KingFast, based out of Shenzhen China, recently announced a merger (April 25, 2013) with the much larger SSD manufacturer RunCore. For now, KingFast is operating as a sub-brand of RunCore. In the future, we would expect there to be some consolidation of the product lines. RunCore is a much larger company, currently ranked as the largest SSD manufacturer in China and one of the largest in the world. RunCore has been growing at a tremendous rate with a revenue growth rate of 700% in 2012. The rapid expansion of RunCore and its high-end SSD products meshes well with the consumer and value-priced industrial SSD's that KingFast brings to the partnership.
The KingFast F3 Plus Series KF2510SCF SSD merges the LSI SandForce SF-2281 controller and Intel 25nm SLC NAND into one package. This arrangement features sequential read/write speeds of 556/530 MB/s, respectively. The random read IOPS are 55,735 and random write weighs in at a higher 83,221 IOPS. These are likely FOB (Fresh out of Box) numbers with 100% compressible data.
Recently we published a review of the SuperSSpeed S301 Hyper Gold Enterprise SSD, which also features a very similar build with the SF-2281 and Intel SLC flash. The real differentiator between these two products is that the SuperSSpeed is geared specifically for the client-side, and the KingFast F3 Plus Series SSD was designed and optimized from the ground up for datacenter applications.
With the same controller and NAND on both of these SSD's, we will put them head to head to see which can provide the best solution in an enterprise environment. There are always different variables to take into consideration beyond the normal 'feeds and speeds' when testing enterprise storage solutions. Typically, reliability and enhanced efficiency will trump less-refined solutions, even if they are faster.
The emergence of these value-oriented SLC SSD's brings forth an interesting product for those seeking tremendous endurance specifications at lower price points. The KingFast F3 Plus retails for roughly $2.50 per GB at the time of publishing for customers purchasing 10 or more SSD's. This is in the same price range of the SuperSSpeed offering, with its $2.00 per GB price. Part of the pricing disparity is due to the slightly larger capacity of the SuperSSpeed S301. The SuperSSpeed S301 features 128GB in comparison to the 120GB of the KingFast F3 Plus.
The reason for the capacity disparity is due to R.A.I.S.E functionality onboard the KingFast F3 Series SSD. The SuperSSpeed has this feature disabled. The SF-2281 controller is intended for consumer applications, but the use of R.A.I.S.E. functionality significantly boosts the capability of the SSD to deal with uncorrectable errors. This feature embeds a layer of parity in the NAND to allow for recovery from a failed sector, page, or even an entire block.
Enabling the R.A.I.S.E. feature creates a small loss of capacity, but yields huge gains in reliability. In conjunction with the 55b/512 BCH ECC this boosts the Uncorrectable Bit Error Rate (UBER) to 10-29, which equates to a quadrillion fewer uncorrectable errors than other controllers. Pairing this vigorous level of data protection with SLC NAND and its impressive 100,000 P/E cycles creates a very durable SSD that should handle the rigors of even the heaviest write workloads with ease.
Today in the comparisons of the two LSI SandForce SSD's we will learn that things aren't always what they seem when comparing raw speed of several SSD's. Even when performance results are mind-numbingly similar during the tests, there can be large differences in power and efficiency. With efficiency dictating the shape of today's datacenters, our results bring into focus the power efficiency metrics between two very similar SSD's.