Tuesday, July 6th 2021

Patriot Joins ADATA in Changing SSD Components Without Advertising, Documentation, or Spec Changes

Patriot has seemingly gone the ADATA way in changing components for at least one of its SSD products without updating the relevant documentation. The move in question affects Patriot's VPN100 SSD in its 2 TB capacity - it is currently unclear if there have been any more changes to that particular SSD stack or others in Patriot's portfolio. According to reddit user Hexagonian, he was surprised to open up his brand new Patriot VPN100 2 TB SSD to find that the components listed in Patriot's documentation don't fit at all with what's actually packaged in the SSD solution. Namely, Patriot's documentation clearly lists a Phison E12 controller paired with 2 GB of DRAM cache. However, the Patriot VPN100 user Hexagonian received featured the Phison E12S controller alongside just 1/4 of the announced DRAM cache, at 512 MB.

The SSD market in particular has been shaken by some companies silently changing their component choice for particular products. These changes are not that uncommon, mind you; especially due to the logistics and supply constraints that we are still getting out of on account of the pandemic, it's understandable that manufacturers replace some of the originally selected components with others that have either reduced pricing, higher availability, and so on. However, these decisions are particularly egregious when these changes have relevant impact on a product's performance. ADATA was one of the first SSD manufacturers caught red-handed in this game of component replacement. It's interesting how these component changes have never served to improve characteristics of these hardware pieces, however; changes have always seemingly pointed towards lower manufacturing costs whilst the end-user pricing remains the same.
After the user contacted Patriot customer support, a few interesting elements surfaced: Patriot's RMA account isn't being actively explored by the company, meaning that all RMA requests are going through general customer support. Patriot also responded to inquiries from the affected customer by claiming that they can't update their product spec sheets every time there is a component change. However, considering the product spec sheets are little more than self-contained, glorified PR announcements with a high-level component and performance listing, this just doesn't (or shouldn't) add up. Does it take that long to change the listed 2 GB of DRAM to 512 MB? Or to add an S to the Phison E12 controller that's listed? It seems obvious that it takes much longer for Patriot to actually change the components on their products (and validate, test, and update the manufacturing lines with the new components) than it takes to update a single PDF file on their website and issue a PR statement informing the general public of the changes. As for RMA, Patriot's representatives directed the customer directly to the retailer, instead of handling the issue themselves.

The issue here is more one of transparency, for now, than it is on ill-intentions from Patriot; for all we know, the E12 and 2 GB DRAM performs the same as the E12S controller paired with just 512 MB of it. We've recently seen how companies can do some magic on their DRAMless designs; and we don't have samples available for testing of the two Patriot drives in their different configurations. However, even if there isn't an issue with performance per se, there is the issue of transparency. Patriot wouldn't make changes that increased the bill of materials; those usually always come down, not up. As such, silently changing components from those advertised ones will of course generate these kinds of reactions from customers. The fact that Patriot did this change on an SSD that ships with an integrated heatspreader - which obfuscates access to the components themselves for verification - only serves to add insult to injury.

Perhaps the redesigned VPN100 is as good as the original. However, this is not the way to go about it. Spec-sheet comparison is one of the ways customers have of making an informed choice on their hardware parts; Patriot is seemingly looking to avoid that these spec comparisons make their VPN100 less desirable than another competing SSDs with higher DRAM counts. There's a thin line between advertising and false advertising, and one might argue Patriot crossed it fully with these silent changes.
Sources: Reddit user @Hexagonian, Phison E12S Spec Sheets, Patriot VPN100 Spec Sheets
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22 Comments on Patriot Joins ADATA in Changing SSD Components Without Advertising, Documentation, or Spec Changes

#1
ThrashZone
Hi,
Another company off the buy list.
Posted on Reply
#2
TheLostSwede
I had to RMA my original VPN100, as the heatsink didn't actually touch the controller, so it overheated.
The replacement drive had a different heatsink and a thicker thermal pad, but knock on wood, nearly two years later and it's still working without any problems.
That said, the RMA experience was flawless, so no complaints there. I guess their US office just doesn't care by the looks of it.
Posted on Reply
#3
Yttersta
So let's play the devil's advocate; what can a company do to avoid this really?

1: If they announce it up front, be honest and explain their reasoning, citing possible issues, such as supply chain problems, reliability, performance etc. then it will still be most people on the Internet who go up in arms, being unhappy about one or more of the reasoning behind and drafting rapidly controversial points and conspiracy theories. The company is judged as a result by both their current and prospect customers.
2: If they don't announce it up front, try to hide all of this under the rug; it still gets discovered, tested detailedly, and everything they could have cited as their reasoning is this time discussed as controversial points and conspiracy theories, whereas this time round us consumers have got sources with transparancy attending to the subject. The company is judged as a result by only their current customers.

Eh, whatever the company does; neither they nor the consumers can win. Because no change the result of which the company tries to sweep under the rug will be consumer oriented. And if it is even neutral for the consumer, you can be sure they'll market the hell out of it anyway. So the company simply chooses to go against the enthusiasts. That is why they always choose the first option and by losing maybe 5% of their market as a result, and already some of whom - let's be honest - would've gone and bought Sabrent/Samsung/HP or the likes anyway.
Posted on Reply
#4
TheLostSwede
YtterstaSo let's play the devil's advocate; what can a company do to avoid this really?

1: If they announce it up front, be honest and explain their reasoning, citing possible issues, such as supply chain problems, reliability, performance etc. then it will still be most people on the Internet who go up in arms, being unhappy about one or more of the reasoning behind and drafting rapidly controversial points and conspiracy theories. The company is judged as a result by both their current and prospect customers.
2: If they don't announce it up front, try to hide all of this under the rug; it still gets discovered, tested detailedly, and everything they could have cited as their reasoning is this time discussed as controversial points and conspiracy theories, whereas this time round us consumers have got sources with transparancy attending to the subject. The company is judged as a result by only their current customers.

Eh, whatever the company does; neither they nor the consumers can win. Because no change the result of which the company tries to sweep under the rug will be consumer oriented. And if it is even neutral for the consumer, you can be sure they'll market the hell out of it anyway. So the company simply chooses to go against the enthusiasts. That is why they always choose the first option and by losing maybe 5% of their market as a result, and already some of whom - let's be honest - would've gone and bought Sabrent/Samsung/HP or the likes anyway.
Or you know, they could've changed the model name to VPN101 and discontinued the VPN100, but that takes some effort to do and no sales person would want to spend the time on doing that...
Posted on Reply
#5
RedBear
Yttersta2: If they don't announce it up front, try to hide all of this under the rug; it still gets discovered, tested detailedly, and everything they could have cited as their reasoning is this time discussed as controversial points and conspiracy theories, whereas this time round us consumers have got sources with transparancy attending to the subject. The company is judged as a result by only their current customers.
I'm not sure about the reasoning in this second point, if they get discovered hiding this stuff the company is judged even by prospect customers, who could put the whole company in their own personal blacklist, like the user TrashZone pointed out above. At least if they're honest about the changed specs people probably are going to argue only about that specific product, rather than avoiding the whole current and future lineup because they mistrust that company.
YtterstaSo the company simply chooses to go against the enthusiasts. That is why they always choose the first option and by losing maybe 5% of their market as a result, and already some of whom - let's be honest - would've gone and bought Sabrent/Samsung/HP or the likes anyway.
The problem is that products like the VPN100 are designed and priced for enthusiasts, a regular folk who doesn't read reviews would buy a WD or Samsung SSD that costs less and has better brand recognition.
Posted on Reply
#6
TheLostSwede
RedBearThe problem is that products like the VPN100 are designed and priced for enthusiasts, a regular folk who doesn't read reviews would buy a WD or Samsung SSD that costs less and has better brand recognition.
The VPN100 was the cheapest Phison E12 NVMe drive available locally when I got mine and was for a long time, until Pioneer brought out a cheaper one.
Posted on Reply
#7
ymbaja
TheLostSwedeOr you know, they could've changed the model name to VPN101 and discontinued the VPN100, but that takes some effort to do and no sales person would want to spend the time on doing that...
This^^
Posted on Reply
#8
AsRock
TPU addict
ThrashZoneHi,
Another company off the buy list.
Same here, fckem. I am sure they will blame it on some thing else like game company's blaming piracy.

There is enough BS already with the stickers they put on them claiming you are not allowed to open the device.
can't update their product spec sheets every time there is a component change
It's a new product, updating the page of the original should not happen more so when they are nerfing the product.
Posted on Reply
#9
deu
As people are writing: this is a nogo for me too. There are so many companies NOT doing this sh**ty practice that im not even going to bother looking towards the products of said company. If indeed correct then patriot is now on my list of 'do not buy', so this is in my opion the most effective way to loose highend customers.
Posted on Reply
#10
mechtech
It wouldn't surprise me if Team Group did this. I bought some value ram after a review showed micron E chips. When my kit came in it had spectek chips...................
Posted on Reply
#11
Minus Infinity
That's criminal false advertising. They would be in deep sh!t in Australia under our consumer laws. Pathetic move and so another company I will black ban like Adata.
Posted on Reply
#12
watzupken
YtterstaSo let's play the devil's advocate; what can a company do to avoid this really?

1: If they announce it up front, be honest and explain their reasoning, citing possible issues, such as supply chain problems, reliability, performance etc. then it will still be most people on the Internet who go up in arms, being unhappy about one or more of the reasoning behind and drafting rapidly controversial points and conspiracy theories. The company is judged as a result by both their current and prospect customers.
2: If they don't announce it up front, try to hide all of this under the rug; it still gets discovered, tested detailedly, and everything they could have cited as their reasoning is this time discussed as controversial points and conspiracy theories, whereas this time round us consumers have got sources with transparancy attending to the subject. The company is judged as a result by only their current customers.

Eh, whatever the company does; neither they nor the consumers can win. Because no change the result of which the company tries to sweep under the rug will be consumer oriented. And if it is even neutral for the consumer, you can be sure they'll market the hell out of it anyway. So the company simply chooses to go against the enthusiasts. That is why they always choose the first option and by losing maybe 5% of their market as a result, and already some of whom - let's be honest - would've gone and bought Sabrent/Samsung/HP or the likes anyway.
The solution here is very simple, release a new model. If they are really that "honest", they should never have used an older model number and replaced slower hardware on it. They can be open about it by announcing some downgrade on the SSD, but they know people will buy hardware based on reviews, and because the reviews are based on the older/ faster drive, consumers will assume the new ones are going to be as fast. The initial announcement will just be forgotten after some time and hopefully people will continue to buy.

Would you be happy if you bought a car thinking it is going to run at a certain advertised spec, only to realised that the manufacturer have switched out the engine with a lower specced one? I am sure this is going to cause an uproar and it is also illegal. Even the likes of Nvidia is sensible enough to indicate LHR on the product to avoid getting sued.
Minus InfinityThat's criminal false advertising. They would be in deep sh!t in Australia under our consumer laws. Pathetic move and so another company I will black ban like Adata.
Yeah, I think people should call out such practice to their local regulators. Overall, I think I would recommend if you stick to the likes of Samsung and Crucial where they manufacture their own NAND, controller and DRAM. It is less likely they will silently switch out components since they are in control of the entire SSD. Any company that buys off the shelf components to produce their own branded SSD are susceptible to such practice. So far, Adata, Kingston, PNY and now Patriot are on the black list. I reckon if no regulator calls out such practice or if nobody sues them, more will just continue with this sorts of practice.
Posted on Reply
#13
Zareek
Yup, another addition to my blacklist. It at least makes it easier to pick a product when I need to buy something. I don't understand how this is legal anywhere. These are clear-cut cases of bait and switch!
Posted on Reply
#14
Aerpoweron
I have found out, that there are at least two different version. The VPN100-1TBM28B and the VPN100-1TBM28H. I can find review from 2019 on Tom's Hardware, and looking at their pictures, they have the B version.
I think the B version is the older one. It also hase more IOPs according to the specs in Mindfactory.de and Alternate.de.
I have ordered a B version now, since i already got a H version a few days back.
Any suggestions what tests i should run on them?
Posted on Reply
#15
TheLostSwede
AerpoweronI have found out, that there are at least two different version. The VPN100-1TBM28B and the VPN100-1TBM28H. I can find review from 2019 on Tom's Hardware, and looking at their pictures, they have the B version.
I think the B version is the older one. It also hase more IOPs according to the specs in Mindfactory.de and Alternate.de.
I have ordered a B version now, since i already got a H version a few days back.
Any suggestions what tests i should run on them?
That doesn't add up, as I have the H model and I got that in 2019. Or is it B, as the sticker has both on it..?

The one from reddit looks the same, but has a D on the sticker on the individual NAND chip in the end of the drive.



If there's a performance difference, something like CrystalDiskMark ought to show it pretty fast.
Posted on Reply
#16
Aerpoweron
TheLostSwedeThat doesn't add up, as I have the H model and I got that in 2019. Or is it B, as the sticker has both on it..?

The one from reddit looks the same, but has a D on the sticker on the individual NAND chip in the end of the drive.



If there's a performance difference, something like CrystalDiskMark ought to show it pretty fast.
Hi, you have a VPN100-2TBM28B. The last B in the model number is the one i mean. So you should have the older version with 2GB of DRAM cache.
My second VPN100 should arrive today. So i can run some tests :)
Posted on Reply
#17
TheLostSwede
AerpoweronHi, you have a VPN100-2TBM28B. The last B in the model number is the one i mean. So you should have the older version with 2GB of DRAM cache.
My second VPN100 should arrive today. So i can run some tests :)
Uhm, look closer, as it also says H under VNP100 Series.
But yes, this is the older version for sure, since I got it in 2019.
Posted on Reply
#18
Aerpoweron
TheLostSwedeUhm, look closer, as it also says H under VNP100 Series.
But yes, this is the older version for sure, since I got it in 2019.
You are right. There goes my hypothesis then. And i just wanted to give Patriot some "we label it differently" headroom :D
My second SSD will arrive tomorrow, not today. I will take a picture too. I am very curious about the label now :)

What does it say on your invoice of the SSD?
Posted on Reply
#19
TheLostSwede
AerpoweronYou are right. There goes my hypothesis then. And i just wanted to give Patriot some "we label it differently" headroom :D
My second SSD will arrive tomorrow, not today. I will take a picture too. I am very curious about the label now :)

What does it say on your invoice of the SSD?
No idea, as I said, I got it in 2019, so not something I still have.
Posted on Reply
#20
Aerpoweron
TheLostSwedeNo idea, as I said, I got it in 2019, so not something I still have.
SSD just came in. Funny enough, it has no retail package like the H-version. It is also missing the heatsink. Here some pictures with the chips.
Posted on Reply
#21
TheLostSwede
AerpoweronSSD just came in. Funny enough, it has no retail package like the H-version. It is also missing the heatsink. Here some pictures with the chips.
Well, that's clearly the same "budget" model that the guy on reddit got.
Posted on Reply
#22
Aerpoweron
TheLostSwedeWell, that's clearly the same "budget" model that the guy on reddit got.
It is the same price as the retail version. And according to Mindfactory, it even has better specs. (1GB of memory instead of 512MB) But the memory chip only seems to have 256MB...
The one where i posted pictures from:
www.mindfactory.de/product_info.php/1000GB-Patriot-NVMe-M-2-PCIe-3-0-x-3D-NAND-TLC--VPN100-1TBM28B-_1411285.html

Retail version:
www.mindfactory.de/product_info.php/1000GB-Patriot-Viper-VPN100-M-2-2280-PCIe-3-0-x4-NVMe-1-3-3D-NAND-TLC--_1304473.html
Posted on Reply
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