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Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 10 February 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Zalman N-Series Sandforce SSD SSD0128N1
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: Zalman N-Series SSD
SandForce SF-1200 SSD Controller
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
HDD vs Hybrid Drive vs SSD
Zalman N-Series SSD Conclusion

SandForce SF-1200 Features

SandForce SF-1200 SSD Processors enable commodity flash memory to reliably operate in cost and power sensitive client computing environments. The SF-1200 is a true single-chip SSD Processor designed for volume manufacturing and outstanding performance. Innovative DuraClass technology delivers world class reliability, endurance, performance and power consumption.

Endurance and Longevity
As each generation of flash memory evolves and the silicon geometries shrink - performance, reliability, endurance, and data retention are negatively impacted. DuraWrite technology extends the life of the SSD over conventional controllers, by optimizing writes to the flash memory and delivering a write amplification below 1, without complex DRAM caching requirements.

Performance and Power Optimization
SSDs are capable of significantly outperforming traditional HDDs, but typical controllers haven't delivered the compelling value necessary for mainstream adoption. SandForce DuraClass technology enables the SSD to maximize both the endurance and performance for the life of the drive fulfilling the promise of high speed flash memory in client computing applications and improving system performance by up to 50% as measured by the SYSmark Benchmark.

Mobile Computing Security
The SF-1200 has built in AES-128 bit encryption controllable by a configurable user password. This feature prevents would-be thieves from extracting data directly from the flash memory should they ever have access to the drive.

Data Protection and Reliability
SF-1200 SSD Processors provide up to 100x greater data protection than today's SSDs, and leading enterprise HDDs. This is a result of superior ECC protection and unique RAISE (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements) technology. RAISE provides the protection and reliability of RAID on a single drive without the significant write overhead.

Source: SandForce, Inc.

Zalman N-Series Specifications

DuraClass Technology:

  • DuraWrite extends the endurance of SSDs
  • Intelligent Block Management and Wear Leveling
  • Intelligent Read Disturb Management
  • Intelligent "Recycling" for advanced free space management
  • RAISE (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements)
  • Intelligent Data Retention optimization
  • Best-in-Class ECC protection for longest data retention and drive life
  • Power/Performance Balancing

Host Interface:

  • SATA 2.6 Compliant, 3Gb/s and 1.5Gb/s support
  • Native Command Queuing (up to 32 commands)
  • SMART Command Transport (basic)

Capacity Supported:

Performance (sustained):

  • Sequential Read Transfer: Up to 280 MB/s
  • Sequential Write Transfer: Up to 270 MB/s
  • Random Read IOPS: 25,000 (120GB @4K blocks)
  • Random Write IOPS: 25,000 (120GB @4K blocks)

Flash Memory Support:

Specially selected MLC NAND flash memory

Power Consumption:

  • Typical: 550mW
  • Sleep/Slumber: 50mW

Security:

  • Data Encryption: 128-bit AES
  • Optional disk password

Protection:

  • ECC Recovery: Up to 24 bytes correctable per 512-byte sector
  • Unrecoverable Read Errors: Less than 1 sector per 1016 bits read

Reliability:

  • MTTF: 2,000,000 operating hours
  • Supports 5-year consumer life cycle

Operating Temperature:

0°C to 70°C ambient

Package:

361-Pin TFBGA - 13x13mm, 0.65mm pitch

Compliance:

RoHS, Halogen-Free, Green

Source: Zalman



 

Comments 

 
# SSD is the way to goCom-Tek Chris 2011-02-10 20:57
Although I do not currently own this drive my current drive has the Sandforce controller and man does it smoke! I have 2x 120gig OCZ's in Raid 0 and the performance is stellar.
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# RE: SSD is the way to goWhyNotV2 2011-02-11 03:42
I agree that SSD is the way to go, but as the reviewer stated, it's the price point that's keeping myself and others away from full adoption. I also don't own the drive reviewed I also don't use one in my desktop as I favor the VelociRaptor 740 (running plenty strong since purchased in 2004) with other WD 7200rpm drives for storage and non-essential programs as a secondary drive(s). I do use a 64GB RunCore SSD in my HP netbook (1030nr) running the full version of Windows 7. I love both products, but while the raptor drives exist and the SSD technology is still young, I can't make the leap. As always, I will keep my eye out for price drops, trim/garbage improvements, etc. (thanks benchmarkreviews!!!) in hopes that in the months/years to come the price, stability, performance and longevity of SSDs nears that of the VelociRaptor drives.
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# RE: Zalman N-Series Sandforce SSD SSD0128N1Robert17 2011-02-12 03:03
Good review. Anything in the included documentation as to this being 34nm technology? I've included an article link below that I found interesting. Maybe the technology is reaching some limits to nand production/performance. Maybe we're about to see rapid (or more rapid) competition of the SSD controller development/deployment. That seems to be amongst the better design improvements anyway.

##nordichardware.com/news/86-storage/42306-25nm-nand-forces-ssd-makers-to-limit-storage.html

It also makes me think that hybrid drive development may get a push when thinking of nand, controllers, price, and real world applications. Any word on the street of upcoming changes in the industry?
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# RE: RE: Zalman N-Series Sandforce SSD SSD0128N1Olin Coles 2011-02-12 06:59
Sorry Robert, but the Zalman documentation is VERY scarce on information. I had to write to the manufacturer just to find out what the rated IOPS for this drive was. It is unlikely that this SSD is using 34nm technology, as it's physically the same drive as other SF-1200 SSDs. All that separates most SandForce-driven SSDs is firmware licensing.
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# Crucial?JAMF 2011-02-12 03:31
It would be nice if the Crucial RealSSD drives were tested, to see how they stack up.
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# OopsJAMF 2011-02-12 03:35
Was looking at the Random 4k/QD32 results as I wrote this. I wouldn't have thought it be that far down the list.
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# RE: OopsOlin Coles 2011-02-12 07:00
Glad you found it. While the Crucial RealSSD C300 is very fast, it's not so great at managing the same operational workload as SandForce SSDs.
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# RE: Zalman N-Series Sandforce SSD SSD0128N1aberkae 2011-02-12 08:17
Anyone know when we will see ssds with sanforce 2500 and 2600 controllers?
The C300 fell in price to $450 for 256 gig, and OCZ vertex 2 is usually on sale for 120 gig for $ 150 after MIR @ newegg. The revo x2 is on sale to as well for $ 564.
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# RE: RE: Zalman N-Series Sandforce SSD SSD0128N1Olin Coles 2011-02-12 08:26
March or later. Even then, the new SandForce SSDs are targeted towards enterprise storage.
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# HeightEmilio 2011-05-24 14:22
Hi, can someone tell me the height of this remarkable ssd? Thanks in advance!
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# RE: HeightOlin Coles 2011-05-24 15:52
Measured with calipers for you: 2.75" wide, 0.40" tall, and 3.95" long.
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# RE: HeightEmilio 2011-05-24 17:56
Thank you very much for your fast response, but 2.40 inch tall? Is this correct? That is about 60 milimmeters, I was hoping something between 9,5 and 12 milimeters. Perhaps 2.4 is the tall of the box?
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# RE: RE: HeightOlin Coles 2011-05-24 18:03
Oops, that's supposed to be 0.40" tall. I'll fix it.
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# Thanks!Emilio 2011-05-26 11:45
Thank you!!! Im going to buy this SSD for my hp mini 311, wich uses a 0.37" drive. That is less than 1 mm of difference. Dont think it will be a problem. Thanks again.
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# RE: Thanks!Olin Coles 2011-05-26 13:32
What is the make and model of your current hard drive?
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