SanDisk interview: SSD Extreme explained by Stefan Kratzer

At the exit of the DSS of the SanDisk Extreme range, we were able to interview the product manager Stefan Kratzer which specifies certain points pushed out by the announcement press release.

The storage landscape is changing more and more favourably for the DSS, these flash memory drives which - opposed to mechanical hard disk drives trays - offer very high performance, improving load times and responsiveness of computers. SanDisk, present on the market of its memory card storage and a few early models of SSD, starts precisely on this segment of high performance with its SSD Extreme (see this announcement). We had the opportunity to discuss with Stefan Kratzer, product manager, to detail the launch.

Stefan Kratzer SanDisk

On the market of the DSS, previous products of the mark as the G3 or Ultrawere they successful?

We cannot say that these two products have found their audience because the market was not yet there. We tâtions field and are now ready to go further with these new SSD because the situation has changed. With these new flash drives, we are pleased to offer our clients extreme performance, as they may have with SD and CF of the Extreme range maps.

With big names in the field of storage flash, such as Intel, Kingston, Corsair or OCZ, is not difficult to address this market booming? What do you have more to offer to your future customers?

Simply put, this market has become important for us. With a growth of more than 50%, it is the segment of the storage which progresses more quickly and we had to demonstrate that SanDisk also known to produce high-performance SSD and very good quality. Finally, we note often, when a user moves to the SSD, it does not want to return on a disk tray as performance goes well beyond what can be conventional hard drives. This really changes the experience. This is what pushed us to imagine and build this new SSD that meets our criteria of the Extreme range.

That is hiding this new SSD Extreme under the hood? What are the chips and the controller used? Is this the SandForce?

Indeed, we use the SandForce and specifically the controller SF-2281. But the difference lies in the use of House chips manufactured by SanDisk (probably in the joint venture created with Toshiba, Editor's note). Indeed, these synchronous in MLC chips are carved in 24 nm. But we use not memory cache.


SSD SanDisk Extreme, soon in our lab for a test in good and due form...

Could you tell us how you have developed the controller firmware? Because it does not have very good reputation. Have you had the possibility to change to correct the shortcomings leading to the appearance of blue screens for example?

Even if we know the history of this controller, it still offers excellent performance. We have therefore taken this controller code and adapted it to our chips. It is also for this reason that we are not the first to propose. But with time, SandForce has managed to eradicate some bugs in its code for the returned more stable and therefore offer a more reliable product. It is one of the reasons why we did not precipitated, wishing to ensure seamless experience to the user which would pass to the DSS with our products. In addition, our engineers worked on it to improve it and get really big competitors access. A reminder, the drives SanDisk Extreme SSD climbs to 83 000 IOPS (Input-Output Operations Per Second) up to 44 000 IOPS random read and write random.

Finally, these disks using sizes of different chips, the MTBF of the 120 GB drive is 2.5 million hours, 240 GB is 2 million hours and finally 480 GB is for 1.4 million hours. Namely also the controller can support an over-provisioning of about 7%, so there are a few additional giga to compensate for wear of the chips in intensive use, which lengthens the lifetime of the products.

After your press release, the 120 GB drive would be sold to €170 and 240 GB to €350. However, we can see that this is not the case and that the prices are closer to Intel 520 Series disks resellers offering them already. Have you planned to put pressure on distributors to enforce prices and thus to your most competitive drives?

The prices that we have announced are recommended prices. Now, in France, we know that there are taxes that are applied on this type of hardware. But if we look at the Germany prices for example, our rates seem to be those that we have listed. We cannot regulate all prices of the market, it will depend on distributors, but we think that major resellers will respect our rates in France.

Do you have a date of availability for the 480 GB solid state? Have you provided a larger disk?

Today, we can say that the 480 GB drive will be available early April for €750. Go price is certainly more important than our other two references, but this is explained by the number of chips of storage we have, and which are high capacity, which raises the cost of manufacturing and therefore the resale price. We are well sure interested in more high-capacity flash drives market, but technology does not produce disks 1 To for example because as for 480 GB, this well cost too much and we do not believe that the market would be willing to put as much money especially with the drives tray in the face. As soon as technology will allow us, we entrerons on the market of high-capacity SSDS to meet the demand of storage servers and the Cloud seeking performance and storage space in a single product.


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