The Tech Report writes LSI's SandForce has created a new firmware revision that improves power management and adds support for TCG Opal encryption. Kingston, ADATA and Avant are cooperating with SandForce to bring Opal-compatible SSDs to the market, but this is primarily a feature for business users. It's unclear if we'll see firmware updates for existing SSDs.
SandForce controller silicon has long incorporated on-the-fly encryption to scramble bits stored on the drive. Thanks to a new firmware revision, that encryption is now compatible with the TCG Opal specification. Opal compatibility enables SandForce-based SSDs to work with security management software from Wave and WinMagic. The new encryption mojo may also play nicely with Windows 8's eDrive feature, although SandForce couldn't confirm whether that's the case. We're waiting to hear back from the firm on that matter.
On the power front, SandForce has added support for the DevSleep idle state required by Haswell Ultrabooks. This low-power state is necessary for Win8's connected standby mode, SandForce says, and it cuts idle power draw dramatically. SandForce's old slumber state draws 20 mA, but DevSleep gets by with just 0.05 mA. Thanks to Joule's Law, the 400X reduction in current produces an equivalent drop in power consumption.