Logo Courtesy: OCZ Technology

OCZ's 25nm Vertex 2 Performance Issues

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Logo Courtesy: OCZ Technology

Logo Courtesy: OCZ Technology

There has been a recent uproar in the tech community regarding OCZ’s new 25nm Vertex 2 SSD drives. Usually we’re quite excited to see newer fabrication technology reach the shelves, as this usually results in a superior product. Sadly, this wasn’t the case with OCZ’s latest iteration of their Vertex 2 SSD offering.

Looking at some straight-forward benchmarks posted by StorageReview.com member TSullivan, the performance is what you would expect from a Vertex 2 SSD in your system – the image below left shows a benchmark of the 34 nm OCZ Vertex 2 60 GB SSD. The image on the right is a screen shot of the CrystalDiskMark benchmark for the 25 nm Vertex 2 60 GB SSD.

Image Courtesy: TSullivan

Image Courtesy: TSullivan

Image Courtesy: TSullivan

Image Courtesy: TSullivan

Whoa! What happened here? The write speeds are half as fast for the 25 nm version, while the read speeds are up to 30Mb/s slower (4K QD32) as well. That’s a huge decrease in performance. What’s worse is that OCZ and their online retailers (Newegg, for example) are listing the “new” Vertex 2 drive as having the exact same specifications as the “old” drive, when that’s clearly not the case. These two drives look exactly the same on the outside, until you open them up to see the visual differences, as shown below from StorageReview.com’s full review.

Image Courtesy: StorageReview.com

Image Courtesy: StorageReview.com

This is a developing story, so hopefully we’ll get some positive news from OCZ and retailers about how they are going to deal with this issue. Needless to say, the tech community is very unhappy about being sold an inferior product that is packaged identically and claimed to be the same as it’s superior counterpart. There are a number of  online communities discussing this issue.

Overclockers.com discussion thread

StorageReview.com discussion thread /StorageReview.com’s Vertex 2 Review

MacRumors.com discussion thread /OCZ’s Forum discussion thread

Update 2/16/2011 3PM: Official statement from OCZ — “[C]ustomers are welcome to go through our service program to exchange for a 32gbit model if they have concerns about their 64gbit drives. The new part numbers will reflect the 32Gbit die solutions to distinguish between the models (last page): OCZSSD2-2VTX60G, OCZSSD2-2VTX120G (non ‘E’ part numbers)”

OCZ Technology Group Official Statement – Driving down the cost of SSDs As the industry transitions to the 2Xnm process, OCZ is notably the first to market with this technology that aggressively reduces the costs of our consumer-grade SSDs. Most of our customers are aware that as the NAND flash technology process nodes are shrunk, the price of NAND comes down substantially. OCZ continues to focus on delivering the highest performance and highest reliability drives available at a lower price point…paving the way for SSDs to become more accessible to the complete range of consumers and to take the place of traditional mechanical hard drives over the next few years.

Due to this natural transition to next generation NAND flash components, certain 2Xnm-based SSD configurations may see a slight difference in the IDEMA (International Disk Drive and Equipment Materials Association) capacity, particularly lower density drives, due to the higher 64 Gbit die density of 2Xnm flash solutions. This is due to the need to reserve additional space for the drives’ sophisticated performance and reliability features which provide real world benefits and are not offered by many other manufacturers. These features include RAID-like data protection and recovery in the event of flash block malfunction, as well as advanced wear-leveling to enhance the SSD’s endurance and lifespan.  Due to the use of higher density chips, the quantity of blocks reserved for this functionality doubled as we reserve a single plane of flash for additional redundancy.

Many users familiar with SSD technology understand that over-provisioning flash is designed to increase, not only the life of the SSD, but the performance of the SSDs; however, OCZ is sensitive to issues particularly related to RAID arrays where capacity alignment becomes critical for optimal functionality.  Even the smallest variance in size can create issues. In order to help resolve issues such as this and to clarify the situation we are disclosing (for vendor ordering purposes) the part number significance for our SSD capacity configurations. While we cannot guarantee (primarily due to price variance) that all of these parts are available at retailers, we as a company will extend our efforts to make these parts available throughout our Global channel. In addition, we’d like to point out to our customers that these products have always remained in production and are readily available directly from OCZ.

We should note that this only effects smaller capacity drives with the “E” series of firmware. Non “E” drives have no capacity variance and higher capacity drives also have no variance.

For those customers that have already purchased an “E” part and wish to move to a 32 Gbit die based drive solution, OCZ will offer a program in which customers can trade in their “E” drive and receive a credit towards the more expensive 32 Gbit die-based drives. Customers only needto pay the difference in the raw NAND price and OCZ will ship the replacement drive once the original “E” drive is received. If you are interested in an exchange please contact an OCZ
customer service representative and we will be happy to assist you.

Idema
Capacity
Raw
Capacity
OCZSSD2-2VTXE60G 55 64
OCZSSD2-2VTXE120G 118 128
OCZSSD2-2VTX60G 60 64
OCZSSD2-2VTX120G 120 128

All 2Xnm-based SSDs carry the same warranty as previous OCZ SSD products and it is OCZ’s objective to give customers the very best balance of performance, reliability, and capacity ensuring an optimal experience for consumers across the complete spectrum of applications.

Update 2/16/2011 9PM: The latest information we received from OCZ states they will replace any of these particular drives for all customers who may be displeased with the product. Most importantly, they will cover shipping costs both ways and they will not charge for the pricing difference. In full, the following is the latest information we received.

Thanks Matt, appreciate you getting the word out to your readers 🙂 We really want to make it right for people that are displeased, so if anyone is not satisfied with their drive they can contact us to replace. We actually will be covering shipping costs both ways and not charging for the pricing differences, that has just been updated from our support staff.

Regarding the performance, these drives are able to meet our published specifications with the same benchmarks we have always used, which is ATTO for maximum rated sequential speeds and IOMeter for random IOPS. We have also recently added a dual spec to show performance in ASSD on our product pages, we realize every benchmark is different and handles data differently.

Either way, if anyone feels their drive is not what they paid for we will replace it with as little hassle as possible 🙂

Jmtyra

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Discussion
  1. I heard the Agility 2 were also touched by the issue.
    I wish OCZ will fix this issue soon :-/ Not cool for all customers who bought these SSD not knowing they would never get the listed performance!
    I'm currently in contact with Newegg over any necessary changes to their advertising to reflect the issues with performance - some people will be sorely disappointed.
    I.M.O.G.
    We've contacted OCZ for comment. Has anyone seen them make any official statements as far as the company's awareness or stance on the issue?

    There's a sticky on their forums by moderators who I believe are employees. They downplay the issue with a mix of arrogance and dismissiveness.
    It relates to their RAISE implementation and overprovisioning to allow for wear leveling. There are also two versions one using 64Gb and one using 32Gb NAND ICs in 25nm drives. The old version, 34nm, uses only 32Gb NAND chips. The new versions could show either size based on the chips used. The 64Gb chips overprovision based on 8GB of OP space and the 32Gb OP based on 4GB of space.
    OCZ will be releasing a tool to determine density and which die size is used on the chips, if what I have understood from the thread in their forums is correct. Though it could also be read as simply which die size is used.
    Excellent coverage. Was reading up on this when I found it here.
    Getting OCZ rep to comment would be great, I am sure they are a little frazzled right now though considering the backlash they went through on their own forums though
    Yeah this is a result of moving to 8GB chips (missing partition size) and half the number of chips (RAISE reduction)
    If it addressed the performance question, it certainly wasn't very clear. I feel that question is what is generating most of the attention and if the source of the performance issue can be explained directly then a lot of the community ruckus would die down.
    Clarification has been requested.
    The performance is down because they're using half as many flash chips with twice the capacity. Less chips equals less channels to write to at once equals slower performance.
    The overprovisioning thing just relates to the smaller capacity of the drives compared to the older. The scheme they use calls for a whole plane of the flash to be dedicated to overprovisioning. In this case, I believe each chip has 8 planes, so you should see a loss of 8 gigs (64/8) on a 64 gig drive compared to a loss of 4 gigs (64/16) on an older model. This is just speculation/guessing really, because I don't know which flash they're actually using. I'm basing my numbers on stuff I remember from a few years back, so if someone know more current info about flash on the market today, feel free to correct me.
    They really should have released the gimped drives as another model name, and now that they're caught, they darn well better charge less for the "E" drives.
    Krusher33
    Oh bother... I'm one of those that purchased one of the drives listed by OCZ that is affected.
    Tiger at the OCZ forumns state that a tool will be available to see which NAND your drive has. I think I'll wait on it before asking for a replacement.
    Source: http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?84821-New-update-on-the-25nm-OCZ-SSD-drives

    I read somewhere that the firmware installed on your drive out of the box could indicate you if you got the damned version.
    Wow... I just checked my box from my Vertex 2 60GB I bought before Christmas:
    OCZSSD2-2VTXE60G
    I am going to see if I can figure out which one this is since the "E" can actually be either 34nm or 24nm versions. The best way to tell is by the format space. 34nm verions are 56GB and 24nm are 51GB.
    Edit: well good news is that the 24nm versions shipped with at earliest 1.27 fw verions (most come with 1.28, source: OCZ admin). Mine currently has 1.25 so I am running a 34nm version.
    Also, OCZ announced that upgrading to the x16 24nm versions are now free.
    Latest update made to the article - OCZ will cover shipping costs both ways for anyone unhappy with one of these particular drives in question, and they will not charge anything for pricing differences. Read the end of the article for the latest word direct from OCZ. They also directly address the performance question.
    I still don't care much for sticking with the same product name in light of the nature of these differences, but that is common practice in this industry unfortunately. Most importantly to me, OCZ is doing what it takes to make this right for anyone with the product, who is aware of the issue... That means our audience is taken care of, and I'm happy with that. :thup:
    Dooms101
    Wow... I just checked my box from my Vertex 2 60GB I bought before Christmas:
    OCZSSD2-2VTXE60G
    I am going to see if I can figure out which one this is since the "E" can actually be either 32nm or 24nm versions. The best way to tell is by the format space. 32nm verions are 56GB and 24nm are 51GB.
    Edit: well good news is that the 24nm versions shipped with at earliest 1.27 fw verions (most come with 1.28, source: OCZ admin). Mine currently has 1.25 so I am running a 32nm version.
    Also, OCZ announced that upgrading to the x16 24nm versions are now free.

    Check your numbers. Using the wrong ones gets confusing. ;) Its 25nm and 34nm I believe.
    I.M.O.G.
    Latest update made to the article - OCZ will cover shipping costs both ways for anyone unhappy with one of these particular drives in question, and they will not charge anything for pricing differences. Read the end of the article for the latest word direct from OCZ.
    Check your numbers. Using the wrong ones gets confusing. ;) Its 25nm and 34nm I believe.

    Oh thanks for catching that! I think I said "35nm" in a different thread... let me go change that.
    I'm not sure actually how many different versions they have, but I haven't looked closer into it. Reading this storagereview thread it mentions 25nm and 34nm, but reading the actual review written by the same person, it mentions 25nm and 32nm. :shrug:
    http://forums.storagereview.com/index.php/topic/29586-ssds-shifting-to-25nm-nand-what-you-need-to-know
    http://www.storagereview.com/ocz_vertex_2_25nm_review_oczssd22vtxe60g
    I would expect OCZ has exact info listed on their site for anyone interested in confirming themselves.