Supply chains and solid state drives

With contributions from Jay McKay

We’ve been looking at the supply chain information of various Solid State Drive manufacturers and have found at least two, Seagate and Micron/Crucial, who have actual data about their suppliers of conflict minerals. Samsung and SanDisk are also members of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, which commits to fair trade practices, but their content was mostly aspirational.  We’ve used Micron, through their consumer label Crucial, for many of our MacMini SSD upgrades and we’ll share performance and product reviews at the end of the semester. In the meantime, here is the data from each company for their sources of tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold (often shortened to 3Ts & G). Suppliers in both sets are validated by the Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative.


Current data

  • Of the 646 smelters reported in Seagate’s 2014 supply chain, 142 (22%) were validated as conflict-free while another 109 (17%) were actively participating in a conflict-free auditing program.
  • This represents a 46% increase in the number of conflict-free validated smelters reported in 2014 over 2013.

Next steps

  • Seagate inherited a supply chain from an acquisition of Xyratex and Accelerated Solutions Division, and they are focused on collecting data from these inherited supply chains.
  • Seagate will seek supplier commitments to conflict-free minerals, to request suppliers to have their smelters and refiners engage in the validation audit process, and then if necessary to convert to other preferred sources.


Current data

  • Of the 257 smelters reported in Micron’s 2014 supply chain, 122 (47%) were validated as conflict-free while another 55 (21%) were actively participating in a conflict-free auditing program.
  • This represents a 65% increase in the number of conflict-free validated smelters reported in 2014 over 2013.

Next steps

  • Smelters that refuse to participate in conflict-free auditing programs following reasonable engagement efforts will be targeted for removal from Micron’s supply chain.

  2 comments for “Supply chains and solid state drives

  1. Jeannie Crowley
    April 8, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Thank you so much for the information about the warranties. I’m also very committed to extending the lifespan of devices and I will add this to our purchasing criteria. I honestly didn’t know that 10 year warranties even existed anymore. As you said, there are so many different ways to tackle the ethical issues in tech and the sharing of info makes it easier to advocate for the features/ethos we want to see in products and components. As Anna Lappe once said, “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”


  2. restartoshi
    April 8, 2016 at 2:23 am

    Thank you for your tweet. I am so impressed with your commitment. and I have learnt a new perspective from your article. I also understand the difficulty to get the information as well.

    There would be many definition to be ethical. and your perspective is also very important.

    I am committed myself to make computer less disposable as a business practice. therefore I am able to recommend following SSDs.

    Samsung 850 Evo (5 years warranty)
    Samsung 850 Pro (10 years warranty)
    SanDisk X110, X210 (5 years warranty, the end of line)
    SanDisk X400, Z400s (5 years warranty)
    SanDisk Extremely Pro SSD (10 years warranty)

    Love and respect !


    P.S. It seems Toshiba/Sandisk SSD NAND cell has been produced in Yokkaichi, Japan. Toshiba/Sandisk might be beneficial from very strong rare metal recycle initiative in Japan since 90’s and more recently geopolitical /economical reason (as Japan imported rare metals form China heavily, Japan attempted to diverse resources, (from recycling – positive, from Africa – well it may not be so positive ?) But I am not sure they care about your concern? I have no idea about Samsung practice. Micron has a SSD Joint venture with Intel for long time. I have no idea about Intel practice

    At the moment, as I said, I stick to a single mind policy of “making things less disposable” therefore, long term warranty is the only my choice. I have been using Micron RAM for a long time, I love them as well. Please encourage Micron and others extend their warranty from current 3 years to 5 years at least.

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