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SSD lifetime questions

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March 14, 2011 9:24:09 PM

I'm hoping the community can lay some obsessions of mine to rest.. First question, if you were to use a SSD in a an active server, constantly being written to day and night, how long would you expect it to last? 5 years? less? (I know there's a forumla out there based on the 2 million write limit, but it seems to be gears towards an average user.)

Second, I've heard there's another flash memory technology out there somewhere that doesn't suffer from the write limit, but it's also exhorbitantly expensive which is why we don't see it for sale. Is there any truth to this? If so what's it called, where can I find out more about it, and can we expect to see it on the market anytime soon? thanks!

More about : ssd lifetime questions

a c 283 G Storage
March 14, 2011 11:07:09 PM

Anand over at anandtech.com installed several ssd's in his servers to find out what would happen long term. Unfortunately he just did that recently so it is too early to tell anything.
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a c 415 G Storage
March 14, 2011 11:14:51 PM

Intel claims that their 160GB X-25M G2 drives will last "at least" 5 years at a write rate of 5GB/day. Numbers like this seem to be a little hard to come by for some of the manufacturers, one of the reasons I favour Intel drives.

Most current SSDs use MLC (Multi-Level Cell) flash chips. SLC (Single-Level Cell) chips have a much better write endurance, but store only half as many bits and are therefore twice as expensive. Intel's X-25E drives used this technology, but AFAIK they're not being made any more.

If you need write endurance beyond what can be provided by a flash-based SSD, the alternative is RAM-based solid state disk. These are specialty items and as such they tend to be rather pricey. They also require constant power, which means backup batteries and attendant battery maintenance concerns.
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