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Sandforce releases second-gen SSD controller

Sandforce-based SSDs were all the rage earlier this year, and with good reason. Now the IC designer has announced a new family of SSD processors that will enable higher data rates for enterprise customers.

The first generation logic put Sandforce on the map with the SF-1000 series. The controller changed the approach to SSD management as the SF-1000 series introduced a dedicated SoC to better control the flow and caching of data on the controller and reduce the wear and tear on the Flash cells. This improved performance by a sizeable amount - enough for all major SSD manufacturers to release designs based on said controllers.

Unfortunately, and we say this in a rather ironic way, Sandforce hit the SATA 2.6G ceiling. Performance in the upper tier of products was all very similar between SSD vendors, as the bandwidth on SATA was now maxed out.

Now Sandforce is ready for round two.

At the time of the first gen release, Sandforce did mention that the likeliest upgrade to its controllers would be the inclusion of SATA 3.0 interfaces. The day has come for SATA 3.0 to kick Sandforce into high gear.

The company has announced the launch of the SF-2300, SF-2500 and SF-2600 'SSD Processors'. They are, in most aspects, similar to the original technology, except of course for the inclusion of SATA 3.0 and SAS, while there is the addition of some more enterprise features such as Advanced Format byte sectors for error correction and redundancy. These are mostly present in the SF-2600. The SF-2300 targets industrial/military applications and is built for security and ruggedness.

With the new SATA 3.0 interface, the SSD Processor can churn out a whopping 500MB/s of data, which will easily become the subject of many reviews and world-record breaking attempts online.

The new SoC with SATA 3.0, AES-256 and ECC engine

The SSD processor is still ‘limited’ to an addressable 512GB, which remains the same as the first gen. However, considering the cost of 512GB of Flash NAND, the cost of a second SSD processor would be negligible. If you consider the fact that you will be able to band together multiple SSD Processors to squeeze out more performance, Terabyte-per-second performance is only an engineer’s drawing board away.

Hopefully this will also mean there will be some sales on last season’s Sandforce-powered SSDs.