ADATA has released three new SSD lineups: XPG SX900, Premier Pro SP900, and Premier SP800. XPG is ADATA's high-end brand aimed at gamers and enthusiasts and SX900 is the first SSD entry to XPG family. ADATA also uses the Premier brand in their other products and it's mainly used with middle-class products.

Specifications of ADATA's New SSDs
Model XPG SX900 Premier Pro SP900 Premier SP800
Controller SandForce SF-2281 SandForce SF-2281 SandForce SF-2141
NAND MLC Synchronous MLC Asynchronous MLC Synchronous (?)
Interface SATA 6Gb/s SATA 6Gb/s SATA 3Gb/s
Maximum Sequential Read 550MB/s 550MB/s 280MB/s
Maximum Sequential Write 530MB/s 520MB/s 260MB/s
Maximum 4KB Random Write 85K IOPS 85K IOPS 44K IOPS
Capacities (GB) 64, 128, 256, 512 64, 128, 256 32, 64

SX900 and SP900 are both fairly normal SF-2281 based drives. ADATA's product positioning is very similar to OCZ's: SX900 is equivalent to Vertex 3 and SP900 is ADATA's Agility 3. SX900 comes with synchronous NAND (see Anand's explanation), which provides increased random read and write performance (see our Vertex 3 and Agility 3 comparison in SSD Bench). We are looking at 550MB/s read and 520-530MB/s write, which is typical for SF-2281 based SSDs.

SP800 is ADATA's budget drive: It offers small capacities and SF-2141, which is SandForce's second generation SATA 3Gb/s controller. It offers higher random I/O performance but has only four channels, which makes it ideal for small capacity SSDs.

The interesting thing about ADATA's new SSDs is the fact that they offer ~7% more capacity than other SandForce based SSDs. Generally, SandForce based SSDs use ~7% of the NAND for over-provisioning and usually manufacturers don't mention that NAND in the total capacity. This means your 120GB SandForce drive actually has 128GB of NAND in it. However, SandForce has recently released a new firmware that allows manufacturers to modify the over-provisioning percentage and ADATA is taking advantage of that.

The new firmware allows over-provisioning of as low as 0%, which means a 128GB SandForce drive finally has 128GB of usable capacity (before formatting, of course). 0% over-provisioning introduces some potential problems, though. SandForce drives have no DRAM cache so the over-provisioned NAND has worked as a cache. Without any over-provisioning, performance may take a hit because wear leveling and garbage collection may not work optimally. Fortunately, there is still some extra capacity left thanks to translation between gigabytes and gibibytes. (The SSD Review has a more detailed explanation on this).

Unfortunately, ADATA has not revealed pricing so comparing their offerings with other products is hard. In the end, SandForce SSDs are all very similar in features and performance, hence price is a crucial factor. ADATA may not be the most well-known SSD brand, but they've been around as a memory manufacturer for a very long time and they've been gaining momentum lately in the SSD world. For example, NewEgg is selling ADATA SSDs and the reviews are there are fine (yes, I know—take Newegg reviews with a generous helping of salt!), although the drives are nowhere as popular as e.g. OCZ and Crucial drives are.

Perhaps the biggest question that still looms is whether or not the BSOD issues with SF-2200 controllers is really fixed. ADATA hasn't been the first out of the gate with firmware updates for the SandForce SSDs, and we've had experience with at least one SSD running the latest firmware where we still get the STOP 0x000000F4 error, but another drive from the same manufacturer running the same firmware doesn't have  problems. We'd like to say that we're out of the woods with regards to SF-2281 BSODs, but unfortunately we're not quite there yet.

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  • TheSSDReview - Saturday, February 25, 2012 - link

    Don't jump in often but thought I might on this one occasion.

    The article is exactly correct as it is in our original which was the result of conversation directly with LSI SandForce.

    The typical SSD has 128GB capacity, this being actually incorrect in the total byte calculation thanks to the original formula set out by HDDs some time ago. 1GB is not 1GB, but rather 1024 bytes which we all know. It is still described as 1GB however.

    Traditionally, a 128GB SSD utilized 7% of available RAM which brought it down to 120GB...or so we thought. In all actuality, the total OP was that 7% PLUS the extra 7.37 that you mentioned above. This has always been there but not accounted for in end calculations. Now, when the original 7% is not used (8GB) we are left with the actual unaccounted for space for OP, this being 7.37% which is used.

    The new drives are technically, 64/128/256/512GB drives as are those advertised by all non-SF SSDs... Its the background space that many are unaware of that has always been used for GC and other activities.

    As confusing as this may seem, it is no different than the same capacities listed by Crucial, Samsung and others.

    Thanks ahead
    Les@The SSD Review
    Reply
  • TheSSDReview - Saturday, February 25, 2012 - link

    Oooops if that could be corrected.... 'memory' and NOT 'RAM'. okok dawning bulletproof vest! Reply
  • jwilliams4200 - Saturday, February 25, 2012 - link

    Actually, thessdreview article, as with so many articles on that site, is full of mistakes and misleading information.

    I obviously cannot comment on what exactly was discussed in the LSI conversation, but clearly either you misunderstood what you were told, or the anonymous LSI rep was simply mistaken.

    The rest of your comment is nonsense. You seem to have confused GB and GiB, and so your statements make no sense whatsoever. The reason you think it may seem confusing, is because you have confused the matter greatly.
    Reply
  • TheSSDReview - Saturday, February 25, 2012 - link

    Not even worth the response but I am sure you will see it sooner or later... Thanks for the support! Reply
  • jwilliams4200 - Saturday, February 25, 2012 - link

    thessdreview has long been the absolute worst site for SSD journalism, with nearly every article chock full of mistakes and misleading information.

    There is definitely no "support" for thessdreview from me.

    I am only disappointed to see anandtech sinking towards the level of thessdreview. But this article was not written by Anand, so it is probably unfair of me to say that anandtech in general is sinking in quality. But Anand really needs to vet his staff writers more carefully.
    Reply
  • TheSSDReview - Saturday, February 25, 2012 - link

    In all fairness.. what you have tried to controvert above is this statement from the article:

    What is really happening behind the scenes of all SSDs is the difference between Billion Bytes (10^12 = 1,000,000,000) and Gigabytes (2^30 = 1,073,741,824). That delta is really 7.37% of the physical capacity.

    So when you see a drive at 120GB of 128GB of physical flash you are thinking it is 7% OP, but in reality it is more like 7% + 7.4% or 14.4%. Because the translation of Billion bytes and Gigabytes was made by HDD manufacturers some time ago, most users don’t “think” about that difference.

    Other than expressing a definite opinion, you haven't explained how this statement might be incorrect.
    Reply
  • jwilliams4200 - Saturday, February 25, 2012 - link

    I'm not sure why you feel it is my duty to correct your shoddy journalism, but in fact, I already did explain your error. You have confused gigabytes (GB) and gibibytes (GiB). Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, February 25, 2012 - link

    No, he has simply explained that when we say an SSD has "128GB of flash on board and they use 8GB for OP", what we're really saying is "the SSD has 128GiB of flash on board and they only support 120GB of storage, thus giving you an extra 17,438,953,472 bytes of storage unaccounted for." This space is typically used for OP, but in the case of SF it can also be used for RAISE. How much of it is used for each? We're waiting for an answer from ADATA (see above comment by Kristian). Reply
  • jwilliams4200 - Saturday, February 25, 2012 - link

    Wrong. He wrote "Gigabytes (2^30 = 1,073,741,824)". That is incorrect.

    1 GigaByte = 1 GB = 1,000,000,000 Bytes.

    1 GibiByte = 1 GiB = 1024^3 Bytes = 1,073,741,824 Bytes

    Almost all SSDs in the 120-128GB (advertised) range have 128GiB of flash on board.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, February 25, 2012 - link

    FWIW, I think the powers of 2 SI standards are stupid either way. Gibi, Mibi, Kibi, etc. were all created after the fact because computer software coopted the Kilo, Mega, Giga prefixes. 99% of the time, people don't really care whether when you say "gigabytes" you mean "gibibytes". We all still say "I have 8GB of RAM" for example, when we really mean "I have 8GiB of RAM". So for you to jump down his throat over issues of GiB/GB when it's pretty damn clear what his intent is seems pointless. He understands what he's saying, and we all understand what he means, but you're on the Internet arguing over the misuse of Gigabyte. Reply

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