Today is a big day in the world of solid state drives. As you know (or are just now learning), SSD performance primarily hinges on the controller, which is one of the reasons why SSDs went through such growing pains early on. Stuttering, or lag, was a common problem that plagued early generation SSDs, and SandForce was one of the first to figure out how to avoid it. When scoping out a high performance SSD, there's a good chance it's sporting a SandForce controller. Well, baby, you ain't seen nothing yet. SandForce just announced its second generation SF-2200 and SF-2100 SSD processors, and boy do they pack a punch.
"As with our first-generation product, the new SF-2200 and SF-2100 client SSD processors break new ground in terms of reliability, performance, and affordability by optimizing access to the most advanced NAND flash technologies," said Michael Raam, President and CEO for SandForce. "Manufacturers building client SSDs can now introduce even higher performance products that further optimize the computing user experience and enhance overall productivity which will continue to accelerate mainstream laptop and PC market adoption of SSDs."
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what about the numbers? They don't disappoint, at least not on paper. The SF-2200 processor is built for 6Gb/s SATA and scorches along at up to 500MB/s for both read and write transfers. Meanwhile, the SF-2100 kicks it old school with a 3GB/s SATA interface and is rated at up to 250MB/s for read and write transfers, which is on par with today's high-performing SSDs. But it's not just about read and write ratings.
Both new controllers support 30nm and 20nm class NAND flash with Asynch/ONFi1/ONFi2/Toggle interfaces, meaning that SSD makers can implement the controller without major design changes. Other feature enhancements include improved encryption with support for AES-256, a beefed up ECC engine for better data integrity, and various power and performance optimizations to improve battery life in mobile devices.
On paper it's an impressive upgrade over SandForce's first-generation controllers, but how is it in practice? We'll let you know. Maximum PC has received a pre-production version of OCZ’s Vertex 3 drive, which uses the SF-2200 controller, and we'll be posting a first look and initial benchmarks early next week. Stay tuned!