Dell: Solid State Drives Work Fine

The PC vendor counters accusations that the solid state drives it uses with its PCs fail and have a high return rate.

Dell says its solid state drives are working just fine.

Officials with the PC vendor are denying a report released by Avian Securities that the SSDs the company offers as an option with many of its PCs have a high rate of failure and suffer from performance problems. Dell also denied that the return rate for its SSDs range from 20 to 30 percent.

Writing on the company's Direct2Dell blog, Dell chief blogger Lionel Menchaca rejected the Avian report and noted that the SSD technology that Dell uses performs as good as, or better than, traditional hard disk drives.

"Our global reliability data shows that SSD drives are equal to or better than traditional hard disk drives we've shipped," Menchaca wrote in a March 19 post. "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."

Marc Farley, another blogger who writes a separate blog for the company's EqualLogic storage business, also defended Dell's use of SSDs.

"Our SSDs do not use low cost, consumer multi-layer flash," Farley wrote. "They use high quality single level flash that has better reliability and performance (that's part of the reason for the perceived high cost). They don't have disastrous end of life failures from wear out-instead they are designed to convert to read-only devices."

Although Dell denied the report, it did not indicate what the exact return or failure rates of its SSDs were, and a spokesperson did not immediately respond to an e-mail asking for further comment. The Direct2Dell blog did note that Dell is continuing to move ahead with SSD and would begin using Samsung's 64GB SATA (Serial ATA) drives that it would rename Dell Flash Ultra Performance SSDs.

Since 2007, Dell has been one of the leading proponents of SSDs, which use NAND flash memory and offer greater stability, while generating less heat and noise compared with traditional hard disk drives.

While an SSD is an attractive option for some buyers, it also remains an expensive feature. A 32GB solid state drive can add as much as $500 to the base price of a typical notebook.

Dell has offered the SSDs as an option in several of its Latitude notebooks as well as its mobile workstations as a way to distinguish its PCs from other models in the market. The company continues to battle Hewlett-Packard for worldwide PC market share and now several other vendors, such as Acer, are looking to eat away at Dell's sales both internationally and in the United States.