Western Digital and Samsung replaced critical components in their SSD without changing product names or informing customers

Western Digital Samsung SSD Component Swap
Shady component swaps? Pic credit: Zhou Tong/Flickr

There’s growing malpractice of swapping out components inside popular products without informing customers. After ADATA, and Patriot, tech experts have observed Samsung and Western Digital are replacing critical parts in SSD that more often than not have a negative performance impact on the retail product.

Western Digital has reportedly admitted that it swapped out the NAND flash memory in one of its most popular M.2 NVMe SSD models. Meanwhile, Samsung too replaced a critical component inside its SSD, but the change in real-world performance isn’t yet clear.

Western Digital swaps out NAND flash memory inside WD Blue SN550 SSD, and performance crashed by 50 percent:

Western Digital has admitted that it changed the NAND flash memory in one of its most popular M.2 NVMe SSD models. The company has mentioned that the WD Blue SN550 has a few iterations, some of which, could have lower performance.

Some tech experts observed Western Digital had swapped the high-performance flash memory in its Blue SN550 M.2 NVMe SSDs with a lower quality one. The company did not officially offer any information about the change prior to making the change.

Western Digital insists that it had updated the WD Blue SN550 datasheet. However, the company did mention that moving ahead it will be introducing a new model number whenever any related published specifications are impacted.

Several experts in the tech community are calling out Western Digital for its behavior. The change was particularly concerning because NAND replacement resulted in an overall writing speeds reduction of up to 50 percent.

Technically speaking, when the SSD’s 12 GB SLC cache is exhausted, their performance would drop from 610 MB/s to a meager 390 MB/s.

Samsung swapped out critical components as it wanted enhanced burst write activities, but it did change Serial Number:

Reports indicate Samsung altered components in its recent batches of the 970 EVO SSD. The newer batches of the SSD, especially with 1TB capacity, have revised SLC Cache.

Interestingly, Samsung swapped out components to improve the performance of its SSD, especially during the sudden burst of write activity. Experts who tested some of the newer SSDs reportedly observed that the new version of the SSD is faster in workloads up to 115 GB.

The SLC cache provision on the older models could withstand burst write speeds only up to 42 GB. While this is a welcome change, it did negatively impact performance after 115 GB of writes.

The earlier versions of the 970 EVO SSD offered sustained performance of 1500 MB/s after the first 40 GB. However, in the new models, the performance drops significantly after 115 GB of writes. Tests indicate the performance drops to 800 MB/s after 115 GB of writes.

It is important to note that Samsung has changed the Serial Number identification and even the design of the packaging. However, the company has kept the same name, which could be confusing.

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