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SSD vs HDD - life span

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April 25, 2012 6:51:52 AM

Sorry if I got the normal hard drive acroynumy wrong... any way I currently have a 1TB harddrive as my primary and a 2TB hard drive (for movies, pictures, and back up). I read somewhere (I forget where now) that solid state drives are faster and such however the life span is not so good...

SSD life span (read online): 1-2 years
HDD life span (personal experience): 5-7 years

so can someone clarify for me? :)  thanks

More about : ssd hdd life span

April 25, 2012 7:19:21 AM

skitty said:
Sorry if I got the normal hard drive acroynumy wrong... any way I currently have a 1TB harddrive as my primary and a 2TB hard drive (for movies, pictures, and back up). I read somewhere (I forget where now) that solid state drives are faster and such however the life span is not so good...

SSD life span (read online): 1-2 years
HDD life span (personal experience): 5-7 years

so can someone clarify for me? :)  thanks


Indeed, hard disks typically last 5 or 7 years.


I can't give you a definitive answer for solid state drives, its a bit more tricky. There are essentially two types of SSDs: SLC (single-layer cell) and MLC (multi-layer cell). You could spend a long time comparing the two, but to keep it really simple, SLC lasts longer and is far more expensive. You could expect an SLC drive to last a lifetime. The enthusiast market is pretty much entirely MLC drives. An optimistic estimate for the lifespan of an MLC drive would be ten years. Intel is known to make the most reliable SSDs, but the performance per dollar of Intel SSDs won't compare to some other manufacturers.
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April 25, 2012 7:29:05 AM

gmkos said:
Indeed, hard disks typically last 5 or 7 years.


I can't give you a definitive answer for solid state drives, its a bit more tricky. There are essentially two types of SSDs: SLC (single-layer cell) and MLC (multi-layer cell). You could spend a long time comparing the two, but to keep it really simple, SLC lasts longer and is far more expensive. You could expect an SLC drive to last a lifetime. The enthusiast market is pretty much entirely MLC drives. An optimistic estimate for the lifespan of an MLC drive would be ten years. Intel is known to make the most reliable SSDs, but the performance per dollar of Intel SSDs won't compare to some other manufacturers.


Wow ten years? if that is true thats awesome however the price is what is not looking good... I got my 2TB hard drive for about $100... according to Google a 130GB hard drive is $136... for now I think I can put up with slow loading times. Once my old hard drives crash I might invest in a SSD however my old IBM Thinkpad T43 has been abused for a long time and the hard drive has never given me any trouble... so go figure :p .
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April 25, 2012 7:41:05 AM

in theory yes, a HDD has a longer life span then an SSD BUT that depends on luck. My experience: i purchased a 500GB Samsung spinpoint HDD 4 years ago. After 2 years i buyed another one for RAID 0 and gues what, the newer drive failed 1,5 years after and scrwed my raid setup... :(  Then i decided to buy an kingston hyperx 120GB SSD (sata3) and kept the older samsung for storage...and yes, its awesome ^^
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April 25, 2012 8:00:15 AM

crisan_tiberiu said:
in theory yes, a HDD has a longer life span then an SSD BUT that depends on luck. My experience: i purchased a 500GB Samsung spinpoint HDD 4 years ago. After 2 years i buyed another one for RAID 0 and gues what, the newer drive failed 1,5 years after and scrwed my raid setup... :(  Then i decided to buy an kingston hyperx 120GB SSD (sata3) and kept the older samsung for storage...and yes, its awesome ^^


Huh... sounds like some bad luck :/ ... I also read if you have a lot of ram that it will make the SSD more effective (well the combination of the two will).
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a b G Storage
April 25, 2012 8:03:14 AM

I think SSD lifespan depends on 3 main factors.

- The drive quality itself
- Usage volume
- How full your drive is in general.

The last point I think is quite important. The SSD drives constantly read and write as you use your PC. Since each block of space has a limited lifetime (e.g. 10000 writes) the drives tend to rotate the space and try not to use the same space for a while. How often this rotation has to reuse the same drive block depends on how full your drive is. A 240gb ssd with only 50gbs of stuff and windows on it should last longer than a 60Gb with 50gbs of stuff and windows.

Intel drives seem to be a cut above the rest with reliability. I would look at the new Intel SSD 330 drives, they seem to be cheaper than the Intel 520 which would be my first choice.
Gabor
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April 25, 2012 8:10:30 AM

gaborbarla said:
I think SSD lifespan depends on 3 main factors.

- The drive quality itself
- Usage volume
- How full your drive is in general.

The last point I think is quite important. The SSD drives constantly read and write as you use your PC. Since each block of space has a limited lifetime (e.g. 10000 writes) the drives tend to rotate the space and try not to use the same space for a while. How often this rotation has to reuse the same drive block depends on how full your drive is. A 240gb ssd with only 50gbs of stuff and windows on it should last longer than a 60Gb with 50gbs of stuff and windows.

Intel drives seem to be a cut above the rest with reliability. I would look at the new Intel SSD 330 drives, they seem to be cheaper than the Intel 520 which would be my first choice.
Gabor


Why is each block limited to that amount of writes? is it specifically made to last for that many writes or is that just an estimate made by the maker of it? like lets say for example a *block* was made to be move 100 times could it go over that amount or will it die at move 100 (sorry if that analogy does not make sense :pt1cable: )?
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a b G Storage
April 25, 2012 9:36:16 AM

Quote:
Why is each block limited to that amount of writes? is it specifically made to last for that many writes or is that just an estimate made by the maker of it? like lets say for example a *block* was made to be move 100 times could it go over that amount or will it die at move 100 (sorry if that analogy does not make sense :pt1cable: )?


The analogy doesn't quite fit (at least the way I'm reading it). Think of a block as a box of data (a few bits). Each time it's written to, it counts towards the 10,000 counter. Therefore you can write to it 10,000 times. In HDD terms, Windows would sit in the inner-most ring of the HDD, and therefore never physically move. Windows is always reading and writting, therefore if it never moved, it would burnout it's "home" quickly. However SSD's don't let data physically sit in the same space all their life. This is called Wear Leveling.

The 10,000 number comes from a physical limit. And as processes shrink into the 2*nm, this number actually drops below 10k. BUT, if you were to only use your SSD to fill it up and empty it, as fast as you can, a 60GB SSD takes about 2.5yrs to die out.
You/Windows doesn't write that much data per day, so you can expect to last much longer. However, you need to buy reputable SSDs (Intel, Kingston, Corsair), as inferior SSDs don't have good Wear Leveling.

Also, HDDs can last for years, but in my experience, they can die within 6mo. They also have a maximum number like the 10,000. It's unpublished, but they do wear out too. But it's the mechanics (motor, actuator arm) that makes a HDD die.
Carnegy Melon and Google both did independent HDD studies spanning a couple years. Google search "Google HDD study" and "Carnegy Melon HDD study". If you don't want to read the long documents, basically they conclude that the average enterprise/data center HDDs only lasts 18mo.
SSDs are the way to go. They are more expensive $/GB, but performance/$ they are 100x faster than HDDs.

Use SSDs for your OS and frequently used apps, and HDD for your photos, mp3s, etc.

The new saying is "once you go SSD, you'll never go back!" :) 

EDIT:
Oh, and Gabor's statement here is crucial:
Quote:
A 240gb ssd with only 50gbs of stuff and windows on it should last longer than a 60Gb with 50gbs of stuff and windows.

Try to keep an SSD no more than 50-65% full, and you'll have an SSD that will last you 5+years, easy.
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a b G Storage
March 26, 2013 3:01:54 AM

My SSD is always 80-90% full. (I filled them up during OS installation and...that is it...no more big activities)
I put in my games directly after OS installation.

It is already 2 years old until I wrote this comment.
No signs of defects so far.
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June 21, 2013 2:34:58 PM

guanyu210379 said:
My SSD is always 80-90% full. (I filled them up during OS installation and...that is it...no more big activities)
I put in my games directly after OS installation.

It is already 2 years old until I wrote this comment.
No signs of defects so far.


And you wont have issues because your use is basically reading from a the drive. No erase/program cycles (or at least minimal) are used.
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November 19, 2013 11:07:18 AM

skitty said:
gaborbarla said:
I think SSD lifespan depends on 3 main factors.

- The drive quality itself
- Usage volume
- How full your drive is in general.

The last point I think is quite important. The SSD drives constantly read and write as you use your PC. Since each block of space has a limited lifetime (e.g. 10000 writes) the drives tend to rotate the space and try not to use the same space for a while. How often this rotation has to reuse the same drive block depends on how full your drive is. A 240gb ssd with only 50gbs of stuff and windows on it should last longer than a 60Gb with 50gbs of stuff and windows.

Intel drives seem to be a cut above the rest with reliability. I would look at the new Intel SSD 330 drives, they seem to be cheaper than the Intel 520 which would be my first choice.
Gabor


Why is each block limited to that amount of writes? is it specifically made to last for that many writes or is that just an estimate made by the maker of it? like lets say for example a *block* was made to be move 100 times could it go over that amount or will it die at move 100 (sorry if that analogy does not make sense :pt1cable: )?


What's happening physically, is each time a block is written, there is a residual voltage buildup. Eventually, this voltage buildup gets so large, the applied voltage to re-write to the block is of comparable size. Thus the block can no longer be changed. So there is no definitive number of write times, nor is it something the manufacturer wants. There is currently a fair amount of research in how to reset or prevent this voltage buildup (which eventually causes the drives to fail, by becoming read only. This is one big advantage over a HDD). Anyway hopefully that helps!
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