Data recovery specialists complained about a serious drop in the

Data recovery specialists complained about a serious drop in the quality of USB flash drives

Data recovery company CBL said the latest microSD cards and USB drives are often found to have unreliable memory chips. Experts are increasingly encountering devices with stripped-down memory chips from which manufacturer information has been removed, as well as USB drives that use converted microSD memory cards soldered to the board. Against this background, CBL concluded that the quality of portable flash drives is becoming increasingly poor.

  Image source: Skitterphoto / Pixabay

Image source: Skitterphoto / Pixabay

“When we opened up failed USB drives last year, we found an alarmingly large number of low-quality memory chips with reduced capacity and the manufacturer’s logo removed. Defective microSD memory cards are also soldered to the USB drive and controlled by an external controller on the USB drive board instead of the internal controller of the microSD card itself.”said Conrad Heinicke, Managing Director of CBL Datenrettung GmbH.

  Image source: CBL Datenrettung

Image source: CBL Datenrettung

According to CBL, these are NAND memory chips that have not passed quality control, which were most likely manufactured by large manufacturers such as SanDisk and Samsung. Instead of being recycled, these chips somehow end up on the market. While studying low-quality drives, CBL specialists in a number of cases found the manufacturer’s name blurred out on memory chips, but they could still be identified as SanDisk products. In other cases, the memory chip manufacturer’s name and logo were removed entirely. More often, low-quality USB drives were identified among “promotional gifts”but in a number of cases such carriers were found among “branded products”although CBL did not specify which specific companies are supplying low-quality flash drives.

CBL calls QLC technology, which allows you to store more data in one flash memory chip, another ailment that modern flash drives suffer from. QLC chips have become too common in cheap drives. CBL says the combination of low-quality flash chips and QLC is exacerbating existing quality problems, so the company says, “You should not rely too much on the reliability of flash drives.”

CBL’s report did not address the issue of “cheat” USB drives that purport to have a capacity of several hundred gigabytes, but actually contain only 16 GB or even 8 GB of memory. However, such devices are also common and are designed using methods similar to the USB flash drives that the CBL warns about, such as using microSD cards.


About the author

Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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