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Dell rebuffs claims of high SSD fail rates

updated 10:55 am EDT, Wed March 19, 2008

Dell Rebuffs SSD Fail Rate

Dell today denied claims that its solid-state drives were experiencing unusually high failure rates. Although it had not been directly linked to the problem by the Avian Securities analysis and instead had been the implied subject only in follow-up journalist reports, the company has effectively admitted that it was the subject of Avian's research but now claims that the analysis was fundamentally flawed, taking no input from Dell itself.

"The 20 - 30% failure and return rates cited by Avian Securities don't even vaguely resemble what's happening in our business," Dell Chief Blogger Lionel Menchaca said. "It's also true that Avian did not contact us while doing their research. Said another way, it's just not true."

The official instead suggests that the company's internal studies have shown the "vast majority" of SSDs chosen for Dell systems to be more reliable than typical hard disk drives, largely due to the lack of moving parts. Complaints about speed were also purportedly unfounded. First-run SSDs used in Dell systems have often performed at least as well as typical 5,400 RPM notebook drives, while newer Samsung SATA II SSDs often compete with better desktop hard drives, Menchaca added.

While Avian Securities is not known to have responded to Dell's claims as of press time, the message may address a larger concern that SSDs as a whole have been encountering widespread failure rates. Companies such as Apple and Lenovo have begun to depend on SSDs for key products in their computer lines.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So, macnn/electronista weren't even close, or were they? Don't know what to say that won't provoke some kind of a reaction from testudo. I know...I'll say this: "Great weather we're having!" ;-)

  1. MacScientist

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Methinks Dell doth ...

    ... protest too much.

    Dell is denying a charge that Avian did not make. Avian said the following:

    ... Approximately 10 percent to 20 percent of the flash notebooks shipping from the large manufacturer are coming back because of technical failure, Cohen said, far higher than the 1 percent to 2 percent of notebooks that come back because of technical failure with hard drives. ...

    Avian did specify which company was suffering these failures with SSDs. In his article about Avain's report, Michael Kannellos said:

    ... From my own research, I can tell you that Dell is so far the manufacturer that has promoted flash drives in notebooks the most. Dell gets its flash drives from Samsung. Apple just starting shipping flash-based notebooks. ...

    Clearly, Kanellos believes that Dell is the victim of the high return rate, but he explicitly states this nowhere in his article. The failure rate of SSDs is not the only disappointment revealed in the article. Their poor mediocre performance came as a surprise to their buyers. My sense of things is that Dell is concerned about perceived poor performance.

    My on take on this is that both the failure rate mediocre performance should have come as no surprise to anyone who understands the technology. Too many people, unfortunately, fell for the line that "SSD has no moving parts."

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