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SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro USB 3.0 Flash Drive (SDCZ88-128G-G46)
SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro USB 3.0 Flash Drive (SDCZ88-128G-G46)
Price: $144.99
8 used & new from $133.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Astoundingly fast, April 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have blown all kinds of cash on so-called "fast" storage devices--SCSI hard drives, FireWire hard drives, a RAID array, an eSATA hard drive, and SSDs. I own an external, platter-drive USB 3.0 drive, too. But none of these devices can touch the performance of the SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB. (Okay, perhaps the SSDs, but they aren't external).

I tested the Extreme Pro using a five-year-old Windows 7 workstation, which has an SSD and a three-drive RAID array--and USB 2.0 ports. I began by attempting to copy an 86GB folder of GoPro video files--and then canceled that, because it was going to take an hour to complete. Instead, I transferred one 20.2GB file from the RAID array to the Extreme Pro; that took 15 minutes (~21MBps). Before I began, I had to reformat the Extreme Pro using exFAT; the drive comes formatted as FAT32, which won't take any files over 4GB. (Formatting is very quick--a few seconds).

I then took the Extreme Pro over to my wife's Lenovo Yoga 13 Windows 8 laptop, which has an SSD and a USB 3.0 port. The same 20.2GB file took 1:30 to write to the laptop (~224MBps), and then 1:46 to read back to Extreme Pro (~190MBps). For kicks, I reformatted the Extreme Pro with NTFS. The speed was nearly the same: 1:26 to write to the laptop (~234MBps), and 1:45 to read back to the Extreme Pro (~192MBps). Those transfer rates really aren't that far off from SanDisk's claimed speeds, but then again, a single, uncompressed file puts the drive in the best light possible. The drive did get a little warm--not hot--during its workout. Nothing I found alarming, though.

This kind of speed is relatively new; in the past, as new interfaces have become available, the devices that have used them often haven't been able to take advantage of those interfaces. Note that platter-based USB 3.0 drives don't really offer stupendous performance, because they rely on those old platters. But this is the total package--gobs of capacity (for a flash drive), amazing performance, and tiny size.

So, the Extreme Pro 128GB really is impressive--so much so that I find myself rethinking how I use flash drives. True, it doesn't have the capacity of a platter drive or even a moderately sized SSD, so it won't serve as a backup device. But it does give me much more flexibility when transferring files from computer to computer (because my old workstation is about to get a new USB 3.0 expansion card).

Oreck Magnesium RS Swivel-Steering Bagged Upright Vacuum, LW1500RS
Oreck Magnesium RS Swivel-Steering Bagged Upright Vacuum, LW1500RS
Price: $499.99
3 used & new from $499.99

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kid-tested and (somewhat) kid-approved, March 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We owned a cheapo Eureka vacuum cleaner for several years; it's big, it's incredibly heavy, and it made me grumpy every time I have to use it. Forget about getting the kids to use it; I don't need them to be grumpy, too. But the Oreck Magnesium RS presents a possible solution: At, oh, a third the weight of the !@#$@#% Eureka vacuum, even the kids can get in on the action, and keep a smile on everyone's faces. For a few minutes, that is.

My nine-year-old son had no problem operating the Oreck vacuum; it's light enough for him to push and pull, and the handle goes down far enough that it's okay with his height. Even my six-year-old daughter was able to operate it, though not as easily, of course. Now the only problem is getting them to use the vacuum without resorting to blackmail and threats.

In fact, the handle will go all the way to the floor, if need be, and that feature makes it really useful for vacuuming under beds with low side rails. Previously, the only thing that would get under the bed was a Roomba.

However, the handle has no stops--it's either locked in full-upright position, or it will fall to the floor if you let go of it. It's a little awkward to have to step around and onto the front of the vacuum to unlock it from its full-upright position. And, if you need to elevate the front of the vacuum to get over something, like the fringe on a rug, so that it won't get snarled, you have to lift the entire vacuum cleaner.

Perhaps I've seen too many Dyson commercials, wherein those vacuum cleaners seem oh so sophisticated and quiet, but I was a little surprised that the Oreck Magnesium RS was pretty loud--as loud as the cheapo Eureka. The Oreck probably sacrifices sound insulation for weight savings. I'd prefer that it be quieter, but the light weight and the excellent swiveling navigation more than make up for it.

The vacuum works very well on hardwood floors--much better than anything else I've used, because it doesn't scatter dirt and cereal bits and what have you. It's pretty good on carpet--it's not as powerful as the Eureka we had, but it's so light and easy to use that it's no problem going over spots one or two additional times.

As for the scheduled maintenance issue--that you have to take it to Oreck periodically for service--uh, I don't think so. This is not a Kirby; it's not built to last for 40 years. Despite the "Magnesium" in the name, it's not a highly refined piece of machinery; no Apple designers were involved in its design. So, no, I'm not taking in for service until it breaks, and for the price, that had better be a good long time.

But in the meantime, I like the Magnesium RS, and the Eureka's going somewhere that it can accidentally fall off a cliff.

Logitech Webcam C930e (Business Product) with HD 1080p Video and 90-degree Field of View
Logitech Webcam C930e (Business Product) with HD 1080p Video and 90-degree Field of View
Offered by biddeal_co
Price: $113.73
56 used & new from $101.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Is that you, Joe?, March 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've used many webcams and many obscenely expensive, business-class videoconferencing systems, and while Logitech says that its C930e is a "business" webcam, that doesn't mean that it straddles both categories. It's basically a regular old webcam--albeit a pretty good one, and at a pretty good price compared to the models that businesses pay big bucks for. But I would never tell my boss that we need to buy 20 of these and put them in every conference room in the place.

At home, it's a different story. I've owned (and purchased for others, as gifts) the Logitech C910 and C920 webcams, which are "home" webcams, and they are the best webcams I've ever used, for both video and audio. The C910 finally made Skype attractive to my parents. But the one issue with the C910 and C920 is that their angle of view is pretty narrow, so if more than one or two people are on the call, they must bunch up together. The vertical angle of view is narrow, too, so we have to point the webcam down to get kids into the shot--which cuts off my head at the top.

So the C930e's slightly wider angle of view--90 degrees vs. 78 degrees--is enough to make things a tad better for small groups, but if it's a bunch of people around a conference room table, the webcam will still have to be pretty far back to get everyone in. Is that you back in the corner, Joe?

I connected the C910 and the C930e to my Windows 7 workstation and switched back and forth between the cameras using Logitech's software (I know--the C910 was using Logitech's driver, and the C930e was using a generic Microsoft driver). I could get 1080p video capture from the C910, while the C930e would reach only 720p resolution. Taking a still shot at the C910's maximum resolution resulted in a 351KB file, while a shot taken at the C930e's maximum resolution resulted in a 176KB file--nearly half the image data, and you can tell; the C930's image is a tad fuzzier, though the contrast is better with the C930e. Audio from the webcams' microphones seem comparable.

I also compared system load while rolling video at the same resolution (720p for both webcams), and I saw no difference--both cameras consumed about 10 to 15 percent of my CPU power.

I also tried plugging the C930e into my Panasonic LED television, which has Skype built in. I thought perhaps that, because the C930e requires only a generic Microsoft driver, that maybe it would work with the TV. No such luck--the TV didn't recognize it at all.

I think that the wider angle of view and the slightly better contrast capability are important advantages for the C930e, though I like the image sharpness of the C910 better. If you're considering webcams for an office environment and you've got a really limited budget, then yes, I'd opt for the C930e.

Alden 8440P Pro Grabit Broken Bolt and Damaged Screw Extractor 4 Piece Kit
Alden 8440P Pro Grabit Broken Bolt and Damaged Screw Extractor 4 Piece Kit
Offered by Deerso
Price: $26.78
7 used & new from $21.25

5.0 out of 5 stars I didn't think it'd work, but it did, easily, March 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was replacing a component in a car door locking assembly, with three large, very tight Philips screws holding the assembly into the door. I stripped one of the three screws, because I didn't have the right-size screwdriver. I tried other screwdrivers, and even hammering a flat-head screwdriver into one side of the Philips screw (don't judge me). I didn't try this first, because I didn't think it would work on such a large screw, and one so tight. But as a last resort, I tried it, and wow--out it came. I should have tried it before the hammer-and-flathead trick.

Sony High Definition POV Action Video Camera HDR-AS30V
Sony High Definition POV Action Video Camera HDR-AS30V
Price: Click here to see our price
25 used & new from $175.91

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sony vs. GoPro: Not quite a toss-up, December 18, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I own a GoPro HERO3: Black Edition (one version past) and now this Sony HDR-AS30V; I mainly use them during skiing outings, and I took both on a recent trip to the Sierra mountains in California. My takeaway: They have a few obvious differences, but the differences that I've noticed don’t really make either device stand out--except that the Sony is much less expensive.

They both have similar shooting modes, including 1080p/60 (which takes up gobs of storage card/hard drive space and is hard for most computers to edit); I shot mostly in 1080p/30, which I have no trouble editing with Adobe Premiere Pro CC on a modest workstation. The image quality looks pretty similar to me.

They both work with smartphones; you can set up your shot or adjust the camera on your head by looking at a live display on your phone (if you can see your phone in bright light; I mistakenly had my GoPro set for interval shots, instead of video, for quite a while, but that’s my fault). The Sony offers near-field communication (NFC) that you can use to activate the camera with your phone, or you can start up the camera from your phone’s screen using WiFi. When you pair the camera to your phone, you must have a code from the thin paper manual; the code is on a sticker that was barely stuck on mine. What happens if you lose it? Not sure about that; the solution is probably in the manual.

The GoPro Black Edition and the new GoPro Hero3+ come with a small remote control, in addition to the smartphone capability. I prefer using the small remote, but it has a rechargeable battery that can die. However, this remote was standard with the GoPro Black Edition; a similar remote for the Sony costs $149. So, if you want the nice remote with the Sony, the cost is pretty much the same as for the GoPro Hero3+.

If you simply use the buttons on the cameras--when your phone or remote dies--then I find that it’s easier to use the Sony, mainly because the “start rolling” button is on the back of the camera, so it’s impossible to confuse the the “previous” and “next” buttons on the side. With the GoPro, sometimes I forget which button does what (they aren’t labeled, either).

Battery life seems about the same between the GoPro HERO3: Black Edition and the Sony HDR-AS30V--it sucks on both devices. If you’re rolling on every run down the mountain, stopping in between runs, count on a couple of hours, tops, on a single battery. Buy extras (or just concentrate exclusively on your activity--strange concept, I know).

I mounted a GoPro platform to my ski helmet with one of GoPro's super-strong 3M adhesive patches, then attached an adapter to fit into the platform. With the Sony, you can do that too, or you can use an adapter that wraps around your goggles strap; it’s only $13. Used with this strap, the Sony jiggled on fast, bumpy runs, but it was fine on slow, smooth runs (following my kid down the mountain), and it’s closer to your line of site than the GoPro mounted on top of my helmet. The goggle-strap mount is also much less obvious/dorky looking. On the other hand, it’s much less adjustable than the GoPro top-of-helmet mount.

Sony’s mounts and platforms are a bit larger than GoPro's, but I think that’s only a negative if they don't fit in the spot you want them, like on a helmet that has many air vents. Sony seems to have a pretty good selection of mounts--on par with GoPro’s, I think. It probably goes without saying that you can’t use GoPro mounts with the Sony, or vice versa.

The one option that I think could be a big deal is the LCD viewer cradle that Sony offers. For about $80, you can use the HDR-AS30V somewhat like a real camcorder, in that it offers a pretty standard camcorder viewing screen, though you still can’t zoom or use any other standard camcorder features. You can also view recorded video, though of course, you could just review it on your smartphone.

It’s a backhanded compliment, and probably way past moot, but I appreciate that Sony now uses standard interfaces with the HDR-AS30V--micro USB, micro SD card, and HDMI. Sony’s probably using more standard interfaces on all of its devices these days, but I still remember the Memory Stick days.

Despite the fact that I really like the GoPro’s included remote control, if given the choice again, I’d opt for the HDR-AS30V and just use my smartphone for activating/viewing.

Bosch Bare-Tool MXH180BL 18-Volt Brushless Oscillating Tool Kit with L-Boxx-2 and Exact-Fit Insert Tray
Bosch Bare-Tool MXH180BL 18-Volt Brushless Oscillating Tool Kit with L-Boxx-2 and Exact-Fit Insert Tray
Price: $229.00
2 used & new from $229.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but a la carte, tool, November 4, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I also own a PORTER-CABLE PCE605K 3-Amp Corded Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit with 31 Accessories, so I can make some comparisons, though the Porter-Cable is cord-connected. To start, I haven't noticed any difference in power between the two (though of course, the duration of the power will be limited by the Bosch tool's battery life). I've used both on drywall and some pretty heavy gauge steel, and they both do a great job. They took a while on the steel, but it felt safer than using a hand-held power saw. They both make about the same amount of noise.

However, the Bosch has a much better on-off switch (the Porter-Cable's is very stiff, often requiring me to use two thumbs to turn off the tool). The Bosch has a nice soft-start feature, starting out slowly and revving up to the set speed in a few seconds, whereas the Porter-Cable jumps to full speed immediately. It's also easier to adjust the speed on the Bosch than it is on the Porter-Cable--again, because of a very stiff wheel on the PC). I haven't noticed any vibration issues with either tool.

On the other hand, the Bosch comes with nothing, other than its L-Boxx-2 case. No battery, and only one included blade, a wood/metal cutting tool. The Porter-Cable came with 31 pieces (most of them are sandpaper, though). Blades are a little more difficult to attach to the Bosch, due to a stiff release lever, but at least it doesn't require a tool to change blades. You can't use Porter-Cable's accessories on the Bosch, or vice versa.

And at more than double the cost of the Porter-Cable, the Bosch is no steal; it's one of Bosch's more expensive cordless tools. If you already own Bosch cordless tools that use the same battery type, then okay, perhaps it's not so bad, but if you have to shell out for batteries and blades, it's getting pretty steep. But I am constantly tripping over cords, so I'm trying to convert to cordless as much as I can, and I have been very pleased with my other Bosch tools. Other than the price, I'm very pleased with this one, too.

Logitech Bluetooth Speakers Z600 for PC/Mac computer, tablet and smartphone - White
Logitech Bluetooth Speakers Z600 for PC/Mac computer, tablet and smartphone - White
Offered by L.A. Computer Company
Price: $124.99
48 used & new from $110.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not dark, but still pretty serious speakers, August 22, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Serious speakers are supposed to be dark--black or brown--with serious, dark looks. (Okay, I'm making this up as I go along). I'm just thinking of all the speakers that you see in home-theater stores, or most computer speakers. Compared to those, the Z600s look a little dainty. But I found the sound to be surprisingly good.

I compared these with a set of Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 speakers (dark, foreboding-looking), and the Z600s compared quite well. The Klipsch speakers come with a good subwoofer, and the Z600 set does not, but even so, the Z600 does pretty well with bass notes, to a point. I don't think they provide the very low-end power that you can only get with a subwoofer, but the mid-lows sound quite good, despite the lack of bass and treble controls on the speakers. The mid- and high-end range are pretty clear--not astoundingly great, but good for computer speakers.

Pairing with Bluetooth devices was easy. I paired the Z600s with an iPad, a Mac laptop, and an Android smartphone quickly, with no problems. I also tried to pair them with a Windows 7 laptop; that required two attempts, but it worked after the second try, and the audio with each of these devices sounded fine. I experienced no lag, even when changing songs on these devices quickly; the speakers responded quickly in kind.

I like the innovative connections; one wire connects the left speaker to the right, and that wire contains audio and power. The cable connects to a small dongle in the right speaker's wire, and that dongle connects to the power supply. So, you have only one wire going to the left speaker, only one wire going to the right speaker (unless you connect an audio cable instead of using Bluetoooth), and one wire going to the wall for power. I also like that the cables are white and flat.

The volume control, as others have noted, is a little gimmicky. You use your finger to swipe around the edge of the top of the right speaker to increase the volume, and that in itself works okay, but you have no indication of how much volume you're getting--you can't see, for example, if you're halfway up. That matters when, for example, you're using Windows, and you have volume controls in an application, in Windows, and on the speakers. I like to adjust things halfway on all three of these to avoid distortion. And, if you adjust the volume on the Z600s all the way up, they produce an extremely loud, jarring BEEP. It's very annoying.

The speakers look a little dingy-white to me, probably because the fabric covering is white, but the surface behind them is dark (dark--okay, maybe they are serious speakers).

Overall, I like the speakers--more than I expected too, and I think they're a good choice for space-limited situations.

Pure Jongo S3 Wireless Speaker with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Black
Pure Jongo S3 Wireless Speaker with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Black
Price: $199.00
18 used & new from $69.00

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A budget Sonos alternative, but..., August 21, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Sonos has been making small, wireless speakers for about a decade. I've admired their design, but they've always been too expensive for me. So the Pure Jongo S3, at two-thirds the price of a SONOS - PLAY:3 Wireless Speaker for Streaming Music (Small) - Black, seems pretty attractive (and be warned that you also have to buy a $49 Sonos Bridge to use the Play:3 wirelessly). Nevertheless, I don't think the Jongo S3 quite hits the mark for me.

For one thing, while the Jongo S3 has WiFi and Bluetooth, both have significant limitations. WiFi first: It's easy to find and connect to a WiFi router, but Pure's PurePlayer application does not allow you to play files stored on a computer or Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device. You must play content that resides on the mobile device. You can use Windows Media Player on a computer to play content stored on the computer or a NAS *to* the S3, but you cannot play to more than one S3 simultaneously (as far as I can tell), and you can't control Windows Media Player remotely, so if your computer is in another room, you have to go there to make any adjustments. And, you can't use ITunes, Pandora, TuneIn, or any other apps.

Pure offers a FlowPlayer server application, and apparently other Pure devices can play content remotely from this application, but its PurePlayer mobile app doesn't recognize the server app. The PurePlayer app provides access to many of the same Internet radio stations that other applications do, but you can't pick a station's bit rate, as you can with TuneIn, and PurePlayer does not indicate the bit rate that you're getting.

If you opt to stream via Bluetooth, you can use those applications, on a phone, a pad, or a computer with Bluetooth, and it works well, except that you can't stream to more than one device at a time.

If you are using only one S3, then you are sending a stereo signal to the device, and it sends left-channel audio to two speakers on one side of the device and right-channel audio to two speakers on the other side. But if you do pair two S3s to play in stereo via WiFi--meaning, you place one S3 on one side of the room and another on the other side of the room--then two speakers per device are disabled.

Based on their appearance, I really expected the S3 to sound great. It is a very attractive device--much nicer-looking than many electronic devices; it doesn't look cheap. It is smaller than I expected, but it's heftier than it appears, which usually indicates large, heavy magnets, and powerful sound. Unfortunately, while it certainly does generate plenty of volume, it sounds muddled to me. I was careful to try different kinds of music, much of it encoded at 320Kbps, and to use WiFi instead of Bluetooth, but the S3 still didn't give me the clarity that I was hoping for. Audio is a difficult thing to grade, but I'd give them about a 2.5 out of 5.

Part of the weight is due to the inclusion of rechargeable battery packs, but I will probably use that feature rarely, because the devices don't seem ideal for taking outside or in the garage (snaggy fabric panels over the speakers), and they aren't waterproof, so you can't leave them outside.

In all, the Jongo S3 is okay--just okay. I don't have direct experience with Sonos products, so I can't say how the S3 compares to them. But I remain curious.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 18, 2014 4:12 AM PDT

GoPro HERO3: Black Edition
GoPro HERO3: Black Edition
Offered by Jaybird Value Depot
Price: $390.99
75 used & new from $314.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommendations for editing GoPro video, July 11, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've seen many folks wearing GoPro cameras on ski slopes--and the "wearing" is the key with them. I even saw someone driving through downtown San Mateo, California, with one mounted on the top of his or her car. They're everywhere.

This recap may be unnecessary for some, but with a normal camera or camcorder, you move the camera to frame your subject, capture action, and choose which objects on which to focus. With a GoPro, the camera is stationary, attached to your helmet, to your bike, your car, your surfboard, and the action is all contained within a very wide-angle frame. It is this difference that gives you a first-person, in-the-action perspective.

This difference also means that the GoPro doesn't function like normal cameras. It doesn't have a viewfinder, or a big LCD back to show you what you're looking at (unless you buy the optional LCD back). You can't adjust the shutter speed, other than choosing from a few frame rates, or the aperture, or the ISO; you can't zoom in or out. Because it doesn't offer these settings, and because it's an itty-bitty camera with an itty-bitty lens, I doubted that it could take good video, but I was really surprised to find that it can take awesome videos--at least, in good light.

It isn't easy to edit the video, however, especially if you're using one of the high-resolution modes (4K or 2.7K). I shot some 2.7K video (2704-by-1524 resolution--substantially more pixels than standard 1920-by-1080 high definition), and when I imported the MPEG-4 video into Adobe Premiere CC, I could not get it to play back smoothly, even at 1/8 playback resolution. My computer is a four-year-old dual-CPU workstation with a high-end workstation graphics card, a setup that usually works very well for editing video, despite the old CPUs, due to Premiere's GPU-based rendering. 1080p/60fps video, though, played back very smoothly, even at full playback resolution, and despite the fact that the data bit rate of the 1080p file was slightly higher than that of the 2.7K video file.

I used GoPro's free CinePro app to convert the 2.7K videos from the highly compressed MPEG-4 format to an uncompressed, high-quality AVI file. The operation didn't take very long--a 7-minute video took maybe 10 minutes to convert. The 2.2GB MPEG-4 video became a 13.3GB AVI, but Premiere Pro CC had no problem playing back and editing these files. And whatever format, whatever size--the video was gorgeous. When I had the camera's ProTune mode turned off--it's not available in certain modes/resolutions--then the video looked way oversaturated, but that's easy to fix.

So, if you're going to edit GoPro video, I recommend either shooting at 1080p/60 or shooting at 2.7K/30 and using the CinePro app to convert them to AVIs or MOVs. Turning ProTune on gave me better color. I'd use the skeleton back for most dry recording environments, too; audio with the waterproof back is pretty muffled, though it makes my car engine sound awesome.

The remote control is great to have--it would be very awkward to use the GoPro on a ski slope with gloves, etc., if I didn't have it. The GoPro app is even better; with it you can tell everything about the camera, from firmware version to all of the settings, and the preview feature is quite useful for framing shots correctly, though with such a wide-angle lens, slight errors don't really matter.

However, it stinks that the camera can be connected to the remote or the GoPro app--not both concurrently--and switching between the two is a royal pain, because you have to cycle through the lengthy menus on the camera's itty bitty interface to do the switching. That tiny interface is my biggest gripe with the GoPro; I'm getting to be an old goat, and I have a very hard time seeing its tiny text. The remote shows the same interface--with the same tiny text.

I haven't had any crashing problems, probably because I saw a big "UPGRADE THE CAMERA'S FIRMWARE RIGHT AWAY OR ELSE THE WORLD WILL END" card when I opened the package. However, I have noted that the battery gets very hot, and it doesn't last very long. It's a pretty puny battery, at 1000mAh; my cell phone uses a 2400 mAh battery. An extra battery, along with extra GoPro mounts, will add to the cost of the setup. Individually, these options aren't that expensive, but buy a few--or several--and you're dropping quite a bit of cash.

I have to say, I am jazzed about this thing, and I can't wait for ski season, when I can mount the GoPro on my helmet and look like a dork with half the other people on the mountain.

SanDisk Extreme II 240GB SATA 6.0GB/s 2.5-Inch 7mm Height Solid State Drive (SSD) With Read Up To 550MB/s & Up To 95K IOPS- SDSSDXP-240G-G25
SanDisk Extreme II 240GB SATA 6.0GB/s 2.5-Inch 7mm Height Solid State Drive (SSD) With Read Up To 550MB/s & Up To 95K IOPS- SDSSDXP-240G-G25
Price: $173.68
51 used & new from $159.91

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A performance bump, but not a performance leap, July 5, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I installed the SanDisk Extreme II 240GB as a boot drive in a four-year-old Lenovo workstation, replacing a two-year-old 120GB Intel 510 Series SSD. I knew not to expect the same kind of performance bump that I'd seen going from a platter-based drive to the Intel SSD, but I hoped that I might see just a bit of improvement. That's what I got--a little bit of an improvement in drive performance, but nothing really noticeable in day-to-day use. Still, that's not really a knock on the SanDisk drive, because it's not that realistic to expect huge gains going from one modern SSD to another one.

I conducted a couple of before-and-after tests: reading 14GB of files (my Downloads folder, which I've set to reside on a three-drive RAID array in the workstation; most of these files are compressed), first to the Intel SSD and then, after cloning the Intel SSD and swapping drives, to the SanDisk SSD. The Intel drive completed the task in 1:50, and the SanDisk drive completed the task in 1:40, or about 9 percent more quickly. Nice, but just below the threshold of what would be noticeable. Typically 10 percent is a noticeable performance gain.

I also tested writing my Adobe applications folder (approx. 4GB, mostly uncompressed) from each SSD to the RAID array. The Intel drive completed the task in 2:30; the SanDisk drive did it in 2:40, or about 7 percent more slowly. Understand that I conducted these tests only a single time; multiple passes would produce more reliable results (and you can find those elsewhere).

The bootup on my workstation required the same amount of time to complete, of course; after it was done, getting from the Windows password prompt to ready to go was quick, but about as quick as the Intel drive.

I also ran Windows 7's Performance Index with both SSDs; the drive score increased from 6.9 with the Intel 510 SSD to 7.4 with the SanDisk SSD. That's about a 7 percent improvement--again, below the threshold of what would be noticeable, but welcome nonetheless.

The only thing I really curled my brow at was that the drive enclosure is plastic, unlike the Intel 510 Series drive's aluminum enclosure. Because SSDs don't generate heat--or at least, generate far less heat than platter-based drives--and they aren't as susceptible to heat as platter-based drives, this probably isn't a major issue. I don't keep irreplaceable data on the drive, as I'm using it as a boot drive, and I back everything up faithfully, so my main need for this drive is performance. I'd just rather the drive be contained in something as solid as possible.

So the point is, it's a good drive, and if you'll be using it to replace a platter-based drive, prepare to be astounded. If you'll be using it to replace another SSD, prepare to be pleased, but don't get your expectations too far out of whack.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 22, 2013 12:38 PM PDT

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