We might expect the market to be flooded with clone products, but thatâ€™s not really so. The SandForce architecture is flexible. There are several controllers with somewhat different basic functionality. Each SandForce controller is compatible with different varieties of NAND flash memory irrespective of the latterâ€™s interface, speed and price. For example, the SF-2000 series controllers can work with new 25nm NAND flash as well as with 3x-nanometer chips, with both MLC and SLC memory, and with different interfaces (synchronous or asynchronous, ONFI or Toggle Mode). The consequence is that even the latest generation of SSDs with SATA 3.0 (SATA 6 Gbit/s) interface that are based on the same SF-2000 controllers can differ greatly in their consumer properties, including price.
For example, based on the same modification of the SandForce SF-2281 controller, the 120GB OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS costs $270, while Corsair Force 3 with the same capacity â€“ only $180, and this difference in price surely reflects a difference in performance. It means that your shopping choice should be based not only on what controller the particular SSD has but also on other factors since SSD makers can change the speed of their products by choosing different flash memory or optimizing firmware. In other words, if you like the OCZ Vertex 3 we tested earlier, it doesnâ€™t mean that every other SATA 6 Gbit/s SSD with a second-generation SandForce controller is going to be just as fast. Thatâ€™s why we are going to carry out a comparative test of new SandForce-based products with the latest SATA interface which are currently available aplenty in shops.
In this review we will take a look at seven products from Corsair, Kingston, OCZ and Patriot.