SSD Drives: Good For the Long Haul?
Solid State Drive (SSD) technology has been taking over the mass storage market rapidly. But there's always been uncertainty about the useful lifespan of a solid state drive, as compared to a traditional magnetic drive. Will your SSD conk out suddenly, or will it last for years? Read on...
SSD Drives Keep Going and Going
SSD capacities keep rising, prices keep falling, and SSDs show up in everything from phones to desktop gaming PCs, high-end workstations, servers, and any place where magnetic hard drives have dominated for decades. It’s easy to understand the enthusiasm for SSDs.
An SSD drive is much faster than a magnetic drive; that means faster boot times and more responsiveness in applications, particularly when dealing with large data files. With no moving parts, SSDs are silent and less subject to mechanical failures.
But rumors persist that SSDs won’t last as long as mag drives. Manufacturers provide warranties ranging between 3 and 5 years, but that doesn’t satisfy the skeptical. A warranty won’t replace your irreplaceable photos, videos, music collection, and so on. Everyone wants to know, “How long will an SSD last?”
The uber-geeks at Tech Report decided to answer that question once and for all by writing 100 MB blocks of data to six consumer-grade SSDs until all of the drives die. The torture test started in August, 2013; as of June, 2014, only half of the drives have given up the ghost. It’s obvious at this point that if your purchase a SSD today, it will probably outlive you.
The six drives tested are nothing special, just off-the-shelf consumer SSDs that you can pick up at Best Buy, Tiger Direct, or even Walmart. The line-up includes : the Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB, Intel 335 Series 240GB, Samsung 840 Series 250GB, Samsung 840 Pro 256GB, and two Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB.
Megabyte, Gigabyte, Terabyte, Petabyte...
Each of the drives is warranted to last for at least 200 terabytes of data writes. That’s a lot more than the typical home or small business user will write in 3 to 5 years. Usually, manufacturers tend to over-promise on such things, but these SSD drives are surprising everyone.
The first fatality, a Kingston HyperX 3K, wrote 728 terabytes before giving up the ghost. The second SSD to die was the Intel 335, at 750 TB. The Samsung 840 Series gasped its last at 900 TB.
Three SSDs have made it past the 1 Petabyte milestone. A petabyte is 1,000 Terabytes, a nearly incomprehensible number normally found only in NSA or NASA IT projects. The first three seasons of the HBO hit, “Game of Thrones,” in 1080p MP4 format, occupies 9,285,418,071 bytes (9.3 GB). One petabyte equals about 107,695 copies of that data set.
It’s noteworthy that NONE of the SSDs failed until they were 3.5 times past the manufacturers’ data-writing warranty, which is about 9-15 years’ worth of normal home use.
So if anyone suggests that SSDs don’t last as long as magnetic drives, point them to this article. If you really want to bury them in excruciating details about the Tech Report testing methodology, SSD data storage techniques, and other geekiness, point them to the still-running thread, SSD Endurance Test.
Bottom line, any of the latest crop of consumer SSD drives seems likely to outlive your computer, and will probably last as long or longer than a magnetic drive. But don't use that as an excuse to avoid doing regular backups. See my Backup Articles to learn more about that.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 24 Jun 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- SSD Drives: Good For the Long Haul? (Posted: 24 Jun 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved