Not all SSDs were designed equally. Some, more expensive models, are designed to offer faster read/write speeds, better durability, and so on. These are the distinctions people look for when they are shopping for a new SSD, so it’s important that manufacturers are honest and transparent about their specs.
However, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Western Digital’s WD SN550 Blue. This is a new SSD by the company that costs around $200, making it a great value for money purchase for those shopping on a budget. However, it seems that the units WD shipped out to reviewers versus the ones that are actually being sold to customers are different from each other.
This was initially discovered by Chinese review website Expreview who found that WD might have actually swapped out the flash used in the Blue SN550 units. What this means is that initial performance is on par with the original units that were sent out to reviews, but once the SLC NAND cache is exhausted, performance dips considerably to around 64% of the performance of the original.
It has been suggested that the pandemic and the global chip shortage is forcing manufacturers to seek alternative components, which is understandable. However, the issue many seem to take here is the lack of transparency because this means that customers are buying a product expecting to perform as advertised, only to find out that it doesn’t.
The reports from Extreme Tech and user comments have indicated that WD isn’t alone in this, and that other manufacturers such as Adata, Crucial, and Patriot have also swapped out components in the past.