Last week, we reviewed the Sandisk Extreme SSD, an older SSD which has already been replaced by the Extreme II, however, we saw that it still performed very well and was one of the cheapest SSDs due to the fact the Extreme II has succeeded it. Today, we have Sandisk’s other SATA3 SSD, the Ultra Plus.

COMPARISONS: We will be running our SSD COMPARISON ARTICLE after all SSDs have been reviewed individually. This comparison will compare all our SSD samples, so, this article will not contain any comparisons with other drives. We hope you return to read our full SSD comparison, to see which drive comes out on top!

As we all know, Sandisk are a very reliable flash memory producer. Many SSDs from other companies utilise NAND chips produced by Sandisk within their drives, and, of course, Sandisk have their own variety of SSDs which use their own NAND. The benefit of this is a reduced cost to the consumer as Sandisk don’t have to pay another company for NAND, they simply make their own and the cost of making the NAND goes to the cost of making the drive, without any third-party profit tacked on.

The Sandisk Ultra Plus uses a Marvel SS889175 controller, which is a version of the SS889174 controller but with lower power consumption (which is one of the key aspects of this drive, making it great for ultrabooks). This drive uses Sandisk’s own 19nm eX2 ABL MLC NAND with the 256GB version of the drive having its capacity split across a tiny FOUR NAND packages, each with eight 8GB dies. Sandisk advertise the 256GB version of the drive as having sequential read speeds of up to 530MB/s and sequential write speeds of up to 445MB/s with random read IOPS of up to 82,000 and random write IOPS of up to 39,000.

Sandisk moved away from their usual black box design, and went for a grey box with white and red text for the Ultra Plus. The SSD itself, as you can see above, is also designed in this colour scheme. As you open the box, you will find the SSD in an anti-static bag, a warranty and installation guide and a padded sticky plastic bracket which just fits the SSD. This appears to be for the purpose of mounting in a tray thicker than the drive itself. Unfortunately, the drive does not contain a case sticker :(

The Ultra Plus is not really designed to be a desktop drive, it is moreso aimed towards notebooks and ultrabooks market, hence the reduced performance in return for power saving. The drive is, of course, in a 7mm form factor and there are two versions, one with a 3.5″ mounting kit and one without. We are reviewing the version WITHOUT a mounting kit which is currently available for the very low price of £124.97 on Amazon UK and $164.99 on Amazon US. This prices the drive at a cost of just under £0.49 per GB and $0.64 per GB which must be the cheapest SSD on the market. I have not seen any other SATA3 SSD from a trusted brand which is that cost effective.

As you can see below, the Sandisk Ultra Plus’ PCB is extremely small, containing, as mentioned, just four NAND packages and the controller on board. This, presumably, is another cost saving and power efficient measure. Sandisk backs this drive with a three year warranty, which you hopefully will not need to use. Since this is a very reasonably priced SSD with a power saving, ultrabook target, a three year warranty is a very fair offering.

Now it’s time for some benchmarks. Again, please not, all comparisons with other drives will be carried out at the end of the feature in our SSD comparison article.

ATTO Disk Benchmarking Tool
ATTO is one of the most trusted and reliable disk benchmarking utilities available. The figures given by ATTO are the most accurate way of identifying the drives maximum capability if it were pushed beyond real-use limits and brought to theoretical maximum performance. Usually, the 8192KB figures are the highest, with the speed dropping going down, however, the Ultra Plus is different, and it increased in the middle and dropped again. For this reason, we’ve included an extra 1024KB test for this SSD.

8192KB Read – 401.72MB/s
8192KB Write – 304.98MB/s

1024KB Read – 524.77MB/s
1024KB Write – 426.69MB/s

32KB Read – 498.12MB/s
32KB Write – 434.77MB/s

CrystalDiskMark is one of my personal favourites in regards to drive benchmarking, as it often gives a very accurate figure as to how your drive will perform if it is pushed to its limit, whereas you usually will not be able to reach the figures provided in ATTO manually. CrystalDiskMark tests sequential speed, as well as a number of random read/write tests for 512K and 4K. The Ultra Plus performs close to its rated speeds, and does extremely well with random transfers. especially considering it has four NAND channels.

Sequential Read – 517.7MB/s
Sequential Write – 429.8MB/s

512K Read – 316.9MB/s
512K Write – 360.2MB/s

4K Read – 37.82MB/s
4K Write – 112.7MB/s

4K QD32 Read – 329.4MB/s
4K QD32 Write – 186.0MB/s

SiSoftware Sandra
SiSoftware Sandra is another tool used by many benchmarkers to see if the drive is consistent across multiple tests in different benchmarking tools. The drive, again, comes very close to both its rated speeds in this test.

Sequential Read – 517.2MB/s
Sequential Write – 401.8MB/s

Looking at all these figures, taking into account the power saving focus and the target towards use in ultrabooks as well as considering the very cheap price, we have to say that the Ultra Plus is an astonishing SSD. The fact is has four NAND channels and just four NAND packages and can perform to this level is outstanding, and the SSD really does impress. The price, performance and power consumption have allowed me to decide that this SSD deserves a GOLD AWARD – this IS the SSD for ultrabooks!