Western Digital, through its SanDisk brand, finds itself amidst a stormy controversy. They’re facing a lawsuit claiming that their portable SSDs have severe flaws, despite being marketed as rugged and reliable storage solutions. Several major tech publications, along with individual users, have reported significant data loss and drive failures.

Reports of SSD Failures

A major issue was raised when tech giants such as The Verge, in addition to forums like Reddit, started discussing the failure of these drives.

  • Individual users have reported drive failures since earlier in the year.
  • The Verge’s supervising producer experienced complete data loss on a 4TB SanDisk Extreme Pro portable SSD.
  • A supposed replacement drive sent by SanDisk to The Verge failed again, implying the problem could be widespread and not restricted to a specific model.
  • PetaPixel reported reliability issues with SanDisk’s Pro-G40 SSD, another premium portable SSD from Western Digital’s SanDisk Professional sub-brand.

The Lawsuit’s Claims

  • Spearheaded by plaintiff Nathan Krum and filed in San Jose, California, the lawsuit accuses Western Digital of shipping SanDisk Extreme Portable SSDs with significant defects.
  • Western Digital is alleged to have been aware of a firmware problem that causes drives to disconnect, lose data, or become unreadable by computers.
  • Models in question include SanDisk Extreme Pro, Extreme Portable, Extreme Pro Portable, and WD My Passport SSD.
  • Users receive the message: “The disk you attached was not readable by this computer”, leading to irreversible data loss.
  • The lawsuit further alleges Western Digital has not made public the serial number range of the impacted portable hard drives.

Financial Implications and Requests

  • The suit suggests Western Digital might be selling these defective drives at discounted rates to deplete their inventory.
  • Professionals handling large volumes of crucial data stand to lose hundreds to thousands of dollars if the data is irrecoverable.
  • The lawsuit is demanding remedies of $5 million, plus interest, fees, and costs.

Western Digital’s Actions

  • Earlier in the year, after the initial issues, Western Digital released a firmware update to address problems in specific models, including SanDisk Extreme Portable 4TB, SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable 4TB, SanDisk Extreme Pro 2TB, SanDisk Extreme Pro 1TB, and WD My Passport 4TB.
  • However, this update has been alleged not to solve the main issue causing drive failures and data loss.

Market Perception and Future Concerns

SanDisk drives seem to have a higher risk of failure than SSDs from rival brands. This could be because of SanDisk’s vast market penetration, but the reliability issues question the generally perceived lower risk of drive failures in solid-state storage. Digital Camera World suspended its recommendations for SanDisk and WD-branded portable SSDs due to the reported issues.

Need for Transparency

A clear statement from Western Digital addressing these issues is eagerly awaited by consumers, professionals, and tech enthusiasts. As the community looks for answers and resolutions, the industry is left speculating: are these price cuts a mere strategy or an attempt to clear out defective stock? A clear response from Western Digital is essential for clarity.

For additional insights on this issue, visit Digital Camera World.

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