POST A COMMENT

81 Comments

Back to Article

  • willscary - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Where does the Mercury Extreme fit in? 5 days ago I purchased 3 of these drives. The website touted 10,000,000 hr life, etc. of the Sandforce 1500. Suddenly, this morning, (after my 1st two drives have shipped, but 3rd drive is out of stock) the OWC site lists 2,000,000 hr life.

    Did OWC switch to the 1200? Am I stuck with a lesser controller? Did OWC always use the 1200 controller and now just change their website after your article appeared?

    If so, I will cry "FOUL"!!!
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    When OWC started shipping the Mercury Extreme there were no SF-1200s as far as I can tell. The early set of drives were almost surely this odd SF-1200/SF-1500 hybrid similar to what OCZ shipped with the Vertex LE.

    Remember that those controllers were a limited run. I wouldn't be surprised if the newer drives are SF-1200 based, although that's super sketch to change specs without changing the drive's name at all. I'm going to find out for you what's going on asap.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Technically they could still go for the "odd SF-1200/SF-1500 hybrid" as the chips are identical anyway. It's a matter of supporting this operation mode in newer firmware, though. Reply
  • yodasz - Monday, April 19, 2010 - link

    http://macperformanceguide.com/Reviews-SSD-OWC-Mer... Reply
  • willscary - Monday, April 19, 2010 - link

    Nice catch on the post. However, the author can claim whatever he wants about the "flavor" variations...OWC TOLD ME VERBALLY that all current and future Mercury Extreme SSDs were shipping with the Sandforce 1200 controller. This was NOT speculation. While I understand that specifications may have little or no impact on the actual, real world performance, the fact is that I paid for something and in return was sent something that cost them between $100-150 less than the original. This was not labor or process efficiency cost savings. It was not a reduction in R&D. It was a change in the actual product hardware. It would be the same as an auto manufacturer selling me a car with a V6, then actually delivering the same model with a turbocharged 4 cylinder. The overall performance may be nearly the same, but the longevity may be different and the cost would be less for them. If the auto dealer failed to tell me they had switched mortors and also failed to discount the price, I would sue them. What makes this OK for OWC? Reply
  • punjabiplaya - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Really good insight. Just looks like business got in the way of the drive's performance. Hopefully SandForce has acknowledged their mistake and will not repeat it. Their controller looks really promising. Reply
  • newsh.it - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    yes Anand is a top notch reviewer... keep up the good work!!! Reply
  • Zenthar - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    I'm probably not the first to say it, but as my first comment ever I felt I had to say it: Anand you're the best. You do a better job investigating the tech industry products and practices than most journalists do for any kind of articles; this article is a clear example of that. People might start reviewing other SF-1200 drives based on the "wrong" F/W and thus review drives better than they should be; I can't but suspect SandForce did this consciously and with that objective in mind.

    Keep on the good work.
    Reply
  • Doraemond - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    I agree wholeheartedly! Unlike other sites which just rehash and aggregate other news sites, AnandTech really takes the extra effort to go out, investigate, benchmark and analyze technology. You guys really make me come back for more!

    I remember one of the first magazines I subscribed to was Byte. Though now defunct, I thoroughly enjoyed their very in-depth articles on everything from microprocessor architecture to the run-of-the-mill experiences of an author who loves tech (Jerry Pournelle). I miss that publication greatly but everytime I go to AnandTech, this site really reminds me of how technical and professional Byte was in their journalism and how great a service AT has been to both technical jargon-inclined people such as myself as well as the average Joe.

    Thanks guys!
    Reply
  • semo - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    This is obviously a blunder that only a new and inexperienced company can make. Like someone else said, it's probably more like the business unit failing rather than the engineers but it just shows that this market segmentation crap looks really silly unless executed well and come up with sufficient amount of bs to cover it. Intel seems to got the hang of it Reply
  • Dazex - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Articles like these is what make Anand stand out from other tech blog and the reason why I value his take on hardware, even if it's an Apple dock. His experience and thinking adds great insight into all his articles.

    Thanks.
    Reply
  • Spivonious - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    +10000000000

    Keep up the fantastic work, Anand!
    Reply
  • vshah - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Its good to know that we have people looking out for us who are willing to bring it up with companies when there are issues like these. keep it up! Reply
  • 7Enigma - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Anand,

    Can you wager a guess at how the performance will be hampered by cutting the random write IOPS by 2/3rd's?
    Reply
  • willscary - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Yes, I always read his articles. I only wish this article would have appeared prior to OWC changing their specs this morning. Now I am wondering. The site still calls it an "Enterprise" class unit, but yet went from the higher specs of the 1500 to the lower specs of the 1200 across the board. Although it may end up meaning nothing...I am still worried that it could make a difference if I recieve the 1200 instead of the 1500 controller units, and I really feel a bit cheated by OWC at the moment, although I have not yet received the units. The first two should be here within an hour or so. The 3rd, a 200GB model, has not yet shipped. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    I specifically asked SandForce this question yesterday and they answered saying that they had no idea what chips OWC purchased for the Mercury drives. That floored me.

    In any case, I've contacted OWC and I'm waiting for their reply. I will also update the OWC review with a warning to anyone making any purchasing decisions today.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • willscary - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Anand,

    This was not directed at you and I apologize if my writing skills made it look that way. I have begun installing SSDs in all of our new computers based on your articles. The Crucial M225 SSDs that I had been using had a 5 year warranty, just as the Mercury Extreme.

    What made me decide on the OWC SSDs on these 3 computers was the added reliability and reduced data loss of the 1500 controller. These were theoretical specs, but they sounded promising enough to put my faith in OWC. It was a tosup between them and OCZ, but I read many good things about the people at OWC and decided to give them a chance.

    I only hope that my 3 units will contain the 1500 controller. When I purchased them, their website touted the 1500 specs listed in this article. Now the OWC site lists the specs for the 1200. The rediced data loss chances of the 1500 were what drove me to this SSD over the Crucial.

    Thanks Anand! Keep up the great work!
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Oh I didn't take it as directed at me at all :) I was just sharing your frustrations.

    We'll get to the bottom of this one way or another.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • willscary - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    In the mean time, I will not open the packaging of the two that will be here in the next half hour or so. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    I have confirmed with OWC, the specs have changed. The Mercury Extreme is now a SF-1200 based part with lower IOPS. I asked OWC to consider changing the name given that the controller has changed, we'll see what happens.

    If you have any questions/issues/concerns I can put you in touch with someone over there that can help you deal with your order. Email me for more info :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • cactusdog - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    I hope this isnt a case of bait and switch. Did they make a few parts with the quality controller then once the reviews are up switch to the cheaper controller for the masses? We've seen it before..... Reply
  • aconu - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Hello

    I purchase an 200GB OWC drive the first day of their availability.
    Unfortunately, i encountered troubles with the drive (growing I/O errors over one week of use, until heavy data corruption and unbootable OS). After tree secure erases, and tree weeks of repeated symptoms, i decided to return the SSD.

    The drive was unavailable until yesterday, and suddenly the specs changes.
    That's mean OWC will going to replace my drive with a lower specs one ?
    Reply
  • willscary - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    I was told that ALL Mercury Extreme SSDs now utilize the Sandforce 1200 controller. Reply
  • eva2000 - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Thanks Anand great info, saved me alot of $$$ as i wait and see, already got a 256GB Crucial C300. Was thinking of getting OWC 100/200GB but last month emailed them to ask about their units and compatibility list and they said they mainly cater to Mac users so OWC SSD has no guarantee for compatibility on PC systems. That already put me off unfortunately. Reply
  • skimike - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    How did you perform your secure erase? The last time I contacted OWC about ANY utilities for the Mercury Extreme drives, their tech support had no clue. They didn't even know what a secure erase was. The guy I talked to told me to "write 0's to the entire drive". Reply
  • et01267 - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    Interesting, I also ordered the 200GB Mercury extreme from OWC/Macsales a couple of days ago and there was a delay in availability (and then the specs on the site were changed). However, my invoice states:

    200GB OWC Mercury ExtremeSSD EntRAID 200GB Mercury Extreme RAID-Ready Enterprise Class SSD 2.5" Serial-ATA 9.5mm Solid State Drive. High Performance internal storage. Fastest read and write times of any SSD available today! 10 million hours MTBF. 5 Year OWC Warranty.

    So, did will I get a Sandforce 1500 or 1200 controller? I should find out tomorrow when it arrives.

    In the meantime, I'd appreciate you putting me in touch with your contacts at OWC.

    Thanks for the informative, if somewhat ill-timed (for me) article.
    Reply
  • willscary - Monday, April 19, 2010 - link

    This was exactly what happened to me. Check with the website and see what their current specs are. I was in the exact same boat and my SSDs had already shipped. When I called OWC, it took a while, but they did admit that all Mercury Extremes are now utilizing the Sandforce 1200 controller. They got their product reviewed glowingly with one controller and used that controllers specifications, then changed hardware without telling those of us who had already purchased and were waiting for delivery. I was upset about the deception and the failure to offer a discount, as the 1200 costs $100-150 less than the 1500 (per Digitalloyd's update from yesterday). By the way, this digitalloyd seems to have NO problem with this practice! Reply
  • bludragon - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    "In a population of 10,000,000 controllers, with a rating of 10,000,000 hours, the probability is that 1 unit would fail in an hour. The SF-1200 would have 5 units fail in the same time. The failure probability drops as the number of controllers drops (SF won’t be shipping anywhere near 10M of these things)."

    This make no sense as it implies that somehow sandforce producing more controllers after they shipped mine is going to reduce the lifetime of my controller.

    I think what you mean is that MTBF is listed for a single device. If I use 2, then the MTBF of the 2 combined will halve, and so having such high figures is relevant.
    Reply
  • Lifted - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    MTBF is meaningless with 1 or 2 drives. It's meant for large Enterprise customers and data centers where they may have thousands of drives. These customers need to know how often to expect drive failures in order to know how many resources need to be dedicated to this (personnel and spare drives).

    The strange thing is that Anand has been reviewing hard drives and SSD's for so many years now, with direct access to the manufacturers, but he never once asked what MTBF was. Why did he only find it strange now when hard drives have always had 1,000,000+ hour MTBF ratings?

    Anyway, nice article. Keep them coming.
    Reply
  • pzkfwg - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    I suppose this stat can be converted into a probability which would be relevant to a single drive. Indeed, saying that "1 drive out of 10,000,000 will die within an hour of operation" means exactly the same thing as "you have 0,00001% chance of having your single drive dying within its first hour of operation" which is kind of relevant to a single drive and isn't linked to the number of controllers produced by SandForce.

    Out of this number, there is probably a way to have a more useful probability such as the chance of having your drive fail within its first two years of operation, but I don't know how to compute it (maybe a so called "normal" distribution or something would be the key).
    Reply
  • bplewis24 - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    It's pretty sad that one of the only places I can go to get real, actual (somewhat investigative) journalism and insight is a tech site. This is great stuff, Anand. Keep up the good work.

    Brandon
    Reply
  • NGneer - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Just wondering if the last line on page 2 has a typo regarding MP vs RC or possibly I'm just confused.

    "just slower than with the MP firmware and slower than OCZ’s Vertex 2."
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Woops, you're correct :) Fixed.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • 529th - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    In an infant market segment, it seems Sandforce is trying it's best to get as much user feedback from their product stepping over their exclusive agreements. But it seems OCZ and Corsair are in the same boat with their SF1200 controlled SSD drives. It's basically a morality call from Sandforce that falls on some segment of end-users in order for a company to speed up the development of their firmware for their controllers in order to not fall behind in the best controller war. Q4 is right around the corner for Intel and while the 25nm chips will help even further push their proven conglomerate that makes up their SSD drive lets hope we have a few different companies that keep the prices competitive. Reply
  • cjl - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    The comment in the article

    " In a population of 10,000,000 controllers, with a rating of 10,000,000 hours, the probability is that 1 unit would fail in an hour. The SF-1200 would have 5 units fail in the same time. The failure probability drops as the number of controllers drops (SF won’t be shipping anywhere near 10M of these things)."

    is flawed in several ways. It assumes a linear failure rate (I.E. that your drive is just as likely to fail in the first hour as it is after 200,000 hours), and it assumes that 100% of drives will fail by the rated lifetime (in other words, in a population of 10,000,000, 1 will fail each hour and all will be dead at 10,000,000 hours). In reality, the failure distribution is quite different, usually with a higher failure rate in early life, a lower failure rate for most of the rated lifetime, and a rising failure rate again as you approach the MTBF.

    To use the same example as above, if you had 10,000,000 drives, you would probably see more than one fail per hour in the first couple of weeks, followed by a much lower than 1 per hour failure rate once the initial ones had died. Then, when approaching the design lifetime, you would again begin to see the failure rate climb, with an expected 5,000,000 drives to be dead by the MTBF of 10,000,000 hours (assuming a somewhat symmetric failure distribution).
    Reply
  • jasperjones - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    "The failure probability drops as the number of controllers drops (SF won’t be shipping anywhere near 10M of these things)."

    Why should the probability be a function of the number of controllers? That doesn't make any sense.
    Reply
  • taltamir - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    probability is not affected by number of controllers, MTBF is a bullshit metric that means nothing at all... also check out the MTBF on spindle drives (1.5 million most common vs the 2 million and 10 million listed by sandforce, the smallest i have seen was 300 thousand hours (still it means decades)) Reply
  • Ramesh Rawat - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Having visited AnandTech recently, and with my very poor limitations and knowledge in this field, more specifically about the technical evaluations done by Anand, I was and I cannot resist to thank this site for making me aware about SSD. Subsequently I am upgrading to Intel SSD purely because of the reviews of Anand ji.
    Thanks to Mr. Anand.
    Reply
  • Ditiris - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    This deserves an "attaboy." Thanks for alerting your readers, and please keep up the good work. Reply
  • Exodite - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Very interesting article.

    Like many others this is the kind of information that keeps bringing me back to Anandtech.

    The question on my mind then would be if there's even any SF1500 drives shipping, or known to be planned?

    As it seems to every SandForce-based drive on the market, or having been announced, either run the SF1200 (with or without high-performing firmware) or the limited run hybrid chip.

    What pricing and performance differences can we expect?

    If the main differences are mainly reliability and SLC support I see no reason to artificially limit performance of the SF1200, not that I'd ever support that anyway, as the benefits of the SF1500 would be mostly meaningless for consumers but still attractive for enterprise use.

    Ah well, time will tell I suppose.
    Reply
  • superjojo - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    I'm sorry if I'm mistaken, but while reading the article I had a feeling that Anand was kind of retaliating against SandForce for something they might have done/said at that meeting. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    I'm not sure what's shipping to OEMs right now, but the Vertex LE is the only thing I can point at as being a SF-1500 without the supercap and some of the other enterprise features.

    There are more SF-1500 devices in the pipeline, but the focus is on SF-1200 as the full 1500 solution is quite pricey.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • arehaas - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    OCZ Vertex 2 is advertised as Sandforce-1500, and Agility 2 as Sandforce-1500. With 50,000 and 10,000 write IOPs, respectively. They have been available in Europe for two weeks already. Reply
  • arehaas - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Sorry, a typo - Agility 2 is Sandforce-1200. Reply
  • SirZ - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Why on earth would a business want to "throttle" their product? They could make all these "business" problems go away just by giving everyone the exclusive firmware (with the power saving thing fixed, in MP mode). There has to be a better way to reward the company that stood by you from the start (OCZ) than punishing everyone else. Why not just give them a better deal? OCZ wins, customers win. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    I think the problem is who SandForce perceives their customers to be.The drive OEMs may be the one's writing checks to them, but it's ultimately the end user who is creating the demand.

    OCZ certainly should be given something extra for helping SandForce develop the tech, but giving them a SF-1200 that outperforms all other SF-1200s is at best confusing, and at worst deceptive. Give them a new SKU if you really must give them a performance edge. Call it a SF-1300 or SF-1400, and the consumer won't feel like they are being mislead.
    Reply
  • SirZ - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Right now, they all lose. I have been getting ready to jump on the real SSD bandwagon (bought a 30 GB Vertex a couple months ago, still sitting in the box, to small for anything useful, call it a 90 dollar impulse buy), and this Sandforce thing has been promising, and I have been favoring some flavor of the Vertex (the cheaper ones anyway), but this silliness about sending the "better" performing product to review sites, makes me suspicious and is pushing me closer to Intel's drive. (If only it was 10-15% cheaper...)

    So, OCZ, Sandforce, etc... you all lose. Thanks Anand, and double thanks for not caving in to the usual corporate pressure to keeping this stuff hush-hush (I know how these review things go ;)
    Reply
  • willscary - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    It took a bit over 1/2 hour and being put on hold twice, but I finally got a straight answer. The 3 Mercury Extreme SSDs that I bought on Monday under the premise and specifications of the Sandforce 1500 controller do NOT have the 1500 controller, but instead the 1200 controller.

    I was given no explanation other than "All Mercury Extreme SSDs now shipping have the Sandforce 1200 controller onboard"

    OWC had no problem offering an RMA for these drives, but I still feel cheated. The cost of the lesser controllers means that the drives should have been cheaper, but OWC decided to try to pull a "bait and switch" and pocket the extra cash. I will now be ordering OCX Vertex LEs.

    Again, thank you Anand for this article. While performance may be equal, I want to know what I am buying and get what I paid for. This article, along with a quick change to the OWC website this morning, turned on the lightbulb.

    Its too bad. These are probably still superb drives, but the fact that I was really misled on the components leaves me feeling like OWC attempted to get away with robbery. Luckily, as soon as caught, they are quick to comply with an RMA to make themselves look like it was a mistake, but the person on the other end of the phone was CLEARLY annoyed as he quickly sent the RMAs.
    Reply
  • Ipreferspam - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Do you know what SF-1200 firmware the OWC drives are shipping with? Reply
  • ggathagan - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Perhaps at least some of your ire should be directed at Sandforce, not OWC.
    Remember that the difference comes down to firmware and put yourself in OWC's place:

    Do you continue to ship Extreme SSD's with the RC firmware and hope that you don't have any reliability issues, or do you use the MP firmware?
    Given that they weren't privy to the special agreement that OCZ was, they will not be receiving MP firmware for the 1200 with the higher specs.

    Having decided to go with the MP firmware for reliability's sake, at what point do you suggest that they change the published specs?

    Granted, it would have been nice if they sent an email to all whose purchase might have been impacted, but given that they were more then willing to RMA the drives, I fail to see how bait-and-switch comes in to play.
    Reply
  • Crypticone - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Remember this is the same company that asked reviewers to NOT open the product. They started out with one product, got it reviewed favorably then switched to a lesser and much less expensive chip and left prices and model numbers the same.

    If that is not bait and switch in your mind, I am not sure what is..
    Reply
  • ggathagan - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    After re-reading willscary's comment, I have to agree that I was wrong on the bait-and-switch aspect of it.

    If OWC had sent an email stating that there had been a spec change and asking if the drives were still desired, that would be one thing.

    Since they were not upfront with the change to customers who had already purchased, but had not yet received their drives, you are correct; clearly duplicitous.
    Reply
  • 529th - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    So, Corsair found that a power saving feature on the Sandforce controllers was the culprit to it's reliability stigma?

    Then they went ahead and fixed it with their own firmware thus negating the "MP" released by Sandforce thereby maintaining Vertex 2 like performance?

    My main concern is for my 2 OCZ Vertex LE SSD drives. One in the machine I have now: firmware 1.0; and on that should be delivered the 19th. So, if Sandforce borrows the idea from Corsair, if indeed that is the reliability problem, then the next time you put the OCZ Vertex LE on the 2mb power consumption it should relatively read the same as the Corsair Force 100 (Sandforce 1200) SSD drive right? Anand, could you do that for us? Thanks

    529th
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    I'm not sure what the 3.0.5 fix is for the power state bug. I've been meaning to put that fw on my Vertex LE but haven't had the opportunity to yet. As soon as I do, I will let you know :)

    In light of all of these issues, both drives with their latest firmware will be going in mission critical systems in my office. Gonna try and break em :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • GullLars - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Putting them into mission critical systems in order to try to break them... Sounds kind of reckless if the systems are indeed mission critical. If they are riggs that simulate servers/workstations that typically require mission critical storage, it would be an entirely different scenario.

    Great reporting on this kind of stuff BTW, keep it up ;)

    It makes me kind of sad to see this kind of sketchy an unorganized behaviour from a company that seems to have great engineering skills. I've been impressed with their tech and architecture since they came out of stealth mode last spring, and the benchmarks didn't disappoint (only the price tag :P). IMO they should not cripple the drives if it's not neccesary due to the lack of the supercap, and even then, providing the full performance FW to enthusiasts willing to take the risk of dataloss would be a good idea to gain goodwill.
    I hope manifacturers will provide enthusiasts with the 3.0.1 FW with the power savings feature disabled (modded FW), even if they decide to go for the reduced performance MP FW SF-1200 drives off the shelves.
    Reply
  • nycromes - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Anand,

    I was highly critical of you in another review the other day. That being said, articles like this are what I have come to expect from Anandtech. In depth explanations of what is going on with new tech, and as evidenced here, sometimes what is going on in the business as well. Thanks for digging deeper into this situation and letting us all in on what is going on. Its sad to see companies do this to both trusted partners, customers, and the industry.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    The criticism is always welcome - I take everything to heart. I am trying to do the best job possible here and you guys really help me in doing that. You give me encouragement when you feel that I've done a good job and you give me pointers on how to be better when you feel that I haven't. It's free feedback from you all and I do appreciate it, regardless of tone :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • SANDAR - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Anand Shimpi: proving once again that the pen may be mightier than the sword, but having a highly trafficked website is akin to a boatload of Hellfire Missiles. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    You rock :) Reply
  • willscary - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    After this change, I have decided to go back to Crucial 128GB M225s for the two lesser machines. I have been using these with great success for a couple months now. Instead of the 200GB OWC, I am now torn between the 200GB OCZ Vertex LE and the Crucial offerings. The new Crucial 300 looks much faster, but the M225 is much cheaper and has a 5 year warranty.

    This is a quickly changing technology, I know. However, I feel that each manufacturer and supplier MUST be truthful about the products they are selling. As said above, a simple email and perhaps a slight refund would have done wonders in my case, but I sure don't want to pay for a much more expensive product and get less. As I said earlier...to me, that is the definition of Bait and Switch, even if the above poster was correct and Sandforce shipped a different controller. I, however, doubt that OWC did not know, or at least that they would not have either rejected the shipment when they found out or demanded credit for the cheaper controllers.
    Reply
  • Barshj - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Great info, Anand! I have been a reader of yours since the beginning and have appreciated all your work! This is my first comment. I have been thiinking about getting a Sandforce drive since your first vertex 2 article and quickly decided to go get the ocz limited edition for a good price from newegg before they sell out. You probably did ocz a good service by talking about this as they will probably sell out quickly now.

    One thing I continually wonder regarding ssd reviews is why you need to publish the "new" drive test results rather than just testing and publishing your findings on a "used" drive. Soon enough all of us ssd owners will have their drives in the "used" condition so the "new" drive results are somewhat irrelevant to us buyers. It would probably make your job easier and tend to force vendors to ensure their drives hold up well after use, if you just conditioned the drive into a "used" state and only publish those results.
    Reply
  • 529th - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    Does the OCZ Toolbox now work with the Vertex LE ?? Reply
  • ClagMaster - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    I always though firmware was the Achilles heel of these SSD’s and have a profound effect on performance. I expressed in earlier posts that it’s a bad situation when the many SSD vendors do not have a clue how their firmware works and rely on third-party vendors. Although, to be fair, Corsair knew enough about this Release Candidate Firmware to turnoff the power bug, then sold their SSD's as if the Release Candidate Firmware was the Production Firmware.

    Are you sure SandForce is culpable here. SandForce gave Corsair the Release Candidate Firmware so they could do development work with their SSD’s and perfect them for market. But its Corsair who decided to ship this RC firmware on its SSD’s. I am not satisfied the key players in the SSD industry have their configuration control together.
    Reply
  • krazyderek - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    where does OCW stand in terms of firmware? i had one of their 50gb drives at the top of my list, did they just disable the power saving feature as well, can anand include the OCW drives in the power draw metric and make an educated guess?

    in terms of "new technologies" and reliability, i've had a 2007 raptor and a foxconn retail motherboard both die in two different machines in my office this week, i don't think SSD's are any less an option then your typical HDD, i mean just look at the reviews on newegg to see how many HDD's arrive DOA, or brick after a month, granted, it's probably a lower percentage since it's a bigger market then SSD right now, but i think trying new controllers just comes with SSD territory right now, as you've pointed out in the past, every controller manufacturer worth looking at in the enthusiast field has had problems, and they're always covered under warranties, like you say, just keep a clone image of your drive ready for a couple of months when you first give SSD's a go.
    Reply
  • willscary - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    I am sorry to those readers and also to Anand, who may be tiring of this, but I just read my new (arrived today via mail) PCWorld. The inside back cover is a full page OWC advertizement touting the Mercury Extreme SSD. The specs are clearly the SF 1500 specs, incuding 10 million hr MTBF and less than 1 sector per 10^17 bits read. I know how long ago they finalized this ad (a few weeks) and how long since print (perhaps a week), but still.

    I only wish that everyone knew the true facts as this is dishonest. Again, I will also say that OWC was great when I ordered and quick to RMA, even though the guy who set up the RMA seemed VERY annoyed with my questioning of the controller.
    Reply
  • cditty - Friday, April 16, 2010 - link

    I can't see why anyone would want a Sandforce drive... It is more expensive per Gigabyte that the Intel. That is crazy. The Intel drives are proven (as proven as an SSD can be) drives that deliver great performance. I use G2's in my laptop and desktop and have been using their 40 Gigabyte value drives for boot drives in systems at work that need an extremely fast boot time. I would never trust my data to a 'new' controller. I don't even fully trust it to Intel yet, as I keep a nightly backup on a platter based RAID 1. Reply
  • iwod - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Do you actually feel the difference between an C300 SSD, Intel SSD and a SandForce SSD?

    Ofcoz on paper SandForce would be the best, but does it actually gives anymore precipitable performance difference? From HDD to SSD was like from Horse to Racing Cars. But what if i already had a Intel SSD?

    Also, any news on when are we expecting SATA 3.0 ( 6Gbps ) based SSD? It seems SATA 2.0 is the bottle neck right now.
    Reply
  • soundseeker - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    can some onem please make clear: Are these points about the self cleaning aspects of the drive relevant to MAC OS. The big worry about getting a macbook pro with a SSD is you pay crazy amounts and then it deteriorates because Mac doesnt support TRIM.

    Anand and the guy with the 3 ssd's on order, are you installing the drives in Macs????
    thanks
    Reply
  • willscary - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    All of the SSDs that I have plus the 3 that I have on order are for PCs and all of the PCs are running Windows 7 Professional. I am sorry, but I can not help you with their long term health in a Mac environment. Reply
  • soundseeker - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    thanks for your answer

    anyone help verify the mac thing. is there no answer coz you are mostly pc users?

    Im confused about the best approach for mac.- fill issues, controller issues and there's been no verification yet as to who manufactures the Apple stock SSD's. so this is a minefield of speculation
    Reply
  • _Q_ - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Sorry for being a little off-topic (still SSD though)...

    Are there any news on when is the Indilinx JetStream going to be released in some drive from any vendor?

    Cause as far as I know, this was initially going to be out in end of 2009, then there was a delay... but no further info that I could find more recently.

    Thanks for any help.
    Reply
  • 1921Photoelectric - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    What this says to me, companies will re-write firmware to get the competitive edge. Also it will spur on hacked firmware to get the most out of the drive and than don't forget cross flashing, being blocked or not it will be circumnavigated. Been doing that with cd\dvd burners for quite some time. The one big downturn in this is, unscrupulous relabeling of the controller chip. This use to happen with CPU's a lot before Intel and AMD started locking the chips. Reply
  • Movieman420 - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    SandForce is the sole FW coder...;) Reply
  • shawkie - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    I've just posted a comment on the previous article on this subject but I thought it might be worth repeating it here. I've taken a look at the source code for the 2008 build of IOMeter and I don't think it should be trusted to produce realistic benchmarks for SandForce drives. The problem is that the data written to the disk is not sufficiently random and as a result will be very highly compressed by the SandForce controller. Reply
  • velis - Monday, April 19, 2010 - link

    I think this deliberate FW throttling is a load of c**p.
    Sandforce is hurting its own sales by doing this. While before I liked what was said about these controllers, now I only see a deliberately crippled *and* overpriced chip. IMHO this is just as bad a business practice as when Intel decided to lock processor multipliers. With an unimportant exception that Intel could certainly afford it as they were more or less a monopoly then as they are now. SF on the other hand is a startup...

    It doesn't really matter that real life performance won't be affected much by this. It's the thought that counts!

    They should offer a really good explanation for this throttling or give their customers something in return (an extra SF-1200 only feature). As it is, hacked FW will be all over the net, assuming of course that anyone will be buying these drives at all.
    Reply
  • ToeCutter - Saturday, April 24, 2010 - link

    I couldn't agree more. Artificially reducing performance just fails the smell test.

    And while the performance numbers look impressive, the usable capacity numbers don't.

    Oh well, looks like the Intel SSDs are the only reliable game in town.

    It has been kinda nice not having to worry about which SSD to buy for the past couple of quarters?

    Sometimes it seems that choice, just for the sake of choice, can be a pain in the ass more times than not!
    Reply
  • lemonadesoda - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    "Your best bet at this point is to hold off on any SF-1200 purchases unless you're willing to accept the risks that comes with."

    I agree with you 100%. But I'm sure SandForce never realised that inviting you to their meeting would result in you discovering their mismanagement of firmware, specs and partner relationships.

    Not so sure they will be inviting you again. At least, not before you sign some "right to review copy" NDA or somthing. LOL ;)
    Reply
  • ToeCutter - Saturday, April 24, 2010 - link

    I'd like to extend a hearty "THANKS!" to Anand for demonstrating his values on this topic. As a storage engineer working for a reputable vendor, I understand first hand how much pressure can be exerted on engineers to "overlook" certain aspects of a products behavior.

    I can say, with a degree of pride, that I've always played it straight with my customers, even when hurt. And they rewarded me for maintaining my credibility with repeat business and friendship, which is so much more important to me than making a few extra bucks.

    Kudos to Anand for keeping everyone honest. While it might seem like "geek drama" to the uninitiated, Anand said it when he explained to these vendors that "this is serious, it's our DATA"!

    Well done, Mr. Shimpi.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    Basically, SSD's aren' ready for the mainstream yet, there's apparently a LOT of stuff that needs to be worked out before that can happen, not to mention the insane cost per GB. Also, when are people gonna really start making a fuss about companies "artificially" reducing performance. Like disabling cores that are fully functional then selling the CPU at a lower price. The sale price of a product should be based on what it costs to make, I shouldn't have to pay a premium for a chip just because some features aren't locked. Intel does this all the time and it seriously pisses me off. What's the physical difference between an E8400 and and E8600? nothing! They're just clocked different yet one costs more than the other even though they cost the same to make. Same thing with GPU's. It's maddening! Reply
  • TheRealAnalogkid - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Kudos to Anand and his journalistic talent (not a term frequently used online) to not only discover but to expose this.

    I've read his site for many years and this is one of the best articles I've seen. Keep up the good work.
    Reply
  • sunbear - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    It seems that months after this article was published, OCZ is STILL supposedly shipping the last remaining LE vertex's. But you can pick up a Vertex 2 for almost the same price and this also includes a 2.5 inch to 3.5 inch converter tray (unlike the LE). This review seems to confirm that for everything except high queue depth situations, the Vertex 2 is the superior SSD:
    http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/3372/ocz_vertex_l...

    The article states that they believe that the silicon used for the SF-1200 and SF-1500 are identical.

    So I wonder - is this all just a marketing gimmick running off the back of Anand's article?
    Anand - what are your thoughts at this point?
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now