A first look at CES 2012

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2012 - 11:31 AM |
Tagged: CES, storage visions, Intel, sandforce, 520 Cherryville

The theme of this years Storage Visions is 'Heavy Storage for Thin Clients' but that is not the biggest bit of new that Legit Reviews gathered from their meeting with the organizers.  They got confirmation that Intel will indeed be using a Sandforce based controller in an upcoming SSD, the 520 Cherryville, which will replace the 510 series.  As well, Micron was showing off their 20nm NAND, Crucial has a new Adrenaline drive to test and IOSafe will provide you a fire and waterproof housing to keep it in.

Don't forget about OCZ though, the card you can see below is the newest Z-Drive and it sports 8TB of flash storage (12TB max) available in MLC, SLC and eMLC depending on your needs and budget.  It is a PCIe 3.0 compliant card, one of the first available on the market.  You can also read about OCZ and Micron's joint project in the full post at Legit Reviews.

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"OCZ and Marvell have teamed up and are showing off the Z-Drive R5 for the very first time at Storage Visions. The OCZ Z-Drive R5 is the industries fastest PCI Express (PCIe) storage device. The reason that Z-Drive R5 features a jointly developed "Kilimanjaro" OCZ and Marvell native PCIe to NAND flash controller platform, allowing for completely scalable performance and redundancy while eliminating the need for a separate storage controller, thus reducing the cost to deploy high performance solid state storage systems in the data center. It uses a PCI-Express Gen3 x8 slot to get up to 1.6M IOPS!"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

SandForce jumps into bed with LSI, not OCZ

Subject: Storage | October 27, 2011 - 02:57 PM |
Tagged: LSI, sandforce, merger, purchase

LSI, known for their high quality RAID cards here at PC Perspective have just agreed to purchase our favourite designer of  SSD controllers, namely Sandforce.  The deal is for $322 million in cash, with another $48 million of unvested stock options and restricted shares also being picked up.  This deal makes an interesting pair of bedfellows, with Sandforce being well known by consumers but making few inroads into the server room or other corporate markets.  LSI is the opposite, with very few consumers running out and picking up a $700 SAS RAID controller while in the corporate environment they are a common purchase. 

The two markets are very different; consumers want both speed and affordability in a drive and are quite willing to sacrifice a little reliability to that end.  Corporate usage places reliability first, there is no point having incredibly fast storage medium if it is occasionally unreachable and so are willing to pay a high price for that reliability.  This purchase seems to be indicating that SandForce feels that there is a market for their controller in the corporate world, if they can overcome the reliability and MTBF of their SSD drives.  LSI can provide experience with that in spades, their testing methodology is capable of detecting and pinpointing flaws that a consumer would never notice but which a heavily loaded server might.  This might just see SandForce arrive as a controller in a server room near you.  Keep your eyes peeled for more information from Allyn.

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MILPITAS, Calif., October 26, 2011 – LSI Corporation (NYSE: LSI) today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SandForce, Inc., the leading provider of flash storage processors for enterprise and client flash solutions and solid state drives (SSDs). Under the agreement, LSI will pay approximately $322 million in cash, net of cash assumed, and assume approximately $48 million of unvested stock options and restricted shares held by SandForce employees.
 
SandForce’s award-winning products include flash storage processors at the heart of PCIe flash adapters and SSDs. Flash storage processors provide the intelligence required to deliver the performance and low-latency benefits of flash storage in enterprise and client applications. With market-proven, differentiated DuraClass™ technology, SandForce flash storage processors improve the reliability, endurance and power efficiency of flash-based storage solutions.
 
The acquisition greatly enhances LSI's competitive position in the fast-growing server and storage PCIe flash adapter market, where the WarpDrive™ family of products from LSI already uses SandForce flash storage processors. The complementary combination of LSI’s custom capability and SandForce’s standard product offering propels LSI into an industry-leading position in the rapidly growing, high-volume flash storage processor market space for ultrabook, notebook and enterprise SSD and flash solutions.
 
“Flash-based solutions are critical for accelerating application performance in servers, storage and client devices,” said Abhi Talwalkar, LSI president and chief executive officer. “Adding SandForce’s technology to LSI’s broad storage portfolio is consistent with our mission to accelerate storage and networking. The acquisition represents a significant, rapidly growing market opportunity for LSI over the next several years.”
 
Michael Raam, SandForce president and CEO, said, “The combination of SandForce and LSI allows us to deliver differentiated solutions in the PCIe flash adapter segment by tightly integrating flash memory and management. In addition, leveraging our flash storage processors with LSI’s comprehensive IP portfolio and leading-edge silicon design platforms will lead to innovative solutions.”
 
The transaction is expected to close early in the first quarter of 2012 subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Upon closing, the SandForce team will become part of LSI’s newly formed Flash Components Division, with Raam as general manager.

Source: LSI

SandForce finally patches elusive 2200 series SSD controller bug. OCZ issues firmware, others soon to follow.

Subject: Storage | October 18, 2011 - 12:25 AM |
Tagged: ssd, sandforce, ocz, firmware, bug, BSOD

Over the past few months, we had noted a seemingly disproportionate surge of negative reports from users of SandForce-2200 based SSD's. These include OCZ's Vertex and Agility 3, Corsair's Force 3 and GT, Patriot's Pyro and Wildfire, along with many others. The complete list is available in our handy SSD Decoder.

The issue at hand was random BSOD's, with the possibility of an eventual complete failure of the SSD, rendering it unrecognizeable to the BIOS or Operating System. More details (and the fix) after the break:

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I witnessed this personally, as the SF-2281 pictured above suffered the same fate when we attempted to use it a few weeks ago.

Today (hopefully) marks the answer to everyone's prayers. SandForce issued base firmware 3.3.2 for SF-2000 series controllers.

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OCZ's Toolbox software V 2.40.02 can patch OCZ's line of SF-2200 SSD's with the new fix.

The release notes follow (and seem to lack mention of the aforementioned bugfix):

OCZ Toolbox version 2.40.02
---------------------------
- Modified Identity data display
- Fixed Smart data display for power fail backup attributes
- Added BIOS update for Hybrid drive

Known Issues:
- Update Firmware feature prohibited for primary drives with 1500 & 2000 controllers
- Intel RST Driver 10.1.0.1008 prohibits SSD detection

OCZ's press tidbit for the new firmware(s):

OCZ is pleased to announce that the cause of a BSOD issue experienced by some SF-2000-based drive owners has been identified by OCZ and SandForce. A new firmware update which directly addresses this BSOD occurrence related to SF-2000 based SSDs is available here. All newly manufactured OCZ SF-2000 based SSDs will feature the new 2.15 firmware revision (which is based on SandForce firmware version 3.3.2.) We highly recommend that any customers that have experienced the BSOD issue update their firmware to 2.15.
 
We sincerely appreciate the support from our customers, and if any customers have any questions or require additional support please do not hesitate to contact a customer service representative and we will be happy to address any questions or concerns.

If you own any of the affected SSD's, I highly recommend updating as soon as possible. Until then, I also recommend you back up any data present on these drives, as the above statements confirm the presence of an issue that can potentially brick your SandForce SSD at any moment.

Remember, patch only applies to the 2200 Series controller (i.e. SandForce SSD's capable of SATA 6Gb/sec).

This newcomer to SSDs holds a new iteration of a familiar controller

Subject: Storage | September 19, 2011 - 05:42 PM |
Tagged: sf-2200 controller, sandforce, ssd, silicon power

When you think of SSDs it is very unlikely that your first mention would be Silicon Power, nor would it even make most people's Top 10.  That didn't stop them from releasing a small SSD, the Silicon Power Velox V30 60GB which features the new SandForce SF-2200 controller.  Worth noting is that at no time in the review did Bjorn3D experience the bug that many people, especially Gigabyte board users, have experienced.  What they did find was not unexpected, due to the small size of the drive SandForce has less channels to deal with which impacts performance significantly.  Still the drive will likely beat any SATA II drive out there and at 60GB it will not put you too far into debt.

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"Silicon Power Velox V30 60GB SSD is a nice budget SSD. We pit it against top performers like the OCZ Vertex 3 to see how well it does."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: Bjorn3D

Seven Sandforce SF-2281 SSDs

Subject: Storage | September 13, 2011 - 05:13 PM |
Tagged: sandforce, Sandforce SF2281, ssd, roundup, corsair, kingston, ozc, patriot, sata 6Gps

Four companies with seven SSDs that all share the same controller were tested at X-bit Labs to see if there is any noticeable difference in their performance.   The price per gigabyte varies on the different models as they all use slightly different flash memory as well as different interfaces.  X-bit tries to come out with a general statement about performance and captures the heart when they state "SSDs with synchronous MLC NAND flash are generally faster but also more expensive whereas SSDs with asynchronous flash are cheaper and slower".  That generalization doesn't quite capture the results fully however as even within those two categories there are some choices better than others.  Check out the full review to see which drives came out on top.

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"We tested seven high-speed solid state drives built on second generation SandForce controller that support SATA 6 Gbps. Please welcome our heroes: Corsair Force 3, Corsair Force GT, Kingston HyperX, OCZ Agility 3, OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS, Patriot Pyro and Patriot Wildfire."

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CASES & COOLING

 

Source: X-Bit Labs

High Capacity Corsair SATA 3 Force GT SSDs Now Available

Subject: Storage | August 31, 2011 - 12:27 AM |
Tagged: ssd, storage, corsair, sandforce, SATA3

Today Corsair announced two new high capacity SSDs that have joined the company’s Force GT solid state drive lineup. The new drives come in 180 GB and 240GB flavors, a nice increase from the current 60 GB and 120 GB drives.

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The new Force GT SSDs utilize the SATA 3 (6Gbps) interface, and are powered by the SandForce SF-2280 controller. In addition, the drives are powered by ONFI synchronous flash memory. The hardware results in random IOPS of 85K, read speeds of 555 MB/s, and write speeds of 525 MB/s. Thi La, the VP of Memory Products for Corsair stated the new 180 GB and 240 GB SSDs are best suited for enthusiasts systems that require large amounts of high performance storage.

The Force GT drives will come with a 3.5” adapter for cases that do not have 2.5” drive bays. The SSDs are available for purchase now, and carry an MSRP of $379 USD for the 180 GB model and $489 USD for the 240 GB SSD.

Source: Corsair

Kingston joins the SandForce club

Subject: Storage | August 19, 2011 - 12:03 PM |
Tagged: kingston, ssd, sandforce, SF-2281 controller

Kingston has moved on to the new SandForce 2281 controller and synchronous flash memory with their new series of HyperX SSDs.  Like previous models, cables and brackets and sometimes even ghosting software are included in the packaging in addition to a 3 year warranty.  The drive comes in two varieties of package, one is intended for those planning a complete reinstall of Windows when they add the SSD to their system.  The other is an upgrade kit, which has everything you need to move your OS onto the SSD, up to and including a USB casing to ease the transfer.  [H]ard|OCP has the scoop here.

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"Kingston's move into the SandForce SSD market is great news for the consumer. With its new HyperX branded solid state drives in hand, we take a look at these amazingly fast SSDs and examine if an SSD from Kingston should be on your short list for your next storage purchase."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Patriot tries out the SandForce 2281 controller in the newest Wildfire SSD

Subject: Storage | August 1, 2011 - 03:51 PM |
Tagged: ssd, patriot, wildfire 120GB, sandforce, SF-2281 controller

120GB is a nice spot for SSDs, enough space for an OS and limited programs but without forcing you to spend $500+.  The Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD SATA 6GB/s drive is $300, not the least expensive but certainly competitive with other similar drives, in price.  As for performance, with the new SATA standard and a SandForce controller it seemed best matched against the OCZ Vertex III Max IOPS.  Hi Tech Legion's testing showed the two to be running neck and neck in both performance and price.  Competition that close will hopefully bring sales and discounts making both drives even more attractive.

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"The Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD claims to deliver enterprise-class performance on a home PC. The Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD is equipped with the SandForce SF-2281 controller paired with 16 8GB Toshiba 32nm toggle mode NAND chips. Much like other next generation SandForce based SSDs, the Patriot Wildfire 120GB has DuraWrite technology, Windows 7 TRIM support and is 256-bit AES encryption capable. With a sequential read speed of 555MB/s and write speed of 520MB/s, as well as a max random write IOPS of 85,000, the Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD is aimed squarely at enthusiasts who want raw speed and uncompromised performance."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

ADATA digs their toes into the sand and then jumps into SSDs

Subject: Storage | July 5, 2011 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: sandforce, SF-2281 controller, sata 6Gps, ssd

With SSDs it seems that the brand on the shell tells you very little about the performance of the drive its self and picking up an off brand SSD can net you a great deal, as long as you know what is inside.  Since ADATA chose the SandForce SF-2281 SATA 6GB/s controller, the same as we've seen in Al's review of the OCZ Agility 3 drive which fared very well in our testing.  The reported prices run from $155 for a 60GB to $520 for the 240GB which is in line with OCZ's Vertex 3 series and is too bad in a way.  In almost every test Benchmark Reviews tried, the ADATA offering fell slightly behind both flavours of the OCZ Vertex 3, which you would hope would bring the price down.  However in the market right now SSD makers can pretty much charge whatever they want as enthusiasts will pay the price; that makes it very nice to see the market opening up with a wide variety of vendors putting out top notch SSDs.

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"ADATA knows that SandForce-driven SSDs are a win-win combination of performance and speed. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the ADATA S511 solid state drive. Based on the popular new SandForce SF-2281 SATA 6GB/s controller and fast IMFT-branded NAND flash components, ADATA claims the AS511S3 is capable of 550 MB/s read and 510 MB/s write speed with 4K random write speeds as high as 60,000 IOPS in real world testing. We test these claims, and compare performance to competing storage solid-state solutions in this review to find out which SSD is best."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

OCZ's new SSD, the Vertex 3, is storage glee

Subject: Storage | June 28, 2011 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: ocz, vertex 3, sata 6Gps, sandforce

OCZ 's third iteration of the Vertex series of SSDs continues their dominance in the feild.  The new Sandforce controller is matched with IMFT 25nm flash from Toshiba on a true SATA 6Gb/s drive.  That all adds up to one incredibly fast SATA SSD, with the slightly larger 240GB drive pushing ahead of the 120GB drive.  [H]ard|OCP also briefly covered the Agility 3 240GB and Vertex 3 max IOPS 240GB which produced mixed results, the Agility 3 dissapointed their high expectations and the MaxIOPs could not beat the normal Vertex 3 though theoretically it will have a longer lifespan.  The plain Vertex 3 drives were simply impressive at everything they were tested on.

You can get a faster drive though, with the PCIe based OCZ RevoDrive 3 x2 480GB SSD, the fastest storage on the planet.  It doesn't come cheap though.

H_Vertex3.jpg

"Today we take a look at the OCZ Technology Vertex 3 in both 120GB and 240GB capacities. The Vertex 3 was the first SF-2000 based client SSD to hit the market in 2011 and such will be the product in which all others will be judged against. The Vertex 3 is capable of transferring data at 550+MB/s."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: [H]ard|OCP