Skip to main content

30TB Portable SSD Hits Walmart For $39 But Stay Away From It

30TB SSD
30TB SSD (Image credit: Walmart)

If something sounds too good to be true, then it is. That's the first thing that should go through your mind when you see a 30TB portable SSD selling for $39 (opens in new tab) at Walmart (h/t to Ars Technica (opens in new tab)). The drive is far from being one of the best SSDs - but it deserves a spot on everyone's blocklist.

Twitter user Ray Redacted (opens in new tab) recently purchased a 30TB portable SSD on AliExpress for the giggles. The drive sells for $31.40 but is available at a third-party seller on Walmart for a small premium. Aesthetically, the "Portable SSD" is a clone of the popular Samsung T5. The Chinese knockoff even uses a similar text as the T5. Although advertised as a USB 3.1 drive, Ray later discovered that it's limited to USB 2.0 speeds. Internally, the portable SSD features a small, green PCB (HUB-TF2) that carries two microSD cards glued to it.

There are different versions of the same scam. For example, another Twitter user (opens in new tab) revealed that his portable SSD came with a USB pen drive inside instead of two microSD cards. In other words, the portable SSD is just a USB hub with various microSD slots or, in the other case, a USB pen drive.

It's not the first time we've seen storage devices with dubious specifications. Fake USB pen drives, SSDs, and SD cards are all over the market, and one must be careful when purchasing. Nonetheless, the intricacy of this particular portable SSD is pretty interesting. The swindler uses two microSD cards and slaps a hacked firmware on them to misreport the capacity. The actual size of the microSD card isn't important since the firmware fools Windows into thinking the cards are bigger than they are.

In the case of Ray's drive, Windows detects the unit as two 15TB drives. In reality, the microSD cards were smaller. He noted that the USB-C to USB-C 3.1 cable is a sham and the drive sticks to the USB 2.0 standard, allowing transfer speeds up to 60 MBps. The hacked firmware writes new data on top of the old data and keeps the directory. It appears to be working, but when you try to access your files, there's nothing there.

Consumers must be careful when purchasing goods online, whether computer hardware or not. It's even more important nowadays since big-name retailers such as Newegg and Walmart have allowed third-party sellers to use their marketplace platforms for e-commerce.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • USAFRet
    Stay away.

    No more "real" than one of these:
    https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/buyer-beware-16tb-external-portable-ssd-usb-drives-are-fake.3773032/
    Reply
  • AgentBirdnest
    Now I'm all curious about what it costs to make these, how long it takes to create and package each one, how many people are involved, and how many they have made... and how many they have sold.

    I've had a few friends who nearly fell for similar storage scams. Luckily, they know that I'm "the computer geek", so they ask me about it first. For people who are just casual users that don't know everything that's under the hood, or don't follow tech news and prices everyday, I can see how they could easily be conned.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    AgentBirdnest said:
    Now I'm all curious about what it costs to make these, how long it takes to create and package each one, how many people are involved, and how many they have made... and how many they have sold.

    I've had a few friends who nearly fell for similar storage scams. Luckily, they know that I'm "the computer geek", so they ask me about it first. For people who are just casual users that don't know everything that's under the hood, or don't follow tech news and prices everyday, I can see how they could easily be conned.
    Pennies to create.
    At most, $1.

    Buy in bulk, couple of thousand cast off barely working flash drive innards.
    Your Chinese factory assembly line worker slaps them together on the line, dozens per hour per person.
    Stick them in a large USB hub to be reflashed....
    In a box, done.

    So...
    $1 for the materials.
    $1 for the assembly.
    $1 for the shipping.

    Sell for $25 to the clueless.

    Profit!

    You see these advertised all over.
    Facebook, Amazon, ebay...

    We've had more than a couple of people here that bought one of these, insisting there is XXTB actual drive space in there and wondering how to enable it.
    There is not.
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    As far as shoddy computer parts go, I would much rather people learn their lesson about "too good to be true" products on something like this than something like a $30 1000w Rocketfish PSU. At least with this thing you just lose money, not your house in a fire.
    Reply
  • DingusDog
    I would never hook this thing up to my computer hacked Chinese firmware sounds fun.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    DingusDog said:
    I would never hook this thing up to my computer hacked Chinese firmware sounds fun.
    Yet people do...

    https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/how-to-test-storage-capacity-of-16tb-ssd-drive.3767347/
    https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/16tb-ssd-drive.3773010/
    https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/aliexpress-ssds.3766737/
    Reply
  • Aaron44126
    Shouldn't someone be criminally liable for selling these? False advertising? Counterfeiting? I mean, you can open one up and see that it just contains a pair of 512MB microSD cards. It's one thing to get one from some shady site, or eBay, but here they are showing up at big-name retailers. Does Walmart just ignore responsibility for products that they are listing on their site that ship from third-party sellers?
    Reply
  • AgentBirdnest
    USAFRet said:
    Pennies to create.
    At most, $1.
    Thanks for that summary. :)
    Reply
  • escksu
    I find the circuit board quite interesting. It actually has 2 micro sd slots.
    Reply
  • TheOtherOne
    Aaron44126 said:
    Shouldn't someone be criminally liable for selling these? False advertising? Counterfeiting? I mean, you can open one up and see that it just contains a pair of 512MB microSD cards. It's one thing to get one from some shady site, or eBay, but here they are showing up at big-name retailers. Does Walmart just ignore responsibility for products that they are listing on their site that ship from third-party sellers?
    Who wants to send an FBI team to China to investigate some sweat shops for selling fake products for $ 20 - $30 that costs them around $5 to produce? ¯\(ツ)
    And as far as the retailers like Wallmart go, they can simply blame it onto the supplier and provide refund if/when asked.
    Reply