Sandisk has released the third version of its award-winning extreme portable hard drive, which has a special orange loop carabiner. Confusing looks exactly the same as other Extreme products, original Extreme Portable and original Extreme Pro Portable. The model we got is an Extreme Pro Portable SSD v2 (SDSSDE81-1T00-G25) with a capacity of 1TB and a USB 3.2 Gen2x2 interface, which makes it, in theory, the fastest robust USB storage to date.
Price and availability
The original Extreme Portable SSD is still available for sale; the The 1TB and 2TB models cost $ 130 and $ 230, respectively respectively. As fast as possible Extreme Pro Portable (v1) retails for $ 180 and $ 330 while appropriate v2 units sell for $ 230 and $ 350 respectively.
Design and features
Not surprisingly, the Extreme Pro uses the same form and material factor as the Extreme and Extreme Pro. The designers used a combination of a forged aluminum case and a silicone shell to offer what Sandisk calls “a superior feel with added protection.” The textured leather gives it a sporty look, while the case acts like a heat sink to dissipate the heat generated by the internal components.
The drive is, like its predecessors, rated IP55 and can withstand a drop of 2 m; there is a metal loop for a carabiner to fasten a belt or backpack. Unlike some rivals, it does not offer a cover to protect the exposed port, so it is unlikely to survive if thrown into the water.
It is portable without being small; its physical dimensions (57 x 110 x 10 mm) and weight (85 g) make it relatively compact to carry around. Note that it comes with two 30 cm USB cables, not with a cable and adapter as in the 2018 drive iteration; one has a Type-C end, the other a Type-A connector.
Hardware and performance
The NVMe drive is based on a pair of ASMedia ASM2364 / SanDisk 20-82-007011 bridges / controllers and uses SanDisk BiCS 4 96L 3D TLC NAND.
The Extreme Portable Pro SSD comes pre-formatted as an exFAT device, which means it can run on Windows and Mac computers. Reformatting the NTFS file system will limit compatibility to Windows, but will enable TRIM that will improve drive longevity.
Here’s how the Sandisk Extreme Pro V2 portable SSD performed in our series of reference tests:
CrystalDiskMark: 1052MBps (read); 1034MBps (writing)
Atto: 1006MBps (read, 256mb); 994MBps (write, 256mb)
AS SSD: 873MBps (further reading); 821MBps (further writing)
AND I: 812MBps (read); 832MBps (writing)
You must have a compatible host device to get the most out of this Extreme Pro v2. Unfortunately, we had nothing on hand to test the claimed performance. We doubt that many potential buyers will buy the drive and expect read / write speeds of up to 2 GBps (according to the numbers on the box).
They’ll be lucky enough to reach as much as 55% of that number, which is a bit ahead of Extreme Pro Portable (v1) and could explain the relatively modest price premium between them (remember, that’s only $ 20 for a 2TB model).
We tested the external portable SSD Sandisk Extreme Pro 1TB using a Dell Latitude 7490 a business laptop equipped with a Thunderbolt 3 port. Note that Extreme pro Portable SSD v2 includes support for hardware encryption via the Sandisk SecureAccess application.
Our tests show that the Sandisk Extreme Pro V2 works just like the current USB 3.2 Gen 2 drives and that’s no surprise. For example, CrystalDiskMark has hit more than 1 GBps at continuous read and write speeds using the default settings.
Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q ($ 200 for 1TB, $ 350 for 2TB) may not be a USB 3.2 Gen2x2 drive, but its Thunderbolt 3 interface means it can achieve much higher speeds than the Extreme Pro V2 if you have a compatible port. Fortunately, many high-end laptops and PCs come with this port and are likely to grow in popularity thanks to the fact that Intel has opened up the platform, reducing adoption costs and offering a more standardized approach to data transfer. It is not rough, compact or waterproof.
The WD_Black 1TB P50 shares some of the internal parts as well as Sandisk Extreme Pro V2 because they are part of the same company but uses more premium SanDisk BiCS 3 64L 3D TLC NAND. It has an industrial feel thanks to a carefully chosen design that WD says players will like. It costs the same price as the aforementioned Sabrent and is therefore cheaper than the Extreme Pro.
Extreme Pro will appeal to a certain niche that craves speed and wants something that is portable and can withstand more than a few bumps. It comes with a five-year warranty, and its size and weight will make it a favorite storage companion, especially with hardware encryption.
But there is a problem; although there are plenty of additional cards (and a handful of motherboards) that support the technology, we are not aware of any laptops, desktops or docks that offer a USB 3.2 Gen2x2 port. This is poorly compared to the tens of millions of devices that are originally compatible with Thunderbolt 3. The size of the addressable market is probably several orders of magnitude larger.
You are left with a puzzle: buy a storage device that promises to be extremely fast, but only under certain circumstances, or get one of the many robust USB 3.2 Gen 2 drives that are available for much less, but will work with many more devices.