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OCZ Vertex bashes users with Blue Screen of Death

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

OCZ forum users are up in arms about their high-performance Vertex 3 flash drives causing Windows PCs to go into a blue-screen-of-death (BSOD) state, and further angered by OCZ's unconcerned response.

Poster GymRatZ told us: "I spent about 3 days attempting to get it recognised by Windows (7) 64 for install. Eventually after trying every random combination of BIOS settings the disk sucked up a windows install. Then within a few hours it started freezing and B.S.O.D ing.

"OCZ denied [there was] a problem and the drive was RMA'd. A week later the replacement came in from Taiwan and the same thing happened. Firmware was updated from 2.02 to 2.06 and after another day I managed to get a Windows image (taken before SSD was installed) installed."

"Great… but no, BSOD; every 5 minutes or less."

He said OCZ failed to acknowledge there were problems, but a look at their forum told a different story: "Like a great many others I followed the forum and their tales of woe and finally had to register and post with my own experiences as OCZ were still saying it was a tiny majority of users reporting problems."

OCZ admits there is a problem:

OCZ is aware of firmware issues that have been reported in the field that are potentially causing bluescreens on all SF2000-based drives, this issue affects a very small percentage of Vertex 3 and Agility 3 SSDs, and currently less than 1 per cent of all our customers are affected. ...

OCZ is working diligently with our customers and SandForce to quickly resolve the outstanding firmware issues and we will be releasing a firmware update that addresses the bluescreen issue as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime we encourage any customers that are experiencing any bluescreen issues to contact our customer service team for immediate support.

On 21 June the company issued "a firmware patch with SATA timing optimisations that we believe will address the issue. Currently, this new firmware is only recommended for customers that have observed the BSOD issue.

"This firmware version slightly affects sequential write performance as adjustments were made in the timings. OCZ anticipates future optimisations to the base code to minimise any performance delta associated with this temporary workaround."

GymRatZ highlighted the point that non-functioning firmware doesn't apparently affect OCZ's Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) rating, saying: "The other thing that bugs me is none of the RMA's count as faulty units if OCZ says no problem [has been] found, and it seems non-functioning firmware… allows for completely inaccurate MTBF figures to be quoted."

We've asked OCZ about this and GymRatZ has been asked if the latest firmware patch fixes his problem. ®

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