Compact, rugged, and blazingly fast, the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2 ($299.99 for 1TB, $499.99 for 2TB as tested) stands at the apex of SanDisk’s Extreme line of solid-state drives. Built for video editors, photographers, animators, and other creatives aiming to take advantage of the very latest USB 3.2 standard to move ginormous volumes of files in a hurry, the Extreme Pro V2 turned in some of the fastest transfer speeds we’ve seen from an external SSD. However, since native support for the top version of USB (the 20Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2×2) is harder to find than a Sony PlayStation 5 on a store shelf, you’ll probably have to spring for an expansion card if you don’t want to settle for the mortal speeds that a “mere” USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface will afford you.
SSD: Small, Speedy, Durable
The Extreme Pro V2 measures 0.4 by 2.3 by 4.4 inches, slightly larger than its Extreme Portable SSD V2 sibling but very similar in form and color scheme. While the physical appearance of drives in some other solid-state series such as the WD My Passport SSD line has dramatically morphed between iterations, the SanDisk Extreme design has remained consistent: a small, rubberized black slab with rounded edges and an orange-rimmed carabiner loop in one corner. Its forged-aluminum chassis is designed to stay cool even under a heavy workload, and it copied our 300GB of test files while hardly breaking a sweat.
This rough-and-ready drive gets points for durability thanks to its silicone sheath, being rated to survive a drop from 6.5 feet, and its ingress protection (IP) rating of IP55 provides some security against sand and rain. It is still potentially vulnerable to fine dust, and you wouldn’t want to leave it underwater for any length of time. A more ruggedized competing SSD is the ADATA SE800, whose IP68 rating—the best of any consumer-grade drive we’ve tested—means that it has been shown to be impermeable to dust and can survive a dunk in water, thanks to its rubberized (and attached so it can’t get lost) port cover. The Extreme Pro V2 lacks a port cover.
On a positive note, the drive comes with two 9-inch cables: USB-C-to-USB-C and USB-C-to-USB-A. That’s better than an awkward converter dongle.
The Extreme Pro V2 comes with both Windows and macOS versions of SanDisk Security software. It lets you set a password and provide 256-bit AES hardware encryption, which is widely regarded as the gold standard for consumer-drive data encryption.
SanDisk provides a generous five-year warranty, which we have also seen on other Western Digital products such as the 2020 version of the My Passport SSD. (WD is SanDisk’s parent company.)
The Zippiest USB Flavor Yet: 2×2
The SanDisk Extreme Pro V2 supports the latest and fastest USB flavor (USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, also called SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps), which offers transfer speeds of up to 2,000MBps for both read and write when connected to a compatible USB-C port. It tested just short of that (1,909MBps read, 1,919MBps write) in our Crystal DiskMark 6.0 sequential read and write testing. Its scores were also a smidge under the speeds we recently saw from the Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSD (1,992MBps read, 1,967MBps write), which supports the same 2×2 interface. (See how we test SSDs.)
There is a catch, though: Very few computers natively support USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, so be prepared to spring for a motherboard or expansion card that supports this standard, as we did with our SSD testbed, adding a $39 expansion card from Orico.
I asked SanDisk for guidance around compatible systems and was told, “The list of pre-built computers with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support is still extremely limited. We recommend the Extreme Pro V2 to those early adopters who want to build or upgrade a PC with the latest tech. For motherboards, we are brand-agnostic. AMD TRX40 platforms from various manufacturers are likely to have 20Gbps USB. Customers should look for 20Gbps USB or an ASMedia ASM3242 chip. If they are using an Intel board, or another AMD platform, add-in cards are pretty easy to find on Amazon or Newegg.”
If your desktop or laptop lacks USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support, you can use the Extreme Pro V2, but your maximum speeds will be limited by your computer’s interface. With USB 3.2 Gen 2, supported by the non-Pro SanDisk Extreme V2, you’ll typically see peak sequential read speeds of up to 1,050MBps and write speeds of up to 1,000MBps. In our BlackMagic Disk Speed Test trial using a USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface (on a MacBook Pro), the Extreme Pro V2 averaged a write speed of 944MBps and a read speed of 878MBps, similar to a slew of other drives limited to that interface. You can see that and our other test results below…
USB 3.2 Gen 1 (a.k.a. the old USB 3.0), typically good enough a ceiling for older external SSDs with SATA-based silicon, caps read and write speeds for external SSDs at about 550MBps and 500MBps respectively. While you can use the Extreme Pro V2 drive with any of these interfaces, buying it without provision for a Gen 2×2 interface would be like buying a Corvette for runs to the grocery store.
Speaking of speedy sports cars, you pay a substantial premium for the Extreme Pro V2’s zippiness (real or potential). At list price, the 2TB version we tested comes to 25 cents per gigabyte, with the 1TB model costing 30 cents per gig. Amazon’s current prices come to 17 cents per gig for 2TB and 23 cents for 1TB.
The 1TB model of the Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSD, which also supports USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, lists at 28 cents per gig (21 cents from Amazon), while the 2TB model is 25 cents per gig from both the company store and Amazon. The Editors’ Choice-winning WD My Passport SSD (2020), limited to USB 3.2 Gen 2, lists at 19 cents per gig for its 1TB model, which Amazon currently discounts to 14 cents a gig.
A Content Creator’s Dream SSD—With a Catch
As a high-performance SSD geared to videographers and other multimedia creators, the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2 can transfer 4K and even 8K video files in a flash—provided that your computer is one of the few cutting-edge systems that supports USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 and its lightning-quick read and write speeds. You’ll also need a similarly speedy source or destination drive on the system’s inside.
If you’re willing to pay a bit extra and roll up your sleeves, you can install a motherboard or expansion card that provides such support. Otherwise, you might as well save your money and go with the SanDisk Extreme V2 (the non-Pro version), the WD My Passport SSD (2020), or the sturdy ADATA SE800, all very capable USB 3.2 Gen 2 drives. All are PCMag Editors’ Choice winners.