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Facepalm: The Western Digital-owned SanDisk brand of external storage isn’t doing very well right now, as angry customers are lamenting that their precious data is being compromised by failing SSDs. The company says a firmware update solved the issue, but the true reason behind the defective drives could be hidden elsewhere.

While Western Digital is facing a class action lawsuit over failing SanDisk SSDs, a new report coming from an Austrian-based data recovery company has seemingly discovered the real issue within the defective drives. According to Attingo, the entire hardware design is flawed and no firmware update will solve this kind of problem alone.

The Austrian firm says that its technicians have now fixed a large number of SanDisk portable SSD units, with “at least” one person bringing a new SanDisk device in every week. After examining the drives, Attingo has seemingly confirmed that the failing devices are affected by poor welding jobs and oversized components.

Interviewed by German site Futurezone, Attingo said that the SanDisk drives show a noticeable amount of errors. This is a hardware problem, not a firmware one, the company stated, with the main issues being the device’s design and construction weakness. The entire soldering process of the SSD is flawed as the soldering material creates bubbles that make things break more easily.

In an official statement following Attingo’s accusations, SanDisk denied that its SSDs have such outstanding hardware flaws. The company takes the quality of its products very seriously, the statement reads, and employs carry out “rigorous” testing procedures for all its SSD products before shipping them to retailers.

SanDisk says that its products experience an intensive DFM (design for manufacturing) quality assessment, while PCB assembly and design follow industry standard guidelines. The company gets its solder paste from an industry-leading supplier, and conducts “rigorous product-level qualifications” prior to shipping including thermal, vibration, humidity, shock and more.

SanDisk is still adamant about the fact that the failing SSD drives were impacted by a “firmware issue,” and that the issue has been “successfully addressed” by a recently released firmware update. The company is, however, gathering more information, as the aforementioned update hasn’t actually solved anything according to many users and publications.

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