LSI’s Thad Omura Explains SATA DEVSLP and TCG Opal Specification – Computex 2013 Update


DEVSLP is a new SATA SSD standard that will be found with new Haswell chipset laptops and ultra portables and allows your system to go into a very deep sleep and still update system services, as well as such things as e-mail.  It is much the same as your smartphone today where it is constantly updating and starts in an instant when needed.

For those with past SSD purchases, the bad news is that the DEVSLP feature requires both a hardware and firmware change in the build of an SSD.  All but the most recent SSDs are not compatible and the only consumer SSD that we know of right now is the Plextor m5M mSATA SSD.  DEVSLP will now bring us into the dimension where, like our smart phones, we never shut things down but rather, close the lid and it can be configured to an ultra low powered sleep where the system remains to update continuously.  Estimates are that the system should lose no less than 5% of it’s power over a period of 13-14 days.


The LSI SandForce take is particularly appealing as the standard calls for a system to power down to a point of 5mw, whereas LSI SandForce SSDs go well beyond that to a level of .165mw, some 35 times below the standard and 400x lower than the present idle mode today.  This means faster boot times from sleep, data already updated and readily available as well as longer battery life.


One of the most persistent questions common with AES encryption in SSDs is how one can attain a reasonable level of security for their needs.  Recently, LSI SandForce has recently announced compliance with the TCG Opal specification  in it’s partnership with Wave and WinMagic.  In laymen terms, this means that systems can now be started with solid security measures in place where, without the password, the data is completely secure.


The advantage to this type of firmware based security over traditional drive encryption is performance.  TCG Opal protection creates no performance loss whatsoever where that seen with hardware encryption is significant and only SSDs that contain 256-bit AES encryption are compatible with this spec.

Presently, Avant, Kingston, ADATA and Edge have partnered with LSI to introduce LSI SandForce TCG Opal compliant SSDs into channels for purchase.

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