LSI SandForce nearly ubiquitous SF-2200 SSD processor has been awarded Product of the Year 2011 by Electronic Products Magazine.
Of all the hardware this award could have gone to, an SSD processor doesn’t seem like it would be at the top of the list, not at first glance anyway.
SSDs rose to prominence in only the last few years. First Gen SSD controllers showed quite a bit of potential, but were still relatively slow and marred by problems like excessive stuttering during writes.
Future generations of drives improved the situation quite a bit, with Indilinx taking the lead with their Barefoot controller. However, it wasn’t until a little company called SandForce showed up that SSDs really came into their own. The first generation SF-1200/1500 controller truly did take performance to the next level, boosting write performance to previously unimaginable heights, and all without an external DRAM cache. (How’d they do that?)
Needless to say, current generation SF-2200 controllers have continued the tradition of class leading performance, with SandForce based drives consistently outperforming drives based on other controller solutions.
The fact that SandForce drives are pretty much pervasive in the SSD market is a testament to the notion that SandForce controllers really are recognized as the best third party solution in the industry. More evidence of this can be seen in SandForce’s recent acquisition by LSI, whose stock rose significantly this week, outperforming all estimates.
Given the above, it really should come as no surprise to anyone that an SSD processor took the prize. Given the company that produced it and the enormous positive impact it’s had on the fledgling solid state storage industry, I’d be surprised if this hadn’t been one of the first products that was considered for the award. In fact the SF-2200s influence will likely get even stronger very shortly, with numerous new SandForce based products no doubt being readied for CES.
This is actually a very rare moment in time, as people following the industry now have the unique opportunity to see a new market segment rise from relative obscurity to potential dominance over the course of only several years. A large part of this situation has been due to SandForce’s influence, and because of that, there is likely no other company’s products more deserving of such recognition.
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