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4D SSD Watch: SandDisk Enters, Intel Refunds, Apple Being Apple

by Josh Fletcher

The consumer SSD space is evolving at quite a rapid pace, so I've decided it might be useful to the 4D community to try to do a regular series of updates as I come across interesting SDD news items. I'm calling it the "4D SSD Watch". I'm also a huge advocate for the switch to flash storage, so I do this not because I think I'm an expert but, rather, because I'm trying to keep a close eye on this stuff. For this update I'm looking at three important items:


  • SanDisk, purveyor of all things flash (except SSD's until now) has made a rather strong entry into the consumer SSD market.
  • Intel has discovered a non-fixable flaw with their series 520 SSD's and is offering a full refund on the drives.
  • Apple continues its proprietary ways with yet another non-starndard SSD configuration in the new MacBook Pro.





To be honest it's a bit of a shock that SanDisk has taken this long to become a player in the consumer SSD space. True they had the Ultra SSD line but it just didn't compete all what well. Thankfully this is no longer the case. The new SanDisk Extreme SSD line is quite amazing for a couple of reasons:


  • They are easily comparable in performance to the best consumer SSD's (Intel, Samsung, OCZ, et. al.).
  • They are priced extremely competitively (even at launch they were cheap).


SanDisk has some real advantages in this space because they have a huge catalog of NAND knowhow (and they make they're own!). SanDisk is legendary for its SD card performance and appears to want to continue that trend with the Extreme SSD's. I definitely welcome them as a player!


There's a great review of the Sandisk Extreme SSD's at



This week Intel announced that they'd discovered a hardware flaw in the SSD 520 Series drives. The problem lies in the SandForce controller, which apparently fails to properly implement AES 256-bit encryption. This problem is not fixable via firmware so, if AES 256 encryption is important to you, Intel is offering a full refund for drives purchased prior to July 1, 2012.


Thanks to for reporting this.


Read more about the return program on Intel's site.



Unless you live under a rock, or abhor Apple, you probably know an updated MacBook Pro line was announced this week at WWDC. Of particular note is that the latest MacBook Pro with Retina display is also the least serviceable Apple laptop ever. In particular Apple has introduced yet another proprietary flash storage connection (they've had two non-standard connectors already). First impressions are that drive replacements will be difficult, though not impossible. The moral of the story seems to be if you want more flash storage, purchase it at checkout.


The good news is that Apple's upgrade price to go from 500 GB to 768 GB of flash storage is a fairly reasonable $500. To put that into perspective a consumer-level 1 TB SSD from OCZ costs around $2,500 on the low end (versus $350-$650 for a 512 GB drive from Intel, Samsung, Crucial, OCZ, et. al.).  The 768 GB price point doesn't really exist (the oddball size is the result of the drive's form factor) so I can't make a direct comparison but SSD pricing never increases linearly with size so Apple has done well here.


See iFixIt's full teardown of the new MacBook Pro here as well as an opinion piece by the site's founder about what the new MacBook Pro might mean for us.


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