There's a new PCIe SSD in town, and it sounds very fast indeed. G.Skill claims its Phoenix Blade 480GB can hit sequential speeds up to 2000MB/s. Random 4KB writes peak at 245,000 IOps, the company says, but there should probably be an asterisk next to those peak rates. The drive is based on SandForce controller tech that offers higher write performance with compressible data.
The Phoenix Blade actually has four SandForce SF-2281 controllers onboard. The chips are several years old, and they're oddly referred to as LSI parts, despite the fact that Seagate bought SandForce back in May. Each controller is combined with MLC NAND, and the four virtual drives are striped in a RAID 0 array.
An unnamed controller handles the RAID side of the equation. The implementation supports the TRIM and SCSI Unmap commands, which should ensure that unused flash pages are emptied to speed write performance. Users can also boot off the drive, but not without installing the requisite drivers. Those are Windows-only, by the way.
The hardware is stacked on a half-height expansion card with eight lanes of PCIe Gen2 connectivity. That interface should provide plenty of bandwidth, and it makes the drive compatible with a wide range of desktop motherboards. Oddly, though, the 480GB variant appears to be the only member of the family.
G.Skill covers the Phoenix Blade with a three-year warranty. The endurance rating is pegged at 1536TiB of total writes, which is quite a lot, but the press release doesn't mention pricing or an expected availability date. We've asked for more details and will update this post when we hear back.
Update: G.Skill tells us the Phoenix Blade will be available at Newegg next week for $699—or $1.46/GB.
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