ComputerBase, a German news outlet, reported that PNY has significantly reduced the endurance rating for the brand's XLR8 CS3030 M.2 NVMe SSD. The recent change suggests that PNY might have secretly switched out some of the drive's core components for lesser quality parts.
The XLR8 CS3030 is a M.2 2280 SSD that runs on the conventional PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. The drive offers sequential read and write speeds up to 3,500 MBps and 3,100 MBps, respectively. Apparently, the performance between the new and previous revisions remains unchanged. While comparing the old datasheet with the new datasheet, we did notice that PNY no longer specifies the type of NAND that's used inside the XLR8 CS3030. For reference, the original XLR8 CS3030 used TLC (triple-level cell) chips. Although at this point in time, it's unknown if PNY replaced the NAND, the SSD controller or both.
It's not unusual for SSD manufacturers to swap out components. Big-name vendors, such as Kingston, Adata and Crucial, have all done so in the past. The problem arises when the maker doesn't communicate the changes to the consumer. Not every manufacturer produces their own components, so companies typically buy what's available on the market. Factors such as product cycles or shortages play a big role in whether vendors can secure the necessary components that were used in the original product.
PNY XLR8 CS3030 Specifications
|Capacity||TBW (Original Revision)||TBW (New Revision)||Difference||Part Number||Pricing|
At least on paper, the XRL8 CS3030's performance seems unaffected. However, it'll require thorough testing to see whether the new revision performs equally as the previous revision. In PNY's case, the latter revisions of the XLR8 CS3030 arrive with a substantial reduction in endurance, which can be just as important as performance.
The 500GB, 1TB and 2TB variants of the XLR8 CS3030 all exhibit up to 78.8% lower TBW (terabytes written) ratings — just a few figures shy of 80%. Even the entry-level 250GB version suffers from a 55.3% reduction. Despite the lower lifespan, PNY still lists the XLR8 CS3030 with a limited five-year warranty, same as before.
SSD warranties work in two ways. The manufacturer backs the drive for a certain time period or a rated endurance, whichever comes first. While PNY maintained the five-year warranty, the XLR8 CS3030 SSDs have lower endurance rating. If you're the type of consumer that torture your SSDs, the drive will likely exceed its endurance value before the five years is up.
The biggest question that PNY has to answer is whether the company will honor the previous or new TBW ratings for drives that are on the market. More importantly, the brand will have to define how it will handle with the warranty on the XLR8 CS3030 for consumers who've already purchased the drive. The specification sheets show that both the original and new revisions carry the same part number so PNY isn't openly disclosing the change.
For now, it's anyone's guess to why PNY modified the life expectancy of its XLR8 CS3030 SSDs. With the recent hype with farming Chia coin, PNY might just be frightened to have to deal with RMAs. Farming Chia on consumer drives is a bad idea since they'll probably perish in a matter of weeks, which is why Chia-designed SSDs like Sabrent's Plotripper exist.
ComputerBase reached out to PNY, and the company has admitted to the alteration. However, PNY refused to comment on what has change or the reason for the change. Nevertheless, we've reached out to PNY to see whether the brand will provide any further insights on the situation.