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  • Filiprino - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    This will make for good SSD controllers. LSI RAID cards look great, the manufacturer has great experience on high performance storage validation and endurance, this will benefit greatly Sandforce based products. Reply
  • Beenthere - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    There is much work that needs to be done to make consumer grade SSDs reliable and compatible. Until that happens many of us will not touch them as we simply don't need the headaches. Reply
  • TGressus - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Intel and Marvell (Crucial, Corsair branded) based SSDs have run in the homes of our family with 100% uptime over the past few years.

    I understand your perspective firsthand, from retail sales experience. At this point, I think it's like the fear of Vista so many people had, and I can sympathize. You need good consulting to guide you toward market ready products.
  • Uritziel - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    It IS a lot like Vista. Still today, I here people talk as if Vista were a broken OS that should be avoided like the plague, simply because of it's rough start. SSDs are just like that: their rough start has led people to avoid them well past the point where they should. Reply
  • Beenthere - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Please don't be condescending. I've been building PCs long before Windows existed. Intel, Crucial, OCZ, Corsair, Samsung and other SSD suppliers have ALL had issues with their SSDs and no one can honestly say the multitude of SSD issues have been resolved. Anyone willing to put it in writing with a guarantee to reimburse me my $300/hour consulting rate for beta testing, feel free to post up... Reply
  • krazyderek - Saturday, November 05, 2011 - link

    wow $300/hr ? so who paid for that comment?? Seagate, or WD?

    Here's my measly $80/hr advise as someone who's been using SSD's in production systems for almost two years.

    Intel and Samsung have the best track records, Toshiba a close third, none of them are perfect, but neither are hard drives. I just sent in a Seagate 1TB for RMA that had 800+ reallocated sectors... it was working fine for a year then kappoof it just dropped out of the raid array.

    Similar but different problems with sandforce SSD's, they'll work fine for months, then just brick and need to be RMA'd. Besides reliability, Sanforce also heavily relies on TRIM to hit their performance numbers, look at systems without trim (XP, Mac, raid) or even avg speed after months of regular usage, not so great, or consistent.

    Intel and samsung offer a more predictable, and drop in SSD solution then sandforce, hopefully that's something LSI can improve.
  • Powerlurker - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    There's a reason that the big hard drive manufacturers haven't made much of a splash in the SSD market. Their core competancy is in fabricating spinning platters, assembling hard drives using same, and programming the firmware. Those facilities take lots of capital and proprietary knowledge. In the SSD market they're competing against any idiot with a pick-and-place line. They don't manufacture their own flash, they don't design their own controllers, and even if they could, they're competing against companies that have already spent years making their bones in the world of solid-state memory products and know how to do it better than them. Reply
  • Qapa - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    That's great for market penetration of SSDs, altough some laptop brands already include SSDs...

    Nevertheless, I still prefer to trust non-Sandforce... for a while longer.

    And in that note, Anand, when will we have a review of the OCZ Octane? And wasn't it supposed to be on the market already?
  • semo - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    LSI will do absolutely nothing for the consumer SSD market. The way patent wars are waged nowadays, I doubt that the technology LSI creates will filter down any time soon.

    Regarding OCZ Octane, rest assured that it will get glowing reviews while consumers are left to deal with all the problems. I don't know how OCZ gets away with it every time.
  • MrMilli - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    I've now setup five machines with SSD's running in Intel Smart Responce Technology mode. Two running a Corsair Force 3 and three with an OCZ Agility 3.
    The Force 3's use firmware 1.3 and are stable on a SATA 6G port.
    Two of the Agility 3's use firmware 2.15 and are only stable on a SATA 3G port.
    One of the Agility 3's uses firmware .13 and is stable on a SATA 6G port.

    What a mess if you ask me. Goes to show that the firmware still isn't good.
  • skroh - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Hold on, here! I have been reading SSD reviews at AT for years now. "...our own interests beginning to shift away to other vendors" ? Time and time again, reviews posit SandForce drives as the desirable performance leader, both in its first generation, where it dethroned Intel, and now in its second, where it ups its game and fends off other vendors' attempts to make a comeback. Where are the articles that express this supposed loss of interest in SandForce drives, and what other vendors have allegedly taken SandForce's place in your affections?

    As far as reliability, in the articles I have seen, concerns and incidents have been mentioned from time to time but their significance has always been minimized. If SandForce is horribly unstable and fatally unreliable, you have utterly failed to communicate that to your audience, but that is what the offhanded comments in THIS article seem to imply.

    I don't have a dog in this fight--I bought an Intel G2 on sale back when SandForce 1.0 was just too rich for my blood. But the tone of this article seems completely inconsistent with previous drive comparisons. Which is it? Is SandForce the enthusiast's choice, or a fast Italian sportscar that breaks down twice a month? Seems like there's a real discontinuity between the narrative of the formal reviews over time and the cussing and sweating over the test bench in the back room, if that makes any sense! :)
  • Beenthere - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    The hardware review sites love to hype new tech, especially when it offers a faster operating environment, but they are not quick to "bite the hand that feeds them" even when there are known defects in the products.

    Ad revenues pay for most commercial websites and that's why the writers "walk softly" around product defects. It's also why they get hand picked hardware to review, get special mobo BIOS or firmware sent to them overnight - that consumers are unable to get, etc. Try getting tech support on a defective product and see if the company calls you within hours of getting your e-mail or writes a new BIOS for you or does simulation work to try and replicate a defect you found as a unpaid beta tester.
  • EddyKilowatt - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Noobish question, but I don't get why bandwidth-hungry SSDs are being disguised as mechanical drives, placed in mechanical drive bays, and bottlenecked by mechanical-legacy cables and serial transfer rates?

    They're just boards full of chips (the "pick-and-place" allusion above). Why doesn't everyone get rid of the packaging, plug them into a 16-lane PCIe slot, and give them all the bandwidth they need?

    Okay, I realize that not everyone in the consumer space has a spare PCIe x16 slot lying around, at least not yet, and also that SSDs don't need 64 Mb/sec speeds... at least not yet.

    But still, why aren't we moving in that direction? Is there a big cost add for PCIe that isn't obvious from looking at the boards?
  • neotiger - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    PCIe isn't enterprise only. See RevoDrive, a consumer PCIe SSD.

    But most PCIe SSD are for enterprise. Why? Because with a consumer SSD, WAY before you hit bandwidth bottleneck, you're hitting IOPS bottleneck. You don't need to worry about bandwidth unless your drive is doing something like 200K IOPS or more. None of the consumer SSD get anywhere close to that.

    So unless you're using a $10,000 SSD like FusionIO that gives you 200k IOPS, PCIe is pointless.
  • jjj - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    "To date, there is no turnkey solution that a company like Seagate or Western Digital could implement that would give them hard drive-like compatibility and dependability, with all of the benefits of an SSD.
    LSI has the ability to fix this"

    I would remind you that:
    - Marvell is the leader in HDD controller and also has a pretty good SSD controller that they tend to sell to others (every so often).
    - Seagate has a certain agreement with Samsung
    - Hitachi colaborates with Intel

    So LSI is not saving the day here,they are just trying to compete.
  • chiddy - Thursday, November 03, 2011 - link


    In addition:
    - Western Digital has been shipping SSDs under their SiliconEdge brand for quite some time now.
  • ShieTar - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    And let's not forget that Samsung itself is very much "a company like Seagate or Western Digital" when it comes to hard drives.

    I would assume the main reason why Seagate and WD show no interest in the SSD market would rather be the fact that the profit margins that can be had by assembling bought NAND with a bought controller do not meet the expectations of such huge companies.

    Let's face it, todays SSD market is split into Intel and Samsung on the one hand, that basically can afford to give you a free controller with your order of NAND, or smaller companies that make do with the small profit margins to be had.

    Personally, I am kind of hoping that LSI's reason for the SandForce acquisition are aiming at the development of a Hybrid-Controller. Let's keep in mind that OCZs first two RevoDrive generations did consist of a combination of LSI Raid and Sandforce controllers, coupled via SATA. I imagine that a decent amount of silicium as well as latencies may be saved if the full functionality of both controllers is included in a single chip, without the need to communicate through a serial link.
  • Powerlurker - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    Let's not forget that they'd also be competing against companies like Kingston that have been making memory products for years already and have tons of experience in that realm. Reply
  • dealcorn - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    Your analysis of the strategic business case for the acquisition sounds spot on. Also, recall LSI's great success with its SAS/SATA controllers. The writing is on the wall that Intel will substantively trash that business by migrating SAS/SATA functionality to it's Xeon chip-sets at discount prices (soon coming to Atom Xeon?). This acquisition may enable a LSI response that goes beyond "roll over and play dead". Perhaps, there is a sweet spot with precisely the right combination of SAS IP, Flash, and silicon pixie dust to create the "Wow" from some segment of the storage business. Reply
  • glad2meetu - Saturday, November 05, 2011 - link

    LSI failed in its internal development of a SSD controller. Instead it decided to buy a solution with this acquisition of SandForce. LSI has had to buy or merge with companies in order to get customers. For example, Seagate came from its merger with Agere.

    The main profit margins for SSD are for enterprise. And PCIe is not a great solution for enterprise since it is not very scalable. The consumer market will have higher volumes but at much lower margins.

    Many companies are working on SSD controllers. The main differentiating factor is the firmware rather than the controller. A good SSD design will have a simple controller and good firmware. As most consumers are aware, SSD designs have reliability issues due to firmware.

    Overall, I am skeptical about this aquistion. Even with my skepticism, there is a decent chance that this aquisition may prove to be beneficial since LSI doesn't have much internal R&D nor many customers.
  • fdfsxcvdcfdh - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    2011 NEW and BIG ON SALE NOW: Reply
  • mbryans - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - link

    Making driver for SandForce must be done by an expert programmers who is really involved from the beginning and verified by a strong community. If you do not want to end up with BSOD. Check ATI vs. NVIDIA experience. Reply

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