Controller / Firmware / Manufacturer
the biggest differences between SSDs are caused be the firmware. Every company
that sells their own SSD have some special tweaks for the firmware. You might
have read about wear levelling algorithms which are meanwhile very
sophisticated. They are there to increase the endurance of the NAND flash.
Futhermore there are garbage collection algorithms which, at the end of the day,
keep performance high over time. Furthermore companies like Kingston, OCZ,
ADATA, ... can also adjust the clock frequencies of the controller as well as
the NAND flash to squeeze a bit extra performance out of the drive.
of the most interesting players regarding SSDs are SandForce and Indilinx. Some
time ago SandForce was bought by LSI and Indilinx now is a part of OCZ.
SandForce as well as Indilinx were/are companies that design controllers and
write firmware for them. Therefore both of these companies have a lot know how
about firware. At the moment there position in the market is very intersting.
SandForce now has the possibility to manufacture the controllers inhouse, using
LSIs fabs and Indilinx, as a part of OCZ, can improve the firmware from other
manufacturers like Marvell and can therefore gather a lot of additional know
but not least it is very interesting to see that there is really no manufacturer
in the consumer market that manufactures every single component of an SSD
themselves. Even a gigantic company like Samsung is licensing ARM CortexA9
designs to build controllers. In the end SSDs are a very good example for an
upstream supply chain.
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