Patriot's Wildfire

OCZ isn't the only company experimenting with SF-2281 drives and 32nm NAND. Patriot sent me the Wildfire, its first SF-2281 SSD. After a quick run through some performance tests I grew suspicious as it performed a lot like the Vertex 3 MAX IOPS I just tested. Cracking open the case I found the reason:

The Wildfire also uses 32nm Toshiba NAND. The 120GB drive Patriot sent has a 16 chip, 2 die per package configuration - compared to 8 chips with 4 die per package in the Vertex 3 MI. I don't see an advantage for one approach vs. the other. Patriot is targeting a $299 MSRP for the Wildfire, which would put it lower than the Vertex 3 MAX IOPS - although anything is possible once the drive goes on sale on the 28th of this month.

Patriot confirmed that the Wildfire would only use 32nm Toshiba NAND and that any NAND vendor changes would take place in other lines or subsets of the Wildfire brand.

Patriot uses a different PCB layout from OCZ. I don't know that there's an advantage to either layout, they are just different.

The unit I have here shipped with SF firmware revision 3.19, which is equivalent to OCZ's revision 2.08 firmware as far as I know. No word on when we'll see a 2.09 equivalent.

Performance of the Wildfire (as you'll see from the tests that follow) is identical to the Vertex 3 MAX IOPS. To keep the charts more manageable I've only included 6Gbps results from the Wildfire in most areas. Performance on a 3Gbps interface is identical to a 3Gbps Vertex 3 MAX IOPS as you'd expect.

The Test

CPU

Intel Core i7 965 running at 3.2GHz (Turbo & EIST Disabled)

Intel Core i7 2600K running at 3.4GHz (Turbo & EIST Disabled) - for AT SB 2011, AS SSD & ATTO

Motherboard:

Intel DX58SO (Intel X58)

Intel H67 Motherboard

Chipset:

Intel X58 + Marvell SATA 6Gbps PCIe

Intel H67
Chipset Drivers:

Intel 9.1.1.1015 + Intel IMSM 8.9

Intel 9.1.1.1015 + Intel RST 10.2

Memory: Qimonda DDR3-1333 4 x 1GB (7-7-7-20)
Video Card: eVGA GeForce GTX 285
Video Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 190.38 64-bit
Desktop Resolution: 1920 x 1200
OS: Windows 7 x64
Introduction A Note on Real World Performance
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  • TrackSmart - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    My problem is not the failure rate of OCZ (or Corsair or Patriot) SSDs. Ordinary hard disks that we've been using forever have a 1-3% failure rate (or worse for some models). The problem is customer support for drives that aren't merely failing, but are *failing to be compatible* with particular hardware configurations.

    How a company deals with such problems is what determines if they deserve customer loyalty. And let me tell you that sending customers another of the same drive, that they know won't work with their system, is not a way to win customer loyalty. Just issue a refund and let the customer buy a different model. With that kind of treatment, the customer might buy another OCZ drive, but from one of the other product lines - instead of leaving angry.

    The customer support issue is the one I want OCZ to address. And if Anandtech has personal communications with them, that is something worth passing on.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    The issue is that, apparently, the majority of customers don't have a problem. There isn't a day that goes by where I'm not testing an SF-2281 drive in some fashion. Now it's possible that my usage model and test scenarios aren't enough to cause the problem, but I suspect that it's more complicated than that.

    My recommendation continues to be the Intel SSD 510 if you want the best balance of performance/predictable reliability. However if I simply recommend Intel's drive without mentioning a cheaper/faster drive I think I'll get accused of a different sort of bias :-P

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • techinsidr - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    Good point Anand... I'm personally not a fan of OCZ products, but I give you props all the hard work you do on this site. Even if I don't agree with your recommendations 100% of the time, you still have the best hardware review site out there.

    I hope OCZ and Sandforce gets this problem figured out sooner than later. Performance is definitely important, but at the end of the day I think reliability is even more critical.
    Reply
  • TrackSmart - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    I agree that it's a small percent, but is it okay to tell 10,000 customers "sorry, use it in a different computer" when they've spent $240 on a storage device? Just because it represents *only* 0.5% of their customers?

    Thanks for taking the time for a personal reply. And thanks for the superb articles and reporting. We'll just have to agree to disagree on what it means for a company to stand by a product.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    No I agree that's not ok, but to the best of my knowledge OCZ has always facilitated a refund if you ask for one with situations like this. OCZ has apparently even offered to send engineers to your house and loan you a notebook to help diagnose the issue back when they had trouble tracking it down.

    My preference would be a stop shipment order until the problem is corrected. But in terms of customer service, I believe OCZ typically does take care of its customers.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • TrackSmart - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    Thanks Anand. I've had good experience with other OCZ products and associated support in the past. And it's possible that the 25nm debacle has caused them to shift their policies. At the time, when I purchased a Vertex 2, I was told replacement with a like item was the only option. Newegg came to my rescue and took the drive back, despite their clearly stated policy that SSD returns have to go to the manufacturer. Good on Newegg for understanding my situation. And hopefully good on OCZ if their policies have improved.

    A google search turns up people from the past who were turned down for Vertex 2/Agility 2 refunds (responses: firmware is on the way or use it in a compatible system - only exchanges for like models). But shows that Vertex 3 owners have been getting refunds.

    So maybe I'm behind the times. And if so, my apologies to OCZ. These changes of policy must be within very recent past. A bit of bad press seems to go a long way to changing corporate policy.
    Reply
  • jonup - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    Why is this review questionable? His recommendation is based on his personal experience with the drives. He has not experienced any BSODs but he disclosed that there are certain drives sold in retail that have the issue. He recommended OCZs drive as much as he recommended the Patriot's.
    I wouldn't be supprise if majority of the BSOD result from user tweaks and maybe if it is even a Windows problem.
    Reply
  • semo - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    I wouldn't be as harsh and say that Anand has had underhand dealings with OCZ but there are bridges there. He gets new OCZ SSDs well before release dates so that he can prepare for in-depth articles. These articles bring a boat load of traffic to his domain.

    So indirectly, Anand does benefit from being on good terms with OCZ because if he didn't, he wouldn't have those golden samples and those spikes in traffic at launch.

    Then again, timing is not the only thing that keeps us techies coming back. The quality of the articles plays a big part as well. I am however starting to question the Integrity of his work given the outcry in the community which is not proportionally reflected in Anand's official articles (this article touches on a few of the issues but the huge outcry from the last article must have played a big part). Also, I'm not just a techie, I'm also a consumer and I totally disagree with OCZ's handling of the 25nm fiasco and their customer relations in general.

    Needless to say, I still enjoy Anand's articles but I will never touch an OCZ product again. Other companies provide just as much value and performance as them.
    Reply
  • techinsidr - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    I couldn't agree more semo... I did a blog article covering this whole fiasco at my website techinsidr.com . The way OCZ has handled this fiasco leaves a lot to be desired.. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    Access to hardware is never a reason to treat a manufacturer favorably. That may win you some short term gains but long term you lose credibility, which will ultimately and drives away the sort of quality readers you need to have a site truly survive.

    Also note that while exclusives do bring in more traffic, you actually build more traffic by being consistent and delivering quality over time. The former doesn't guarantee lasting traffic.

    I don't believe OCZ is getting favorable treatment here, just the treatment that is representative of my experience with the drives. Now the response from the readership is clear that despite my experience, there's definite unease with actually jumping on the OCZ bandwagon until these sorts of complaints go away entirely. I can completely understand that sentiment and I will make sure it's reflected as we continue to cover this space.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply

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