Adata is one of the few SSD vendors that employs a wide range of SSD controllers -- such as those from Seagate, Marvell, SMI and Maxiotek -- across its entire portfolio. We took a quick tour through the Adata booth at Computex 2016 to examine its enterprise SSD products.
SR1020 Enterprise SSD
Adata had the Marvell-powered NVMe SR1020 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD on display. The SR1020 comes in the 2.5" U.2 form factor with an SFF-8637 connector to provide front-bay access in dense server designs. Adata indicated that the SR1020 offers up to 2900/2100 MBps of sequential read/write throughput, but did not share the random performance specifications.
The SR1020 also comes in the M.2 form factor. Both models utilize the 28nm Marvell Eldora controller and come in capacities ranging from 256 GB to 2 TB. The Eldora controller offers LDPC error correction, which will help extract the maximum endurance from the various flavors of planar and 3D MLC NAND supported by the SSD. LDPC is also particularly well suited for TLC NAND, and it would not be surprising to see a 3D TLC model emerge in the future.
Data center operators are finally beginning to embrace M.2 designs, and the Eldora controller features a three-core architecture that supports advanced L 1.2 sleep states. Low power states may seem a bit out of place in an enterprise SSD, but cycling in and out of low power modes helps reduce the thermal envelope, which is of utmost concern in dense M.2 SSD deployments.
SR1030 Enterprise SSD
SandForce SSD controllers are largely credited with helping establish the mainstream client SSD market, and at Computex 2015, the next-generation SF3700 SSD controllers were present at nearly every third-party SSD vendor. This year, the SF3700-based SSDs disappeared from view, and it appears the controller will not make it to the third-party market. However, we did notice an SF3514-powered Tigershark SR1030 enterprise SSD at Adata's booth.
Seagate designed the SandForce SF3514 controller for mainstream SATA client workloads. Client SSD controllers are often employed in value-centric enterprise SSDs, so spotting an SF3514 on an enterprise SSD is not entirely surprising.
The ATTO test results indicate that the SR1030 reached a top speed of 561/533 MBps of sequential read/write throughput during the test, which is in line with the projected 560/530 MBps cited in its specifications. Adata did not include random performance measurements.
It is notable that ATTO uses compressible data during its tests, which gives SandForce controllers a performance edge due to their inline compression feature. Data compression provides the SSD with extra overprovisioning, which affords an additional performance boost. The SandForce DuraWrite II feature also utilizes inline compression to reduce wear on the underlying NAND.
The SATA 6 Gbps Tigershark SE1030 comes in capacities ranging from 128 GB to 1 TB in both 2.5" and M.2 form factors. The original line of SandForce SSDs controllers featured the advantage of a DRAM-less architecture, but the SF3514 controller employs DRAM to boost performance. This adds another component to the design, which consumes valuable PCB real estate on M.2 designs.
The SE1030 has several capacitor emplacements to provide power loss protection for the DRAM package, but they were bare in the SSD we dissembled at the show. The SE1030 employs synchronous Micron 16nm MLC+ in the current model, and Adata will offer both Micron and SK Hynix 3D NAND in the near future.
SR1010 Enterprise SSD
Adata also offers its SR1010 series in 2.5" and M.2 form factors. The SR1010 is identical to the SR1020 series, but it features the addition of power loss protection for the SandForce-powered SSDs.
The SandForce-powered Adata SSDs are scheduled to come to market in September 2016.