OCZ wraps both its ARMs around a new SSD controller and gives it a little TLC

Subject: General Tech | July 26, 2011 - 09:03 AM |
Tagged: ssd, ocz, arm, tlc, sata 6Gps, Indilinx Everest

OCZ is never satisfied with the performance of their SSDs in general and their controllers specifically.  After purchasing Indilinx to ensure that their controllers would be of high quality and designed to OCZ's specific needs, they've now been pushing Indilinx to improve on their controllers.  That has lead to Everest, which has a dual core ARM processor and 400MHz DDR3 cache that can support up to 512MB.  The controller is optimized for 8K writes which is perfect for the current flash utilized in SSDs.  OCZ has also optimized the flash memory, developing Triple Level Cell (TLC) which has three layers as opposed to MLC which sports two.  The controller will be backwards compatible, which is a good idea if OCZ wants to license the controller to other manufacturers, which makes sense as Everest should hit 200MT/s as compared to SandForce's current 166MT/s.  There is more that this controller can do, click on over to The Register to read about it.

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"OCZ is sampling a new flash controller that gives a picture of future solid state drives.

The company bought Indilinx for its solid state drive (SSD) controller technology in March this year and has now unveiled the Indilinx Everest controller platform.

It has a 6Gbit/s SATA III interface, a dual-core ARM processor and a number of enticing features, such as 3-bit multi-level cell (MLC) support. This is going to be called TLC, for triple-level cell, to distinguish it from today's MLC, which is 2-bit MLC."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Corsair Forces synchronicity into their latest SSD

Subject: Storage | July 25, 2011 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: ssd, corsair, corsair force gt 120GB, sata 6Gps

The new Corsair Force GT 120GB SSD goes a different way from the crowd with their use of synchronous MLC flash memory, the SF-2000 controller is very familiar though.  Synchronous flash is more expensive than asynchronous and in theory should provide better speeds with large uncompressed files, though not a huge boost. That theory bore out Neoseeker's testing with better results across the board when compared to the Patriot Wildfire SSD.  If you are willing to invest the money to get that little bit more out of your machine, the Corsair Force is worth considering.

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"In an SSD market where 500MB/s data read/write speeds are becoming the norm across manufacturers, Corsair's Force GT differentiates itself from the pack by using 25nm ONFI synchronous NAND flash memory, versus standard 25nm asynchronous NAND. This allows the drive to excel at reading and writing compressed data, which is supposed to translate into faster real-world performance with files like video, music and graphics. Hit our latest SSD review to see just how real this real-world performance ends up looking."

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Storage

Source: Neoseeker

OCZ Technology Unveils Indilinx Everest Series Solid State Drive Controller

Subject: Storage | July 20, 2011 - 11:43 AM |
Tagged: ocz, Indilinx, Indilinx Everest, sata 6Gps, ssd

SAN JOSE, CA - July 20, 2011 - OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today unveiled the Indilinx Everest SATA 3.0 SSD platform. The Everest platform features support of 6Gbps interface speeds, high transactional performance that is optimized for compressed files, and maximum capacities up to 1TB.

"The new Indilinx Everest platform is a complete customizable solution that delivers superior storage performance, features, and capabilities designed to exceed the needs of the most demanding SSD applications," said Bumsoo Kim, President of Indilinx. "Combining a 6Gbps SATA Revision 3.0 host interface, a dual-core CPU, and support for the latest, most advanced NAND Flash memory technology available, Everest offers SSD manufacturers unparallel flexibility in optimizing their designs for both performance and cost."

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As a true next generation solution the new Indilinx Everest platform includes a complete spectrum of enhanced capabilities including:

Supports Next Generation Flash Technologies
The Everest Platform supports state-of-the-art, Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NAND components and next generation three bit per cell NAND Flash. The ability to leverage Triple-Level Cell (TLC) NAND Flash with proprietary Everest and Indilinx Ndurance Technology provides customers with significant cost reductions associated with moving to the new process.

Advanced Architecture Optimized for High Speed and Density
The Everest Platform features the only controller to support 200 mega transfers per second (MT/s) synchronous-mode flash, up over the 166 MT/s supported by other NAND Flash controllers. Everest supports 1TB capacities in a single controller SSD design with current generation Flash components. Its innovative eight channel design with up to 16-way interleaving for maximum performance, supports full data path and power fail protection to deliver best-in-class data integrity and reliability for enterprise applications.

Performance Optimization
Everest's leading-edge design delivers high sequential speeds up to 500MB/s and is optimized for small file writes at the 8K file size with next generation page mapping technology, which increases transactional performance optimized for 4K to 16K compressed files , by matching file sizes to the 8K page size typical in newer generation NAND Flash.

Enhanced Boot Time
Indilinx's new boot time reduction algorithms can be configured to decrease system boot time by up to 50% over existing SSD controller architectures for customers that require faster boot times and an instant-on experience in their applications. This provides the real world benefits users seek from their storage solutions and enables quicker access and greater responsiveness, allowing clients to take full advantage of solid state storage as a boot device.

Indilinx Everest Platform Complete Feature-Set:

  • SATA Revision 3.0 - Supports 6Gbps, 3Gbps, and 1.5Gbps interface speeds
  • Dual Core ARM CPU
  • 1TB Maximum Capacity
  • High Sequential Speeds
  • High Transactional Performance - Optimized for 4K to 16K Compressed Files
  • Up to 8 Channels of ONFI 2.0/Toggle 1.0 Flash at up to 200MT/s with up to 16-way Interleaving
  • Advanced BCH ECC engine - over 70 bits per defined sector
  • 400MHz DDR3 DRAM Cache Interface with Support for up to 512MB
  • Proprietary Ndurance Technology
  • Enhanced Power Fail Protection
  • Supports up to 1xnm Node NAND Flash with 1, 2, or 3 bits per cell
  • Efficient NAND Flash Management - Dynamic and Static Wear-Leveling, and Background Garbage Collection
  • Boot Time Reduction Optimizations - Collaborative Platform Development
  • NCQ Support up to 32 Queue Depth
  • End-to-End Data Protection
  • TRIM Support
  • Numerous Over-Provisioning Options
  • Industry Standard SMART Reporting

Patriot's new SSD is on fire

Subject: Storage | July 14, 2011 - 09:56 AM |
Tagged: patriot, 32nm NAND, Sandforce SF2281, sata 6Gps, ssd

Patriot's original foray into the SSD market was overshadowed by many other manufacturers releasing SSDs and did not get much stage time compared to Intel or OCZ for instance.   This may change now that the community has realized it is the controller that makes the SSD, not the manufacturer.  Their new 120GB Wildfire is a true SATA 6Gps drive and it features the high performing Sandforce SF-2281 controller.  That isn't the only trick they have up their sleeves, though it means the drive costs more, they chose 32nm NAND over 25nm NAND which results in faster performance and possibly longer life which is in line with the three year warranty Patriot offers.  Check out the actual performance over at Neoseeker.

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"The Patriot WildFire is a 120GB SSD using the latest Sandforce SF-2281 controller, and 32nm MLC NAND memory. Together these components promise enterprise-level performance in a package priced for hardware enthusiasts. Hit our review to see if the WildFire can live up to its name, or if it ends up burning out prematurely."

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Storage

Source: Neoseeker

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

Subject: Storage | July 5, 2011 - 11:50 AM |
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."

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Storage

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

Subject: Storage | June 28, 2011 - 11:00 AM |
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.

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"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."

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Storage

Source: [H]ard|OCP

OWC grabs the SandForce SF-2200 controller and heads for the lead of the SSD pack

Subject: Storage | June 23, 2011 - 10:47 AM |
Tagged: ssd, owc, sata 6Gps, sandforce

OWC has been around for a while, but since they were making drives for Apple they were not a common name for enthusiasts.  They've since broken free and are selling their SSD line to any and all.  The first generation was good, not outstanding but not a the back of the pack performance wise.  Their new Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G 240GB is poised to take the lead though, as Legit Reviews compared it to the outstanding OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240 GB SSD.  In this apples to apples review we see the OWC hit reads of 559MB/s and writes of 527MB/s and it took top spot in quite a few benchmarks.

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"The SandForce SF-2200 controller does all the heavy lifting, pushing out listed reads of 559MB/s and writes of 527MB/s. This is almost exactly what we saw on the benchmarks in terms of max performance so OWC was true to their specifications. Fresh off of testing the OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240 GB drive we felt others would have a tough time topping its performance but OWC came through with a drive that eked out better scores more often than not. OWC is going to garner a lot of attention if they keep putting out products like the 240 GB Mercury EXTREME Pro 6g SSD as we found it to be the best overall performing SATA III drive we have tested to date..."

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Storage

OCZ Technology Introduces Deneva 2 Series Of SSDs For The Enterprise

Subject: Storage | June 21, 2011 - 07:54 AM |
Tagged: ssd, sata 6Gps, sandforce, enterprise, deneva 2

SAN JOSE, CA—June 21, 2011—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today launched the Deneva 2 SSD line for enterprise clients. Taking full advantage of the cutting-edge SATA 6Gb/s interface, Deneva 2 SSDs are designed for a wide range of enterprise applications including servers, cloud computing, and data centers. The Deneva 2 series delivers maximum performance while meeting the stringent reliability, security, performance and economical needs of enterprise storage environments.

"Data centers are one application where the speed benefits of a fast SSD visibly fall straight to a company's bottom line," said SSD analyst Jim Handy of Objective Analysis. "This has driven the enterprise to be the fastest-growing market for SSDs - Objective Analysis forecasts for enterprise SSD unit shipments to grow at an average annual rate of 83 percent, nearly doubling every year."

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As the demand for increased storage efficiency, maximized data throughput, and a smaller operating footprint broadens across various industries, more and more companies are turning to the benefits of SSDs to significantly optimize their storage infrastructures. With these requirements in mind, OCZ has been a pioneer in the design and development of SSDs for the enterprise environment, pushing the envelope to develop solutions that combine industry-leading performance with a robust feature-set. Deneva 2, the company’s latest offering, features several enterprise-critical options not available in OCZ's consumer product lines, including power loss data protection, best-in-class endurance (e.g., minimal write amplification, intelligent block management and wear-leveling), and advanced encryption and ECC.

“Processing data is critical to any business looking to compete in a rapidly changing, global marketplace. However, many enterprise organizations are limited by outdated storage solutions, which limits their ability to process the necessary data they require to operate their businesses,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO at OCZ Technology Group. “Deneva 2 SSDs are optimized for high-volume storage applications, offer industry-leading reliability, and leverage the latest NAND and controller technology to deliver superior performance. This combination means that enterprises can overcome previous roadblocks, and use their data in real-time.”

Based on SandForce® SF-2000 SSD processors, the Deneva 2 series delivers up to 80,000 4KB random write IOPS and 550MB/s of potential bandwidth. Along with world-renowned performance, Deneva 2 SSDs are specifically designed to deliver superior reliability and are manufactured with the latest flash components specific to the customer’s needs. In addition, the series includes enterprise-grade multi-level cell (eMLC) NAND flash technology, which offers improved endurance for write-intensive applications. Deneva 2 SSDs can also be customized, come in a wide variety of interface options including PCIe, and are available in 2.5, 3.5, and 1.8 inch form factors for use in very high density computing environments, including blade servers.

OCZ Deneva 2 solutions overcome the performance, durability, and maintenance obstacles inherent to mechanical HDD storage. OCZ's ability to provide a tailored solution ensures ultimate compatibility, reliability, and cost-savings, resulting in products that are optimized to specifically address the unique needs of enterprise clients.

Revisiting the OCZ Agility 3 and its asynchronous flash

Subject: Storage | June 15, 2011 - 03:01 PM |
Tagged: ocz, agility 3, ssd, sandforce, sata 6Gps

It has been a few weeks since Al took a look at OCZ's 240GB Agility 3 drive, so it seems worth revisiting.  As you can see at OCIA, the drive is fast even with slightly cheaper memory inside and can compete with the theoretically more expensive Vertex drive.  Unfortunately just like Al saw, the street price does not reflect the internal parts, saving $10 over the Vertex model is not a great deal.

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"The SSD technology of today is worlds better than what we had in 2009. Better understanding of the technology, mature controllers, Windows 7, SATA 6Gb/sec and even the PCI-e bus have all advanced things to a point where SSDs are coming close to mainstream adoption. Pricing is also much more attractive as evident by the drive we are looking at today, OCZ's Agility 3 240GB unit. The Agility 3 is one of three new SATA 6Gb/sec SSDs and is classified as a high-performance drive alongside the higher-end Vertex 3."

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Storage

Very colourful and extremely fast; meet OWC's Mercury Extreme Pro 6G

Subject: Storage | May 5, 2011 - 01:29 PM |
Tagged: owc, ocz, ssd, 120gb, sata 6Gps, sandforce

OWC appeared on the SSD scene in partnership with Apple, though they sold drives to PC users as well.  Their current generation uses SandForce's Release Candidate firmware for the SF-2281 controller as opposed to OCZ's official firmware that is present in the Vertex 3 SSDs.  That is not the only difference, OCZ rolled their own PCB while OWC went with a design that caused a few raised eyebrows at AnandTech.  Read their full review to see how the performance evened out.

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"I still don't get how OWC managed to beat OCZ to market last year with the Mercury Extreme SSD. The Vertex LE was supposed to be the first SF-1500 based SSD on the market, but as I mentioned in our review of OWC's offering - readers had drives in hand days before the Vertex LE even started shipping.

I don't believe the same was true this time around. The Vertex 3 was the first SF-2200 based SSD available for purchase online, but OWC was still a close second. Despite multiple SandForce partners announcing drives based on the controller, only OCZ and OWC are shipping SSDs with SandForce's SF-2200 inside."

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Audio Corner

Source: AnandTech