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Asus ZenBook UX31A Should be Recalled Due to ADATA SSD Defect

Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 04:25:03 PM CST by David Yee [] [read 13043 times]
 
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I bought my Asus ZenBook UX31A a little more than a year ago. Recently the sleek ultrabook started to act up on me- I would get the blue screen of death and intermittent freezing. The signs were indicative of the non-user-upgradable, non-replaceable 128GB ADATA Sandforce-based XM11 SSD. I tried to use the windows command (the OS is Windows 7) SFC /scannow, but it would never complete further 41% before failing.

Windows is still usable, but whenever I try to Right Click to create a new file, the computer would freeze. Same thing happens if I tried to search for a program from the Start Menu. Using a Windows 7 installation DVD to run SFC repair would end up not working either. I have also noticed that some of the media files I had stored on the SSD have become corrupted as well.

Googling around, it seems that plenty of people who bought a UX31 from Asus, and has the unfortunate luck of having the ADATA XM11 (instead of a slower Sandisk SSD) have this problem. So you'd think that a product recall should be in place. I mean, an Ultrabook that cost nearly $1000 brand new should NOT become unusable, prone to data loss, after only a little more than a year, and personally it was not a PC that I used daily. Unfortunately, this has not happened- Asus has not recalled the laptop and it does not appear that it has any plan to. But hey maybe Asus recognizes this problem, and would offer to repair the issue for free. Worth a try, I thought, so I submitted an RMA Request at Asus.com. After *12* days, they finally got back to me, and this was their reply:

You are receiving this email to hereby acknowledge your online RMA request. This is also a confirmation that based on your date of purchase (if provided) and/or serial number, your ASUS product is no longer within the standard ASUS manufacture warranty period. Please be advised that warranty terms vary depending on what type of ASUS product you have.

If you would like to have your product serviced, an Out of Warranty RMA has been issued; however we want to inform you that the following fees which include Part (s), Labor, Shipping, and Sales Tax if applicable (California and Canada residents) will be applied. Below is an estimated quote for the repair based on your description of the problem. Please keep in mind that this is only an estimate; the repair technician will provide the actual cost of repair once it has been inspected. Your RMA instructions will be sent in a separate email.

Quote (Estimate Only): Estimate: $136 for repair of UX Series (UX 21 / UX31, etc) - HDD

Wow- selling a defective product and then wanting to make money from the repair of it. Well forget you Asus. Guess what brand I will avoid in the future? I strongly urge that anyone affected by this issue to complain to them, and also to write to the proper agencies to get more awareness of this problem.

BTW I tried to see if ADATA had a firmware that would fix this problem for the XM11. After all, Sandforce had released an update that was supposed to address this defect. So I went to ADATA.com, and downloaded their Firmware Field Updater program. I ran it on the UX31A, and was elated to see that it recognized the drive. The firmware version listed was 5.0.1, the one that had the notorious TRIM problem.



My hopes, however, were quickly dashed as there were no ".vic" file that matched the first 5 digits of the serial number. There needed to be a file that began with 23003, but as you can see below, none was available. You kind of have to wonder why there wasn't any update or the XM11, as it seems that most the other A-DATA Sandforce SSDs have firmware revisions to fix the issue. Again, shame on Asus and ADATA.



Options for Owners Who Are Out of Warranty (Like Me)


So are we screwed? Not quite. Of course it would be nice for Asus to recall the notebook, but failing out, there are some options.

  1. Replace the SSD with a compatible one. The UX31A uses a proprietary SATA connection and not the standard mSATA/m.2 format. There are some eBay sellers offering replacement SSD's, but unfortunately they cost more than $200 at last check. So if you want to go this route, it might be better to bite the bullet and get it done through Asus.




  2. Plug in a low-profile, USB 3.0 drive and re-install Windows on it. The Sandisk Ultra Fit 64GB seems like the best choice. It is speedy for such a low-profile USB drive, though too bad there isn't a 128GB version available yet. Of course, you could plug in a standard-sized USB stick which can be as large as 256GB, but it would be poking out and be prone to be accidentally dislodged.




  3. Buy an adapter that converts the proprietary SATA connection inside the UX31 to one that accepts the M.2 SSD format. This particular one by Sintech seems to be the best reviewed one on Amazon. You would then buy a M.2 SSD which to go with it, which could have a capacity of up to 256GB. You will need a Torx T5 screwdriver to open up the Ultrabook to perform the SSD replacement.


As for myself, I have not yet determined what my next course of action is. Option 3 seems to be the best long term solution, but if Asus would get their act together and recall the product, my (and I'm sure many others') perception of the company will certainly improve. If it doesn't happen, I hope the proposed fixes offered will help you get your UX31 Ultrabook back up and running, perhaps even better than ever.

Addendum:

After seeing so many comments to this story, I feel compelled to share the aftermath. Since this fiasco and how they treated me, I have always avoided ASUS products, and I bought a lot of IT equipment. The last straw was when the machine's Windows 7 CD key wouldn't work on a new installation when I replaced the faulty SSD with a new 128GB one (using the adapter I specified above). When I contacted ASUS they said too bad, so I had to pay $ to buy a license on my own on top of it. The whole ordeal wasted an entire work day of back and forth phone calls between Microsoft and Asus. I even filed a BBB complaint and Asus didn't budge a bit.

Never ever again will I support this company that does not stand for the quality of its product, nor provide any sense of customer service.


Right now there are 12 comments/reviews for Asus ZenBook UX31A Should be Recalled Due to ADATA SSD Defect.
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Asus ZenBook UX31A Should Be Recalled Due To ADATA SSD Defect Rating: 3.7/5 (46 votes cast) 12 comment(s) by users total.

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User-Submitted Reviews of Asus ZenBook UX31A Should be Recalled Due to ADATA SSD Defect & Testimonials

Posted by Lifetime Asus customer (2½ years ago)

my SSD Died just after warranty

So many people seem to have the exact same problem. The SSD dies a few months after warranty expires. Did they set a timer on it or something.

Very disappointed with this purchase. Great luck with their motherboards, not so good with laptops..

Unlikely to choose another Asus

Bought: Ux31a 256gb model

Order Date: 2013-09-01

Pros:
  • Fast and small
  • Cons:
  • died after 1 year of use
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    5 out of 5 people said 'YES'

    Turkey flag   Review came from Turkey.
    880

    Jeoffrey reviewer photoPosted by Jeoffrey (2 years ago)

    Disgusted by ASUS one more time, this time is the last !

    I always promised myself to don't buy products manufactured by ASUS (especially motherboards), Samsung (mainly optical drives and RAM), Fortron (FSP) (Power supplies), because I've had several failures only with these brands both personally and professionally.

    I hesitated a long time before buying this ASUS Ultrabook because of its high price (1900 €) and because it was made by a brand that I hate. But as it perfectly met my needs hard to please and the unique capabilities of this device compared to the competition at the time of purchase, I made the leap. Now I'm immune against these unreliable manufacturers. One might think that they design their products to fail after one to two years in order that we bought new products from them. But they didn't understand that this contributes to sully their image, make bad publicity. Ridiculous strategy.

    Bought: UX51VZA U500VZ-CM058H 2x256Gb (Factory RAID 0)

    Order Date: 2013-08-01

    Date Received: 2013-08-07

    Pros:
  • Powerful in a small housing
  • beautifull
  • good finitions
  • Cons:
  • Only 1 year warranty on this model instead of 2 on the rest of products line. (Does we understand that they perfectly know that this would fail quickly ?)

  • Customer Contacted Asus ZenBook UX31A Should Be Recalled Due To ADATA SSD Defect Via:
    (331) 810-0030 x46

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    3 out of 3 people said 'YES'

    France flag   Review came from France.
    900

    Posted by Balazs (2 years ago)

    SSD died

    I have UX-31A. I loved it while just after warranty period is over the ssd is not recognizable to BIOS. BEcause of warranty is over I brought to laptop service. SSD works, rest of laptop works, just they can not communicate...hahaha They told me to update the firmware of ssd, but they can not help.

    It is clearly defected SSD, so Asus should replace for free!

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    3 out of 3 people said 'YES'

    Hungary flag   Review came from Hungary.
    890

    Posted by John (1½ year ago)

    Adata Firmware available for UX31A

    Your article was informative but out of date now I think. The firmware you need is based on last 5 digits of the signature, not the serial number (27139). I was just able to update my UX31A with Adata XM11 128 GB from firmware 5.0.1 to 5.8.2, without any loss of data. I got the firmware from adata website.

    Of course, this doesn't help people with dead drives now, for which I'm sorry.

    Bought: Asus ZenBook UX31A

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    John wrote: "I was just able to update my UX31A with Adata XM11 128 GB from firmware 5.0.1 to 5.8.2...".

    Well I searched high & low and there is no firmware 5.8.2 on Adata's site.

    Checking with Adata SSD Toolbox it says I have firmware 5.0.2a on Adata XM11 128GB & it is up-to-date.

    2 out of 2 people said 'YES'

    1110

    Posted by John (2 years ago)

    ADATA XM11 256GB-v2 defective

    UX51VZH 2x256Gb (Factory RAID 0)

    Should recall

    Bought: UX51VZH

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    3 out of 4 people said 'YES'

    920

    Posted by Jon Jones (2½ years ago)

    Same Problem Here - Faulty UX31A 128GB SSD

    Should be a recall, is clearly a faulty component. My UX31A with ADATA XM11 128gb drive is now DOA and too expensive to repair.

    Bought: Asus UX31A

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    2 out of 2 people said 'YES'

    Australia flag   Review came from Australia.
    860

    Posted by Joe Smith (11 months ago)

    Agree: SSD should have been recalled

    Below is a transcript of a letter I sent to Asus after the problems I experienced with this model: in short, the screen, battery, and hard drive of my zenbook failed just shortly over a year. Unwilling to pay the $400 to repair a 1 year old computer, I asked about replacing the hard drive myself for the $100 it should properly cost. Asus replied that they could not provide me recovery materials for windows 8. To date, I have received no apology nor follow-up from Asus. For a premium computer that I treated carefully and kept in pristine condition, this feels equivalent to being scammed. This is the worst product and customer service I have seen in technology, and would strongly recommend against this product.

    “Dear Sir or Madam,

    About 2 years ago I purchased an ASUS laptop, model UX31A. About 8 months in, it started having power and BIOS issues and faulty spot appeared in the screen. I sent it in for an RMA with a message, part of which included the following complaint:

    "2. The computer has a tendency under high CPU loads to crash. It will often crash

    into the BIOS, which cannot be exited without pressing the power button to shut off

    the computer."

    This issue appeared again 4 months after repair, right during my finals at college, losing a paper and several study guides, and finally crashed once into the BIOS, without repair. I soon found out the hard drive had irreparably failed.

    I sent the machine in for repairs, and was told that it would cost $400 to replace the hard drive, an outrageous cost for a college student.

    Today I called ADATA and was told that the specific hard drive you put in the machine, XM11-V3 is known to fail, and that several customers have complained of this issue.

    Within a year, the screen, power supply and hard drive all failed on this product. Furthermore, since my purchase, hundreds of complaints listed on the internet have accumulated for this specific hard drive failure.

    I am appalled that there was not a recall issued for this model, and that you continued to sell this computer to unsuspecting customers.

    As a college student on a short budget, I cannot recommend this laptop, your products, or your repairs services to anyone else.

    I plan to publish this story online, as I believe it represents incompetence in product design, sales, and customer service.

    Yours sincerely,

    *********”

    Bought: UX31A

    Pros:
  • Great screen
    Great feel
  • Cons:
  • Always overheated
    Sent in for repairs twice
    SSD failed right outside of warranty
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    1 person said 'YES'

    1200

    Posted by Dominik (3 months ago)

    PROBLEM SOLVED

    Problem must be in MBR table or GPR.

    If You want repair your SSD:

    Run CMD from pendrive

    Run DISKPART

    LIST DISK

    SELECT DISK 0 or 1 (XM 11)

    CLEAN ALL

    Next INSTAL NEW SYSTEM from pendrive

    Problem solved. After this method freezing problem doesn't exist.

    Bought: ASUS UX31A

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    Poland flag   Review came from Poland.
    1400

    Posted by Rogerio Vicente Jaworoski (5 months ago)

    Same Problem with ADATA SSD XM11 256 Gb Totaly dead

    I had bricked my Asus UX31 last month, and spent a lot of $$ to replace it, using an adapter and a brand new M.2 SSD Micron M600 256Gb.

    Bought: Asus UX31A CAN0CJ078399427

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    Brazil flag   Review came from Brazil.
    1390

    Posted by Patrick (1 year ago)

    ASUS claim not aware of any issue

    I bought the 256gb model with the ADATA drive,no issues for 18months then the screen randomly freezes, keyboard and screen unresponsive and only way is to reboot. After couple weeks then only loads to bios .

    ASUS say hard drive failed and want ~$300 ++ to replace. Replacement only comes with 3 months , when challenged why so short if problem with design response is "We have not had problems with this SSD before." amazing no one with a faulty SSD has ever been back to ASUS for a repair ............or does "this SSD" refer to only the unit in my laptop ......

    Bought: Ux31a

    Order Date: 2014-11-30

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    Viet Nam flag   Review came from Viet Nam.
    1170

    Posted by Henry Frank (1½ year ago)

    Asus Zenbook UX31A

    Got my laptop working again. Feels good as new (good enough to sell anyway).

    Bummer. Asus Zenbooks are absolutely fantastic laptops IF they're working.

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    Nigeria flag   Review came from Nigeria.
    990

    Posted by Huskin (2 years ago)

    MacBook Air Flash Storage Drive Replacement Program

    Apple repairs or replaces SSD disks. These systems were sold between June 2012 through June 2013.

    www.apple.com/support/macbookair-flashdrive/

    Apple has determined that certain 64GB and 128GB flash storage drives used in the previous generation of MacBook Air systems may fail.

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    1 out of 2 people said 'YES'

    Turkey flag   Review came from Turkey.
    910