Performance: Welcome to the 500 Club

Let’s talk peak performance specs. I must preface this with a warning, all of the numbers you’re about to see are SandForce’s estimates and projections for how the SF-2000 series will perform. Next week you’ll see some basic functionality and performance testing but as far as I know, these numbers haven’t been reached yet. SandForce is confident that it will hit them once drives start shipping, but until then take what you are about to see with a grain of salt.

Random read and write performance goes up significantly over the SF-1200/1500. We are at 40K IOPS today, and SandForce is promising 60K IOPS with the SF-2000. Note that this is not only higher than anything shipping today, it’s even higher than what we recently found out about Intel’s 3rd generation X25-M/X25-E SSDs.

Now the shocker. Thanks to 6Gbps and ONFI 2/Toggle support, the SF-2000 will support up to 500MB/s sequential read and write speeds. On an 8 channel device that’s actually only 62.5MB/s per channel but the combined bandwidth is just ridiculous for a single drive. At full speed you could copy 1GB of data from a SF-2000 drive to another SF-2000 drive in 2 seconds. If SandForce can actually deliver this sort of performance I will be blown away.

Let’s talk about reality for a second. SandForce quotes standard iometer numbers, which are usually quite optimistic for SandForce's controllers. I’d expect real world performance to be a bit below these figures but not by a lot for many workloads.

In the SF-1200/1500 series, SandForce used enterprise features to differentiate the two controllers. You got some improved reliability and a giant capacitor with the SF-1500 designs, but you didn’t really get any added performance. With the SF-2000 series, we will see more differentiation between the enterprise and consumer parts. SandForce indicated that the consumer version of the SF-2000 would have a different level of performance. I get the impression that the specifics of the consumer drive haven’t been determined yet. I’ve already started campaigning to see a full spec version in the consumer market but it’s still far too early to tell what will be shipped. If the 3rd generation X25-M is really only capable of 270MB/s reads and 170MB/s writes, I’m not sure if there will be the motivation to deliver a 500/500MBps part into the enthusiast market.

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  • karndog - Thursday, October 7, 2010 - link

    Put two of these babys in RAID0 for 1GB/s reads AND writes. Very nice IF it lives up to expectations! Reply
  • Silenus - Thursday, October 7, 2010 - link

    Indeed. We will have to wait and see. Hopefully the numbers are not too optimistic. Hopefully there are not too many firmware pains. Still...it's an exciting time for SSD development. Beginning of next year is when I will be ready to buy an SSD for my desktop (have one in my laptop already). Should be nice new choices by then! Reply
  • Nihility - Thursday, October 7, 2010 - link

    It'll be 1 GB/s only on non-compressed / non-random data.
    Still, very cool.
    Reply
  • mailman65er - Thursday, October 7, 2010 - link

    better yet, put that behind Nvelo's "Dataplex" software, and use it as a cache for your disk(s). Seems like a waste to use it as a storage drive, most bits sitting idle most of the time... Reply
  • vol7ron - Thursday, October 7, 2010 - link

    "most bits sitting idle most of the time... "

    Thus, the extenuation life.
    Reply
  • mailman65er - Thursday, October 7, 2010 - link

    Thus, the extenuation life.

    Well yes, you could get infinite life out of it (or any other SSD) if you never actually used it...
    The point is that if you are going to spend the $$'s for the SSD that uses this controller (I assume both NAND and controller will be spendy), then you want to actually "use" it, and get the max efficiency out of it. Using it as a storage drive means that most bits are sitting idle, using it as a cache drive keeps it working more. Get that Ferrari out of the barn and drive it!
    Reply
  • mindless1 - Tuesday, October 19, 2010 - link

    Actually no, the last thing you want to use a MLC flash SSD drive for is mere, constant write, caching. Reply
  • Havor - Friday, October 8, 2010 - link

    I really don't get the obsession whit raid specially raid 0

    Its the IOPs that count for how fast your PC boots ore starts programs and whit 60k IOPs i think you're covert.

    Putting these drives in R0 could actually for some data patterns slow them down as data is divided over 2 drives they have to arrive at the same time ore one of the drives have to wait for the other to catch up.

    Yes you will see a huge boost in sequential reads/writs but whit small random data the benefit would negative, and the overall benefit would be around up to a 5% benefit. and the down side would be the higher risk of data loss if one of the drives breaks down.
    Reply
  • mindless1 - Tuesday, October 19, 2010 - link

    No it isn't. Typical PC boot and app loading is linear in nature, it's only benchmarks that try to do several things (IOPS) simultaneously, very limited apps or servers which need IOPS significantly more than random read/write performance.

    You are also incorrect about slowing them down waiting because if not the drives' DRAM cache, there is the system main memory cache, and on some raid controllers (mid to higher end discrete cards) there is even the *3rd* level of controller cache on the card.

    Overall benefit 5%? LOL, if you are going to make up numbers at least try harder to get close or, get ready for it, actually try it as-in actually RAIDing two then run typical PC usage representative benchmarks.

    Overall the benefit will depend highly on task, or to put it another way you probably don't need to speed up things that are already reasonably quick, rather to focus on the slowest or most demanding tasks on that "PC".
    Reply
  • Golgatha - Thursday, October 7, 2010 - link

    DO WANT!!! Reply

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