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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
ADATA S599 SSD AS599S-128GM-C
Features and Specifications
First Look: ADATA S599
SandForce SF-1200 SSD Controller
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark Tests
SSD vs Hard Disk Drive
ADATA AS599S-128GM-C Conclusion

SandForce SF-1200 SSD Controller

The SandForce SF-1200 SATA-3GBps controller is new to the industry, but many manufacturers are already hailing it as the replacement for Indilinx's industry-leading Barefoot processor. Both are second-generation SATA products limited to 3.0 GB/s transfer speeds, and both offer similar specifications. SandForce adds DuraClass technology to their SF-1200 processor, which claims to provide best-in-class endurance, performance, and lower power consumption. DuraWrite technology extends the endurance of MLC-NAND memory by providing at least five year lifecycles measured with 3000-5000 cycle MLC flash. Additionally, SandForce RAISE technology provides RAID-like protection for single SSD computer systems, and data is secured with AES-128 automatic encryption.

SandForce has hit the 2010 SSD industry with full force, much the same way that Indilinx did back in 2009. Finished-goods companies can utilize the SandForce SF1200 processor in their own product line, which then receives a "SandForce Driven" badge. The SandForce SF-1222 processor is presently available in the ADATA S599, Corsair Force, RunCore Pro-V, Patriot Inferno, OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE, G.Skill Phoenix Pro, OCZ Vertex-2, PhotoFast G-Monster 2, OCZ Agility-2, and Mach Xtreme SSD series.

SandForce_SF-1200_SSD_Processor_Top.jpg

From the view above the printed circuit board (PCB), it doesn't look like there's anything dramatically innovative on the SandForce Solid State Drive. Eight flash NAND modules make a horseshoe around the SandForce SF-1200 SSD processor, and plenty of electronics fill in the remaining space atop the printed circuit board. But once the SandForce SSD board is turned to expose the underside, the difference is obvious: SandForce has used their DuraClass technology to remove the DRAM buffer.

SandForce_SF-1200_SSD_Processor_Bottom.jpg

The 2nd-generation SATA-3.0GBps SandForce SF-1222TA3-SBH processor is part of their SF-1200 family of SSD controller chips, and SSDs will utilize either the SF-1200 processor for retail consumers or SF-1500 for enterprise devices. All SandForce SSD controllers offer native TRIM support in Microsoft Windows-7, Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with 32 command slots, and Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (SMART) command set. While not directly important to transfer speeds or operational performance, SandForce utilizes a Tensilica Diamond Core DC_570T CPU inside the SF-1200 processor.

SandForce_SF-1222TA3-SBH_Processor.jpg

Another benefit of SandForce's SF-1200 architecture is that the SSD keeps all information on the NAND grid and removes the need for a separate cache buffer DRAM module. The result is a faster transaction, albeit at the expense of total storage capacity. SandForce SSDs utilize over-provisioning technology, which allocates a portion of NAND for data storage and the remainder reserved for transaction and cache buffer space. SandForce has also marketing custom firmware to the finished-goods companies that sell their SSDs, which remove performance restrictions.

The SF-1200 SSD processor provides ECC data protection and includes SandForce's unique RAISE (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements) technology. RAISE provides the protection and reliability of RAID on a single SSD drive, thanks to flash architecture, without the significant write overhead of parity. The SandForce DuraClass technology automatically stores data in AES-128 encrypted format, preventing data extraction directly from the physical flash memory modules.

Micron-Intel_DRAM_29F64G08CAMDB.jpg

Sixteen multi-layer cell Intel 29F64G08CAMDB flash NAND modules are joined to the SandForce SF-1200 controller. On professional-level 28% over-provisioned SandForce SSDs, these NAND modules may combine for 128GB of physical storage space yet only 100GB of this capacity is designated for data. Consumer-level SandForce SSDs receive 7% over-provisioning and 128GB devices will yield 120GB of usable storage space.

Because the SandForce SF-1200 SSD processor inside the many SSDs is a non-exclusive component available market-wide, Benchmark Reviews expects to see many new solid state storage products using this controller in the near future. Please continue on for details and performance results for this Solid State Drive...



 

Comments 

 
# I fail to see the subject under test in most of the chartsGreg 2010-03-30 16:21
Maybe the wrong charts were published.
Out of the 13 SSDs in the charts, none is the ADATA S599.
What gives?
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# The ADATA S599 is in the charts.Olin Coles 2010-03-30 17:07
I don't know what you're referring to, but the charts include the ADATA S599 SSD test results.
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# RE: The ADATA S599 is in the charts.Stas 2010-03-30 23:24
In CrystalDiskMark Tests too?
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# Read the article...Olin Coles 2010-03-31 06:46
If you actually READ THE ARTICLE, you'll notice the lengthy explanations for these two tests.
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# Updated Test ResultsOlin Coles 2010-04-21 16:01
The AS-SSD Benchmark and CrystalDiskMark 3.0 results have been updated, and comparison charts are now included. The new data reflects test results with 4K IOPS performance in mind. I have also removed HD-Tune entirely, since we've discovered that the random IOPS portion of this tool is not useful for SSDs.
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# RE: ADATA S599 SandForce SF-1200 SSDJustin 2010-03-31 04:54
The Crystal DiskMark and the HDTune Random IOPS charts are missing the ADATA S599.
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# re: ADATA S599 SSDLogan 2010-03-31 11:22
Oi Olin!

You ARE missing the ADATA S599 from the DiskMark AND the HDTune IOPS charts.

I read your article and it was ok but you really have to make sure that all tested items are on the charts if you expect consumers to make informed choices... I'm sure that ADATA would appreciate that most of all because at least on paper, they seem to have a smoking fast product.

Cheers..
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# RE: re: ADATA S599 SSDOlin Coles 2010-03-31 11:28
If you had read the article, you'd know that these two tests produced abnormal results. I explain this in full detail, and also reveal all of my results.
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# Intel ...Christopher27 2010-04-01 03:52
Intel has TRIM (and I suppose X-25E serie has GC also).
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# Sector alignment issuesAllan Stirling 2010-04-01 07:12
HDDs can suffer from sector misalignment as well. ##g-loaded.eu/2010/03/29/partition-misalignment-slows-4096-byte-sector-hard-drives/
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# RE: ADATA S599 SandForce SF-1200 SSDBen 2010-04-06 04:56
Although the details are listed, the missing chart information is misleading to people who just scan through the article. I suggest you publish all of your data in the chart with a footnote stating "abnormal results". Thanks for including it in the written review, but it would be eye-opening to see it compared instead of just referred to.
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# Which storage controller was used?gaspard leon 2010-06-21 07:25
In the "Test System" section it says: "Storage HBA: Integrated Marvell SE9128 3rd-Generation SATA-6.0Gbps Controller"

But in the tests it says the ICH10 was used... which is it?

This makes quite a difference... Also if you want to get the least lag, you need an H55 or P55 based board, the storage controller on those is really quick
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# RE: Which storage controller was used?Olin Coles 2010-06-21 07:29
ICH10 is used on SATA-3GB SSDs, and the Marvell SE9128 is used on SATA-6GB SSDs (currently only Crucial C300).

As for the H/P55 platform having less 'lag' than X58, you are basing this on what evidence? I'm disregarding this remark, since I've tested on both.
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# thanks for the quick replygaspard leon 2010-06-21 18:56
Yeah that makes sense, so only the Crucial was on the Marvell.

Re H/P55 I have not done a lot of checks but I noticed a little bit faster access times, and slightly higher scores under AS SSD Benchmark, which I attribute to the H/P55 design being newer, and not a "Separate" chip, since the north and south bridge are both in the one chip, so the latency is a litttle lower...

Overall the difference between ICH10R and 55 series is fairly slight, just thought you should know that it's probably the best platform I've seen so far for SSD latency.

You can disregard this if you like, just trying to keep up awareness of different platforms
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# iometer resultsChristian 2011-01-24 02:17
guys, i'm not able to reproduce your scores, can you send me your iometer's config. file? this will be very appreciated ... :)
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# RE: iometer resultsOlin Coles 2011-01-24 09:40
Sure thing! I've emailed you our Iometer configuration file. Make sure that you use the same version as we did in our article for best results.
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# Thanks!!!Christian 2011-01-24 09:55
Thanks mate! i'll try it soon ...
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# RE: ADATA S599 SSD AS599S-128GM-CAMOCO 2011-07-05 22:30
So I sent Adata an email about firmware updates:
Me;So,When is the new updated firmware for this drive coming out?I've and others
have been waiting months for it.As the 3.4.6 firmware has heat issues.

Adata;The firmware updates are released by Sandforce and we have not gotten any update on new firmware. However, if you are experiencing issues please let us know we can replace for a new S599, or exchange for S596 Turbo.

So what gives?Is there an update for this drive other than 3.4.6?
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