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Research firm calls out one of the largest system makers with 20-30 percent SSD drive failures or performance Issues

Solid-state drives have been all the hype in the last year and touted as holding the potential to beat out traditional hard drives in performance and reliability due to the use of non-volatile NAND flash memory. Though high prices are still typical for PCs shipping with SSDs, that barrier hasn't stopped consumers from getting their hands on a computer or device that features one.

Currently, an upgrade to a 64GB solid-state drive can cost the consumer a premium of $650 or more depending on the computer manufacturer -- a premium many are willing to pay for even the slightest increase in performance. Dell offers a 64GB SSD upgrade from a 250GB 5400RPM drive for about $720 in its XPS flavored notebooks.

A recent study done by Avian Securities, LLC. charges that one of the largest system manufacturers has an SSD failure rate of 20-30%. The study did not specifically state any names or name a system manufacturer as the culprit. However, Dell later confirmed that the reports were about itself, but went on to deny the numbers Avian Securities had come up with.

In a rebuttal at, a Dell insider states, "Here's the real story: the 20 - 30% failure and return rates cited by Avian Securities don't even vaguely resemble what's happening in our business. It's also true that Avian did not contact us while doing their research. Said another way, it's just not true."

Avian Securities states that 10-20% of systems from Dell are being sent back to the manufacturer due to technical failure while the rest are returned for reasons of lackluster performance.

The Dell insider goes on to back up the reliability of SSDs in Dell systems compared to traditional hard drives. "Our global reliability data shows that SSD drives are equal to or better than traditional hard disk drives we've shipped. Beyond that, return rates for SSDs are in line with our expectations for new technology and an order of magnitude better than rates reported in the press."

Aside from the Direct2Dell blog rebuttal, there has been no official statement from Dell regarding Avian Securities' claims. Dell hasn't published any numbers regarding the actual return rates of machines with defective or low performing SSDs.

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I don't understand
By KeithP on 3/19/2008 3:17:12 PM , Rating: 5
Apparently there is no reliable information stating the headline is true and in fact, Dell says it isn't true, yet you go with the headline anyway?

I guess it is all good if it gets clicks right?

RE: I don't understand
By gersson on 3/19/2008 3:23:36 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe they changed it but saying "Report:..." is a legitimate way to state the information. Otherwise it may seem you are picking a side.

Personally I think this is not true. Most likely people are regretting paying ~$800 for so little storage space.

RE: I don't understand
By PAPutzback on 3/19/08, Rating: -1
RE: I don't understand
By ImSpartacus on 3/20/2008 10:32:16 AM , Rating: 1
He said it was his 'personal' thought, as in opinion. I would hope opinion would be 'non-existent' in this article...

RE: I don't understand
By Inkjammer on 3/19/2008 4:58:24 PM , Rating: 2
True, but the article says "Dell reports..." when it's actually Avian who is reporting it.

RE: I don't understand
By Inkjammer on 3/19/2008 4:59:36 PM , Rating: 3
Nevermind, I can not read... aaaand I wish I hadn't written that now. I see it's Report: Dell, not Dell Reports.

I knew public education would fail me later in life.

RE: I don't understand
By KristopherKubicki on 3/19/2008 5:39:06 PM , Rating: 3
I knew public education would fail me later in life.

So you went to University of Illinois too? :)

RE: I don't understand
By tmouse on 3/19/2008 3:43:50 PM , Rating: 3
It would probably be better to leave the name Dell out of it entirely. The report did not name anyone, some other sites like speculated it must be Dell and Dell replied they were not seeing these types of numbers. I do not believe Avian securities is a free site so the actual report and numbers are not available. It would be fair to report that there have been reports of 20-30% failures in SSD's and leave it at that.

RE: I don't understand
By omnicronx on 3/19/2008 3:45:57 PM , Rating: 3
Seems to me like he gave both sides of the story, and let the reader come to a conclusion. I wonder where he came up with a concept like that? ..... ;)

RE: I don't understand
By PuravSanghani on 3/19/2008 3:52:38 PM , Rating: 2
Baking 101 in 10th grade :). Mix the flour and the egg in a bowl and let them do their thing.

RE: I don't understand
By crimson117 on 3/19/2008 4:25:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah but the title makes no mention of Dell's denial of this report, giving lopsided weight to the report's claims, in order to make a more sensational headline.

Thumbs down, Dailytech.

RE: I don't understand
By homebredcorgi on 3/19/2008 6:11:11 PM , Rating: 2
First off, I wouldn't be that surprised if these were returns due to buyer's high performance expectations not being met. Hardware failures though? 30% would be absurd. The manufacturer would be out of business already.

I agree with the headline comments. There's a difference between saying "A very reliable source says Dell has returns of 20-30% of SSD drives" and "some firm (reliable or not) says dell has 20-30% returns on SSD Drives." This is the problem inherent with bloggers trying to be journalists. Journalists do research to confirm the validity of sources while bloggers "leave it to the reader."

This headline just can't compete with: "Researchers: Basic Greenhouse Gas Equations Totally Wrong" which makes it sound as though the climatology community just realized they had things completely wrong, when in fact, two guys are disagreeing with the vast majority. Thanks for nothing.

RE: I don't understand
By theapparition on 3/19/2008 8:22:43 PM , Rating: 2
Hardware failures though? 30% would be absurd. The manufacturer would be out of business already.

Say hello to Microsoft and the Xbox360......once again, if you believe the reports from 3rd party sources, which I do not.

In all seriousness, does anyone know who this research company is. Are they funded by the Disk Drive Manufacturer's, since that's who gains the most from a report like this.

RE: I don't understand
By deeznuts on 3/19/2008 3:59:42 PM , Rating: 3
That's why he put "Report" in the title?

To believe or not to believe
By crystal clear on 3/20/2008 7:35:52 AM , Rating: 3
Aside from the Direct2Dell blog rebuttal, there has been no official statement from Dell regarding Avian Securities' claims. Dell hasn't published any numbers regarding the actual return rates of machines with defective or low performing SSDs.

Avian Securities claims ARE DIFFICULT TO BELIEVE because they do not give supporting information/data to back up those claims.

To quote a figure of 20 to 30%, has to be backed with relevant (statistical) data which is lacking.

Next whats are their motives behind such announcements & claims.

Next who manufactures these SSDs marketed by Dell.

Any OEM of any repute may it be Tier 1 or 2 have a return rate.
Now what percentage figure is considered normal & what % is considered as alarming or critical.

Dell P.R/Marketing should act decisively to prevent a drop in sales.

I remember D.T. use to publish articles on return/failure rate for the Xbox in the past,which eventually turned to be not only true but very alarming & critical for M.S.

Dell can send these SSDs to some independent organization like a university for rigorous testing & publish their results of such tests.

It should be interesting to read these test results & then draw the necessary conclusions.

By Lonyo on 3/19/2008 8:20:37 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not even sure how Dell could get a 20~30% failure rate mostly due to failures, since they use off the shelf drives manufactured by other companies, and they're putting them in PC's which are used to mechanical drives which use more power and produce more heat.
It seems impossible for the failure rate to be higher than mechanicals due to anything Dell does, and if it was a true report, it would be the drive manufacturer at fault (which would also imply that other companies who used the same drives would have similar issues).

If it's returns because people don't like their super expensive SSD's then that would make more sense. But in terms of failure rate, it seems an utterly ludicrous claim.

By mvrx on 3/20/2008 1:20:54 AM , Rating: 2
According to some other articles on the web, these aren't being returned out of failure.. People are annoyed that the performance sucks.

Yes, I've seen all the tests and everyone defending how great they are, but they aren't yet. They can barely beat the best regular hard drives in the real world.

I've said this about 10 times now on the SSD news threads in the last year. Tell me when these drives are clearing 200-300MB/sec and I start to get interested.

If a company like Fusion IO can hit 600MB, others will follow. Fusion IO has an advantage with Micron / Crucial technology though.

It is wasteful to put an SSD on a SATA interface. These belong on PCIe cards.

Questioning durability
By tygrus on 3/21/2008 5:49:41 PM , Rating: 2
Optional solid state (SSD) drive available in the coming weeks that delivers performance, reliability and durability because the flash-based storage has no moving parts.

Denial by Dell

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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