The Hot/Crazy Solid State Drive Scale

My AData S599 failed in less than 6 months. It’s all your fault :wink: Like you, I would never go back to a mechanical drive, but I’d like a bit more than 6 months…

Odd, the particular brand i’m using leaves a 3 year warranty and a life expectancy for a million hours. How is that even close to a good deal for the manufacturer?

Backup? Naaaah, but sourcesafed and nothing you can’t reinstall on the system drive.

Is it just that the reliability of the new hotness isn’t there yet? Is last years slower model more reliable, or can you pay more for more reliability?

All this fuss - the future is here already and it isnt the current type of SSD. Keep your data & apps away from your computer whatever form your computer is and let your ISP & cloud provider have the hassle (check that you have a decent service level agreement)
I know speed and network availability is occasionally an issue at the moment but that will improve.
I can see a few situations where SSD are ideal at the moment - some Formula 1 teams use them as the vibrations from the car engines break hard drives in the pit team’s laptops(scary!)
I’ve still got conventional drives in my PCs, laptops and the Thecus SAN that’s been going strong for 3 years.

I’ve used SSDs. I know what they’re like, and for laptops I would use nothing else on account of the greater physical robustness.

But I can’t agree with the “Crazy/Hot” scale. The fact of the matter is, outside a few corner cases, SSDs for desktop storage don’t provide any particularly useful performance advantage. OK, your system boots faster. This will add up to entire minutes saved up over an entire year!

I will lose more time to having to replace faulty disks, restore from backup, and redo work lost since the prior backup, than an SSD will ever save. The SSD will save a few second a day. The failure will cause downtime of several days. That’s simply not a good trade-off.

I mean, sure, if I were compiling Linux kernels or Chrome all day, every day, then yes, I would probably get a net time win from using the SSD. But I’m not; nor are most people. Continuous high levels of random I/O just aren’t a common workload.

SSDs as a cache or scratch area are, however, another story. If the SSD fails, you just lose the cache–a performance issue, not a correctness issue. That’s a much more favourable outcome.

I’ve heard that when an SSD fails it essentially becomes read-only. Have you found this to be the case, Jeff?

Just for the record, my Dell M1330 w/SSD (same one Jeff has/had) is still rocking after 3 1/2 years (nVidia graphics was replaced under warranty). Mostly used now for video recording, prior to the was development and presentations.

I also have an Intel 160 GB X25M Gen2 drive in my desktop, and it’s just over a year old. Mostly used for development and video editing / production.

Neither of these were the fastest of the moment drives, but they put up good random access numbers in tests (well beating physical drives) and stood out in stress tests. I also made sure I understood how to install Windows correctly to take full advantage of the drives (i.e. TRIM and such).

I could just be lucky, but I think when you are going to be an early adopter it pays to stay off the full bleeding edge and not chase one stat (speed) at the cost of another (reliability).

Oh, the Dell duties were replaced by a 13" Mac Book Air… with SSD =)

I’ve got the 160GB X25-M (Gen2) in my M1530 for nearly every type of use case, and it’s still going strong (almost 1 year old, knock on wood).

What is the exact usage case scenario’s you guys are working with that destroys these SSD’s? It doesn’t make any sense.

This article seems to cultivate paranoia now when deciding on getting an SSD.

100% agree, SSD is a ‘hot’ technology. And my 3 years old Dell Latitude E4300 with its 128GB never had any drive problem, while I am using it more than 50 hours a week since.

Wow your friend is either super unlucky or must have some enviromental issue(heat or power related).

I have had no issues with my 160GB intel gen2(dont remember how old, but about 15TB written so far according to SMART indicator). Worried that I might be getting close to the write limit i recently purchased anther 120GB ssd(also intel). No problems there either. Maybe its because I live in a rather cold timezone :slight_smile:

Intel has also published annual failure rates on roughly 800.000 sold SSDs, and from memory I seem to recall it was 0.4x%. For now I’m inclined to take them at their word, at least no one I know personally have had any SSD failures yet(knock on wood).

Me, I’m tired of ‘promise’ followed by failure. Give me a good ole slow drive that’s going to make it twenty years please. Life is complicated enough without have to constantly swap out hardware…


Good to know I’m not the only one being paranoid :slight_smile:

MBP was out of warranty so I replaced the DVD with an SSD. Best of both worlds. User data on HD. OS & frequently used apps on SSD (with nightly backups to HD). Wicked fast. Loving those boot times.

However… the SSD has crashed four times in the last six months, once so badly it bricked and had to be replaced. Boy, you nailed it with crazy/hot.

I’d like to upgrade to a new MBP but don’t want to give up the dual drive thing without having to break the warranty. Laptop makers really should make the built-in DVD optional.

I’ve had my 80GB Intel X25-M for 10 months now and it hasn’t failed yet. But I’ve run out of space. I was using it only for the OS and programs. All my documents/pictures/video were on a 1 TB HDD. Well, the Windows folder is more massive than ever at 22GB and the two Program Files folders add up to 25GB. So just yesterday I replaced it with a 160GB Intel 320 series. I’m hoping it’ll be a dependable drive.

The funny thing about SSD reliability is that it would hardly be a concern if manufacturers only sold SLC drives. With SLC, 1 bit of data is reserved for each cell. But everyone is buying the MLC drives because they are at least 5X cheaper. MLC stores multiple bits per cell, and as such it can be more difficult (less reliable) to get a positive fix on a value. So much so, that in fact an SLC drive is expected to live around 10X longer than an MLC drive.

It’s a couple years old, but there is an excellent article on Tom’s Guide covering some of these finer points…,review-1455.html

They also talk about wear leveling algorithms and how a drive’s lifetime increases with capacity. If all other things were equal, my 160 GB drive should have roughly double the lifetime of my 80 GB drive that preceded it.

Seconding Paul W. Homer.

Yeah, I used to date crazy girls. Then I grew up and married somebody sensible. If that makes me an old guy, then just mix me up my laudanum and wheel me into the corner where I won’t be any trouble.

Despite failures, if your productivity compensates, its worth…
got my intel 320 ssd ( betting on stability) planning to buy veterx ocz 3 for my next pc :slight_smile:

I have one copy-editing quibble with your article:

Just make sure you have a good backup plan if you’re running on a SSD.

This sentence is too long by six words. :slight_smile:

One should ALWAYS have a good backup plan. I don’t care if you’ve got a storage system that somehow magically carves the bits into granite with a frickin’ laser. Have a backup plan.

Actually, ideally, have two!

What’s the deal with all these SATA drives? Am I the only one using a PCIe version? No need to worry about sandy bridge or 6gb/s… only drawback so far is that it doesn’t have trim support (due to it using raid 0):
OCZ RevoDrive PCIe SSD 120 GB

I am going to be building a new machine and was considering using a SSD for the OS. Now I want one even more, and am also more scared about it. Maybe if I keep all my files on a second regular HDD I’ll be fine. +1 for the Barney quote, I love that show.

Crypth: MTBF is not not NOT “expected lifetime”.

The three year warranty is there because they expect it to last three years, not “a million hours” (114 years).

MTBF/MTTF is, at best a statistical measure of how long you should expect to go between failures if you have a large mass of drives operating. - MTBF is, really, a damned lie when it comes to computer storage.

Let’s say it takes 4 hours to order&buy the replacement, and 4 more hours to bring the system completely up-to-date. Let’s also say you earn $52000/year (~twice more than average US worker AFAIK). So you lose 8 hours of pure time and 520(price of recommended SSD)/(52000/(365*24))= 87 hours worth of money; It’ll be profitable if it saves you more than 95 hours over its lifetime of 227 days.
So that SSD is only profitable if it saves you more than half an hour each day…