SandForce Inc. from Saratoga, CA recently announced the company?s new solid state disk processor family. Based on their foundry partners TSMC and proven 65nm process, the SF-2000 family of SSD controllers from SandForce include three processors; The SF-2300 for industrial applications, the SF-2500 [SATA] and SF-2600 [SAS] intended for enterprise.
SandForce SF-2000 SSD Controller Family Overview
One of the unique and impressive features of the new processor line is the industrial temperature support [-40 to +85 degrees Celsius]. While still not automotive-grade [105C required], the SF-2300 is opening up doors for SSD technology to enter embed applications such as airplane entertainment systems, heavy duty workstations, mobile servers and many more.
The SF-2000 family supports single-level, multi-level, and enterprise multi-level cell [SLC, MLC, & eMLC] NAND Flash families from all major suppliers with its high-speed ONFi2 and Toggle Flash interface. Sources report that the company has responded to complaints with their earlier controllers making changes to the NAND interface, the on-chip memories, and the encryption engine.
DuraWrite Technology – How to Minimize Write Amplification and avoid slowing down of NAND Flash Writes
DuraClass is the collective term SandForce uses to describe various proprietary technologies they incorporate in their controllers. DuraWrite, RAISE [Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements], and AES-128 encryption. The technology does not require an external DRAM chip like most SSDs thus reducing cost. DuraWrite technology optimizes MLC endurance in write intensive applications, and a maintains a high sustained and balanced read/write performance.
The SF-2000 SSD Processor Family addresses the needs of Enterprise and Industrial storage markets with configurations and firmware optimized for each segment. These devices preserve the advantageous SandForce "DRAM-less" architecture [no DRAM cache required] which is optimal for dense and custom tiny form factor native SATA SSDs, in addition to SAS- and PCI Express-based SSDs when integrated with industry-leading RAID and Host-Bus Adapter chips on one card.
Where to See It
SandForce plans to demonstrate SF-2000 products at the Storage Networking World Exhibition to be held next week at the Gaylord Texan Hotel, Dallas, Texas [October 11-14]. They will be showing 2.5-inch SSD reference designs operating with 30nm-class Flash memory with both ONFi2 and Toggle interfaces. Products from SandForce customers will also be on display at the exhibition.
OCZ Teams with SandForce
In a concurrent release, OCZ Technology from San Jose, California, announced that they are teaming with SandForce to produce a product line that leverages Serial-ATA III [SATA] using cost effective NAND Flash components. The updated Deneva Family of products based on the SandForce SF-2000 controller family is expected to sample in the fourth quarter of 2010, with mass production availability beginning in the first quarter of 2011.
SandForce competes in the SSD merchant controller market with Indilinx, JMicron, Marvel and several others. Intel and Marvel are reported to be collaborating on an SSD controller according to several sources, as well as Seagate and LSI, who are working on an enterprise-class SSD controller. Vertically integrated NAND Flash manufacturers that also make their own controllers are Samsung, SanDisk, Toshiba, Intel and Micron. This leaves independent suppliers as SandForce?s potential customers. I wouldn?t be surprised if they had this segment to themselves. Oh yeah, expect a whole host of others signing on to the SF-2000 product family.
Not having seen competitive benchmarks yet, it?s difficult to predict results, but the "up front stuff" looks to have all the check marks filled, bold faced, underlined with quotations marks. I?d be surprised and very disappointed if it didn?t live up to its billing…