Friday , 24 October 2014
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Intel’s 3rd Generation SSD Controller Manufactured By LSI

The Intel 3rd Generation SSD controller was first seen in  our review of the DC S3700 SSD in late 2012, and followed by our later review of the DC S3500 in May of 2013, both SSDs being enterprise variant drives targeted for the data center. The controller is an 8 channel 6Gbps controller and has enjoyed a great deal of success, the DC S3500 in fact almost hitting consumer enthusiast hands with its low price point.  Intel has an amazing SSD team ranging from architects, to engineers all the way up to the marketing team that is our first line of contact. That said, a question that has always been left without answer, until today, has been what company physically manufacturers Intel’s 3rd Gen controller?

INTELS3500-Controller

The picture above displays the controller from our review of the DC S3700.  This is the same controller most recently used on the DC S3500 and all bear the product number of PS29AS21CA. From our perspective, we have known for some time that Intel isn’t physically manufacturing SSD controllers and, even in their release of the 910 Series PCIe SSD, the controller was publicly identified as a Hitachi/Intel build.

If you want to see examples of all Intel controller builds, check out The SSD Database, select ‘Controller ID’ and type ‘Intel’ for the search criteria.

Intel-Hitachi-Processors2

We asked the question once again, this time unexpectedly receiving confirmation from Intel that their 3rd Generation controller, “has been architected by Intel with Intel firmware. It is manufactured exclusively for Intel. Intel contracts LSI for the manufacturing of this controller.”

From our standpoint, the manufacturer of Intel’s 3rd Gen 6Gbps SSD controller has never been as important as the reputation earned through performance and reliability.  Time is the best indicator of SSD controller quality and this is an ideal example as it has been in distribution since December of 2012. Quite frankly, this little gem just might be one of the best SSD controllers on the market, so much that we even recommended it as an ideal enthusiast choice in our review of the DC S3500 last year.

Intel’s 3rd gen controller manufactured by LSI?  Who knew right?  That’s a win win no matter how you look at it.

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About Les Tokar

is a technology nut and Founder of The SSD Review. His early work includes the first consumer SSD review along with MS Vista, Win 7 and SSD Optimization Guides. Les is fortunate to, not only evaluate and provide opinion on consumer and enterprise solid state storage but also, travel the world in search of new technologies and great friendships. Google+
  • dravo1

    It may say LSI on the controller but I’m wondering how much SandForce influence is really involved.

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      This controller is is nothing like the mechanics we see in SF. I am wondering more if this was in place before the SandForce purchase.

  • Benjamin Hojnik

    Wait wait. Let me get this straight… Intel, who has bunch of fabs and expertise in them is using a fabless company like LSI to manufacture their controller ?
    Can someone explain this to me ? Or am i getting this wrong ?

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Nope….you have it right. The 3rd gen controller is manufactured by LSI…from our discussions with Intel directly.

      • Benjamin Hojnik

        But how can they manufacture something, if they are fabless company ?

        This makes no sense to me…

  • EMV

    LSI make HDD and SSD controllers for many companies…. and did so before SF acquisition…. most are manufactured at TSMC. All are ARM based. Intel and other HDD/SSD companies use Marvell, LSI to design and manufacture all controllers. they can put whatever label they want on the top!

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