As good as the Barefoot controller is,
it is still a pricey product. Many other companies have tried to make
controllers with varying degrees of success. SandForce is a name
that has been whispered to us many several SSD companies, and OCZ is
now announcing that it will partner with them for a new range of SSD
controllers haven’t been performing up to par, so a second SSD
controller partner will help reduce OCZ’s supplier dependence and
hopefully spur some much needed price and performance
“OCZ is committed to delivering SSD
solutions to our enterprise clients and also has a strong following
for our consumer solid state products; partnering with SandForce
enables us to offer an even more robust offering to both these
markets,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of the OCZ Technology Group.
“Together with SandForce we are focused on making enterprise-class
MLC-based SSDs which offer excellent reliability and performance
coupled with superior total cost of ownership for all our
SandForce is a fabless semiconductor company
founded at the end of 2006. Although it is a young company, it has
already filed more than twenty patents. Its leadership is comprised
of industry veterans, and the company is very well funded thanks to
investments from several storage OEMs.
The company has been
preparing two SSD controllers for the market over the last few
months. The SF-1200 will be targeted at enthusiast and low-cost
enterprise SSDs and will be able support up to 512GB capacities.
Sequential read and write speeds can reach 260 MB/s through a 3Gb/s
SATA interface. The SF-1200 is designed to utilize commodity
Multi-Level Cell NAND flash in order to lower costs.
SF-1500 is targeted at high-end enterprise and workstation
applications. Speed and maximum capacity is the same as the SF-1200,
but the SF-1500 can also support Single-Level Cell flash for a higher
number of write-erase cycles. It also boasts an Unrecoverable Read
Error rate of less that 1 per 10^17, much higher than the typical
10^15 rate found in traditional magnetic storage-based enterprise
hard disk drives.
“OCZ has a proven track record in the
design and manufacture of solid state drives and is in a distinctive
position to deliver SSDs to both the enterprise and consumer space,”
said Thad Omura, VP of Marketing at SandForce. “SandForce SSD
Processors reliably enable the usage of low cost, MLC-based SSDs in
volume, mainstream enterprise applications.”
A prototype SSD
using a SandForce controller was shown earlier this year working with
NAND flash from Micron. Intel sources the same flash chips for
its SSDs though IM Flash Tech, its joint partnership with Micron. The
low cost and high performance of those flash chips have helped Intel
take SSD sales away from OCZ.
OCZ is planning to partner with
SandForce for the long term. SandForce has stated that they have a
multi-generational roadmap, and is expected to release details on a
next-generation controller chip next year supporting 6
Gb/s transfers though a SATA interface.
OCZ has promised
more information on performance, pricing, and availability in the
weeks leading up to the Consumer Electronics Show.