With its memory business cast aside, OCZ is pouring all its efforts into the SSD market and has today proclaimed itself as "the first SSD manufacturer to successfully complete the transition to 2Xnm NAND flash-based storage solutions".
The shrink in die size carries the promise of lower SSD prices, but there appear to be a few important details missing from OCZ's press release.
As it turns out, the manufacturer's newer 25nm models carry the same product names as their older 32nm siblings, but are in fact smaller in more ways than one. Despite outwardly appearing identical, a 25nm drive will provide consumers with less capacity than a 32nm model and performance may decrease, too.
This is because the new high-density 25nm NAND flash is cheaper to produce but offers less write-cycle endurance, forcing OCZ to reserve additional space for long-term performance and reliability - a process known as over-provisioning. By doing so, the available drive capacity decreases significantly. For example, a 32nm OCZ Vertex 2 60GB drive will offer a formatted capacity of 56GB, while a newer 25nm version - despite being marketed as a 60GB drive - will offer just 51GB.
Adding to the confusion, the 25nm models may also see a drop in performance. Equipped with higher-density 64 Gbit NAND Flash memory, the new drives have fewer modules interfacing with the SandForce controller and should, in theory, benchmark slower than their 32Gbit, 32nm counterparts.
As expected, the confusion has led to an uproar from OCZ's customers, many of whom are disgruntled by the fact that OCZ is marketing the seemingly-inferior new drives with the same model numbers, capacities and speeds as the superior 32nm Vertex 2.
Hoping to put out the flames, OCZ has issued an official response and introduced a program through which customers can trade in their 64 Gbit die-based drive (25nm) and receive a credit toward the more expensive 32 Gbit die-based drives (32nm). Trouble is, it's currently difficult to tell which version you've purchased without opening the drive and voiding the warranty in the process. OCZ representatives have confirmed that a software tool will be launched next week to help consumers identify whether a drive has has 32Gbit or 64Gbit NAND Flash memory.
What a palaver. And OCZ calls this is a successful transition.
[Update] OCZ has put together a Q&A based on queries received from the media. All the information can be found below, but here's the important bit; OCZ is happy to waive the cost of exchanging a 64 Gbit die-based drive for a 32 Gbit die-based solution.
- Q: When did OCZ start using 25 nm NAND ?
- A: it was a slow process that started in mid-January
- Q: Is it correct to say that only 2E Vertexes are 25 nm? Are all capacities affected ?
- A: It is not correct to say that only “E” versions are 25nm. The 60E and 120E are 25nm 64Gbit x 8 Die. The 60 and 120 (non-E) can be 25nm as well but 32Gbit x 16 Die. Does this make sense? All but the 40GB capacity will see a change to 2Xnm, but the capacity issue doesn’t affect higher capacity drives. You can see the RAW and IDEMA capacities listed here:
- Q: Are you still shipping 34 nm drives ?
- A: Yes, there are still drives that make use of the older process in the channel.
- Q: Are you still manufacturing 34 nm drives ?
- A: Yes, though we have completed the transition to 2Xnm based drives on a number of SATA drives there are some products that still make use of the older process, this includes our PCIe solutions.
- Q: Can EU customers benefit from the exchange program set up in the US ? If yes, how ?
- A: Definitely, they can contact us here: http://www.ocztechnology.com/NewTicket.html
- Q: How much does the exchange for a 25 nm 32 Gbit part cost ?
- A: We are waiving this cost. We are happy to take care of any and all customers that are unsatisfied for any reason and will swap them out with a 32Gbit die based solution at no cost to the consumer. We want to make sure all our customers are happy with their purchase and anyone that has any questions/concerns is encouraged to come to us directly so we can make sure that we take care of them.
- Q: Can you disclose information regarding 25 nm part performance ? I saw a table on Vertex 2 product page, but I can't tell if it only covers 25 nm or 25 nm and 34 nm parts.
- A: It covers all. There is a lot of misconception regarding the 2Xnm parts. Our published specifications cover all drives, that means that a 2Xnm and a 3Xnm part both meet our published specifications. We have always used benchmarks like ATTO to rate our drives and that has not changed. In addition, we have added a dual spec using other benchmarks like AS-SSD to provide more information to customers. All 2Xnm parts also carry the same exact warranty as previous generation rives making use of older NAND.
If people have an issue with their capacity on their 25Nm drive [64Gbit x 8 die], they can contact us and we will swap it without any charge to the new 25Nm drive [32Gbit x 16 die]. In order to determine if a customer has such a drive, we will be publishing a tool on our forum shortly, so they know what they have. 34Nm drives are obviously not in need for exchange.