Mainstream is a word i never expected to use when referring to solid state drives (SSDs) but thanks to the continuous price drops and the increased competition in the market today i don't think i know of a single person that doesn't own at least one. What's even more interesting however is the amount of manufacturers that currently offer complete NAND flash controller packages (hardware & software). Back in the beginning things were quite simple for consumers since we just had Indilinx, Marvell and SandForce solutions to choose from but now several years later there are many more players in the market to choose from including Samsung, Intel, Seagate (LinkAMedia), Marvell, OCZ (Indilinx), Avago (LSI/Sandforce) and PHISON. That being said we haven't had a SSD wearing a LSI/SandForce controller on our test bench for quite some time now but the latest Slim S60 model by Silicon Power does and we just had to take a look and see how it competes against the other controllers available currently.
Silicon Power Computer & Communications Inc., founded in 2003 by a group of enthusiastic specialists of flash data storage industry. Well dedicated in brand image and product quality, SP has been recognized and well accepted by millions of end-users in more than 100 countries, becomes the world’s leading manufacturer of flash memory cards, USB flash drives, card readers, DRAM modules, solid state disks, and portable hard drives in less than a decade. Headquartered in Taipei, we continuously established various branches throughout the world including Netherlands, Japan, Russia, Mainland China and other emerging market. With superior quality and innovative design, our products stood out in several competitions and awarded Taiwan Excellence and COMPUTEX Design & Innovation Award in 2009 and 2010. Winning trust of global consumers SP holds a record of successive double-digit revenue growth for last seven years. For SP, the product we introduced is not only a digital storage device but also a real promise to create and preserve your most valuable memory in every moment.
The SandForce SF-2281 NAND flash controller found in the Slim S60 is far from new since it's been around for almost 3 years now but still it offers a good range of features such as NCQ (Native Command Queuing), RAISE (error correction, RAID like protection and recovery) DuraClass (advanced wear leveling and monitoring algorithms) and DuraWrite technology (up to 20x or more the flash endurance compared to other controllers) along with TRIM and intelligent garbage collection. Of course this move by Silicon Power did surprise us a bit since currently there are newer, better and faster next generation controllers available but flash modules and firmware also play a large part in the performance and endurance of an SSD so let's see exactly how much.