The LSI SandForce controller was revolutionary in many respects. The pairing of an easy-to-deploy controller and reference firmware enabled a foothold in the SSD industry for numerous companies. The compression technology brought higher performance and increased endurance that drove great interest during the SandForce heyday. Over the years, the LSI SandForce 2200 series became pervasive. At one point, it seemed there was a new SandForce release every week. As time progressed, the 2200 series became a ubiquitous SSD; it was seemingly everywhere and served a variety of workloads from client to enterprise applications.
Time marches on, and the SF-2200 series is beginning to show its age. New SSDs have been introduced that make great gains in performance. The SandForce-driven SSDs have seemingly begun to recede into the background as the industry awaits the next generation SandForce SF37000 controller. Meanwhile, SF-2200 controllers continue to chug away in datacenters worldwide.
One of the advantages of SF-2200 controllers is their extensive pedigree and wide tolerance for different types of NAND. This allows a surprising amount of customization from one flexible platform, in some ways paving the way for the highly specialized SSDs of today. Today, the read-centric light use segment is growing rapidly. Manufacturers have finally began to serve the value-conscious market with specialized SSDs that have decent performance, but lower endurance.
At the same time that the market is beginning to embrace these value SSDs, the aging LSI SandForce SSDs are beginning to drop to rock-bottom prices. More advanced heavy-use SSDs from the fabs are displacing the SandForce 2200 SSDs from their position at the top of the food chain, and SandForce-only manufacturers do not have a new platform to transition to. SF-2200 SandForce SSDs are still in plentiful supply, but at much lower prices. This places the SF-2200 series into position to compete with the medium and low-endurance SSDs on the market.
This can be a great value for those searching for affordable flash storage. The EDGE Memory Boost Pro is a great example of a solid SSD at an affordable price point. The Toshiba eMLC brings more endurance than the leading value SSDs, and the SandForce controller provides good performance. In our testing, the Boost Pro suffered in random read workloads, but dominated in random write testing. 8k random write is a particular bright spot, and mixed random workloads reveal a diamond in the rough. The Boost Pro also delivered exceptional performance in mixed sequential workloads.
Performance lagged in server workloads, but some of the low performance is attributable to the 50 percent incompressible data we used during testing. For users with compressible data, the performance could be higher in deployment. While SandForce performance is no longer class leading, it is certainly enough to remain competitive in the value market. As most users are well aware, any SSD is exponentially faster than an HDD.
The winds of the NAND market have blown the price of LSI SandForce SSDs continually lower, but prices also shift upwards at times. Patient customers can find great deals, as low as 60-75 cents/GB, for a former flagship SSD architecture. The EDGE Memory Boost Pro is a solid entrant, and the LSI SandForce platform is proven and reliable. Readers hunting for high endurance at an affordable price point would be wise to keep an eye on SandForce SSD prices.
PRICING: You can find the EDGE Memory Boost Pro for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: TheEDGE Memory Boost Pro retails for $290.00 at Amazon.
- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Boost Pro Internals and Specifications]
- Page 3 [Test System and Methodology]
- Page 4 [Benchmarks - 4k Random Read/Write]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks - 8k Random Read/Write]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - 128k Sequential Read/Write]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - Database/OLTP and Web Server]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - Email Server]
- Page 9 [Final Thoughts]
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