OCZ set to use SandForce controllers in new SSDs

Lines of consumer, enterprise solid state drives to be unveiled before 2010 CES show

Flash storage vendor OCZ Technology Group Inc. this week announced that it plans to use controllers from SandForce Inc. in its next generation of consumer and enterprise-class solid state drives (SSDs).

The new line of OCZ SSDs will be based on both higher-end single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash and consumer-grade multi-level cell (MLC) NAND, the company said. The new drives will support a wide range of consumer and enterprise storage devices and will be available in multiple interfaces that include 3Gbit/sec Serial ATA and dual-port, 6Gbit/sec SAS in capacities ranging from 50GB to 400GB.

OCZ said the new SSD products will be introduced in the weeks leading up to the 2010 International CES show early next year.

"OCZ is committed to delivering SSD solutions to our enterprise clients and also has a strong following for our consumer solid state products; partnering with SandForce enables us to offer an even more robust offering to both these markets," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of the OCZ Technology Group, in a statement. "Together with SandForce we are focused on making enterprise-class MLC-based SSDs which offer excellent reliability and performance coupled with superior total cost of ownership for all our customers."

Saratoga, Calif-based SandForce makes processors for both server-based drives and consumer SSDs that support laptops, hand held devices and desktops.

The server-class SandForce SF-1500 and consumer-class SandForce SF-1200 processors can support SSDs that have up to 512GB of capacity. Both products use serial ATA (SATA) connectivity with 3Gbit/sec and 1.5Gbit/sec throughput.

The SandForce processors will offer native encryption and Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with up to 32 commands at one time. The also include Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (SMART) Command Transport capabilities. NCQ optimizes the order in read and write commands are executed by the drive. SMART monitors and reports on a drive's health in order to anticipate possible failures.

OCZ's various SSD lines currently use controllers from vendors such as Indilinx, Samsung and, until recently, JMicron. A spokesperson said the company has mostly stopped using the JMicron controller due to firmware issues. OCZ still uses JMicron controllers in its Solid series of SSDs, but it plans to discontinue that line and replace it with the Solid II series that uses an Indilinx controller.

"Going forward we won't have any new JMicron-based drives though, just what we have left in the channel," a spokesperson said.

JMicron said it has updated the firmware in its controllers, which it said has solved any problems that had cause drive failures.

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