• Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

LSI-SandForce Releases Code to SSD Manufacturers That Adjusts Over-provisioning

btarunr

Editor & Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
38,076 (8.43/day)
Location
Hyderabad, India
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
Motherboard ASUS ROG Strix B450-E Gaming
Cooling AMD Wraith Prism
Memory 2x 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000
Video Card(s) Palit GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER GameRock
Storage Western Digital Black NVMe 512GB
Display(s) Samsung U28D590 28-inch 4K UHD
Case Corsair Carbide 100R
Audio Device(s) Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D PCIe
Power Supply Cooler Master MWE Gold 650W
Mouse ASUS ROG Strix Impact
Keyboard Microsoft Sidewinder X4
Software Windows 10 Pro
To anyone who's familiar with SSDs, "SandForce" is equally familiar, as it makes the brains of some of the fastest client SSDs in the business. Buyers have also come to know of SandForce-driven SSDs as being characterized by unique capacity amounts caused by allocating a certain amount of the physical NAND flash capacity for some special low-level tasks by the controller, resulting in capacities such as 60 GB, 120 GB, 240 GB, for drives with physical NAND flash capacities of 64, 128, and 256 GB, respectively. This allocation is called "over-provisioning". An impression was built that this ~7% loss in capacity is some sort of a trade-off for higher performance. It appears like that's not quite the case.



SandForce released a code to SSD manufacturers, which causes the drives to operate without that ~7% over-provisioning, providing nearly 100% of the physically-available NAND flash as unformatted capacity to the end-user, without loss in performance. All modern SSDs need a certain amount of their physical NAND flash allocated by the controller to map out bad-blocks, and data marked for deletion when the OS issues a TRIM command to delete something, which the controller later leisurely ruminates upon like a cow (ensuring users don't experience drops in performance caused by NAND flash write cycles).

What SandForce achieved with its newest code is let SSD manufacturers use what's called "0% over-provisioning". This is impossible in the real-world, but can be achieved handing over the difference in capacity between "billions of bytes" and "gigabytes" towards user area. This delta is really 7.37% of the physical capacity. The real difference in user capacity between a 120 GB its 128 GB physical NAND flash capacity really is 7% + 7.37%, or 14.37%. The translation of Billion bytes and gigabytes was made by HDD manufacturers a while ago, so most users don't notice that difference. What the new firmware for the SF-2000 processor family now permits, is for manufacturers to create SSDs at full binary capacity points with what is commonly known as "0% over-provisioning".

In other words, buyers will soon see SandForce-driven SSDs with capacities such as 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB, etc., with ~7% higher user-space, and no loss in performance. This is not to be confused with some SandForce-driven SSDs launched in the past, bearing labels of canonical capacities (64, 128, 256 GB), denoting physical NAND flash capacity.

View at TechPowerUp Main Site
 

btarunr

Editor & Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
38,076 (8.43/day)
Location
Hyderabad, India
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
Motherboard ASUS ROG Strix B450-E Gaming
Cooling AMD Wraith Prism
Memory 2x 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000
Video Card(s) Palit GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER GameRock
Storage Western Digital Black NVMe 512GB
Display(s) Samsung U28D590 28-inch 4K UHD
Case Corsair Carbide 100R
Audio Device(s) Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D PCIe
Power Supply Cooler Master MWE Gold 650W
Mouse ASUS ROG Strix Impact
Keyboard Microsoft Sidewinder X4
Software Windows 10 Pro
I think such a firmware update won't be easy for users, since it's changing the user space on the drive. I guess firmware-updated drives will need fresh low and high-level formats.
 
Joined
Jan 11, 2005
Messages
1,268 (0.23/day)
Location
66 feet from the ground
System Name 2nd AMD puppy
Processor FX-8350 vishera
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3
Cooling Cooler Master Hyper TX2
Memory 16 Gb DDR3:8GB Kingston HyperX Beast + 8Gb G.Skill Sniper(by courtesy of tabascosauz &TPU)
Video Card(s) Sapphire RX 580 Nitro+;1450/2000 Mhz
Storage SSD :840 pro 128 Gb;Iridium pro 240Gb ; HDD 2xWD-1Tb
Display(s) Benq XL2730Z 144 Hz freesync
Case NZXT 820 PHANTOM
Audio Device(s) Audigy SE with Logitech Z-5500
Power Supply Cooleer Master RP M520
Mouse Razer copperhead / Gamdias zeus (by courtesy of sneekypeet & TPU)
Keyboard MS Sidewinder x4
Software win10 64bit ltsc
Benchmark Scores irrelevant for me
this should be done a few years ago;paid storage space which can't be accessed wtf

2 pity we won't have for HDD's also a similar "code"
 

Completely Bonkers

New Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2007
Messages
2,576 (0.54/day)
Processor Mysterious Engineering Prototype
Motherboard Intel 865
Cooling Custom block made in workshop
Memory Corsair XMS 2GB
Video Card(s) FireGL X3-256
Display(s) 1600x1200 SyncMaster x 2 = 3200x1200
Software Windows 2003
7% extra storage space (about the size of an internet temp directory) OR an extra X% in terms of longevity from overprovisioning. I wonder what that X% is? I'd give up 7% space for a "certain guarantee" of my data. That is, if overprovisioning helped longevity at all!

Funny how Sandforce is worried about this 7%. Obviously consumers are, in general, dumb, and were picking up 64GB drives instead of 60GB drives because they felt they were getting "more".

As many of us know from experience trying with our first SSDs, a measly 7% or 4GB isnt going to make an iota of difference. It 60GB isnt enough, neither is 64GB. You cannot live with 64GB as your main drive and will need to upgrade to 128GB or 256MB. And if that was 120GB or 240GB, again, didnt make a difference.
 
Joined
Dec 9, 2007
Messages
746 (0.17/day)
I'm more concerned how this will affect reliability, seeing as stability is not one of SandForce's strong points. Since their technology doesn't use any form of cache (DRAM or otherwise), wiping the only "reserve space" left leaves them without almost any sort of "scratch pad" to write data on (the difference between gigabytes and gibibytes isn't all that much). It'll be interesting to see if the next-generation controller will include some form of cache or not.
 
Joined
Nov 4, 2005
Messages
10,499 (2.01/day)
System Name MoFo 2
Processor AMD PhenomII 1100T @ 4.2Ghz
Motherboard Asus Crosshair IV
Cooling Swiftec 655 pump, Apogee GT,, MCR360mm Rad, 1/2 loop.
Memory 8GB DDR3-2133 @ 1900 8.9.9.24 1T
Video Card(s) HD7970 1250/1750
Storage Agility 3 SSD 6TB RAID 0 on RAID Card
Display(s) 46" 1080P Toshiba LCD
Case Rosewill R6A34-BK modded (thanks to MKmods)
Audio Device(s) ATI HDMI
Power Supply 750W PC Power & Cooling modded (thanks to MKmods)
Software A lot.
Benchmark Scores Its fast. Enough.
For the price of SSD's on the market and reliability/performance I see no issue leaving the 7% as scratch pad/bad block area. That will allow one whole chip on 16GB densities to fail and still run with data intact.
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2007
Messages
96 (0.02/day)
Location
West Deptford, NJ
System Name iLLz-CreaTionZ
Processor Intel Core i5 6600K @ 4.5 Ghz
Motherboard Asus Z170-A
Cooling Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
Memory 16GB G.SKILL TridentX DDR4 @ 3000 Mhz
Video Card(s) eVGA GTX 960 SSC 4GB @ 1287 MHz Core (1400 MHz Boost)
Storage Corsair Force SSD 240GB; 2 x Seagate 7200.10 320GB RAID 0; 1 x WD 1TB; External Seagate Pro 500GB
Display(s) Samsung SyncMaster 226BW
Case DeepCool Tesseract
Power Supply PCP&C SilentCool 750 Quad Black
Mouse Logitech G500
Keyboard Razer DeathStalker
Software Windows 10 x64 Pro
I wonder if Intel helped them with this. When Intel spent the last year testing SF controllers and modding the firmware, they said they would allow SF to release what they updated to all drive manufacturers but at a later time. Giving Intel a while to have it exclusively.

I wonder if this was one of the things Intel did. I do know they have made the SF much more stable and in a few months new firmware will come out for everyone else.
 
Top