As much as the LSI SF3700 speaks to 1.8GB/s performance as a spec high data transfer, this year at FMS they are focusing more on real-world performance and endurance.
Currently, we are seeing the SF3700 controller reaching 1300MB/s in mixed 80%/20% read/write workloads in this demonstration.
The SATA interface is designed as uni-directional, meaning it only allows for reads or it allows for writes at any moment, not both. Because of this, once you start throwing mixed workloads of reads and writes at drives connected to SATA, their performance drops significantly.
PCIe however, is a bi-directional interface and the SF3700 builds off that offering a true bi-directional architecture. This allows the SF3700 to have an advantage over their competitors in more real-world mixed workload environments.
Furthermore, their SF2200 series controllers are still not out of the game. The SF2200 is also shipping out with the latest NAND support for suppliers including Toshiba, Micron and SK Hynix. From their press release, “Using many of the latest technologies including L95B 16nm and A19nm 128Gb MLC NAND flash, the SF-2200 with SATA continues to outperform many of today’s competitive PCIe offerings.” The Intel Pro 2500 with the SandForce SF2281 controller delivers up to 2-3x performance of competitors with typical read/write ratios over the SATA interface. While SATA is uni-directional, the controller still supports bi-directional performance internally.
Now for their focus on NAND endurance… LSI demonstrated their SHIELD Error Correction and Code Rate Flexibility. SHIELD uses hard and soft LDPC and DSP technology. As a result, it and their other technologies together can increase NAND endurance by 5x-15x. That means at minimum, it can make typical 3,000P/E cycle MLC NAND and make it last up to 15,000P/E cycles and with their highest error rate correction, it can make MLC NAND last up to 45,000 P/E cycles!
Finally, on display were some nice M.2 reverence designs using their SF3700 controller.
So there you have it, LSI seems to be making some good strides in the market. Hopefully, we will be able to get our hands on some SF3700 products for review soon!