Corsair Explains Change From 34nm To 25nm Related To SSDs

Much like hard drives, which cannot be over a certain size in 32-bit machines and have to be formatted a certain way to be visible to certain operating systems, SSDs are also complex beasts. There was a lot of confusion early on about just how reliable these would be in long-term usage patterns, and while TRIM has come to the rescue to some extent, there's still a lot of voodoo behind the scenes that many average consumers just don't "get." Thankfully, Corsair is helping us all out by giving a very detailed description of how impending changes will affect their drives and your performance.

As things continue to shrink from a process level, Corsair is looking to transition SSD production from 34 nanometer to 25 nanometer flash chips. Here's the deal: Flash memory manufacturers are transitioning to using 25nm process for fabrication, allowing them to boost capacity and reduce costs, which in turn will allow SSD suppliers to pass those savings to the consumer. The downside is that SSDs built using 25nm flash ICs may require more over-provisioning (a technique used to ensure reliability) which lowers the capacity of the SSD and may also see a reduction in performance.

In turn, Corsair has been working hard with SandForce to minimize those downsides. In the Corsair Labs, using the ATTO synthetic benchmark, only a small reduction in performance (roughly 3-4%) was seen when testing Force Series SSDs built with 25nm flash. Real-world tests, such as copying groups of files or measuring Windows boot times, support the ATTO results and show little to no performance loss. However, the over-provisioning needed means that in some cases the capacity of the drives will be reduced.

Jared Peck, Global Product Marketing Manager for SSDs at Corsair, explained it this way: "So that our customers are perfectly clear about what they are getting, we will be changing the model numbers on all 25nm based drives and transitioning the drive capacities we offer where necessary. For example, a drive that would have been sold as 120GB when built with 34nm flash will be launched as a 115GB version. All Force Series drives built with 25nm flash will also have a ‘-A’ suffix on the part and/or model number, making it easy to determine exactly what you’re getting."

Force Series 115GB and 80GB 25nm drives will be available by the end of February, with the F115-A selling for $215 and the F80-A for $160. We get the feeling things will just get more confusing, but at least this groundwork makes it somewhat easier to "get."
Tags:  SSD, Corsair, SandForce