After being caught quietly downgrading some of its most popular hard drives last week, US tech company PNY has now confirmed the controversial move was to dissuade storage-hungry Chia farmers.
Fans of supposedly ‘green crypto’ Chia have reportedly snapped up swathes of SSD drives, run them into the ground in just weeks, and then exploited manufacturer warranties.
This led Taiwan-based Galax to add disclaimers to its website to warn users the company would void warranties on drives prematurely burned out by mining Chia.
As reported by Tom’s Hardware, New Jersey-based PNY went a step further. PNY has slashed the amount of data its XLR8 CS3030 SSDs can handle before they need replacing by up to 79%.
PNY’s 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB variants were previously able to process up to 3,115TB worth of data over time.
However, now even the largest of those drives will tap out after just 660TB, noted Neowin.
The move shouldn’t affect regular users too much. A PNY statement read (via Tom’s Hardware):
“For consumers using these SSDs as intended, the warranty time period will likely run out before they hit the Terabytes Written thresholds.”
Still, the decision will no doubt make the PNY’s drives far less attractive to Chia miners.
Chia’s causing some very familiar problems
Chia’s so-called “Proof of Space and Time” consensus algorithm has drawn steady criticism for contributing to across-the-board hard drive shortages.
- Proof of Space and Time was designed to make mining new coins more environmentally friendly.
- Chia wants to replace energy-intensive crypto mining rigs with mostly-empty hard drives.
- ‘Farmers’ use special software to prove they maintain free space on their disk drive.
New Scientist reported last month Chia had about 3 million TB of hard disk space devoted to mining it.
Chia’s popularity has led farmers to provoke a hard disk drought, similar to how Ethereum miners caused high-end graphics cards shortages earlier this year.