Western Digital Hard Drives Switch to Inferior Technology Class Action

Western Digital Corporation makes hard drives. The complaint for this class action alleges that at some point, Western Digital changed from using Conventional Magnetic Recording (CMR) technology in its hard drives to Shingle Magnetic Recording (SMR) technology, which is inferior. The complaint claims that the company did not disclose the lowered quality and did not lower the price.

The class for this action is all persons in the US who bought the hard drives at issue:

  • WD Blue 3.5” 2 terabyte (WD20EZAZ)
  • WD Blue 3.5” 6 terabyte (WD60EZAZ)
  • WD Blue 2.5” 1 terabyte (WD10SPZX)
  • WD Blue 2.5” 2 terabyte (WD20SPZX)
  • WD Black 2.5” 1 terabyte (WD10SPSX)

Hard drive disks (HDDs) contain circular “platters” of magnetic materials that have billions of tiny areas that can be magnetized to become a “1” or demagnetized to become a “0”. This magnetizing and demagnetizing is done to write (or store) data. Later the data can be read back to retrieve it.

With Perpendicular or Conventional Magnetic Recording (CMR), the tracks are written side by side on the disk, without any overlap. According to the complaint, “CMR is used in most standard HDDs.”

With SMR, the tracks have a slight overlap, like roofing shingles. The tracks can thus be thinner, so that more information can be stored, for a lower-cost, high-capacity HDD. The complaint quotes an article in Tom’s Hardware as saying, “However, if new (or modified) data needs to be placed near existing data, the drive will have to overwrite the neighboring shingled tracks… That makes [SMR] drive[s] significantly slower at writing tasks, especially for random writes.”

There’s another disadvantage: The design of SMR technology, the complaint says, “makes permanent data loss more likely. Whereas data engineers can rebuild certain components on other storage types and recover lost data, the SMR data translators cannot be repaired. This can result in permanent data loss if the translators are damaged.”

Western Digital codes its HDDs by color. The black are purportedly the best. Western Digital markets its Black drives as having “[s]ophisticated performance-enhancing features [that] deliver the speed you need for demanding applications like photo and video editing and internet gaming.” It claims its Black drives deliver “[h]igh performance, high capacity, high reliability, and cutting-edge technology.” It claims its Blue drives are “aimed at mixing high capacity, fast sequential write/read speeds, and affordability.”

The complaint alleges, “Western Digital maintained that most of its drives were CMR-based until April 2020.” However, that same month, the complaint says, “Western Digital admitted that [certain of its] drives utilize SMR technology.” The complaint claims, “The use of SMR technology in WD Black Drives is particularly egregious because … the WD Black Drivers are designed for ‘high-performance users.’”

The counts include violation of New York’s General Business Law, fraudulent concealment, and unjust enrichment.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Western Digital Hard Drives Switch to Inferior Technology Complaint

June 16, 2020

Western Digital Corporation makes hard drives. The complaint for this class action alleges that at some point, Western Digital changed from using Conventional Magnetic Recording (CMR) technology in its hard drives to Shingle Magnetic Recording (SMR) technology, which is inferior. The complaint claims that the company did not disclose the lowered quality and did not lower the price.

Western Digital Hard Drives Switch to Inferior Technology Complaint

Case Event History

Western Digital Hard Drives Switch to Inferior Technology Complaint

June 16, 2020

Western Digital Corporation makes hard drives. The complaint for this class action alleges that at some point, Western Digital changed from using Conventional Magnetic Recording (CMR) technology in its hard drives to Shingle Magnetic Recording (SMR) technology, which is inferior. The complaint claims that the company did not disclose the lowered quality and did not lower the price.

Western Digital Hard Drives Switch to Inferior Technology Complaint
Tags: Computer, Fraudulent Concealment, Lower-Quality Item Sold as Higher Quality