Name that Ware May 2011

The ware for May 2011 is shown below. Click on the image for a much larger version.

I’ve cropped out about 70% of the circuit board, but I think there are still ample details remaining to enable you to guess this one reliably, probably down to the model and part number. Have fun!

I think it’s interesting how the epoxy underfill on the center BGA has depressions in it to reveal the test points underneath (I think it’s also heartening that they elected to use underfill). I wonder how this was accomplished. Underfill is chosen specifically to have good wetting properties, and it cures hard. So, the only way I can think of making those depressions in to attach a jig that’s present while the underflow cures. Seems like a lot of effort for two test points, one of which could be easily moved to a zone outside of the underfill’s reach.

Also, to readers unfamiliar with underfill — a number of people have shown me boards with underfill on them, and have incorrectly identified the underfill as an anti-tamper security measure. While underfill does make it harder — although not impossible — to remove the chip, the technology was not developed primarily for security. Underfill exists because BGAs have a tendency to delaminate and crack off of the PCB, resulting in reliability issues over time. The mechanism can be due to vibration, shock, flexing, or thermal cycling. Thermal cycling is a natural result of warming and cooling due to turning the device on and off. The chip package and the mating board grow and shrink at different rates due to different coefficients of thermal expansion. This causes the solder balls to undergo a mechanical stress that can eventually lead them to shear or crack. The Xbox360, for example, lacks underfill on the GPU, and this could be a contributing factor to the infamous “Red Ring of Death” issue.

Underfill is quite standard on all manner of gadgets that can be carried about, flexed, dropped, and/or subject to vibration. However, underfill is devilishly tricky to apply correctly. If air pockets are trapped during the application of the underfill, it can actually make the problem worse by concentrating all the stress in the air pockets. Hence, the epoxy used for underfill in uniquely engineered and (if your factory is doing it right) applied by a robot to ensure that no air is trapped in the gap underneath as it flows underneath the soldered-down BGA. Which leads to why I find the test points poking through the underfill to be interesting, because the epoxy should have flown right over the bumps, even if it was temporarily displaced for testing prior to curing; and after curing, the epoxy should be rock-hard and impenetrable to test probes.

20 Responses to “Name that Ware May 2011”

    • You may be right, and good work on finding it quickly, but I am left wanting for a detailed analysis! I hoped for some exciting expert analysis based on the photo alone rather than a quick spoiler…. well, maybe next NtW.

      Could we have a no-spoiler mode where all posts are hidden from the public for the first couple of days? I’ll never get a shot at actually playing NtW fairly. I already reload Bunnie’s Blog daily hoping for a new NtW and finally I do! But 14 responses already and spoiled after only 15 minutes.

  1. Jeff Epler says:

    Intel SSD 320 or similar.

  2. chris says:

    i concur. but i think it’s an older ssd controller since it’ from 2008.

  3. investigador_64 says:

    It looks like a disc ssd, to the left side part of the flash chips is observed, above(up) a cache rma is observed, the chipset of the center has in the pcb lines that possibly are the channels sata.

    • Crazyachmed says:

      The pin count matches a SATA power and data connector. The (larger) power connector has some pins labled “5V” which fits connector spec.

  4. Plaid says:

    It’s an Intel SSD of some sort, but I’m more interested in the issue the camera has with overexposed regions.

    • I noticed that too. At first I thought Bunnie had edited it to highlight a region, but in fact the extremely overexposed areas caused some sort of CCD bleeding, but why only in the green channel, and why only to the right side? The article Artifacts in pictures has some interesting comments on CCD artifacts due to overexposure.

      • nitro2k01 says:

        Why green? This is explained in the page you linked.
        Why only the right side? It’s not only the right side. It’s all over the place. Most notably, it’s on the big pad with a missing capacitor between the controller and the flash chips, and also on shiny pads everywhere in SSD land-town.

  5. JC says:

    It’s an Intel SSD320 series. Pictures from Tom’s Hardware’s review is here: (,2908-2.html)

  6. Crazyachmed says:

    Quick Google search gives us some nice pcb shots in this review

    We can easily see 4 of the 6 capacitors added for power loss protection (as stated in the article), so it is definitivly an 320 Series SSD.

  7. Jack says:

    It’s definitely the Intel 320. See this picture:

    The chip is from ’08 since the 320 uses the exact same controller as the X25-M G2 but with a improved firmware.

    This page has some more pictures:

  8. Devlin says:

    Might it have been possible to apply the underfill the way it is if the test points were covered with wash-away, soldermask? This might explain why there are areas of pads that are free of solder, like on C307.

  9. Wang-Lo says:

    But what would keep the jig from becoming epoxied to the board? Then lifting the jig could apply enough force to peel up the edge of the underfill, delaminate the test point and its run, or cause other damage.

    Perhaps the jig was made of tinned wire, pressed or soldered to the test points. Once the epoxy had set, a bit of heat would melt the solder coating, freeing the jig.


  10. Looking at the photo, I’m not sure what you are referring to as “the two test points”. Are they the two copper pads to the lower right of the chip, or the two shiny metallic points above the chip?

    Either way, as regards having the epoxy not wet them: wetting is a matter of surface chemistry. Even though the epoxy is designed to wet ordinary PCB materials well, there’s probably some surface treatment that will repel it.

    • jpr says:

      I highlighted the two testpoints he was referring to:

      They seem to be scattered all over the place, didn’t even notice them at first.

      You are right there are also much larger round unsoldered testpoints in other areas. Perhaps they were created using different software tools. Some were definitely used for automated testing, as you can see the indentation from the sharp pogo probe.

      I will admit I’ve never seen the smaller style testpoints, I have no idea how they are used.

      • f4eru says:

        The small testpoints with solder bumps are needed on high speed transmission lines, which cannot afford a mismatch caused by a round testpoint. It also saves space.

        I think the strange epoxy behaviour is oly caused by flowing around the solder bump, or wetting issues. The underfill has a very low viscosity.