review a quick look at oczs 2 15 ssd firmware

A quick look at OCZ’s 2.15 SSD firmware

For months, we’ve heard reports of folks experiencing blue-screen-of-death errors when running solid-state drives based on SandForce’s latest SF-2281 controller. This so-called BSOD bug appears to affect all drives based on the controller, although SandForce claims that only “isolated” hardware configurations pose problems. We discussed the issue in the 120-128GB SSD round-up we published back in September, and at the time, SandForce was optimistic about a new firmware revision undergoing testing in its labs.

About a month later, that revision materialized in an OCZ 2.15 firmware update released to the general public. Tailored for OCZ’s Vertex 3, Agility 3, and Solid 3 SSDs, the 2.15 firmware pledges to address BSOD errors while also eliminating one cause of drive stuttering. Here’s the skinny direct from the release notes (PDF):

  • Fixed a rare condition that may cause Windows Blue Screen error when the primary configured drive woke up from either a SATA slumber mode or S3/S4 mode
  • Fixed a rare condition that may cause Windows Blue Screen error when the drive was configured as primary with OS installed
  • Fixed a corner-case issue that may cause the drive to stutter or Windows freezing screen when a media read error occurred

OCZ got first dibs on SandForce’s new controller, so it’s no surprise the firm was the first to release a firmware update with the supposed BSOD fixes. SandForce’s other drive partners aren’t far behind, though. Corsair and Kingston have both released new firmware updates promising to address BSOD problems associated with their SF-2281-based SSDs.

Curious to try this BSOD-proof firmware for ourselves, we downloaded the 2.15 updates for our Agility 3 and Vertex 3 SSDs. These two models represent the most popular SandForce configurations on the market: the Agility pairs the SF-2281 controller with asynchronous memory, while the Vertex combines the chip with pricier (and faster) synchronous NAND. We haven’t observed substantial performance differences between similar SandForce configs from different drive makers, so we’re confident our results with OCZ drives based on 2.15 firmware will mirror what’s available from the competition.

Rather than rehashing our test methods here, we’ll point you to the appropriate page of our 120-128GB SSD round-up. The same systems and methods were used to test the 2.15 firmware. For reference, we’ve included our original Agility 3 and Vertex 3 scores, which were obtained with older 2.11 firmware. Let’s start with an overall score, which nicely summarizes the results of the most important tests in our benchmark suite.

So far, so good. The 2.15 firmware slows the OCZ drives a little, but the differences are small at best. On the Vertex 3, our overall performance score drops by less than 2% (that’s percent, not percentage points). The results for the Agility 3 are even closer.

Many of our tests showed no difference in performance between the old 2.11 firmware and the latest 2.15 release. Since you probably don’t want to scroll through several pages of graphs with little to tell, we’ll just pull out a few highlights, starting with sustained transfer rates in HD Tune.

The 2.15 firmware doesn’t really change the performance of either drive with reads. However, average write speeds are 19 and 16MB/s slower on the Vertex 3 and Agility 3, respectively. Those deltas don’t translate to slower performance for the 2.15 firmware in our real-world file copy tests. There’s no difference in random access times, either.

We did, however, notice some changes in the performance of the Agility 3 and Vertex 3 in our load-time tests.

Although the Agility and Vertex SSDs boot Windows about a second faster with the 2.15 firmware, they’re slower to load game levels. The new firmware adds fractions of a second to the load times of both OCZ drives in Duke Nukem Forever and Portal 2. Odds are you probably won’t notice the difference.

You might squeeze out a few more minutes of battery life in a notebook running either SSD, though. The Agility 3 and Vertex 3 consume a little more power under load with the 2.15 firmware, but their idle power consumption is much lower.

About those BSODs
We’ve yet to encounter a BSOD error or stuttering with any of our SandForce SSDs, so it’s difficult to determine whether the 2.15 firmware has been successful in resolving those issues. To get a better sense of how the firmware is affecting end users, we spent hours combing through hundreds of posts on the subject in OCZ’s own forums.

The good news is that most folks seem to be happy with the firmware. There are roughly twice as many users who report no issues with the new release as there are those complaining of problems. Most of those outstanding issues seem to be related to momentary freezing, often during the Windows 7 boot process. The number of users reporting persistent BSOD errors with the 2.15 firmware is relatively small in comparison.

Interestingly, Forum Support Manager RyderOCZ suggests there could be unresolved bugs creating BSODs. In this post, he states that the 2.15 firmware only addresses “a BSOD case that SandForce was able to replicate in their lab.” OCZ forum staffer Tony adds that “platform issues” may continue contributing to the problems some users are seeing.

We’ve heard from more than one source that some of the issues related to the SF-2281 can traced back to certain SATA controllers, including those from Intel. OCZ recommends updating motherboards to the latest BIOS to ensure that you’ve got the most recent Option ROM for your system’s storage controller. You’ll want to be running the latest drivers, of course, and there seems to be some confusion in the forums over whether it’s best to be using the standard AHCI drivers built into Windows 7 or Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology drivers (provided that you have a system with an Intel chipset, of course). Some folks report success with the AHCI drivers, but OCZ recommends the latest RSTs. Interestingly, a couple of users say their problems were only solved when upgrading to alpha RST drivers intended for Intel’s upcoming X79 chipset.

For its part, OCZ seems to be confident that the 2.15 firmware addresses “the main BSOD issue.” Director of Global Marketing Jessica Luken told us that the company’s tech- and forum-support teams both agree with that assessment.

There are still users complaining of issues, of course. Some of their problems may in fact be caused by incompatibilities between the SandForce controller and specific system configurations. However, after poring over countless forum posts, I’m inclined to believe at least some problems are being incorrectly attributed to SandForce SSDs. OCZ at least seems to be doing a reasonably good job of following up with users who continue to have issues.

Where do we go from here?
Given their impressive overall performance, it’s hard not to recommend SandForce-based SSDs. The asynchronous and synchronous configs that make up the Agility 3 and Vertex 3 have few peers, especially when one considers current prices. An apparent price war has broken out between SandForce drive partners, and we’ve been treated to some spectacular deals as a result. Corsair’s asynchronous Force 3 120GB, for example, was last listed at only $140 before selling out at Newegg.

SSD prices seem to be changing on an almost daily basis, so we’ve combed Newegg for the latest prices on the drives we’ve tested. Here’s how the landscape looks with one of our famous scatter plots, which tracks overall performance on one axis and the cost per gigabyte on the other. For simplicity’s sake, we’ve only plotted the performance of the OCZ drives with the 2.15 firmware.

We’re essentially looking at two tiers. The fastest drives all rely on synchronous SandForce setups, and as of this moment (noonish on November 2), the Vertex 3 is the cheapest of the bunch at just $190.

Tier two has a little more flavor, with the asynchronous SandForce SSDs joined by Crucial’s m4 and Intel’s 510 Series at roughly the same overall performance level. The 510 Series is far too expensive to be worthy of consideration, and the m4 is pricier than the Vertex 3, let alone its cheaper Agility cousin. With a $175 asking price, the Agility 3 looks like the cheapest of the asynchronous SandForce offerings you can actually buy. The Force 3 is still listed at $140 at Newegg, but it’s out of stock there and more expensive elsewhere.

Obviously, SandForce SSDs continue to offer compelling overall value versus their competition. Given the apparent success of OCZ’s 2.15 firmware, coupled with the fact that plenty of users haven’t experienced any issues with the latest SandForce SSDs, we’re confident in recommending them for desktop systems. However, I wouldn’t be as keen on popping one into a notebook unless you can grab a recent BIOS update for it. While the makers of enthusiast-oriented motherboards can probably be expected to keep their BIOS code updated with the latest storage-controller firmware, I don’t have the same faith in notebook vendors—especially for older systems. The stability of SandForce SSDs seems to at least in part depend on up-to-date SATA controllers.

0 responses to “A quick look at OCZ’s 2.15 SSD firmware

  1. I successfully installed firmware release 3.3.2, the drive runs great and no BSOD! The Mushkin Chronos 120GB SF-2281 seems faster than my OCZ Vertex 1st gen 60GB (especially on SATA 3) but both are sufficiently fast. The Mushkin firmware update software erroneously reported that my firmware had been updated when in fact the drive was still running the old buggy firmware. I eventually had to install the drive in my laptop to upgrade to the latest firmware as there are issues with certain chipsets, BIOS settings, and specific SATA ports to be taken into account before the firmware will update. All’s well that ends well and I am definitely happy despite having 6 months of problems before a proper working firmware was released.

  2. I also have a Vertex 1 60Gb and been thing about upgrading it to a Vertex 3 120Gb, connected to my Z68 Intel Sata 3 port. I´ve been doing a lot of research to try to understand if I will have real worth performance gains with that upgrade, or if it´s just about the benchmarks, but I cant seem to find a proper answer. Whats your experience with it?


  3. Necro-bump…but one of my first-gen Indilinx drives just died out of the blue yesterday. It wasn’t even a year old (but I had no warranty since I bought it *slightly* used, IE a single Windows install).

    Me, being stupid, now have a pair of Vertex 3s on the way. 😛

  4. Secure erasing a SSD works differently than it does with a HDD. The drive doesn’t write zeroes or anything like that. The SSD instead assumes the flash is all blank and free for use. This restores write performance. With at least the Sandforce drives, the AES key is also regenerated. I believe all of the SSD manufactures suggest secure erasing if you want to start over with the drive. I know that both Intel and OCZ have their Toolbox with a secure erase feature.

    But it certainly is not needed to improve drive stability. If the thing is causing BSODs, something else is wrong. Faulty hardware.

  5. Yes, I know, just lazy. As it is any way, I erased everything, did a new fresh install, was much much more careful about installing drivers, and voila, no BSODs.

    I appreciate the feedback.

  6. BSODs are logged in eventvwr with process/driver/memory/etc location, usually enough info to determine the cause without too much memory debugging enabled.

  7. Yeah, luckily I kept good backups, and most of my work is synced remotely anyway. You’re right about the performance, it is astonishingly fast.

  8. As a final post – last night I did a secure erase of my Vertex 3, reinstalled Win 7, did NOT install the mobo drivers this time, but did download all the Win 7 updates and the newest Cat drivers, and it’s been running perfectly, no BSODs. I then installed the USB3.0 drivers and, while I did not get a BSOD, suddenly it was taking a very long time to boot. I removed the USB3.0 drivers, and it booted normally again. I then installed Firefox 8.0 and Office 2007 with all the updates, no problems of any kind.

    So, I’m going to very carefully add chipset and mobo drivers, note the order and such, and I’ll see what happens. I still may RMA this thing, but I have to wonder if this drive is just somehow very sensitive to drivers and software. I’ll be more careful this time. This reminds me of the Win98 days.

  9. Since posting this I haven’t had a single stutter. Whatever was happening worked itself out… which is either good or bad depending on how you look at it. :l

  10. I own a Kingston HyperX 120GB SSD with SF-2281. I got the occasional BSOD or freeze originally, but since the latest firmware update they released to owners, I’ve had no problems. Speeds have remained consistent and there hasn’t been one lockup or BSOD. It’s been about 2 weeks since I updated the firmware. So far, I am very happy with this product 🙂

  11. Aargh. More BSODs (and it’s not my other hardware, which consistently tests fine using OCCT, memtest, et al). Enough time wasted. RMAing. And even when working, not that much faster than 300g raptor, which is incredibly reliable. I still have my original 74g raptor purchased in 2004 and it still works just fine.

  12. I missed the screen. Bsods are never good, yes, but i’llwait and see. Also, this is not a new build, just a new hdd. I should have said a new install.

  13. I wish my BSOD ridden SF-2281 SSD would just die. Then I could RMA it in the near future when a newer, more reliable drive is available. Until then I will tolerate the occasional crash.
    P.S. A Google search shows very few user results (positive or negative) from this latest firmware upgrade, I thought there would be lots of talk but not so much.

  14. I had an OCZ ModStream power supply, died just after the warranty expired. I’m convinced to avoid the company in the future. They put a lot of effort into marketing and packaging, but perhaps not so much into building quality products.

  15. [quote<]and the install went with only one BSOD but I'm not concerned about that as it's nothing new during a new build. [/quote<] A BSOD implies something is quite wrong. They really shouldn't happen, new build or not. Did you track it down to the OCZ or another piece of hardware?

  16. Hmm, that’s pretty interesting having just purchased one. It is in my home system, but I use it a lot for work. I do feel like this is cutting edge hardware and hence higher risk, so I’ll be backing up my work on my storage drives religiously (I pretty much already do this).

    I installed the drive yesterday, installed W7, plus a few programs, and so far, it is pretty awesome. As others have noted, and as I have noted after other installs on other hard drives,the performance gets better.

  17. We’ve had the Vertex 3 BSOD problem at work, but that does seem to be helped a lot by this firmware update. No sign of BSODs thus far since flashing, so fingers crossed.

    However, within our batch we’ve seen a failure rate of 40% (so far) within the first 6 months of use, there really doesn’t seem to be a great case for buying Vertex 3s right now. I literally could not recommend them to anyone.

    The 2.5″ V3 in my laptop died a month ago, so we replaced it with a new one. Came into work yesterday, it was dead… Replaced it, and within half an hour the replacement was dead as well. That’s three V3s all dead via minimal usage. These are meant to be enterprise grade!

    So far, nobody I know with a V2 (in a laptop or otherwise) has had any issues, and failure rates seem low, based on rudimentary Internet research. I wouldn’t touch another V3 with a barge-pole.

  18. Just got the Vertex3, my first ssd. Using it as I type. Put into a i7 Lynfield system running at 3.6GHz, W7 64-bit. It is fast, I’ll give it that. Still need to install more programs. A huge increase over my raptor 300g. Yes, but not as much as I thought I’d see. But still a bit early.

    I did all the homework, set up my system AHCI, installed the firmware whcih was a snap, took seconds, and the install went with only one BSOD but I’m not concerned about that as it’s nothing new during a new build. Otherwise pretty excellent.

    I’ve appreciated all the posts on this. Has been very educational and helpful in getting this ready. Not much more than I spent on my first raptor back in 2004 for a 74gig, so the price-size ratio is finally in a decend spot, at least for my budget.

  19. I swore off using OCZ after being told I needed to join the forum and meekly beg a moderator to give me access to a firmware download that I needed in order to upgrade to the then-current version. Crap like that is not becoming of even a self-styled “enthusiast” company.

    The forums were already full of bullshit voodoo at the time. I could understand it from the users, most of whom don’t know any better, but when it’s coming from the mods and official representatives you know the wheels are coming off.

    Nothing but Intel and Crucial for me since then and I’ve been perfectly content with their behaviour.

  20. You’re thinking of this wrong. Intel’s Community forums aren’t filled with hundreds of pages of dead SSD-complainin’ users. OCZ’s are. There is at least *some* correlation here.

  21. You’re thinking of this wrong. Most of the users who have no issues [u<]will never see the need to use the forums at all[/u<], so you're looking at far less than one third of the userbase.

  22. [quote<] There are roughly twice as many users who report no issues with the new release as there are those complaining of problems. [/quote<] So out of your sample pool, a third of users are complaining of problems? That's pretty horrible. If an auto maker sold vehicles where a third of them had engines that would randomly kill when driving, I don't think anyone would be recommending them.

  23. Still hugging my Intel G2 🙂

    Been solid since 2009!

    Even with this firmware fix I will continue to avoid OCZ/Sandforce!

    Someone said it best up top.

    Speed is great but reliability FTW!

  24. Also, I have been into computers for only about 7 years now, except for doubling my ram on one of my first computers getting 1 of these drives has easily been the single biggest performance boost I have experienced.

  25. I’m not the most advanced computer tech by any stretch, all self taught, and from fine folks like this site, but the fact remains, I bought a vertex 2 over a year ago now, I have had absolute zero problems.

    Now having said that, hearing about this stutter issue, I had run into this more then a few times, I just chalked it up to programs locking up, now in hind sight it was probably this issue.

    I don’t have any particular point to make other then to say, I had done a few reinstalls as I always experiment and I always did the secure erase method, then I finally got around to actually using the windows 7 backup feature and have done that a couple times allowing it to format then restore and have had no issues……other then those stutters the odd time, if thats what they were.

    I think the vast majority of issues folks were having with these drives were people who had the money but no real knowledge of computers and certainly no knowledge of ssd drives.

    Just my 2 cents.

  26. On one hand, TR can’t knock a drive that they themselves don’t see the issues that others are reporting. That would be dishonest to knock a drive as a reviewer unless they saw the issues first-hand.

    On the other, you can’t simply ignore the users/community and the support itself. It should be part of the process to test the support given to you, yes, even as enthusiasts. I was a little disappointed in TR’s OCZ V3 review because of the issues that were happening to us with V2’s not getting addressed. And of course the same sorts of issues were happening to people on the V3 side.

    No company should be rewarded for releasing flawed products and then sitting on hands so long to address them.

  27. This is what gets me:

    “Although the Agility and Vertex SSDs boot Windows about a second faster with the 2.15 firmware, they’re slower to load game levels. The new firmware adds fractions of a second to the load times of both OCZ drives in Duke Nukem Forever and Portal 2. Odds are you probably won’t notice the difference.”

    This is a true statement. Yet it’s true about the differences of every SSD on that list from top to bottom. They were all essentially spread across the difference of about a second. Odds are you probably won’t notice the difference between ANY of the drives, regardless of firmware. Except if your drive has BSOD, stuttering, freezing, or other issues. In which case, you WILL notice a difference in that one drive is working and another is… NOT.

    You make an argument for why SF is awesome because it’s fast and the problems are more or less resolved plus it’s cheaper. But you yourself made a great point earlier that you can’t really tell the difference between one drive loading a second later than another, especially as the drives are compared with their like-priced competition and the differences get down to mere fractions of a second. So why not go with the drive that removes all chances of problems PLUS gives you more or less the same speed (beyond those fractions of a second you said we “probably won’t notice the difference” of)?

    This just highlights the biggest problem I have with SSD’s. They’re so focused on speed they aren’t focused enough on getting us the capacity we want. I think most of us would love a SSD that was “only” the speed of an old Indilinx drive, but that had 240GB or more capacity and still had the silence, temperature, power usage, and size advantages that SSD’s bring. Sure, you notice a 15 second boot over a 30 second one, but do you notice a 12 second boot over a 15?

    Plus, Sandforce has for two generations gotten by with serious QA issues and been let off the hook by reviewers who were so in love with those mere fractions of a second advantage they have in benchmarks (many of which don’t really test the drive with uncompressed and compressed data to get a real feel for the drive’s true speed) they forgave them everything up to and including showstopping bugs.

    Enough is enough. LSI needs to get Sandforce in line with what people expect for QA or they need to grind them up.

    And reviewers need to stop treating them with kid gloves. No apologies for them, no patting on the back, but straight up railing against companies that do this. It wasn’t so long ago that IBM was selling the entire Deskstar line because the “Deathstar” scandal so wrecked their reputation that no reviewer would go five seconds without commenting on how bad IBM’s drives were a year after they’d been the #1 recommended drive.

    We need more cahoneys in our reviewers. Less, “You just need to update and pray.”

  28. Comments like these remind me that I’m very happy with my RAID 0 of two first-gen Indilinx drives…

  29. I’m going to add to this that I didn’t have a single stutter yesterday. As I said, it seems like the more you use it, the less it does it… at least for me.

    Maybe everyones different electromagnetic fields are disturbing the page flipping? I think SSDs need hatred shielding.

  30. W7 supports TRIM… the device is recognized as the appropriate device, not the old HD. I don’t think TRIM has anything to do with the stutters though.

  31. AHCI driver doesnt’ seem to make a difference for me. Returning the drive when a lot of other people are having the same problems seems pointless.

  32. It’s not only OCZ SSD’s that have issues. 7-8 years ago I used to use a lot of OCZ memory for a while and that turned out to be a terrible mistake. I think i’m not lying if I say that almost 50% died within 3 years. OCZ just tries to sell garbage at normal prices and is actually getting away with it for 9 years now.

  33. No mention of the fact that this new firmware still doesn’t enforce the 20K IOPS “limit” on the cheaper OCZ Solid drives?

    Because it doesn’t. Just saying, any of my fellow cheapskates running that model. Go ahead and upgrade, you won’t get your performance pulled out from under you.

  34. I’m still getting BSOD after installing latest firmware release 3.3.2 (Oct 25th) Mushkin Chronos 120GB SF-2281, but they happen less frequently now. latest BIOS and Chipset installed on Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD3 with i5 750. I upgraded from OCZ Vertex 1st gen 60GB that would run flawlessly for weeks between reboots. :(. I hope the rest of you have better luck.

  35. How would alignment effect anything? By image, I’m thinking something like: “dd if=drivec.image of=/dev/sda bs=1M” Any information on allocated vs unallocated storage units within the volume is lost. Now, if your tool is parsing the filesystem and only storing/restoring the blocks that are marked as used, then it should be just fine–as long as you did a secure erase first.

  36. [quote<]Erm, wait, AMD Phenom TLB bug, Intel 6-series chipsets, Apple battery life iPhone 4S, nVidia buggy Vista drivers.[/quote<] Every one of those issues has been addressed by the respective companies, and users aren't fuming about them anymore. (Well, the 4S one will be fixed shortly.) Every one of those companies acknowledged the flaws. The Intel one was fixed before most customers even saw it, and the bug was so minor that you would have to go out of your way to replicate.

  37. Funny I just read this article, as I received the BSOD this morning. My system has been fairly unstable since I installed my Agility 3 120GB. Hopefully this firmware solves this issue.

  38. It shouldn’t matter if you have it alligned properly. That said, I wouldn’t use an image. I’d do a full install.

  39. Should you ever image a storage device that supports TRIM? Won’t that ignore all of the unallocated parts of the filesystem that TRIM would otherwise have told the storage device about? Do you have some tool that walks through a filesystem and issues TRIM requests for all unallocated space?

  40. I’d still like to see them do Raid more often since its so compelling with these products. I’m always weary of raid on something that has a history of BSOD errors though.

  41. Agree with you 100%

    I’ve had one Vertex 2 panic lock on me and the replacement that I am currently using gave me a scare the other day when it wasn’t properly recognised by the BIOS (with the most recent firmware).

    I have now just installed a Crucial M4 and will be moving to that for my system drive as the current setup is basically a ticking timebomb. I can’t afford to have a 2-week RMA downtime when it dies again.

    I think one of the main problems with Sandforce (and their partners) is that they just don’t have a large or thorough enough testing operation going. They are small companies when compared to Marvel/Intel/Crucial(micron),etc.

  42. I think OCZ is in a different league here- ALL of their Sandforce products have had recurring catastrophic issues for an alarming number of users.

    I don’t believe in blacklisting companies either, but OCZ is an exception here.

  43. Indeed. It is mumbo-jumbo and whilst I won’t deny that a “friendly forum” works for a lot of the OCZ support issues, it’s also a method that allows totally unfounded voodoo, homeopathic solutions, and blind guesswork to gather momentum.

  44. I can confirm that while the 2.15 firmware solves some issues for some, it actually added one for me. I’ve build three Z68 machines with Agility 3’s running in Intel SRT mode. One with 2.13 firmware with no issues whatsoever. The other two with the 2.15 firmware and both with the same problem. They are not stable on the SATA 6G port (only stable on SATA 3G). But the geniuses at OCZ don’t allow you to downgrade the firmware since the process is automated.
    Two Corsair Force 3’s (FW 1.3) didn’t have any problems though.
    What surprised me was the total lack of support from OCZ’s side. They basically ignored me.
    But what all this tells you, is that this latest generation Sandforce drive [u<]can[/u<] cause problems. But there's hope for Sandforce being taken over by 'professionals' now. [url<][/url<]

  45. But have you tried the other stuff Geoff mentioned? Checking for a newer BIOS and/or chipset driver?

  46. Yup, I tried it twice… secure erase, reimage, secure erase, test drive, reimage.

    I don’t think occupying all the pages with 1s will change anything, but sounds like a possible solution. Honestly, I don’t really care enough to go through all that trouble just to get a brand new drive working the way it should though.

  47. Yes, never buy anything from a company who puts out one series product that is troublesome for what is a small minority of buyers. Because, you know, it’s not like that’s ever happened before in technology. Erm, wait, AMD Phenom TLB bug, Intel 6-series chipsets, Apple battery life iPhone 4S, nVidia buggy Vista drivers.

    Have fun being a computer enthusiast and never buying anything from a company that released a problematic product!

  48. Maybe try doing a secure erase? It should write zeros to the entire drive, so the ‘working it in’ theory would be completed all at once.

    If that doesn’t work, maybe write to all sectors with random data using IOMeter, then do a secure erase after that.

  49. I use an A-Data Sandforce 2281 drive and it gets a BSOD once in a while. They haven’t issued their version of this firmware yet though :\

  50. Please don’t buy OCZ or any SandForce SSDs. They’re a waste of your time. I went through TWO with three different firmware revisions on a new Sandy Bridge system and each died a week after purchase. I went with a Crucial M4 and have been running for weeks without problem.

    Their forums are full of voodoo-filled try-this-try-that suggestions which turn out to be nothing but a waste of time.

  51. “OCZ forum staffer Tony adds that “platform issues” may continue contributing to the problems some users are seeing.”

    Hmm…so how about I avoid potential “platform issues” by buying an SSD with a non-Sandforce controller?

    Sandforce drives can be lightning-fast, but the Crucial m4 is pretty fast, and its Marvel controller currently has no known issues. Samsung’s new 830 line has potential using their controller, and their 470 models aren’t bad either. Intel isn’t as fast as those two, but you can get a five-year warranty, and they have apparently resolved the issues with their 320 line of SSDs.

    Right now, when I’m buying SSDs, it’s usually for use in others’ systems. Reliability comes first, even at the cost of a few percentage points in performance. At any rate, even slightly slower SSDs are much faster than hard drives.

  52. Just checking in to say that the 2.15 firmware fixed problems with 2 out of 3 drives that I am personally aware of.

  53. I’m going to add a bit to this. I purchased a Agility 3 for my laptop and recieved it the other day. I flashed it to the latest firmware. When I first booted up my computer I had a lot of stutters. Stutters are where the drive pretty much freezes for roughly 1-2 minutes and the hard drive light goes completely solid. It recovers, but it was extremely annoying. I read in the forums you have to completely power cycle the SSD after doing a flash, so I hard powered off the system waited about a minute and then powered it back on. After doing so I only encountered a couple stutters.

    It seems as though the more you use the drive the less it stutters for some reason. Almost like it’s wearing in. I have not encountered a BSoD and I’ve had my laptop on for roughly two days now without turning it off. I haven’t encountered a stutter yet today either.

    BTW these ‘stutters’ I’m mentioning are a complete buzz kill. I would rather have a 7.2k mechanical over a SSD that stutters. I haven’t played any games on my laptop, but I could see that getting me supppper pissed off if it happened while playing them. No amount of loading a level faster is worth dying for a minute straight, especially at intense moments.

    That aside, I have a desktop for gaming and my laptop for various other daily tasks and mobile so it works out for me. I think it was worth the $125 I spent on 120GB.

    The speed of the HD on my laptop is atrocious though. It tops out at roughly 140MB a second for 4/5th the drive and then for the last 1/5th it jumps up to ~190MB/s.

  54. Except that it was really a Sandforce problem. OCZ took it on the chin because a/ they’ve had other quality issues and b/ they’re the most visible Sandforce OEM. First dibs on firmware, probably the most volume shipped, earliest to prominent SSD reviewers (cough, Anand, cough). All the SF-2281 drive manufacturers had similar issues though.

    It’s easy to say that it reflects badly on all parties when a problem like this takes that long to isolate and fix. It’s more probably true – especially given how technically strong Sandforce R&D has to be to have had market-leading SSD controllers for the last two generations – that this problem was just a cast-iron-plated-b!tch to nail down.

  55. Perhaps you could adjust your scatter plots to give a historical trend of prices over say the past week or month. [url=<]This[/url<] may a good start (bottom graph). Given it took OCZ almost a year to address this issue, I would think the disclaimer of "stay away from OCZ products for a year, minimum" would be prudent. Looking at the Vertex 2 forums is still amusing or rageful to see people on their 3rd RMAs.

  56. I was thinking the same thing. Again, for someone who’s familiar enough to troubleshoot this stuff, the Vertex/Agility 3 drives are looking like great bargains now. I’d say that the results are already quite strong, but I certainly can’t blame anyone for waiting another couple of weeks. I have a sense that prices have bottomed out and started to drift up again, though.

  57. I’d have to second that motion. I finally went to the 2.15 firmware last night on the more troublesome of my 2 Vertex 3 240’s. Previously that drive was incapable of remaining stable with the Intel RST drivers for even 10 minutes. It hasn’t BSOD’ed since.

    The flip side is that it’s been the second most troublesome technically-non-defective piece of hardware I can recall owning. (The Asus Striker Extreme Nforce 680i mobo being the first). I’m a ways away from being able to recommend this for non-geeks.

  58. Interesting. It would be great if this solves the problems once and for all; with the seemingly continuous sale prices on the OCZ drives, we now might be presented with a great opportunity to buy when the “bug discount” is still attached but the bug itself is gone.

    However, I think I’ll wait a bit longer to see just what the reports from the field turn up.

  59. After reading this, I guess I would buy a Vertex 3 for myself, but I still can’t recommend it for my less tinker-prone friends.