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Old 10-03-2012, 04:30 AM   #1
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Default SSD Read / Write Life

Morning All,

Just a quick question, it looks like the computing world is moving towards SSD drives now for their pure speed over hard drives but I have a question relating to the life of them.

I'm presuming they are based on the exact same thing as USB memory sticks (flash memory) which usually have a max read / write times of around 10,000 or so?

Given the amount of times that windows writes to your hard drive during a normal windows session just browsing the internet or somehting similar aren't the lifespan of these drives going to be very short.

P.S i just plucked the number of 10,000 out the air as i "think" i read it somewhere. I'm probably drastically wrong?
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: SSD Read / Write Life

The Solid State Drive is still too new to evaluate it's life with absolute certainty. However, I can tell you that my original Intel X25-M 80GB, after almost 3 years of use, is showing no degradation at all.

Same with my Crucial 256GB, after almost 2 years. Most knowledgeable SSD owners are very comfortable that a life span of 8 to 10 years is a reasonable expectation.

It is now becoming obvious that an SSD life span is certainly longer than a mechanical hard drive.

There are applications, such as the one I've attached below, that attempt to measure the read/writes over a period of time, to then extrapolate an expected life.

As you can see, it's been evaluating my 1 year old Mushkin 240GB SSD, for the past week. It has determined that the drive can be expected to operate for approx. 10 more years. Keep in mind that this drive is my primary OS drive, and is in use all day, every day, 7 days a week, and was evaluated as such.

I hope this all helps to answer your question.
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:20 AM   #3
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Default Re: SSD Read / Write Life

Ssd drives do have a finite number of writes which is referred to as "write endurance" but there are a number of reasons why it's not really a concern. First of all, that finite number is pretty large and refers to how many times an individual data cell on the drive can be written to and there are literally billions of data cells. What that means is that it doesn't happen that all of a sudden your drive can't be written to but that only those individual cells become read only when they hit their max. Early ssds hit this point more often because the file system has a tendency to keep writing data in the same place. Current ssds make sure that writes are spread over the entire disk so that the same cells aren't used repeatedly.

In addition, as the capacity of the drive goes up, there are more data cells to spread the writes across so the issue becomes less severe.

At any rate, current ssds should easily last 5 years or more for a heavy user and longer for an "average" user.
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: SSD Read / Write Life

Another thing we see a lot with SSDs is their capacity is almost always divisible by 8.

In mechanical hard drives, it was common to see 120GB, 250GB and 500GB drives. For SSDs, common sizes are 128GB, 256GB and 512GB.

Commonly we see a 240GB SSD. In most cases it has 256GB of flash memory, with the drive only showing up as 240GB. The reason for this is wear leveling of the drive. As the drive loses clusters, the drive won't "shrink" as quickly, prolonging its life further.

At the very least, modern SSDs will last as long as, if not longer than, a mechanical hard drive.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: SSD Read / Write Life

Guys thanks!!

This is exactly the info i was looking for.
So i'm guessing that the 10,000 writes could potentially be true that i read but that's 10,000 for each data cell on the drive thus increasing the actual number or writes to the drive itself drastically!

Good to know. I was thinking of getting one for my work machine coz I am a heavy user of SQL Server and my memory and processor are fine but i think i could speed things up by getting an SSD drive but i was worried about the life span.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: SSD Read / Write Life

Good points by both strollin, and Ohsnap...

Most folks I speak with also feel that 5 or 6 years can be expected with heavy use, and 8 to 10 years with average home use.

Truth is, very few people keep the same hardware for more than 5 or 6 years anyway.

I'm so pleased, and impressed with the performance of solid state drives, that I use them exclusively, in all my machines. I just bought a new i5 3210M laptop a couple of months ago. The first thing I did was install a 256GB SSD. Boots in 13 seconds flat! Amazing technology.

I'm now using spinners for storage, and back-up only. I look forward to the day I can purchase a 500GB SSD for about $100.00, that will be the end of mechanical hard drives for me.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: SSD Read / Write Life

Dont have the pagefile on any solid state drive, because if you do, in 3 years you use about 10% of the drives life.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: SSD Read / Write Life

Quote:
Originally Posted by WYSIWUG View Post
Dont have the pagefile on any solid state drive, because if you do, in 3 years you use about 10% of the drives life.
Huh? If what you're saying is true, where 3 years would use 10% of the drive's life, then that means the drive would have a life of 30 years. Everything I've read says 5-8 years is the average life expectancy for an ssd.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: SSD Read / Write Life

Quote:
Originally Posted by strollin View Post
Huh? If what you're saying is true, where 3 years would use 10% of the drive's life, then that means the drive would have a life of 30 years. Everything I've read says 5-8 years is the average life expectancy for an ssd.
True, for the average home user. With the much longer write endurance of MLC used in gen 3 and 4 SSDs now-a-days that could be considered conservative. Add to that, most vendors have gotten much better at GC and write leveling across the cells.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:35 PM   #10
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Default Re: SSD Read / Write Life

That does not compute...if a spindle drive has heads that are always moving and the disk is spinning all the time even if the drive is on and not even doing work, then wouldnt the spindle drive fail before the solid state drive? But I know this is true with the SSD's

I'm more up with the play with networking, SQL and operating systems then Hardware
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