Why I’m avoiding OCZ SSD’s

About 9 months ago, I bought my first SSD drive. For the first few months I was delighted with the performance. It happened to be an OCZ Vertex Turbo (60gb). A drive this size is designed to be an OS boot drive. It can hold the operating system and some vital apps. There are the apps you use most frequently, and yes an SSD is much quicker than a traditional 7200rpm hard drive.

It’s worth mentioning I ran the drive on Windows 7, and applied all the known tweaks (turning off auto defragging and indexing), shutting down services that are not vital, etc.

I paid 361.884 USD for this drive, which is a small fortune, so I expected it to last as long as it claimed it would. The drive started giving problems after just 9 months.

Now it is important that I explain exactly what happened. The drive started developing bad sectors because all the write cycles had been used up in 9 months.

So what exactly was I doing with the hard drive. A lot. I’m a .net developer, so I have SQL, Sharepoint, Visual Studio, and other essential development tools installed at all times. I also do some web development, meaning I have a variety of browsers running. I’m also the type of geek who never shuts down his computer and leaves it on all night. I’m what you might call a power user. I certainly let the machine work, and I expect computer equipment to last at least 3-5 years.

After the drive broke, I did a lot of research. I questioned if infact any SSD was really designed for the power user in mind. I began wondering if SSDs were designed for those guys who own Mac books, who check their email once or twice a day, and maybe watch the odd DVD.

I posted many questions on forums, and sites like Super user. I got many responses. The SSD still under warranty took 1 month for the computer supplier to get back to me.

In that time, I noticed that the OCZ Vertex Turbo had been taking off the market, essentially discontinued. OCZ give no reason as to why this has happened. I have my suspicions it was not a great product, and OCZ dropped it, possibly due to too many defects. I wouldn’t have to guess if OCZ issued some kind of press release, but they remain silent leaving much to the imagination.

At the same time SSD prices have gone down by as nearly as much as 50% since I bought the drive 9 months ago. The price of an equivalent Vertex 2 60GB is now 178 USD.

The shop I bought it from tried their best to convince me to take the replacement Vertex 2, but I held my ground and got my money back.

So now the question remains, should I buy another OCZ SSD and walk away with the change. Or possibly even opt for a 120GB OCZ SSD, which is now the same price as the 60GB used to be. I think not.

After this experience I had with SSD, I am completely put off SSD’s in general, and I won’t be buying one until all the reliability issues are ironed out.

I hated having to copy sparingly to try extend the drives lifespan. It bothered me that I never trusted the drive enough to store any source code on it. I trust my regular HDDs with source code. Once it started failing it was difficult to spot the problem. You don’t get a big alert popping up saying your drive is failing. Instead your system becomes unstable, and you get many blue screens of death. It took me 2 weeks just to determine it was the drive at fault.

I’ve now read many reader posts on forums, even threads on Reddit, complaining about the quality of OCZ SSDs. OCZ seem to always be able to replace their faulty products, but some posts out there talk about people having problem, after problem, after problem with these drives.

I noticed the Revo PCI from OCZ also has some after thought wiring that have been soldered on, that are not part of the original design.

I’m now convinced that OCZ are in the business of producing inferior goods. I would say if you are after an SSD, be careful and avoid OCZ.

11 thoughts on “Why I’m avoiding OCZ SSD’s

  1. This was exactly my experience with this drive. Fortunately my purchase price was lower than yours for a 120 gigger I paid $236.43 (after rebates, taxes etc).

    Shortly after I installed the drive (1-2 months) my system started getting blue screens. I had just added memory so I wasn’t sure if it was the new memory, the new webcam or this drive.

    After a long process of elimination, because it could take up to two weeks for the blue screen to appear, I got somewhere.

    Since the hard drive would disappear from the system after a blue screen reboot, and would require power off and on for it to come back, I could confidently say that the instability was being caused by this disk.

    The drive I purchased was this one, and from user reviews it has up to a 10% failure rate.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227395

    To move my system from this bad drive to Intel X-25M 120gigger I purchased, I had to do a chkdsk /b on the OCZ drive because the disk copy kept failing, and it discovered a bunch of bad clusters.

    So now I have to RMA and hope that they will send me a newer more improved model, but I am happy to say that my system is on the supposedly more reliable, and a bit more expensive intel SSD. I hope my experience with this drive will be better.

    The price difference between the OCZ 120 gigger and the Intel 111 gigger is $28.85 cents and is probably worth the premium as the Intel drive comes with a 3 year warranty.

    I should also add that I too am a power user. I am a Java Developer and I leave the system on 24/7 running Windows 7 and an Ubuntu in a VM.

    Wish me luck
    Ted

    • Hi Ted, thank you for your feedback. Please would you check back in a couple of months and give us an update on that Intel drive. I was thinking of getting one too, I’ve heard good things about them.

      Also I completely understand why it took so long to diagnose the drive as the cause of your system errors. It was just by chance I eventually found an I/O error in the Event log. This was after a few weeks of problems.

      I’ll also add, and I’m sure you had to take time out from work to fix this problem, I wasted about 2 full days.

      Hope that Intel works out for you! Holding thumbs!

  2. I got my OCZ Vertex Plus 60GB today – my test was simple:

    1) I took the OCZ SSD and my trusted Crucial M4 SSD
    2) I installed the same OS on both (same system, same everything)
    3) I tried various scenarios such as pressing reset button when system is idle, pulling the power chord out, filling up ram and causing a kernel panic, etc (all not unusual things that can happen)
    4) My Crucial was just fine in all tests, the OCZ Vertex showed severe filesystem corruption, large directories simply missing, etc in all tests! – including the system freeze test!

    I am sending my OCZ back on Monday.

  3. I have been busting my a$$ for hours trying to figure out why my pci OCZ revodrive 3 is giving me grief. I keep getting lock ups, and this coincides with 27 GB of bad sectors appearing on the drive, which I apparently I can get rid of if I do a clean install . . . perhaps after just 6 months I don’t want to clean install. Any way here are my findings:

    http://dorkythorpy.blogspot.com/2012/09/revodrive-3-ssd-80-gb-of-bad-sectors.html

    I did pay a lot for the drive it is meant to be top of the line. Not very reliable. I have 3 machines running with budget kingston SSDs and these are all running fine after a year or more. The OCZ support forums are full of people like me. I am not sure if SSDs are very stable in the long run, but they are lovely and quick . . . and quiet.

  4. Besides the laughable comment about Macbook users only reading email (I use a Mac, and I am a PHP/Obj-J/JS programmer and web developer), thanks for the insight about OCZ. I’ll definitely go for a different brand of SSD.

  5. I have 4 OCZ SSDs. Two completely dead and a third acting strange (sometimes disappearing after system boot leading to “missing boot sector” error). Will never buy from them again.

    • I had sent that bad OCZ drive back and they shipped me a replacement. I put the replacement on a media center pc I don’t use very much. The drive has been holding up with the light usage. I don’t know what changed between the version I had bought and the one they replaced it with, but the second one has fared much better. The line I think was Vertex, and these are 3 year old models now I guess.

      The Intel drive is doing great, even when used as the C: drive of my server which has been running non stop since my last post. The server also had a memory problem which was causing blue screens, but the drive did not fail even after the frequent memory related blue screens.

      The machine has been super stable since I replaced the memory. Very happy with Intel, except when I put a recent model in my wife’s 2006 Dell Latitude, the laptop no longer wakes from sleep, so I told her to use hibernate instead. Still hopeful that it will be addressed with a firmware update soon, but the workaround isn’t terrible.

  6. Just a note on PCIe OCZ cards, despite being (apparently) faster than SATA drive there is one major draw back.

    All open source drive cloning software will not recognise the PCIe drive, and so there is no way of jumping ship by cloning on to a normal SATA drive. I think Norton offer a $100 / £75 option, but hey.

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