After the success of its SF-1200 (1222) controller, virtually everySSD maker was eager to climb aboard the SandForce express. Thatbandwagon continued trucking through last year, as the second-gen SF-2200 (2281) powered many of 2011's noteworthy flash drives -- OCZ's Vertex 3 among them. Even Kingston, which previously used Toshiba chips,adopted SandForce's SF-2200 starting with last year's HyperX line. With so many drives using the same parts, shopping for an SSD wastough last summer. At the time, the HyperX and Vertex 3 offeredvirtually identical performance for the same price. |
Although themarket is still dominated by SandForce-based drives, things aregetting interesting as, among other changes, OCZ has finally begun utilizing its own Indilinx controllers and SandForce was acquired by LSI in January for $370 million. It's unclear when SandForce's next controllers will arrive, but inthe meantime, companies seem to be making the most of itssecond-gen chips. Kingston, for instance, has released a pair ofnew SF-2281-based drives said to emphasize speed and affordability:the HyperX 3K and the SSDNow V+200 . The former is aimed at enthusuasts and uses synchronous memory,while the latter uses cheaper asynchronous memory. Both drives reduce cost by using 25nm Intel memory with only 3,000program/erase cycles.
The number of program/erase cycles a memoryblock can handle determines how long it will last before it can nolonger store data. For example, Intel's 50nm MLC NAND flash memorywas rated for 10,000 cycles. This was reduced to 5,000 cycles whenmoving to the 34nm process and at 25nm, it has been cut further to3,000-5,000 p/e cycles. With technologies such as wear leveling and garbage collection, onep/e cycle on a 100GB drive equates to about 10GB of data writes.Assuming you average 10GB of writes per day, a 100GB 3,000 p/edrive will last over eight years, while a 5,000 p/e drive will lastabout five years longer.
As you'll likely upgrade your SSD longbefore then, opting for a 3,000 p/e unit should be an easy way tosave cash without sacrificing performance...
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