Western Digital Denies Hardware Issues With SanDisk Extreme Pro SSDs

Western Digital
(Image credit: Western Digital)

Western Digital denied that some of its SanDisk Pro and other external SSD fail because of a hardware problem, as stated by the head of Attingo, a data recovery company, last week. In a statement released to PetaPixel, Western Digital claimed that it ensures product quality through a thorough design for manufacturing process, adherence to IPC standards for PCB design and assembly, use of high-quality solder paste, and extensive pre-shipment testing.

"The recent statements suggest that hardware components may have been responsible for the firmware issue that impacted certain SanDisk Extreme Pro 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB, SanDisk Extreme 4TB, and WD My Passport SSD 4TB portable SSDs earlier this year," a statement by Western Digital reads. "While we are working to gather more information, at this time we do not believe hardware issues played a role in the product concerns that we successfully addressed with the firmware update."

Markus Häfele, Managing Director of Attingo, a data recovery company with over 25 years of data recovery experience, told an Austrian website that his company encounters failed SanDisk Extreme, SanDisk Extreme Pro, and WD My Passport SSD. Western Digital is even facing a class action lawsuit because of these failures.

Häfele noted multiple hardware issues with these drives, including mismatches between the size of the components and the circuit boards they are attached to. This mismatch leads to unstable connections and overheating, which in turn makes the SSDs more susceptible to damage. Furthermore, the solder used in these devices tends to form bubbles, compromising its integrity and leading to easy breakage. The root cause of actual failures — whether it is the low-quality solder, the inappropriately sized components, or a combination of both — remains unclear, but the drives fail because their hardware fails.

(Image credit: Attingo)

Specialists from Attingo observed that recent versions of these SSDs have been altered by adding extra epoxy resin, presumably to better secure the ill-fitting components. This alteration suggests that their producer might be aware of these hardware flaws and tried to fix it. Yet, despite these changes, the newer models of the SSDs are still prone to failures, resulting in a steady stream of customers seeking data recovery services from companies like Attingo.

Nonetheless, Western Digital continues to insist that some of its SSDs failed because of firmware problems, which have been fixed. It is unclear why newer version of these drives reportedly continue to fail, however.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • bigdragon
    I've encountered too many products intentionally designed or built to have a limited lifespan. From large appliances to handheld speakers -- products seem designed to last only the duration of their extended warranty and then fail. I'm inclined to ignore WD's excuses and believe Attingo here. I'll be avoiding SanDisk external drives.
  • atomicWAR
    Sounds more like a case of the built in obsolescence trigger being pulled prematurely because the design was SO bad even WD didn't think they'd fail this fast.

    WD gets an A+ in failure.
  • Phaaze88
    Planned obsolescence, the long(?) con subscription model.
  • Li Ken-un
    = consumers deny Western Digital revenue

    What’s the next Western Digital FAFO to lower consumer trust in it even further?
  • HaninTH
    My question is: Is all of this idiocy really cheaper than just producing a reasonable product? At this point, I find it hard to believe that they don't already know the best methods to limit lifespan to ensure repurchases, so is this just a case of someone in product design QA being out sick that day? And is only 1 person really in charge of that?