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Indilinx is working on the successor to its popular Barefoot controller

NAND flash controller chip designer Indilinx has made quite a name for itself in the Solid State Drive market. Their Barefoot controller is used in the majority of SSDs sold to enthusiasts, and is generally credited for enabling affordable SSDs with decent random read/write speeds (and no stuttering). This provided pricing competition for Intel, which introduced their second generation SSDs using 34nm NAND flash earlier this year at very attractive prices.

The Barefoot controller was designed in Korea and is built on a 90nm process. It features TRIM support and 64MB of DRAM cache. The controller can be used for SSDs as large as 512GB. The fastest SATA SSD using the controller is OCZ's Vertex Turbo, with a maximum read speed of 270 MB/s.

The SATA II interface that the Barefoot controller uses is only capable of 300MB/s. With protocol overhead factored in, the real world performance of SSDs is already limited when reading from cache, leading many SSD manufacturers to create PCIe-based solutions.

New types of flash like the DDR MLC NAND recently announced by Samsung will allow much faster read and write speeds with the next generation of SSDs. Motherboards supporting a 6Gbps SATA interface are already available.

Indilinx has been working on its next generation Jet Stream controller featuring 6Gbps SATA and DDR NAND support for over a year. The new controller is supposedly being designed for a 65nm process, and can be used for SSDs as large as 1TB.

DailyTech has learned from several industry sources that the new controller will begin sampling in the first quarter of 2010; though it was supposed to be sampling already. The first production batch of SSDs using the new controller likely won't be ready until the second quarter.

This news is just the latest setback to enthusiasts looking for a SSD upgrade. SSD prices have risen dramatically over the last six months as NAND flash prices have doubled. Strong demand for products using flash like SD cards, SSDs, and portable media players is to blame.

Enthusiasts shouldn't despair though. New SSD controllers from Samsung and SandForce may be available soon, while Micron has just announced the first 6Gbps SSD using its own proprietary controller and firmware.

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what does 6Gb/s brings to end user?
By motigez on 12/4/2009 4:45:16 PM , Rating: 2
So, it is nice to have 6Gb/s into your SSD, but what does it brings to the end user? are we going to enjoy this extra speed? is the bottleneck in the interface?
I heard you do not need more than 100MB/s and 1000 IOPS for the end user to be highly satisfied,
will it consume more battery time from my notebook?

By mckirkus on 12/7/2009 10:47:00 AM , Rating: 2
This will probably be more useful if you're moving around big files. It will be interesting to see if the new controller or SATA version reduce latency which could increase random IO.

Battery life may drop since they're using a smaller manufacturing process for the controller. Look for benchmarks that use real world scenarios (workstation, server, gaming, etc.) to see if it's worth it for your setup.

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