An investigation has uncovered some alarming behaviour from SSD makers. According to analysis and tests by Tom's Hardware, certain SSD makers have grown bold in swapping product components willy nilly, likely done to trim costs and earn fatter margins on goods sold rather than to improve products over time.
Its most damning findings concern Adata, a company whose SSDs you can readily purchase in the UK. As per our sub-headline, one Adata SSD model which was tested was over 40 per cent slower in file copy operations, as well as exhibiting a 500MBps decline in light workloads after the unadvertised component changes.
After noticing the above, the investigation focussed comparisons and testing on the Adata XPG SX8200 Pro which won an award from Tom's Hardware when it was reviewed back in 2018 and was highly a recommended product to those looking to buy in subsequent months. The investigation noticed that Adata has since changed not just the controller but the firmware and the NAND – without any information shared about the change.
Adata has made a statement about the findings and asserts that controllers were updated to newer models from controller maker SMI, bringing along improvements such as greater storage durability. It went on to say it guaranteed that every XPG SX8200 Pro would perform to spec. However, Tom's Hardware did find some versions below performance spec and noted that the spec was rather broad to begin with. Adata SSD specs mention an SMI controller but not the model, providing them component switching latitude. Last but not least the SMI component switch didn't seem to be to a newer choice but a contemporary alternative choice.
To back up its report findings and conclusions Tom's Hardware tested three Adata XPG SX8200 Pro variants in various use cases and benchmarks. In summary it was rather disappointed that the original version reviewed was a noticeably better performer in a wide range of tests. Readers who followed the site's recommendation also had no way of knowing what component swaps had been made – as no information was provided about this by Adata.
Not all component choice changes, whether mentioned by the product maker or not, will be to the detriment of the product. The best companies will upgrade parts as they become available AND notify customers of the changes via spec sheets / packaging/ model number increments.