Western Digital, one of the leading hard drive makers, is accused of giving customers slower SSDs than advertised.
It’s a common practice in the tech industry to send out products for tech journalists to review. Needless to say, companies try to put their best foot forward, sending the best products they have for the review. At the same time, however, there’s a certain expectation that the individual product being reviewed will be representative of the entire line, and not vastly superior to what will actually ship.
Unfortunately, it appears Western Digital didn’t get that message. Instead, as first noticed by Chinese site Expreview and covered in more detail by ExtremeTech, Western Digital appears to be shipping SSD drives that offer a fraction of the speed as the initial review units.
The drive in question is the WD SN550 Blue, one of the highest-reviewed budget SSDs on the market. In initial reviews and testing, as well as early models that shipped, the drive delivered 610MB/s speeds. The latest drives being shipped, however, drop to an abysmal 390MB/s once the SLC NAND cache is exhausted. As ExtremeTechhighlights, that means the new drive is only delivering 64% of the performance people are expecting.
There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of cheap, classless tactics. ExtremeTech’s Joel Hruska puts it best:
This is unacceptable. It is unethical for any company to sample and launch a product to strong reviews only to turn around and sell an inferior version of that hardware at a later date without changing the product SKU or telling customers that they’re buying garbage. I do not use the term “garbage” lightly, but let me be clear: If you silently change the hardware components you use in a way that makes your product lose performance, and you do not disclose that information prominently to the customer (ideally through a separate SKU), you are selling garbage. There’s nothing wrong with selling a slower SSD at a good price, and there’s nothing right about abusing the goodwill of reviewers and enthusiasts to kick bad hardware out the door.
Western Digital owes everyone of the people who bought this drive an apology and a full refund.