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LSI SandForce 3700 Simplifies PCIe SSDs While Adding Speed and Features

LSI has announced their latest generation of SSD controllers, the SandForce 3700 series. This series will be applicable for the entry-level consumer all the way up to the enterprise storage customer. There will be three families under the SF-3700 series, the SF3719 for entry client, SF3929 for mainstream client, SF3739 for enthusiast client and Value Enterprise and finally the SF3759 for enterprise caching and enterprise storage.

The real beauty of the SF-3700 series of SSD controllers is that they solve two pretty big problems with one solution. LSI has combined both a PCIe Gen 2 controller with a SATA 6Gbps controller into a single chip. What this means is that now an SSD can drive the memory via SATA 6G to a RAID controller, or directly into a PCIe slot which is a very popular method on many laptops and embedded applications. Below is a block diagram of the new controller and what features it has to enable it to be so versatile. 

In addition to doing PCIe Gen2 at upto x4 speeds, it also has the DuraWrite feature that enables for data reduction to maximize the NAND’s life. It also will have Dual AES-256 bit encryption across all platforms, to enable for safe and secure data protection. New additions that will make the SSDs more safe and secure are the SHIELD and RAISE features. SHIELD is LSI’s advanced error correction designed to once again extend the life of the NAND by implementing an LDPC code that combines hard-decision, soft-decision, DSP and adaptive ECC. RAISE is short for redundant array of independent silicon elements, which is a technology that includes new levels of data protection and redundancy for enterprise solutions. RAISE also ensures access to data even after a page, block or a full die fault has occurred, making SSDs far more recoverable than ever before. In addition to that, RAISE provides the protection and reliability of RAID on a single drive without the 2x write overhead of parity. This last feature is far easier to guarantee and implement on larger capacity drives.

To see what each controller does and doesn’t support, check out the table below that gives you a good idea of what types of NAND are supported by what controller and how much capacity. Do note, that the cheapest controller will only support up to 128GB of storage and only PCIe Gen2 x2. Also keep in mind that all the drives will support 9 channels up to 400 MT/s each, which could result in some wicked fast SSDs.