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New Test Reveals Modern SSDs Can Handle ‘A Thousand Years’ Of Use

By Kishore Sawh on December 7th 2014

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It’s not uncommon for people to pay through their teeth for nice glass, and for the camera bodies they are attached to. They’ll further spend on image processing software, and on education, and then, when walking down the memory card aisle at their local Best Buy, choose the cheapest memory card on offer. This is somewhat amazing considering that memory card is what’s going to store the product of your time and earnings.

It’s much the same with picking storage drives that are either external or within a computer. Generally, the question comes down to choosing a standard hard disk or a solid state drive. Which one to choose? How much better are SSD drives really? The Tech Report has taken 6 drives, some top of the line, to forcible and continuously write and re-write 10GB of varying size of files so see just how well solid states fare.

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All drives far surpassed their marked ‘limits’ before failing. Two specifically have written over two petabytes (1000 terabytes) and are still going strong: the Kingsston HyperX 3k and Samsung’s 840 Pro. The report suggests that, at these rates, they would last the average user a thousand years. Now, that’s never going to happen, but the findings certainly suggest that SSDs will outlast typical hard drives by a long shot.

It’s worth noting that given the small scale of the test, the limited numbers of sample drives used don’t make for a really controlled experiment, especially given the nature of flash drives to be dependent on manufacturing oddities and variances regarding the actual cells.

See the entire test and detailed breakdown of performance here.

Source: Endgadget, TechReport

About

Kishore is, among other things, the Editor-In-Chief at SLR Lounge. A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

13 Comments

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  1. Peter Paul

    That Samsung 850 Pro is so far the fastest in the market, and quite expensive too. Here’s a review of the 256GB capacity http://thepcenthusiast.com/samsung-850-pro-ssd-review-256gb/

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  2. Peter Nord

    One of the reason home stuff is cheaper than what one finds in the industrial environment is the layers of protection. I bet the various layers of power conditioning equipment I used cost a lot more than your computer. And yet I was only protecting one server. It ran 24 hours a day, seven days a week for years. Never stopped. Never a problem. And I had battery back-up. Had to turn it off once in a while. A tornado blew over all the power lines, once lightning destroyed the main power transformer outside the building, like made pieces of it fly through the air. Never bothered the computer which I would turn off after power failure as the battery back-up was only rated for a few hours. So if you can’t condition the power, back up frequently. Stuff happens.

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  3. Hannes Nitzsche

    About 6 months ago I bought two Samsung EVO SSD’s for my editing laptop in order to speed up Lightroom in particular(it’s still slow but at least not unbearably slow!). To my surprise and as an absolute shock,both these hard drives have died so far. The first one – my OS drive – got corrupted and I needed to wipe the OS and install new(I wasn’t downloading or doing anything else that would normally attract a virus). About two weeks later my secondary SSD – my photography disk with all my raw files, LR cataloges, etc – just died… out of the blue… I lost a few files and even more edits but luckily backed up the bulk of my work the week before which limited the damage. I realized that I was using my laptop on both occasions on the same power plug the night before the problems started. My assumption is that power surges caused both faults and I immediately started to research this issue online… Apparently SSD’s are far less stable in events like power surges than HDD’s and it is recommended to use a UPS(uninterrupted power supply) unit with them… I am very disappointed about this as SSD’s are still very expensive compared to HDD’s and should have the same protection against common power issues as the previous version of storage disks…
    Apparently I am not alone with these issues. If you search “Disappearing SSD” or “SSD Power Surge”, there’s thousands of cases out there with the same problem…
    I’m not saying that you shouldn’t buy one – the improved performance is sure noticeable and much appreciated – but make sure you have a bullet proof backup plan or you’re risking a lot of headache and loss of your files …

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    • Herm Tjioe

      Yes, this and some other quirks of SSDs are what’s keeping me at the sidelineas far as storage medium. It is not mature and reliable enough as disks.

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    • Joseph Wu

      Samsung 840 EVO are very low grade consumer drive using TLC NAND. It also does not have power loss protection, which is what most likely you endured. If you were writing to the drive and a sudden power loss occured, the tables may have not been re-written properly thus causing corruption.

      IIRC, samsung released a few firmware updates to combat this issue. It goes without saying you get what you paid for.

      You wouldn’t trust a $5 CF in your DSLR either would you?

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  4. Herm Tjioe

    Lots of SSDs being introduced into the market now. Weeding out the the poor ones will take time. Consolidation will eventually happen, as the major players shift to SSDs from platter-based drives. Until then, it’s a bit daunting to select who has the best track record. I’ll sit this one out for a bit longer.

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    • John Cavan

      Backups are your protection for drive failure and you should be doing that regardless of whether or not your primary drive is SSD. In that event, going with any major name in this arena such as Sandisk, Intel, Samsung, or the like, is a non-issue. The speed difference to be had as a result of SSD is distinct and immediately noticeable in just about every way.

      In any event, the major players *are* shifting to SSD (check out Apple, for example) and the price is dropping. I would not buy a new machine that had platter-based disks in them, it’s a non-starter for me.

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    • Herm Tjioe

      John, as a OS drive it is a great speeed improvement. But as a storage medium, no. Far from being as good as the platters and it has issues with the memory sectors that is not going to be corrupted as soon. It is making great advancement, but not reliable enough. There are other niggling issues that is currently being engineered to be as reliable as the trusty platters.

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    • Joseph Wu

      “Corrupted memory sectors” – What do you mean by this? SSD’s don’t magically corrupt themselves, unless you’re using heavily abused ssd’s or ones with bad firmware. Same thing could happen with HDD’s and even more likely.

      SSD’s generally have far higher ECC than your run of the mill desktop drives. SSD’s are also rated to “gradually” fail if you monitor it’s attributes and don’t pick a drive with known firmware issues.

      I’ve put my SSD’s in RAID configs and hammered them with hundreds of terabytes of writes in the last year, and they’ve held up perfectly fine.

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    • Herm Tjioe

      Joe, as you yourself have mentioned, these SSDs in general have issues, soft and hardware, that you pore over tests published in various esoteric sites to gain a good handle to avoid the lesser performing drives. But the HDDs have done all that , call it maturity, and chances are you’ll pick a better odd of getting a decent one . . .but avoid Seagate, LOL.

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    • Herm Tjioe

      I had my old server unit I built hard drive fail after 10 years. It was a Western Digital, Given that life expectancy average of about 5 years, I’d say it has exceeded performance well.

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    • John Cavan

      Sorry, but I have to utterly disagree as a technologist in the enterprise software space. SSD is absolutely the only way to go with data these days, it’s enormously faster than traditional disk and easily as reliable, if not more so. All current high-speed SAN solutions are SSD based because it’s reliable and massively faster than platters, mechanical solutions with moving parts are much more fragile, that’s just physics coming into play. A high grade SSD drive will easily outlast you.

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    • Herm Tjioe

      I don’t deny that there is a speed advantage and picking one high grade model from the rest of lesser grade is still a gamble when there is an ever expanding selection out there.

      What SSDs still have a monumentally hard time to do is availing itself to have data recovery should it fail, worse when electromagnetic burst of energy caused the fail.

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