Today: Toshiba 32nm Toggle NAND, Tomorrow: IMFT 25nm

The Vertex 3 Pro sample I received is a drive rated at 200GB with 256GB of NAND on-board. The SF-2682 controller is still an 8-channel architecture and OCZ populates all 8 channels with a total of 16 NAND devices. OCZ selected Toshiba 32nm Toggle Mode MLC NAND for these early Vertex 3 Pro samples however final shipping versions might transition to IMFT 25nm. The consumer version (Vertex 3) will use IMFT 25nm for sure.

Each of the 16 NAND devices on board is 16GB in size. Each package is made up of four die (4GB a piece) and two planes per die (2GB per plane). Page sizes have changed. The older 34nm Intel NAND used a 4KB page size and a 1MB block size. For Toshiba's 32nm Toggle NAND pages are now 8KB and block size remains unchanged. The move to 25nm will finally double block size as well.

Remember from our earlier description of SandForce's architecture that its data redundancy requires a single die's worth of capacity. In this case 4GB of the 256GB of NAND is reserved for data parity and the remaining 66GB is used for block replacement (either cleaning or bad block replacement). The 200GB drive has a 186GB formatted capacity in Windows.

This is a drive with an enterprise focus so the 27.2% spare area is not unusual. You can expect the consumer versions to set aside less spare area, likely at little impact to performance.


The 0.09F supercap, a feature of the enterprise level SF-2500 controller. This won't be present on the client Vertex 3.

The Vertex 3 Pro is still at least a month or two away from shipping so pricing could change, but right now OCZ is estimating sales at between $3.75 and $5.25 per GB. The client focused Vertex 3 will be significantly cheaper - I'd estimate somewhere north (but within range) of what you can currently buy Vertex 2 drives for.

OCZ Vertex 3 Pro Pricing
  100GB 200GB 400GB
MSRP $525.00 $775.00 $1350.00
Cost per GB $5.35/GB $3.875/GB $3.375/GB

Both the Vertex 3 and Vertex 3 Pro are expected to be available as early as March, however as always I'd be cautious in jumping on a brand new controller with brand new firmware without giving both some time to mature.

The Unmentionables: NAND Mortality Rate Random Read/Write Speed
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  • semo - Saturday, February 19, 2011 - link

    Thanks for looking in to the issue Anand. Could you also find out whether Revo drives are affected as well?

    I'm surprised that Anandtech did not make any mention of the 25nm drives (it could have warned a lot of people of the shortcomings)
    Reply
  • erson - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    Anand, on page 3 - "In this case 4GB of the 256GB of NAND is reserved for data parity and the remaining 62GB is used for block replacement (either cleaning or bad block replacement)."

    I believe that should be 52GB instead of 62GB.

    Keep up the good work!
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    So there's technically only 186GiB out of 256GiB of NAND available for user consumption. 4GiB is used for RAISE, the remaining 66GiB (the 62GiB is a typo) is kept as spare area.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • marraco - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    Some data are written once, and never deleted. They are read again and again all the time.
    Such cells would last much longer than the rest.

    I wish to know if the controller is smart enough to move that rarely written data to the most used cells. That would enlarge the life of those cells, and release the less used cells, whose life will last longer.
    Reply
  • Chloiber - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    I'm pretty sure every modern Controller does that to a certain degree. It's called static and dynamic wear leveling. Reply
  • philosofa - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    Anand, you said that prices for the consumer Vertex 3 drives will probably be above those of the Vertex 2 series - is that a resultant increase in capacity, or will we see no (near term) price/size benefits from the move to 25nm nand? Reply
  • vhx - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    I am curious as to why there is no Vertex/2 comparison? Reply
  • jonup - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    Given the controversy with the currently shipped Vertex2s Anand chose to use F120 (similar if not identical to the Vertex2) . Reply
  • theagentsmith - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    Hello Anand
    great article as always and hope you're enjoying the nice city of Barcelona.

    I've read some articles suggesting to create a RAM disk, easily done with PCs with 6-8GBs, and move all the temporary folders, as well as page file and browser caches to that.
    They say this could bring better performance as well as reduce random data written to the SSD, albeit the last one isn't such a big problem as you said in the article.

    Can you become a mythbuster and tell us if there are tangible improvements or if it just doesn't worth it? Can it make the system unstable?
    Reply
  • Quindor - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    Maybe you missed this in the article, but as stated, with heavy usage of 7GB writing per day, it still will last you way beyond the warranty period of the drive. As such, maybe your temp files and browser cache, etc. to a ram drive won't really bring you much, because your drive is not going to die of it anyway.

    Better performance might be a different point. But the reason to buy an SSD is for great performance. Why then try to enhance this with a ram drive, that will only bring marginal performance gains. Doing so with a HDD might be a whole different thing together.

    My idea is that these temp files are temp files, and that if keeping them in memory would be so much faster, the applications would do this themselves. Also, leaving more memory free might give windows disk caching the chance to do exactly the same as your ram drive is doing for you.
    Reply

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