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Are Corsair Sandforce Drives Life/Warranty Throttled?


gojirasan

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A competitor admitted on their website that they have the Sandforce DuraClass life throttling option fully enabled on their drives. And not only that but it is actually an optional selection in the firmware that can be made more or less aggressive or even disabled by the OEM.

 

Consider I can sit here, and pre program how and when a drive will throttle depending purely on how long I want that drive to last.

 

I can set 12 months, which would allow more writes in a short burst than if I set 24 months....36 months would throttle more frequently etc etc etc.

 

Lastly, be aware that it is possible to turn off throttle, any review you see for any drive (as they all use throttling in some way) should use a public downloadable firmware....it would be VERY easy to cheat if you wanted to.

Note any reviewer that comes to me for FW is pointed right at this forum, all tools and FW are right here for all to use....

 

SF have build an SSD processor here, not just a controller, it can actively move speed up and down on the drive on the fly to ensure even drives with 3.5 P/E.c can last 3 to 5yrs, they say this on the public info pages on their site and within the PDF I linked in post 1.

 

I can alter how soon a drive will throttle back in relation to the amount of data written over a given time period...hence i can shorten or extend how long a drive will live.

 

He even says it can be done "on the fly" presumably with some sort of specialized software that reads/writes to the firmware. Like the transition from 10k p/e c 50nm to 5k p/e c 34nm to 3k p/e c 25nm flash NAND, this sounds great for everyone except the consumer himself. This also explains why 25nm Sandforce drives tend to be slower than 34nm ones. 3000 P/E cycles instead of 5000 (or 10000 for 50nm NAND) means that DuraClass has to work even harder to make sure writing is as slow as possible whenever it seems like a lot of writes are going on.

 

So now that I have tried to establish that throttling is in fact an OEM choice, my question is what choice is Corsair making? I don't understand why OEMs aren't more open about this. It seems to me like it is a chance to be competitive. You can make your drives faster by turning off the life throttle completely.

 

The downside is that you run the risk of someone putting the drive in a server that writes 24/7/365 and then RMAing the drive every 6 months when it runs out of program/erase cycles, but you can just make it clear that the warranty doesn't cover that sort of usage.

 

I noticed that one of Corsair's other close competitors in the DRAM market has recently announced a Sandforce SSD which has the word "unthrottled" in the advertisement. Will they be the first or is the Corsair product already unthrottled? Unless I get specific information to the contrary from a particular OEM I have to assume that all drives are throttled to the same degree for a given length of warranty and quality of flash NAND. I would expect a Sandforce drive with 34nm or 50nm flash NAND and a 1 or 2 year warranty to be faster than a 25nm drive with a 5 year warranty.

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Force drives have a 3 year warranty. They rarely ask questions when RMA'ing.

 

However if you're using these drives, or any MLC SSD in a server writing to it 24/7 you'll have a serious problem. It's just not designed for that type of usage. I recommend a SCSI Seagate 10k or 15k RPM drive and in a RAID 5 configuration or something similar for the best long term reliability.

 

If your heart is set on SSD, there are enterprise SLC to chose from.

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At this time, we have no plans to implement this feature from SandForce. This is all the information I have, period.

 

Clarification; I had someone ask me to clarify my answer here. At this time, I know of no plans to make this feature adjustable by the end user. When I have additional information, I will share it. ::pirate::

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