the table with more specs as soon as I get them. Update: Full specs added.

The Ultra II utilizes SanDisk's nCache 2.0 technology, which operates a portion of the NAND in SLC mode to increase performance and improve reliability. As a result, the Ultra II is able to achieve write speeds of up to 500MB/s even at the lowest capacity, although it should be kept in mind that this is peak performance -- as soon as the SLC buffer is full write speeds will drop quite dramatically. 

SanDisk is also bringing a new version of its SSD Dashboard along with the Ultra II. The new version features support for 17 difference languages and includes "Live Chat" in case the user has any questions about the Dashboard or SSD. Additionally, SanDisk is including cloning and antivirus features via third party software (Apricorn's EZ GIG IV for cloning, Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus+ for malware) with the goal of helping users to transition from a hard drive to an SSD. Combining antivirus with the SSD Dashboard might seem a bit odd but it actually makes sense. When you are about to clone your Windows install to a new SSD, the first thing you should do is a run an antivirus scan to make sure that no malware will be transferred through cloning because malware can ruin the faster user experience that an SSD provides.

Samsung certainly set the bar high with the SSD 840 and 840 EVO, so it will be interesting to see how SanDisk can match that. Pricing is very competitive with the 840 EVO and Crucial MX100, so as long as SanDisk has been able master the firmware for TLC the Ultra II should a viable option for value oriented consumers. The Ultra II will be available next month and we are scheduled to get review samples within the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for the full review!

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  • jjj - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    Sandisk has been by far the biggest maker of TLC for a while now, just in cards and flash drives not SSD. So maybe they managed to do a good job here too.
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    Wow, they actually made the TLC good enugh for SSD use. I remember you reported a while back, that 2nd gen TLC isn't quite ready for SSD use (Only few 100 p/e). Guess that changed.

    I also wonder what kind of write speeds thins thing call pull off when SLC cache runs out.
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link


    Damn anandtech, come to 21st cent. and GIVE US THE EDIT OPTION.
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    It's also possible that SanDisk/Toshiba is keeping the best quality TLC to themselves, which would explain why some OEMs mentioned that A19nm is only good for 300-500 P/E cycles because that is the stuff they are getting.
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    Yeah that is entirely possible. Well, either way, i would love to see some endurance ratings (not that it matter to a consumer anyway).
  • jabber - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    To be honest the average Joe/Corporate user who is used to running daily off an old 250GB rust spinner pushing 60MBps would be thrilled with a SSD running at just 250MBps Read/Write and 0.1MS access times.

    If they were pumping out such drives at 240GB for say $70 I'd be buying in bulk.
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    Well, for a 70$ mark we'll have to wait a bit for the process to mature, so it costs less to make. Or for 3D nand to become a thing for mainstream drives aswell.

    Either way, you can already get as of right now a 240GB ssd for 95$ (newegg -- v300).
  • beginner99 - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    I have a 512 GB ssd in my work laptop! :P But yeah top speed doesn't matter really. Such a modern ssd is nice to have even on SATA-II
  • isa - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    Still impatiently waiting for a mainstream laptop that has native PCIe NMVe M.2 SSD slot(s) - do we need to wait for Broadwell-H next July or so, or will such laptops be available sooner? If I've followed the news accurately, PCIe NMVe M.2 SSDs will be available around December this year.
  • extide - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    You will likely have to wait, as the OEM's typically wait for new chips from Intel before they redesign their lineup.

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