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SandForce unveils SF-2000 SSD controller

SandForce unveils SF-2000 SSD controller

SandForce's SF-2000 controllers promise sustained throughputs of 500MB/sec via SATA 6Gbps

Hot on the heels of the news about Intel's up-coming SSD refresh comes an announcement from SandForce that its latest SF-2000 family of SSD controllers is ready to ship - and judging from the specifications, SandForce will be fighting for the performance crown.

The first thing to note about the new SF-2000 controllers is that they come with support for SATA 6Gbps, a significant boost over the current-generation SATA 3Gbps that Intel is using in its third generation X25 SSDs.

The SF-2000 family is designed to support NAND flash right down to the 20nm process level, and when fitted to high-speed NAND chips SandForce claims that the SF-2000 controller can scale to 500MB/sec sustained sequential read/write speeds, along with sustained random IO per second of 60,000 IOPS.

Interestingly, SandForce's SF-2000 series is still going to play host to the company's cache-less DuraWrite technology, meaning that SF-2000 SSDs can be constructed without any DRAM components, keeping the cost down. As well as the native SATA versions, SandForce will be partnering with hardware manufacturers to produce business-class SAS versions as well as PCI Express editions that feature a RAID controller and an SSD on the same card.

Power saving options are included in the build, with the performance scaling down if you need to make the most of your battery life. There's also an advanced ECC engine that can correct errors of up to 55 bits per 512 byte sector to ensure your data doesn't go bye-byes.

Michael Raam, SandForce's president and chief executive, claims that his company is "building on the success of our first generation product now in production with multiple Enterprise OEMs by introducing the SF-2000 family that offers significant feature and performance enhancements for our rapidly expanding customer base of trusted SandForce Driven Enterprise and Industrial SSD manufacturers."

Trumpeting performance claims such as 500MB/sec read/write throughput is all well and good, but the real test is going to be how the controller performs when it's in a physical product that's ready for sale. While reference designs will be shown off at the Storage Networking World Exhibition next week, it could be a while before we see actual products hitting the shelves.

Are you impressed at SandForce's performance claims for the SF-2000 series, or are you going to hold fire on your enthusiasm until we can benchmark an actual drive based around the controller? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

18 Comments

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Jux_Zeil 8th October 2010, 17:32 Quote
Looks good as a commercially aimed product but I have to say that after seeing some of the other PCIE X16 SSD cards up and coming, it looks a little slow. One I have seen in the RTM stage is writing at over 1000MB/s. *DROOL*
Makaveli 8th October 2010, 17:50 Quote
When I actually see a real product review of the consumer version than I can pass judgement.

There are known issues with the performance of these drivers once there is data they cannot compress and i'm not one to wet my pants over marketing!
AshT 8th October 2010, 17:51 Quote
So, the speed difference between the Intel X25 SSD on 3GB/s SATA and then on 6GB/s SATA will make interesting reading ... or not?
Makaveli 8th October 2010, 18:00 Quote
If you are asking if there will be a performance boost that is a yes, however intel won't be releasing their own chipsets with a native 6GB's SATA yet, so the only current choice are boards with the marvel external controllers which have shown to be lacking in performance as intel current 3GB's SATA connection will often equal it or beat it in real world work loads. Yes the marvel will look good in benchmarks but unless all you do is run sisoft all day that doesn't really hold any water.

Intel G3 drives are said to be 3GB SATA only and the reason I think they choose this is because the market needs Larger and cheapers SSD's not more performance right now.

Most consumers will not be able to tell the difference between an SSD that does 250/200 read and writes over one that does 500/500 and i'm referring to desktop work loads not a server which will have different requirements and demands.
perplekks45 8th October 2010, 18:25 Quote
It'll all come down to money... again. If they can perform like they're claiming they do AND they're considerably cheaper than PCI-E SSD cards they'll be in for a winner. If not... nobody knows.
r3loaded 8th October 2010, 18:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Makaveli
If you are asking if there will be a performance boost that is a yes, however intel won't be releasing their own chipsets with a native 6GB's SATA yet, so the only current choice are boards with the marvel external controllers which have shown to be lacking in performance as intel current 3GB's SATA connection will often equal it or beat it in real world work loads. Yes the marvel will look good in benchmarks but unless all you do is run sisoft all day that doesn't really hold any water.

Well, they're bringing SATA 6Gbps support with Sandy Bridge, so it shouldn't be a problem when the new SF-2000 drives come out.

Damn, my Indilinx-based Crucial SSD is getting a bit long in the tooth now. Still very happy with it though. :)
roblikesbeer 8th October 2010, 22:52 Quote
Cor, the Storage Networking World Exhibition sounds like a real swell day out!
robots 9th October 2010, 05:06 Quote
and a great place to pick up hot girls who just want to party.
l3v1ck 9th October 2010, 07:50 Quote
It hasn't taken Sandforce long to produce another controller, so why are Indilinx taking so long to get a new controller on the market. It seems like ages since their last effort. Since that's all they do, they really need to catch up or they won't survive for long.
Omnituens 9th October 2010, 11:20 Quote
Hm, might be moving the SSD in this rig to the lan rig, then putting one of these bad boys in the main rig.
jimmyjj 9th October 2010, 11:27 Quote
It's nice to see the numbers, but what I really want is any decent SSD that offers 256GB of storage for a dirt cheap price.

Still stuck with my hard drive at the mo and not a lot of spare cash.

I am sure a lot of people are in the same boat, and for me dropping prices is more exciting than top level performance.
spazmochad 10th October 2010, 11:53 Quote
Nothing which can't be achieved with a couple of vertex 2's in RAID.
perplekks45 10th October 2010, 13:33 Quote
Sure, but what if this thing is cheaper than two Vertex 2?
ryall 11th October 2010, 01:14 Quote
And what if you like TRIM?
leexgx 11th October 2010, 02:47 Quote
sf-1200 works quite well with out TRIM it seems{RAID for e.g.} (the GC works very well page 7 below), you asked me if you should RAID'ed an bit ago i would of sayed your flat stupid as you would end up with the speed of less then 1 ssd or worse in some cases (ok not in that way but norm RAID makes Write latency's go up when cells need to be erased but the GC on the sf-1200 seems to work very well) but again real would use you not notice the difference unless you was using server loads, as to i still stick to buy one SSD the size you need (256GB should do :) + an 1-2TB hdd)

http://www.anandtech.com/print/3949 (drives uses RAID setup on each half of the card like raid 0+0)

sf-2000 should be no different if not better
spazmochad 11th October 2010, 11:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryall
And what if you like TRIM?

They have inbuilt routines which perform maintenance when the PC is idle so TRIM is not actually essential. I don't actually write a great deal to my SSDs either as my desktop, documents and non essential apps and games are all on a hard disk.
leexgx 12th October 2010, 22:24 Quote
does depend on the SSD some do it better then others with GC (samsung been the worst maybe JMicron as well)
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