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LSI Intros New SandForce Flash Controller for SSDs

By - Source: LSI Press Release

On Monday, the LSI Corporation introduced its third-generation SandForce flash controller line, the SF3700, promising increased levels of flash performance, reliability, endurance, and the flexibility to support both native PCIe Gen2 x4 and SATA 3 (6 Gb/s) host interfaces in a single ASIC design. This capability simplifies SSD designs and helps to reduce development and manufacturing costs for SSD makers.

"With new PCIe interface support, the SF3700 controller family can achieve breakthrough client performance of over 1,800MB/s sequential reads, a 3x improvement compared to the prior generation SATA based solutions," reads the company's announcement.

In addition to the dual interfaces, the unique and "industry first" SF3700 features and benefits include exclusive data reduction technology that combines several techniques to extend NAND flash memory life as flash geometries continue to shrink and become less reliable. Enhanced DuraWrite data reduction technology further helps to maximize SSD endurance by lowering write amplification and the number of program erase (P/E) cycles, LSI said.

The new controller also includes SHIELD Error Correction that extends flash memory life and reportedly improves data integrity. This is done by implementing a flash-optimized low-density parity-check (LDPC) code that "combines hard-decision, soft-decision and digital signal processing (DSP) together with unique adaptive error correction code rates." SSD manufacturers can thus deliver enterprise-class product life and data integrity, even when using less expensive flash memory.

LSI's new controller also features unique automatic dual AES-256 hardware encryption to secure data without incurring additional host processor load. Optional support for TCG Opal and Enterprise specifications ensure broad interoperability and ease of data security management. There's also enhanced RAISE technology, short for Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements, which protects against page, block and full die failures in a single drive environment.

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"From our everyday lives to the hyperscale datacenter, flash storage solutions are transforming the speed and efficiency of data storage," said Huibert Verhoeven, vice president and general manager, Flash Components Division, LSI. "The SF3700 family brings a new architecture, designed from the ground up to deliver unmatched flash performance and the longevity required to drive current and future portable client computing, enterprise and big data applications."

LSI's new SF3700 family of controllers provide up to 2 TB maximum capacity and a 9-channel ONFI-3/Toggle-2 flash interface. The announcement said that their modular and flexible architecture enables fast migration to new host interfaces and media types, allowing for significant firmware reuse between new products, as well as continuous innovation throughout the life of the product. That means an accelerated time-to-market, extended product life and increased consumer-specific customizations.

SF3700 flash controllers are currently sampling to select SSD OEM customers. LSI expects volume customer shipments to be made in the first half of 2014.