It isn’t that long ago that we mentioned the powerful Sandforce SSD controllers. A few SSDs have already hit the market with a hybrid Sandforce controller based on the Sandforce SF1500. Although these drives featured a hybrid Sandforce SF1500, not all of the features of the SF1500 were enabled. The OCZ Vertex limited edition (LE) was the first SSD in the market to utilise this controller, with 100GB and 200GB versions going on sale around the beginning of March 2010.
OCZ didn’t have the market all to themselves, and a few weeks after the Vertex LE hit the streets, another SSD based on the same hybrid SF1500 hit the shops in the form of the OWC Mercury Extreme.
The Sandforce SF1500 SSD controller was always intended for the enterprise section of the market, and this hybrid controller was made in limited qualities, really as a stopgap while the mainstream SF1200 went into mass production. Well now the SF1200 has arrived and it hasn‘t taken long for Sandforce SF1200 drives to start to appear. Currently, three drives should be landing at a computer store near you in the next week or so, in the form of the OCZ Vertex 2, OCZ Agility 2, and the Corsair Force series of SSDs.
The real difference from the SF1500 apart from some special enterprise class features, such as the “supercap” to make sure no data is lost during a power outage is the SF1200 has lower 4k random write performance compared to the SF1500. In a mainstream high performance desktop, this shouldn’t matter, as even with the SF1200s 4K random write performance, it is still faster than any other MLC based SATA2 SSD.
The Sandforce SSD is arguably the most powerful and smartest SSD controller yet released with “on the fly” hardware encryption, compression, and intelligent wear levelling, and of course TRIM support for Windows 7.
OCZ have been strong supporters of Sandforce right from the outset, and have also secured an exclusive deal from Sandforce for the Vertex 2 series of SSDs, which will give the Vertex 2 the same 4K random write performance as the SF1500 enterprise class of drives. However, some kind of misunderstanding has led a few Corsair Force based SSDs being released onto the market with the Vertex 2 performance, which is something I would guess is quite embarrassing for Sandforce.
The OCZ Vertex 2 and Agility 2 should be arriving in the shops very soon and will be available in capacities of 50GB, 100GB and 200GB.
OCZ have already started shipping the Vertex 2 and Agility 2 and you can be sure we will bring you full review of these drives as soon as we get hold of them.