SanDisk Professional PRO-G40 portable SSD review: Good, but expensive

Is that big price tag worth it?

SanDisk Professional PRO-G40
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Laptop Mag Verdict

The SanDisk Professional PRO-G40 is an impressive SSD for creative pros, with a rugged build and speedy performance. However, this all comes at an eye-wateringly expensive price.

Pros

  • +

    Impressive speeds

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    Ultraportable size

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    Rugged build

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    Good sustained performance

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    Dual Thunderbolt 3 + USB 3.2 Gen 2 support

Cons

  • -

    Expensive at prices from $299

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    No on-device biometric security

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My initial impressions of the SanDisk Professional PRO-G40 after its announcement came down to three words: great, but expensive. After spending a few weeks testing one, I can say that opinion hasn’t changed.

That’s not to say the cost is a deal breaker, but it forms the basis of a couple of key questions you’ll have to ask yourself before deciding whether to buy. Namely, what are your needs and are they extreme enough to warrant this drive?

While I’ll do the normal hands-on rigmarole and put the SSD through its paces, I’ll take this time to figure out who it’s for and whether the PRO-G40 might be overkill for you, which means you could be just as happy with something a little cheaper.

SanDisk Professional PRO-G40 pricing and availability

Let’s jump the biggest hurdle here. The PRO-G40 is quite an expensive SSD (opens in new tab) — starting at $299 for the 1TB model and going up to $449 for the 2TB model that we tested. These all come with SanDisk’s five-year warranty.

When we break this down, that is 30¢ per GB. Compared to cheaper options if you’re keen to get the best possible price per GB, this is on the steeper side.

Of course, a lot of these cheaper options, such as the Samsung T7 (9¢ per GB), the OWC Envoy Pro Elektron (16¢ per GB), or SanDisk’s own Extreme Portable SSD (25¢ per GB), don’t have the same speed or super-rugged build quality as the PRO-G40, but it’s worth keeping this in mind.

Why? Because while I will be heaping a lot of praise on this drive, most of you will realistically not need a lot of the potential that this brings to the table.

SanDisk Professional PRO-G40 design

SanDisk Professional PRO-G40

(Image credit: Future)

There are no two ways around it — the PRO-G40 is rugged. Like, super rugged. Sure, it’s bigger than the Extreme Portable SSD at 4.36 x 2.28 x 0.47 inches (compared to 3.96 x 2.06 x 0.35 inches), and heavier at 4.3 ounces (compared to 2.2 ounces), but this is still a pocketable design and that extra heft inspires confidence.

That faith in its durability is matched by a sleek, utilitarian aesthetic with a hard plastic front and soft, rubberized shell that feels nice to the touch. And it’s not all just for show, as this mighty SSD is IP68 water and dust resistant, packs 3-meter drop resistance and 4,000-pound crush resistance.

SanDisk Professional PRO-G40

(Image credit: Future)

It’s not a perfect design, though, especially if you care about security. At this price for a pro-tier drive, I would have expected to see some sort of biometric security like a fingerprint reader (à la Samsung T7) to make protecting your data a cinch, and the hard plastic front is easily susceptible to light scratches and marks.

But for what it’s designed to be — a super durable SSD — it absolutely does the job.

SanDisk Professional PRO-G40 performance

SanDisk Professional PRO-G40

(Image credit: Future)

SanDisk promises read/write speeds of up to 2700MB/s and 1900MB/s via Thunderbolt 3, and up to 1050MB/s and 1000MB/s respectively for USB 3.2 Gen 2. SanDisk’s professional drive largely lives up to these standards — not just in one-and-done speed tests, but under sustained testing, too.

First bit to note is the impressive compatibility here, as the PRO-G40 is one of the first drives to support both Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.2 Gen 2. Previously, Thunderbolt 3 SSDs were limited by the fact they simply didn’t work with other USB-C standards. But here, thanks to a Titan Ridge controller and a USB 3.2 Gen 2 NVMe bridge chip, the drive is able to intelligently switch between these two standards.

As for speeds, when connected to my M1 MacBook Pro via Thunderbolt 3, the PRO-G40 exceeded these numbers for the first few minutes with read speeds of beyond 2,900MB/s and write speeds of around 2,300MB/s in our BlackMagic SSD speed test.

SanDisk Professional PRO-G40

(Image credit: Future)

When put through its paces for a further 60 minutes, the SSD started to heat up to the touch (not to uncomfortably hot temperatures), but speed-wise, it never lost its cool. At the peak of any potential thermal throttling, the aluminum core of the drive’s design helped the G40 maintain read/write speeds of 2,681MB/s and 1,832MB/s.

These speeds are more than enough to handle a video editing workstream of multiple 4K clips and complex edits. That’s exactly what I found when editing a recent video review in Final Cut Pro, as I didn’t witness any dropped frames or the stuttering that comes with this.

For USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 performance, I wanted to do something a little different. Statistically, it’s a similar story — hitting 1,250MB/s and 1,126MB/s read/write at first, then slowing down to speeds in line with SanDisk’s claims under sustained load. But I wanted to figure out what I could get away with. 

So, in honor of Forza Horizon’s 10th anniversary, I ported Forza Horizon 5 to the SSD and attempted to play it on my Asus TUF Gaming F15. Now, whenever I have tried to play a game off an external drive, performance has taken a noticeable hit across load times and frame rate.

For Horizon, the initial load did take six seconds longer via the Pro-G40, but performance maintained that same super-high 80 fps that I tuned this for with high graphical settings. That’s even across the map barriers that force a load of the next area — zero hiccups at any of them!

Bottom line

SanDisk Professional PRO-G40

(Image credit: Future)

All in all, SanDisk’s Professional PRO-G40 is one of the best portable SSDs for content creators and professionals. The speeds are impressive, the design is super rugged, sustained performance is great thanks to optimal cooling, and the dual support for Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 makes it a versatile option across multiple systems.

But is it worth buying at this price? That’s a more difficult question to answer, because there is a core audience of pro videographers and photographers that will benefit from the extreme durability and speeds, but the cost is difficult to swallow.

This is compounded by the fact that a cheaper, slightly slower drive will handle a typical day-to-day workload for most people. The specs on show here are only required for those who have the super demanding jobs that make the most of its capabilities — like editing tons of 8K video directly on the drive itself. If minutes or even seconds are potentially impacting your ability to get a job done on time, then by all means the Pro-G40 is a worthwhile investment.

Personally, I would wait for a sale (Black Friday is just around the corner, after all), but if you’re forced to buy one now and have the money to pay for the cream of the crop, this is certainly a good option.

Jason England
Staff Writer

Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.