For months SandForce has been telling me that the market is really going to get exciting once its next-generation controller is ready. I didn’t really believe it, simply because that’s what every company tells me. But in this case, at least based on what SandForce showed me, I probably should have.

What we have today are the official specs of the second-generation SandForce SSDs, the SF-2000 series. Drives will be sampling to enterprise customers in the coming weeks, but we probably won’t see shipping hardware until Q1 2011 if everything goes according to plan. And the specs are astounding:

We'll get to the how in a moment, but let's start at the basics. The overall architecture of the SF-2000 remains unchanged from what we have today with the SF-1200/SF-1500 controllers.

SandForce’s controller gets around the inherent problems with writing to NAND by simply writing less. Using real time compression and data deduplication algorithms, the SF controllers store a representation of your data and not the actual data itself. The reduced data stored on the drive is also encrypted and stored redundantly across the NAND to guarantee against dataloss from page level or block level failures. Both of these features are made possible by the fact that there’s simply less data to manage.

Another side effect of SandForce’s write-less policy is there’s no need for an external DRAM to handle large mapping tables. It reduces the total BOM cost of the SSD and allows SandForce to charge a premium for its controllers.

These are the basics and as I mentioned above, they haven’t changed. The new SF-2000 controller is faster but the fundamental algorithms remain the same. The three areas that have been improved however are the NAND interface, the on-chip memories, and the encryption engine.

NAND Support: Everything
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  • Zan Lynx - Friday, October 8, 2010 - link

    People will be able to get what they want and/or need based on what they can afford.

    The guys who pay for custom painted cases with three GPUs and water cooling will probably want to throw in a 4GB/s storage "drive".

    The ordinary people will be happy enough if their games and word processor open in less than 10 seconds so they will be paying for the cheap drives.

    The enterprise folks will throw a half-million dollars at a SAN vendor and say "Make it work really really fast." Heh.
  • iwodo - Sunday, October 10, 2010 - link

    1. reads 330MB/s and writes 33MB/s ?? I think you need reference to backup your "facts" DDR /Toggle Mode NAND only reads @ 166Mbps ( Mega Bits, Not Bytes as you reference )

    But yes, NAND SSD speed is easily scalable. ( As i mentioned in previous comment which i asked the same question )

    We will be limited by controller, someday due to all the error correction, overhead etc. But that is still very far off.

    In the thread i posted in forum about Diminishing returns of SSD Speed. Basically concludes we have already / near reach that tipping point. Because under very limited situation you will ever need 4GB/s Read write speed. It is the Random Read Write that will count.

    However software still assume we are on HDD, therefore we will be limited to OS, drivers and other side of software to see any other performance difference.
  • Keatah - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    Uhm yeh, that's what they said about 640k! Nobody is gonna need more than 640k!

    I would stick to mechanical drives to meet those requirements. SSD's are anything but bug-free and stable and cheap. Not yet.
  • JonnyDough - Friday, October 8, 2010 - link

    "Performance: Welcome to the 500 Club"

    As long as its nothing like The 700 Club. Those crackers are so off base its scary. :P
  • Arbie - Friday, October 8, 2010 - link

    This reminds me very much of the Hewlett-Packard cartridge tape drives of the mid-nineties. They were sold as "250MB" although they really only held 125MB. The fake rating was created by assuming all your data could be compressed by 50% !! Impressive work by HP - advancing the standard of US technical innovation.

    Anyway, I really hope Anandtech will test these SSDs with compressed files as well.
  • PeanutGallery - Friday, October 8, 2010 - link

    Will I be able to use the encryption if it's installed in a MacBook Pro? (latest 13 inch)
    If so, how?
  • Havor - Friday, October 8, 2010 - link

    Even do if these drives come out and will be near enough to the price of a Vertex 2 i will certainly get one, but what i am waiting for even more is a controller whit native PCIe 4x ore 8x support.

    PCIe 2.x got a bi-directional throughput off 500MB/s per lane, that hold in that PCIe 2.x throughput of 250MB data in and/ore 250MB data out, minus +/- 20% overhead.
    PCIe 4x ((4 x 250MB = 1GB) - 20% = 800MB/s) ore PCIe 8x ((8 x 250MB = 2GB) - 20% = 1.6GB/s)

    Also saves a lot of steps of the ones currently in use (RevoDrive: SATA > raid controller > PCI-X > PCIe) ore the more expensive ones (other one's: SATA > raid controller > PCIe)

    Think they will come it just will take time.
  • aviv - Saturday, October 9, 2010 - link

    hey anand all winsxs dir in vista or windows 7 are dupes files that make the test not right
  • soonlar - Monday, October 11, 2010 - link

    "At full speed you could copy 1GB of data from a SF-2000 drive to another SF-2000 drive in 2 seconds. If SandForce can actually deliver this sort of performance I will be blown away."

  • Keatah - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    Anyone that buys an SSD today is an early adopter. These drives are not consumer grade and definitely not prime-time ready.

    Another 2 years. Then we're good to go. Simple as that!

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