I have been asked that question numerous times in recent weeks and to be honest it's a great question. Rumors are going around that OCZ Technologies has a special firmware revision that uncaps random 4K write performance on their Vertex 2 series. Other companies like Corsair offer Sandforce SF-1200 series controllers in their Force series and we didn't see the performance cap, but we did with Mushkin's Callisto series. To be honest the firmware situation with Sandforce drives is confusing so we went straight to Sandforce to try to get some answers.
I started off by asking Sandforce if that could send me a history and change log of their firmware versions that have been issued for their SF-1222 based drives.
The answer I got was this:
"We only publicly release information on mass production firmware versions. To date we have released MP1 on SF-1222. MP2 for SF-1222 and SF-1564/5 is just around the corner" - Sandforce Marketing
That didn't sit well with me as it is fairly well known that some Sandforce drives are being sold today with Release Candidate (RC) firmware versions. I shot back more questions to Sandforce saying how it is rather upsetting that I can't get a list of firmware versions that they have been developing for their customers and that this information should be released to consumers so they know exactly what they are buying.
"We don’t sell drives, we sell a solution that is a part of an SSD. We’ve been very clear to all of our customers in terms of our guidance for firmware usage (see slide below we give to customers). Some customers do their own qualification testing and make a determination when a particular version of firmware meets their products’ specifications and requirements. Occasionally that has been RC, however as you’ve probably experienced we’ve enabled our customers to have a robust field FW update capability so any issues customers run in to can generally be addressed. To date we don’t have a single field failure from our MP1 firmware (at least one that has been reported to us)." - Sandforce Marketing