Surprisingly small and fast! Reviewing the SanDisk Extreme SSD E61

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SanDisk recently refreshed their popular Extreme Portable SSD which now sports a new model number, E61. It replaces its E60 predecessor that had a 550MB/s read and 500MB/s write speed. The new version now claims to double its performance. But don’t confused yourself with yet another model, the SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD (E80). Then again, the new refresh model of the Extreme Pro SSD has its read/write speed doubled too.

The Sandisk Extreme SSD (Model E61)

Sandisk Extreme SSD E61 Front

The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD comes in a rather simple box packaging. Inside you will find the portable SSD disk itself along with a rather short USB Type-C cable, measuring just at 17cm in length. You will also find a USB Type-C to Type-A adapter.

Sandisk Extreme SSD E61 - back view

At the back of the portable SSD, you can clearly see the capacity of the disk. The disk is primarily covered with a rubber-type material with the exception of the front part of the disk which is of hard plastic. While the rubber material provides a rugged design to absorb shock, it is however a dust magnet. But as it is rated to be IP55 water and dust resistant, you can easily use water to wash away the dust if it bothers you.

Sandisk Extreme SSD E61 USB-C Port

The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is a USB Type-C device. The location of the port is curiously designed to be at the bottom right side of the disk, not the middle. It also does not have a built-in cover. I would have expected it to have a cover since it is rated to be IP55. While the port may not actually be damaged if submerged in water, it does present you an issue of needing it to be dry when you want to use it. A cover would have easily kept water or dust away from the port when not in use.

A small package indeed

Sandisk Extreme SSD E61 - size on palm

It’s hard to imagine how small and light the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is. It measures only at 100mm x 52mm x 8mm in dimension and weighs only at 62 grams!

SanDisk Extreme SSD only weighs 62 grams!

You really have to see it to believe it 😄 Now let’s compare it with the Samsung T5 Portable SSD that I also have.

Sandisk Extreme SSD E61 - Compared with a Samsung T5 SSD
Sandisk Extreme SSD E61 - Thickness compared with a Samsung T5 SSD

As you can see, the Samsung T5 is smaller compared to the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD but it is roughly has the same thickness. So, if you want a smaller disk, go for the Samsung T5 or its faster T7 model. I actually also prefer the Samsung’s matte aluminium casing. However, if performance is what you seek, then the SanDisk is a better choice. I’ve read other reports where the Samsung T7 is still a bit slower than the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD E61.

Testing the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD performance

Firstly, I wanted to make sure that the disk is tested while it’s partially filled. A fresh disk typically yields the best possible results as the disk is completely empty. As you can see from the screenshot below, I tested the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD with about 52% free capacity.

Sandisk Extreme SSD E61 - testing with file at 50% free capacity

Test 1: Blackmagicdesign’s Disk Speed Test

For the first test, I used Blackmagicdesign’s Disk Speed Test application to see how fast the read and write performance is for 1GB and 5GB test.

Sandisk Extreme SSD E61 Disk Speed Test benchmark - 1GB file test
1GB test
Sandisk Extreme SSD E61 - Disk Speed Test - 5GB test
5GB test

The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD performs really well in both 1GB and 5GB test. The read speed of 926MB/s is very close to the theoretical 1050MB/s rating. The write speed however isn’t as fast, but still respectable at 903MB/s (1GB) and 887MB/s (5GB).

Test 2: dd, a low level file copy utility

To validate the test results, and also see how the Extreme Portable SSD performs when writing very large (10GB and 100GB) files, I used dd, a low-level file copy utility that is typically used to copy disk images.

The following are a series of commands to create a file of 1GB, 10GB and 100GB files consisting of just zeros.

Sandisk Extreme SSD E61 - disk write test - 1gb
Sandisk Extreme SSD E61 - disk write test - 10gb
Sandisk Extreme SSD E61 - disk write test - 100gb
Sandisk Extreme SSD E61 - disk write test - list of files
Write testPerformance

The results are quite impressive indeed. For a 10GB file, it was able to sustain an average of 939MB/s! For the 100GB file, it was also able to sustain an average of 811.7MB/s. This should put aside any doubt that the portable disk can handle really high write speeds even for very large files.

Test 3: A real-world file copy test

For this final test, I just simply copied over my RAW photo files from the Samsung T5 SSD to the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD. As you can see, the real world speeds are quite unlikely to ever reach that speeds advertised. This is because its only possible if the files are as at least as large as its ability to transfer. For smaller 20-30MB files, the file system spends more time with the operations like seeking, reading, writing the metadata, etc, than the time spend just for the transfer.

Having said that, 198MB/s transfer speed is still very useful for everyday use. And when you do have really large video files to edit, you can be assured the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD can keep up with your needs.

Sandisk Extreme SSD E61 - Real world file transfer test

In summary: The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD does indeed live up to its performance claims, hitting as much as 939MB/s sequential write speed.

Its IP55-rated rugged design means you don’t have to worry the conditions of the locations where you would be using the disk. This is especially handy when working in rough conditions, like doing photoshoots out in the wild.

So, if you are looking for a portable disk, look no further. The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is a great value for money, providing a nice balance between the cost and performance. This disk gets a full 5 star rating from me!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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