SanDisk CEO blames its SSD performance woes on Windows Vista

Solid state disk (SSD) news has been coming in fast during the past few weeks.  Most of the big revelations have been at the low-end of the SSD market with multi-level cell (MLC) based products, but single-level cell (SLC) based products have had their fair share of coverage as well.

Despite the hype surrounding the promising technology, SanDisk is placing blame on Windows Vista for not providing enough of a speed boost when using SSDs. SanDisk CEO Eli Harari went so far as to say that Vista is the reason why SanDisk is being left behind by competing solutions.

"We have very good internal controller technology, as you know...That said, I'd say that we are now behind because we did not fully understand, frankly, the limitations in the Vista environment," explained Harari. "As soon as you get into Vista applications in notebook and desktop, you start running into very demanding applications because Vista is not optimized for flash memory solid state disk."

"The next generation controllers need to basically compensate for Vista shortfalls," Harari added. "Unfortunately, (SSDs) performance in the Vista environment falls short of what the market really needs and that is why we need to develop the next generation, which we'll start sampling end of this year, early next year."

Those comments are quite a departure from SanDisk's own press release from mid-2007 regarding its SSD performance in Windows Vista:

SanDisk Corporation today announced that the Microsoft Windows Hardware Qualification Lab (WHQL) has certified the new SanDisk 1.8-inch UATA solid state drive (SSD), which is being used as a substitute for hard drives in selected laptop computers. The product also earned a high score on the Windows Experience Index, indicating that it is suited to a variety of Microsoft Windows Vista applications .

Additionally, the SanDisk UATA SSD scored 5.4 out of 5.9 when tested with the Windows Experience Index utility, a new feature in Windows Vista. The results indicate that the new Windows Vista operating system will run optimally when installed on the SanDisk SSD.

It is quite true that SanDisk's SSD are woefully subpar in performance when running Windows Vista. Numerous benchmarks from around the web have shown SanDisk SSDs getting outpaced by the competition.

In fact, it's not uncommon to see SanDisk SSDs rank last in testing in almost every benchmark and by a large margin -- even in Windows XP. Recent testing showed that MSI's Wind netbook was no faster with a SanDisk SATA 5000 SSD than with the standard 80GB HDD -- an Eee PC 1000h featuring similar specifications was significantly faster with a competing SSD from Samsung.

While Vista may be a performance inhibitor compared to Windows XP for SSDs, it appears that most new, current-generation SSDs are having no problems performing well with the operating system. The problem appears to be SanDisk's low reads and writes (67 MB/sec and 50 MB/sec respectively) compared to the competition (i.e., OCZ’s new Core Series SSDs which clock in at 120 to 143 MB/sec for reads and 80 to 93 MB/sec for writes).

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