Crucial posted an article covering Chia Coin mining on its website this week, stating that "using Crucial SSDs for any crypto mining will void the warranty," marking a big change to its warranty policy. The article also included a snippet from the company's warranty saying that any damage from mining would void the warranty on all Crucial SSDs, heavily implying that this restriction applies to SSDs already in use. There was a big problem, though: We scoured Crucial's warranty and couldn't find any mention of cryptomining at all, making this appear to be a change to the company's warranty that would be applied retroactively.
We reached out to Crucial for details, and the company responded that the warranty hasn't been altered and that "any confusion created by the blog post was entirely accidental."
Unfortunately, the company altered the article on its website before responding to our query, but we had grabbed a copy before the change was made. Here's a screenshot of the offending text on the original version (and an archive link):
The image above (text below) shows that the statement says quite clearly, multiple times, that any crypto mining will void Crucial's warranty — but pay particularly close attention to the section that we've highlighted:
"Using Crucial SSDs for any crypto mining will void the warranty. Even the Crucial P5, which boasts impressive endurance rates that might tempt farmers to use it for Chia plotting, is not recommended for this use. All Crucial SSDs carry 3- or 5-year warranties, depending on the model, any of which could be voided for drives used to farm Chia or mine any other type of cryptocurrency.
"The warranty covers only defects arising under normal use and does not include malfunctions or failures resulting from misuse, neglect, abuse... Usage outside of normal intended use shall include but not be limited to "MINING" (e.g., cryptocurrency, data mining, mining farms)." — Crucial warranty statement
Crucial's own article attributed this statement to its SSD warranty, but no such clause actually exists in any of the company's documentation.
Luckily for Crucial SSD owners, the company says this is all a mistake (we'll provide its official statement below). Above, you can see the now-amended text on the company's website: "All Crucial SSDs carry 3- or 5-year warranties based on model, and with a maximum Total Bytes Written (TBW) based on capacity, whichever comes first."
It wouldn't be surprising if Crucial is grappling with the correct approach to the Chia mining phenomenon. Although Crucial hasn't said as much, it's entirely possible that the original snippet could be an accidental posting of a future change to its warranty policy that hasn't been finalized yet.
Creating Chia plots is an incredibly demanding workload that chews through SSD endurance at an alarming rate, posing a serious challenge for SSD makers. SSDs are generally warrantied based on two factors: Time and endurance (whichever comes first). Time is simple enough; the warranty covers a certain number of years of use. Endurance is the second variable, and it states how much data (in terabytes - TBW) you can write to your drive before the warranty is void. Unfortunately, Chia mining is incredibly unforgiving on consumer SSDs (the firm says you should use enterprise SSDs) and often voids the warranty by quickly exceeding the endurance rating (TBW).
Much like we saw with GPU vendors reducing warranties back in 2017 to deal with Bitcoin mining, SSD makers have begun to reduce warranties to dissuade Chia miners from using their products. However, the tactic thus far has primarily involved reducing the endurance rating, like PNY reducing its SSD endurance by 80%. Importantly, PNY's endurance reductions are not retroactive changes applied to products that have already been purchased. Instead, the policy only applies to products that were purchased after a specific date.
The changes outlined in Crucial's original text varied from PNY's approach in significant ways. It didn't represent a change to warranty based on endurance; instead, it simply claimed to void the warranty if the device were merely used for any type of mining. Mining consists of reading and writing workloads that are part and parcel of any type of use for any storage device, albeit at a faster rate. However, that faster rate of wear is already limited by the endurance stipulation in the warranty, making a wholesale mining ban a questionable tactic.
Crucial's sudden change is also problematic because the existing warranties don't mention this restriction, meaning it shouldn't apply to customers that have already purchased SSDs. The article heavily implied that this restriction applied to existing SSDs that had already been purchased, though. That's not to mention that no such language exists in any Crucial warranty.
Crucial tells Tom's Hardware that this is all an honest mistake (emphasis added):
"To clarify, our standard Crucial 3- year and 5-year SSD warranties have not changed. There are two parts to our current SSD warranties: calendar time (either 3 or 5 years) and/or total bytes written (up to 1200 Terabytes depending on the capacity), whichever comes first. That said, these standard warranty terms do apply to all Crucial SSDs."
"To reiterate the above…this is not a change to our warranty; we believe it is very likely that these sorts of applications will use up the TBW limit before the calendar time runs out, so this is an effort to educate our customers, so they understand the warranty parameters before they dive into crypto mining using consumer SSDs. As you know, it’s not the nature of the application at issue, but rather the vast amount of data written. The intent was to help educate the consumer on any issues that might arise with write-intensive applications. Any confusion created by the blog post was entirely accidental." — Crucial Spokesperson.
So, if you're an owner of a Crucial SSD, fear not: Despite an official communication from Crucial on its own website saying otherwise, using your SSD for mining Chia or any other cryptocurrency will not automatically void your warranty. However, Chia mining does chew through endurance at a rapid clip, so be sure you know the risks involved before you create new plots.