Multiple industry firsts as LSI launches next generation of SandForce SSD controllers

LSI Corporation has unveiled the third generation of its SandForce flash controller line, currently the industry’s most widely deployed flash management technology for driving PCIe and SATA solid state drive (SSD) and flash card solutions. Designed to support power-sensitive client computing applications, the new SandForce SF3700 flash controller family provides increased levels of flash performance, reliability and endurance. 

The SF3700 family is the industry’s first flash controller to provide the flexibility to support both native PCIe Gen2 x4 and SATA 6Gb/s host interfaces in a single ASIC design. According to LSI this unique capability will greatly simplify SSD designs and help reduce development and manufacturing costs for SSD makers.

With the addition of the SF3700 family’s PCIe interface support, users can achieve over 1.8GB/s sequential reads, which is a 3x improvement compared to SATA-based solutions.

“From our everyday lives to the hyperscale datacenter, flash storage solutions are transforming the speed and efficiency of data storage,” explained 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 the flash performance and longevity required to drive current and future portable client computing, enterprise and big data applications.”

Among the SandForce SF3700 features and benefits are:

Native PCIe and SATA Interfaces: M.2 form factor cards designed with the SF3700 flash controller’s industry-only dual PCIe and SATA interface can use a simple manufacturing jumper to select the final desired interface for better inventory and cost management. The SF3700 family’s PCIe interface supports AHCI and NVMe protocols to enable both legacy applications of PCIe flash and efficient NVMe flash storage application acceleration solutions.

Optimised DuraWrite Data Reduction: SandForce controller data reduction technology combines several techniques to extend NAND flash memory life as flash geometries shrink and trend toward lower reliability. The SF3700 family’s optimised DuraWrite data reduction technology helps to maximise SSD endurance by further lowering write amplification and the number of program erase (P/E) cycles.

SHIELD Error Correction: This technology extends flash memory life and significantly improves data integrity by implementing a flash-optimised 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.

Enhanced RAISE Technology: Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements (RAISE) technology, which is similar to RAID, delivers new levels of data protection specifically designed for SSDs by protecting against page, block and full die failures in a single drive environment. The SF3700 family’s ninth channel for an extra flash package enables more RAISE protection and user capacity options.

Dual AES-256 Encryption: Data security is an important component and the SF3700 family enterprise controllers feature dual AES-256 drive-level 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.

SF3700 family controllers provide up to 2TB maximum capacity and a 9-channel ONFI-3/Toggle-2 flash interface. 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. The result is an accelerated time to market, increased ability to support customer-specific customisations, and an extended product life for SSD manufacturers and system OEMs.

Volume customer shipments are expected in the first half of 2014.


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