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Editor:- May 29, 2014 - Seagate today announced it will acquire the assets of LSI's Accelerated Solutions Division and Flash Components Division from Avago Technologies for $450 million in cash. see analysis in SSD news
LSI's new 3rd generation, 14 core, SandForce SSD controller is the most ambitious chip design in SSD market history - (editor's tweet on product launch)

Editor:- November 18, 2013 - LSI today launched its 3rd generation SandForce SSD controller family - the SF3700 which - based around a single chip design - spans a wide spectrum of SSD market applications (from consumer to enterprise) - includes native jumper-selectable SATA or gen 2 PCIe interfaces - and incorporates adaptive R/W DSP ECC management. briefing document on the LSI SandForce SF3700 (pdf)

Editor:- August 13, 2013 - LSI explained why it thinks that reserving the use of LDPC to deal mostly with read error retries (and also later in the operating life of flash cells) can be a pragmatic design choice - in a presentation - the Nibbles and Bits of SSD Data Integrity (pdf) - today at the Flash Memory Summit.

Editor:- June 4, 2013 - LSI today announced new features in their SF-2200 controllers aimed at the notebook SSD market. These include Opal compliant encryption and DevSleep technology (a very low power sleep mode for SATA SSDs.
... briefing doc on new SF controller

SSD controllers

 SandForce logo - click fto see ... LSI logo - click for more info ... lsi SandForce SSD processors - click for more info
Surviving SSD sudden power loss
11 Key Symmetries in SSD design
Data Integrity Challenges in flash SSD Design
Why size matters in SSD controller architecture
Efficiency - making the same SSD - with less flash
flash wars in the enterprise - SLC vs eMLC vs MLC vs TLC
Adaptive flash care management & DSP IP for use inside SSDs
flash SSD capacity - the iceberg syndrome (inside over-provisioning)
click for product overview SandForce driven logo - click to learn more about this branding program
finding out more about SandForce SSD processors
Editor:- more than 30 SSD manufacturers and systems vendors worldwide (now including Intel and EMC) rely on LSI's SandForce SSD processors to supply - what is in effect - a new industry standard for high performance and reliability in a small form factor - enabled by the company's DuraClass and other related technologies.

SandForce (acquired by LSI in January 2012) changed the way that the SSD market viewed the IP inside the SSD - from being an arcane subject - of interest to only a small select group of designers and marketers - to becoming almost a cult fascination for those users who wanted to know what the future would bring.

The SandForce product marketers leveraged that acclaim in its SandForce Driven branding programs - designed to help it and its partners sell more SSDs.

From my conversations with the company's management what shines through is that they started from knowing the silicon and worked backwards from that to create an SSD architecture which rigorously manages all the key aspects of unreliable raw flash (including MLC) and crafts from that raw material new solid state storage drives which provide industry leading IOPS and performance - with the data integrity and reliability needed for the new SSD accelerated server age. All this - without using external RAM caches too. The thinking behind this is impressive.

LSI says that its multi-generation roadmaps are a key reason that oems like its way of doing things. The 1st generation SandForce controller supported 4 flash generations from 5Xnm down to 2Xnm and its current generation started at 3Xnm geometries and already supports 3 generations of flash down to 20nm.

If you want to find out more about the SSD processors the links here - on the right - provide an overview of publicly available documents about these key SSD processor product families. To learn more take a look at the SandForce flash storage processors overview page.
overview of SandForce SSD processors
  • SF-3700 - launched in November 2013 - this 3rd generation SSD controller spans applications from notebooks to enterprise arrays - with a jumper selectable native 6Gbs SATA or gen 2 PCIe interface. Supports from 3 to 129 flash memory devices via upto 9 channels. Preliminary spec is upto 150K / 80K R/W IOPS, upto 1.8GB/s R/W throughput when configured in PCIe SSD mode. Includes adaptive DSP technology and RAISE enhancements.
  • SF-2400 SSD Processors - aimed at cloud computing - and launched in December 2011 - this range enables the highest performance levels with 2xnm/2ynm MLC flash and adds new tools for health management and over provisioning
  • SF-2200 & SF-2100 - 2nd generation client flash storage processors for applications where power consumption, boot time, application performance, responsiveness, and small form factor are important. (up to 500 MB/s, 20 K IOPS)
  • SF-1500 Enterprise SSD Processors - this is the product line which established the reputation of SandForce - for high performance (30k IOPS) in 3Gb/s SATA 2 environments.
  • SF-1200 Client SSD Processors - 1st generation product line supports up to 10k sustained write IOPS in SATA 2 environments. Some oems have used multiple 1st generation controllers from this family in RAID like arrays - to make affordable fast SSD modules connected via PCIe.
  • SF-2300 Industrial SSD Processors - supports 19nm, 20nm-class, and 30 nm-class SLC and MLC flash memory - in industrial temperature operation - upto 512GB in a 1.8" drive - up to 500 MB/s, 20 K IOPS - secure erase and encryption
  • Beyond HDD Form Factors - shows examples of SSDs - designed by SandForce Driven partners - with form factors outside the range of conventional hard drives to meet the needs of new SSD markets..
  • LSI SandForce® Reference Design and Evaluation SSDs - these 2.5" reference designs which have been tested with a wide range of standard memories - enable oems to quickly customize SSD solutions and minimize time to market and production costs with a board-level product solution.

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