SAN JOSE, Calif. SandForce aims to be the first company with a controller supporting multi-level cell flash chips for solid-state drives used in servers. By using MLC chips, the SF-1500 paves the way to lower cost and higher density drives servers makers want.
To date flash drives for servers have used single-level cell flash chips. That's because the endurance and reliability for MLC chips have generally not been up to the requirements of servers.
SandForce (Saratoga, Calif.) claims it has solved those issues with a set of new algorithms based on 20 patents pending. They increase flash chip endurance as much as eighty-fold by optimizing the number of write operations on the flash chips. The controllers also use improved Error Correction Code, wear-leveling and a form of RAID technology applied to the flash chips.
The algorithms also help provide equivalent read and write performance, something unusual for flash drives. The SF-1500 can handle sequential read or write operations at 250 Mbytes/second maximum on 128 Kbyte blocks. It performs random reads or writes at 30,000 I/O operations/second.
The controller sports a Mean Time Between Failure of 10 million hours and AES-128 encryption. It consumes 625 milliwatts on average and 1.5W max.
The company will also sell a version of its controller, the SF-1200, with lower performance and power consumption aimed at notebooks.
Either controller supports up to 16 flash chips of up to 32 Mbits in density. They can be used to build 1.8- or 2.5-inch drives of up to 512 Gbytes in density.
The chips use a 3 Gbit/s serial ATA interface and will be in production this fall. Versions with 6 Gbit/s SATA and SAS interfaces are in the works.
The company would not disclose details of its 90nm chip design except to say it uses a Tensilica-derived supervisory core and is made at TSMC.