SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD v2 and WD My Passport SSD (2020) Review

2020-09-30

External bus-powered storage devices have grown both in storage capacity as well as speeds over the last decade. Thanks to rapid advancements in flash technology (including the advent of 3D NAND and NVMe) as well as faster host interfaces (such as Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.x), we now have palm-sized flash-based storage devices capable of delivering 2GBps+ speeds. While those speeds can be achieved with Thunderbolt 3, mass-market devices have to rely on USB. This review discusses the performance and characteristics of Western Digital's latest offerings (2020 catalog) supporting USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) speeds.e5-4667 v4

    Introduction

High-performance external storage devices use either Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.2 Gen 2 for the host interface. Traditional SATA SSDs (saturating at 560 MBps) can hardly take full advantage of the bandwidth offered by USB 3.2 Gen 2. In 2020, we have seen the market move en-masse to NVMe SSDs behind a USB 3.2 Gen 2 bridge for this market segment.

Western Digital brought NVMe support to their My Passport SSD product line . Today, the company is  the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD v2 (along with the Extreme PRO Portable SSD v2). The Extreme v2 is of particular interest here, as both the feature set and the performance specifications tally with that of the My Passport SSD. The company provided us with review samples of the 1TB versions of the My Passport SSD as well as the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD v2.

The two products are packaged similarly and both come with short (15cm) USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C to Type-C cables. A Type-C to Type-A adaptor is supplied, similar to the ones with the previous generation external SSDs from Western Digital. The industrial design of the units is quite different, each appealing to its own target market. The carabiner loop in the SanDisk Extreme / PRO line has proved to be a useful complement to the gumstick form-factor enforced by the usage of a M.2 NVMe SSD. It has been particularly appreciated by content creators (photographers and videographers) on the go. The My Passport SSD with its rounded edges and grooves / availability in multiple colors may hold appeal to the mainstream style-conscious audience. As we shall see further down in the 'Device Features & Characteristics' section, the internal hardware is identical. The rest of the review also tackles another interesting aspect - does the same internal hardware lead to similar performance profiles for the two SSDs?

In this review, we compare the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD v2 and the WD My Passport SSD (2020) against each other, as well as the following DAS units that we have reviewed before.

  •              

A quick overview of the internal capabilities of the storage devices is given by CrystalDiskInfo.