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     Imbroglio around the SandForce SF-1200
      Posted on 17/04/2010 at 23:59 by Marc
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    AnandTech has given us something to chew on on the subject of the SandForce SF-1200 controllers and their firmware. As you may know, one of the main differences between the SF-1200, for the general consumer market, and the entrerprise SF-1500 is a purely software limitation on performance. The SF-1200 can reach 10,000 IO/s in random writes, against 30,000 IO/s for the SF-1500.

    Where things become a little strange is that following an agreement between SandForce and OCZ, OCZ has been given the privilege of having a specific firmware for its Vertex 2 that’s based on the SF-1200 which allows it to bypass the software limitation and attain 30,000 IO/s. The 10,000 IO/s limitation on all other SF-1200 based SSDs is effective in the SandForce firmware 3.0.5 which has been allocated to SSDs on sale commercially.

    Where things are a bit funny however in terms of this agreement, is that firmware 3.0.1, the “release candidate” SandForce version, doesn’t have this limitation. Yet, even though this firmware wasn’t designed for sale commercially, several manaufacturers, including Corsair, have delivered SF-1200 SSDs that use this version. The manufactuer had moreover to disactivate an energy economy feature on the SF-1200 that endanagered the SSD with version 3.0.1. of this firmware.

    So then, quite an imbroglio, with, on the one hand, SSD manufacturers delivering SSDs with a non-definitive firmware, which is in itself quite problematic for such a young technology, and on the other an update of this firmware which will limit the performance of the SF-1200 to planned levels, putting a spanner in the works of the initial tests. Decidedly, all SSD controllers have a difficult beginning and SandForce is no exception!

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