OCZ will soon start treading new ground in the solid-state drive world. The company has teased a brand new line of drives based on controllers from little-known startup SandForce.
While OCZ is keeping specs under lid for now—more details will follow in the weeks leading up to the Consumer Electronics Show in January—it says the drives will cover both the mainstream and enterprise markets. Customers will be able to choose between multi- and single-level cell NAND flash memory, 3Gbps Serial ATA and 6Gbps Serial Attached SCSI interfaces, and capacities ranging from 50GB to 400GB.
All drives will use SandForce's SF-1200 or SF-1500 "SSD processors," too. The SF-1200, which is aimed at mainstream drives, purportedly allows for sequential transfer speeds of up to 260MB/s for both reads and writes. SandForce also claims SF-1000-series controllers enable better reliability, performance, and power efficiency than "standard flash controllers." Here are some of the features the firm touted when first announcing the controllers in April:
- DuraWrite™, which optimizes the number of program cycles to the flash effectively extending flash rated endurance by 80x or more when compared to standard controllers.
- Powerful flash media error correction (ECC) and RAISE™ (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements), which deliver an orders-of-magnitude improvement in drive reliability versus today’s SSDs and enterprise HDDs. The result is single-drive RAID-like protection and recovery from a potentially catastrophic single flash block or die failure – all while avoiding the inefficiencies of traditional RAID.
- Wear Leveling and Monitoring, which provides monitoring of flash block operational metrics to optimize wear leveling algorithms, further extending flash endurance.
- Advanced Read/Program Disturb Management, which safeguards against errant reprogramming of cells during read and program cycles and unexpected power loss.
- Recycler, which intelligently performs garbage collection with the least impact on flash endurance.
The April announcement even included an endorsement from IBM System Design VP Mike Desens, who noted, "The SF-1000 SSD Processor Family promises to address key NAND flash issues allowing MLC flash technologies to be reliably used in broad based, mission critical storage environments. . . . These innovations can be truly disruptive and will accelerate the adoption of Solid State technologies across the data center."