OCZ moves to 25nm NAND flash, customers are not happy

By on February 16, 2011, 3:45 AM
Update: OCZ is now offering free replacements to affected users. More here.

OCZ Technology today announced it is the first solid-state drive manufacturer to complete the transition to 2Xnm NAND flash-based storage solutions. Specifically, the company is using 25nm NAND flash chips from Micron, which take up less space and allow for (eventually) larger capacity SSDs than current 34nm chips, while also costing around 10-15% less.

The smaller chips began to appear in Vertex 2 and Agility 2 drives last week, but so far there hasn't been any significant price cuts from retailers that we know of nor OCZ is making a clear distinction between 25nm and 34nm SSDs. What some unsuspecting buyers did find out, however, is that usable capacities on the newer drives have actually dropped.

Storage Reviews explains the reason behind this in a recent article and essentially it all comes down to the lifespan of 25nm chips. You see, 25nm NAND is 'good' for 3,000 write cycles, while the older 34nm NAND reaches 5,000 cycles, so to account for this drop in individual cell lifespan OCZ needs to increase the amount of reserve capacity that replaces worn sections as the drive degrades. As a result, newer drives are getting around 4-5GB less of usable storage space compared to the same models equipped with 34nm -- which is pretty critical when you are getting a 40GB boot drive.

Besides the reduction in usable storage space, the problem would get even more frustrating for customers looking to setup a RAID 0, 1 or 5 array only to find out that they have drives with mismatching capacities.

We should note that this issue is not exclusive to OCZ, and as other manufacturers start releasing 2Xnm drives we will likely see a similar drop in usable storage space to allow for warranties and expected life spans to stay the same. However, there is something to be said about the lack of transparency when it comes to usable capacity and OCZ's failure to clearly label which version you are buying -- after all, customers are getting less space for the same price and performance, while OCZ presumably nets higher profits with the reduced cost of the smaller 25nm flash.

We hope OCZ takes serious issue with this but so far the only solution offered is for displeased buyers to ship back their 25nm drive and "receive a credit towards the more expensive 32 Gbit die‐based drives." Read their full statement here.

User Comments: 13

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madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

LAME... First OCZ announces its plan to drop their memory line to concentrate on SSD, then they pull this: Sell cheaper, less reliable drive with slightly smaller capacity for the same price, while dropping cost to produce. I mean, it's a great strategy as a business, but hell's to pay sometimes when the consumer finds out.

Guest said:

I have been an OCZ fan but this is just lame. I think they should throw in another chip to compensate for the lost in 5GB of space...I mean this is just not right. I think someone should force all these hard drive makers to have to write the USABLE GB size on the product. The other non-usable GB they currently use has no bearing on what end users see so to me it is just a lie that benefits no-one but the companies and they should put a end to this! Plus with a lower reliable drive...come on OCZ>....they are suppose to get better not worse.....You better do something because you are gonna anger a lot of fans...I will wait awhile to see if you do anything otherwise I will be one of those fans!

MrAnderson said:

This is lame accross the bored. They should advertise the space as what is availbe to use. WHat they do to maintain the drive from breaking down is their business. If this device was more mainstream you could probably see a large class action lawsuit heading their way.

I understand that this might be costly for them to manufacture, but if you take care of your customers they will take care of you. I imagine they will keep the prices the same until the make enough money back to cover any loss from the earlier development then prices will trickle down like usual. Also if their competition is not lower prices and they are not losing market, they are not motivated to alter prices.

But customers are given the raw end of the stick with a product that has less usuable space, a shorter lifespan (what is that like 40% less), and higher prices to boot. Yuck!

Cota Cota said:

Since SSD came to the market i saw the tardness coming, it started by making 2.5" drives and never doing 3.5", then the price pike in memories and now this jump backwards......

Now what?, are they gona do external USB 2.0 SDD drives?, i want a fast and bigger capacity SDD, hell take a slot of my optical drive if you want, but do it right.

Guest said:

Add it to the list of reasons I do not buy OCZ products

TekGun TekGun said:

They're mostly selling to people who love technology, or at least have a good understanding of it. Did they think no one would notice?

This narrows my list of SSD manufactures for my next upgrade, making my life a little easier.

Mizzou Mizzou said:

Own a pair of the orginal Vertex 128GB drives but if this is any indication of the direction OCZ is headed I'll be looking elsewhere for my next upgrade. A die shrink that reduces component lifespan by 40% isn't much of an upgrade in my book. Plus, since the cost is down to OCZ by 15% then put enough extra chips in to retain the advertised capacity.

jeffz6 said:

With my own OCZ drive failing, and now this, I'm staying clear of their products.

scout2of3 said:

One reason I stay away from new tech until I feel that the tech is cheap enough and all the 'bugs' have been worked out. I think I will stay with HDD's for now.

gotFrosty said:

I am one of the unlucky ones with the 25nm drive. Apparently they have changed from putting a credit towards a 32nm to completely switching it for free. They are also covering shipping in both directions. I'm in the process of sending mine back so I'll update when its over, unless someone beats me to it.

Guest said:

I have a 60GB Vertex 2 that I've been pleased as punch over, and generally OCZ takes care of their customers. Having said that, on what planet would a company treat a die shrink that causes usable space to become smaller and lowers expected lifespan AS A CONTINUATION OF AN EXISTING MODEL? Entirely moronic, and gives me pause about choosing OCZ SSD's in the future.


Bigger ... Hammer ... Please

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