Samsung and WD seen swapping SSD components after launch

Posted on Friday, August 27 2021 @ 14:47 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Over the past couple of years, there have been quite a lot of reports about solid state disks that receive a significant component change after launch. Typically, this is discovered by users who notice the performance of their disk is significantly lower than what is seen in the launch day reviews.

Everyone seems to be doing it

Initially, it seemed only the smaller SSD makers were doing this but this week there are reports that disks from Samsung and WD have also received changes. Tom's Hardware writes a change to WD's Blue SN550 SSD results in performance being cut in half when the SLC cache runs out of space. Following controversy on the web, WD has promised greater transparency by no longer using the same model number for such a significant revision:
WD has issued the following statement to Tom's Hardware regarding the matter:

"In June 2021, we replaced the NAND in the WD Blue SN550 NVMe SSD and updated the firmware. At the time, we updated the product data sheet. For greater transparency going forward, if we make a change to an existing internal SSD, we commit to introducing a new model number whenever any related published specifications are impacted. We value our customers and are committed to providing the best possible solutions for their data storage needs
Disks from Patriot and Crucial have also been found switching SSD components in the past couple of months. Due to chip shortages, a lot of manufacturers are forced to use different components.

Similarly, Hexus reports Samsung changed the components of its 970 EVO Plus SSD. Samsung handled the component swap relatively well, by changing the packaging, the part numbers, and the specification sheets. Samsung switched pretty much everything; including the controller, the NAND, and the LPDDR4. Fortunately, in the case of this component swap, the new version is not slower:
What was found was that the new SSD is faster in workloads that involve transfers of 115GB of lower, which will be most of the time for most people I guess. In synthetic tests like CrystalDiskMark and in the AS SSD benchmark the results were pretty balanced, in that sometimes the new model pulled ahead, sometimes the old model.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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