MLC SSDs to Challenge Faster SLC Drives

A company called SandForce is in the last stages of prepping its new SF-1500 SSD processor for the mainstream. According to SandForce, its new SSD processors will give lower-cost, and slower MLC-based SSD drives a huge performance boost.

Right now, you can opt for two types of SSDs, SLC and MLC drives. With SLC drives, you'll get faster performance but you lose out on capacity, and prices are significantly higher. This is the main reason why SLC drives, like the Intel X25-E, remain largely in the hands of enterprise customers. Consumer SSD drives are largely based on MLC technology, which uses stacked memory cells to achieve higher capacity at the expense of performance.

SandForce claims that its new SF-1500 controller will not only introduce smart wear-leveling technology, but boost performance significantly. At this time, the controller supports drives up to 512 GB over 3 Gb/sec. SATA with native command queuing (NCQ). The controller will also support SLC drives.

According to the specs:

Max Capacity Supported: 512GB* (using 32Gb/die components)
Performance: Sequential Read Transfer:  250MB/s (@128K blocks)
Sequential Write Transfer:  250MB/s (@128K blocks)
Random Read & Write IOPS:  30,000 (@4K blocks)

We spoke to Intel, and were informed that its MLC based X25-M does 35,000 IOPS for random access, which is still a bit faster than SandForce's numbers. The controller does give a good boost in sequential write performance when compared with drives using IndilinX controllers like OCZ's new Vertex SSD, which tops out at 180 MB/sec. for its 120 GB Vertex.

Hopefully this brings the death of Jmicron's controller.

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  • Rancifer7
    Anything that will bring the price down and performance up for these drives is a good thing in my eyes. Now lets see if what they are saying has any real world merit.
  • pbrigido
  • judeh101
    smart wear level... now, everyone will need that technology!
    it's like having a re-allocated sector in SMART.