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How failure prone are SSDs?


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#1 Noel

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 09:57 AM

I'm new at this! What can expect in terms of service life in a fast SSD solution for desktop applications? The apps I use will not involve a lot of write operations per se...

Thanks in advance,

Noel

#2 FastMHz

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 10:05 AM

The latest generation from the big names are pretty reliable. Of course, always keep a backup image on a platter drive because SSDs are still a young, evolving technology.

I personally recommend the Samsung drives, since they're made entirely in-house.

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#3 Brian

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 01:42 PM

They're very reliable, most failures will happen fast, but in general, they're more reliable than hard drives. And with prices coming down well below $1/GB, consumers will continue to keep up the adoption.

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#4 Bytebite

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 03:13 AM

I can recommend Samsung 830 SSDs, but like the other already mentioned, please make backups on a hdd. A drive failure is much less hassle having an update on site!

#5 compwizrd

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 07:31 PM

My experience over the last year has sadly been with OCZ's.. they just drop dead. We switched over to the Intel 520's and so far it's been trouble free.

#6 Beenthere

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 10:52 AM

I'm new at this! What can expect in terms of service life in a fast SSD solution for desktop applications? The apps I use will not involve a lot of write operations per se...

Thanks in advance,

Noel



If you do your homework you'll find most SSDs are not all that reliable. When someone says they've been using one for a year or whatever and have had no problems, that is a sample of (1). If you check any of the PC hardware forums you will find many people that have had to do firmware upgrades to fix problems. You'll also see that sometimes these SSDs refuse to work with specific hardware or that the size of the drive magically drops or that the SSD just disappears from your system along with your data.

If you're going down the SSD route I would only suggest it if you can and want to deal with all of the very real issues that exist with this "immature technology" as AnandTech calls it. You might have minimal issues or you might have a nightmare. By doing your homework you should be able to narrow the SSD options down to the more reliable, lower hassle models. With SSD makers introducing newer models every few months, there is a lot of untested, half-baked products rushed into the marketplace for great profits as the customers are unpaid Beta testers. :(

#7 phog

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 03:23 PM

If you do your homework you'll find most SSDs are not all that reliable.


Haha.

SSD's are a massive improvement, and there is a reason they are insanely popular these days. I switched to SSD's years ago, and as long as you use a reliable brand, you should switch immediately. It is by far one of the best performance increases to be gained in a PC.

I don't know why Beenthere is so jaded, we rolled them out in our enterprise months ago, and people love them. I own six at home, and all are still running rock solid (as well as the very first Intel I bought years ago.)

Just my opinion, but I've had great luck with Samsung, Intel, and Corsair. My office has Samsung 830's.

#8 continuum

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 09:37 PM

You'll also see that sometimes these SSDs refuse to work with specific hardware or that the size of the drive magically drops or that the SSD just disappears from your system along with your data.

Same things have happened with harddisk too. Plenty of firmware issues to boot too (Seagate 7200.11's, Western Digital Velociraptors, etc. all have had significant firmware issues).

The rule remains, any storage device is vulnerable to failure. Keep backups accordingly, and if you truly are concerned, stick to slightly older, more proven SSDs on the market that have a known good track record. Last year that was probably Intel 320-series SSDs as far as affordable goes, this year the Samsung 830-series is probably safe to add to that list, as well as the Crucial m4 (again, assuming you are on current firmware). Who knows.

(technically the Intel 510-series also seems pretty solid, but its volume was pretty low compared some others, so not sure on it. The Intel 520-series seems decent too... but when you tear open a shipping box from HP's Elitebook line or Lenovo's Thinkpad T-series line and find only Intel SSDs in the couple of dozen, if not hundreds, you've worked on... that's a vote of confidence from a major vendor ;) ).

#9 Beenthere

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 10:08 AM

^^^ I respectfully disagree.

I have not had to do a HDD firmware update in 25+ years of building and using PCs. I've also never had a HDD change size or disappear from the system. I have never had an issue installing a HDD in a PC. While my experience may be limited to a few hundred PCs, I think you will find that my experience is typical of HDDs that have existed since the 80' when I started building PCs.

If people do their homework they will see the many compatibility and reliability issues that still exist with consumer grade SSDs. These issues exist due to an inadequate validation process. Intel has not been immune to problems with the SSDs.

I fully understand that some folks think the SSDs are the next best thing to sliced bread and bottled beer... (Actually neither is an improvement). Each persaon can decide what their tolerance and pain level is for "immature SSD technology" and if they desire to be a Beta tester or if they should wait another 6-12 months as AnandTech advises, in hopes that the SSD mfgs. will get their act together. Knowledge is power and the Net makes it easy to educate yourself.

#10 continuum

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 12:45 PM

I have not had to do a HDD firmware update in 25+ years of building and using PCs. I've also never had a HDD change size or disappear from the system.

You, sir, have lead a charmed existence. ;)

I have encountered all of these things on a regular basis. Then again, my sample size where I am is many, many orders of magnitude bigger than even the craziest home user will get into, both in new production and what we support long-term.

If people do their homework they will see the many compatibility and reliability issues that still exist with consumer grade SSDs.

Not arguing that. :P

Intel has not been immune to problems with the SSDs.

Not arguing that either. My experience is that both SSDs and HDDs have firmware issues, neither is perfectly reliable (nor sufficiently reliable to allow anyone reasonable to skip backups!), and even going with major name brands and established product lines can still lead to issues from both harddisks and solid state drives.

r if they should wait another 6-12 months as AnandTech advises

Question is, when is it enough. Several years of field experience? A year? Honestly, that's up to the user to decide. With Intel X-25M G2's and Intel 320's now in the field for 2+, 3+ years, some would say that is reasonable enough, and some would say no, it's not enough. *shrugs*

#11 Robert Fielder

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 09:41 AM

Are there charts for reliability? Or other measure of reliability published?

Just advising one to buy a well known brand may not be the best advice - top brands like Seagate, WD, even IBM have had serious issues in the past with HDD's. No reason to assume this can't happen again.....

#12 Beenthere

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 08:59 PM

Are there charts for reliability? Or other measure of reliability published?

Just advising one to buy a well known brand may not be the best advice - top brands like Seagate, WD, even IBM have had serious issues in the past with HDD's. No reason to assume this can't happen again.....



You won't see any reliability charts for HDDs or SSDs as no one actually has this data or at least not accurate data. What you tend to see if anything is worthless MTBF claims that are completely and utterly meritless, theoretical and extremely misleading. Many people simply don't report drive failures and instead in frustration just buy a new replacement drive, often of a different brand or model. The industry in general is not very reliable when it comes to failure rates IMO. Some informed folks would call their MTBF claims fraud or at least disingenuous.

It is true that recommending a "good brand" does not insure a reliable or compatible drive because of many factors - mostly a rush-to-market for quick profit, mentality. There are however an extreme number of different PC configurations now days and not all hardware conforms precisely to industry standards so that throws a wrench into the works in addition to the very unacceptable validations employed by most hardware suppliers - IF ANY.

Recently I had an interesting discussion with a "good brand" SSD supplier. I inquired if there was a reason for the high SSD failure rates. They did NOT dispute the unusually high SSD failure rates nor the compatibility/reliability issues - which was a breath of fresh air... They stated that in their product line a new firmware update was expected to help lower the failure rate. They didn't say lower it to "acceptable levels" which would be like 1%, they just advised it should be lowered some.

IME of many years builder PCs, at the moment I don't know any accurate means to pick a highly reliable nor compatible consumer grade SSD. It's possible a name brand SSD may be flawless for one person and a total nightmare for anowther when it comes to compatibility/reliability. That is why I emphasise consumers need to honestly evaluate their tolerance for pain, i.e. data loss, beta testing (for free), firmware upgrades, RMAs, etc. before jumping in with both feet.

If you have a good experience you're likely to conclude that SSDs are great. If you have a bad experience, then you'll be cursing certain brands or model SSDs for years to come. I've never in 25 years of building PCs seen a more unpredictable user experience with hardware than with SSDs and I've seen some real crapware - from Windows 3.x onward.

#13 Valleyforge

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 06:05 AM

I have not had to do a HDD firmware update in 25+ years of building and using PCs. I've also never had a HDD change size or disappear from the system. I have never had an issue installing a HDD in a PC. While my experience may be limited to a few hundred PCs, I think you will find that my experience is typical of HDDs that have existed since the 80' when I started building PCs.


Rose tinted spectacles, or bad memory.

"Oh, I've been using computers since 1908 and I still run DOS3.3 so I know all about computers". :rolleyes:

Many of us on this forum, and particularly continuum have had contact with more computers in the last few years than you'll ever see, let alone "work with" in your lifetime. I personally support over 200 PCs that are in 24/7 USE, and I mean there's people sitting there 24/7 using them, for example.

In my experience, SSDs are infinitely more reliable than even the best spinners. Only SSD I've had fail were some of the early OCZ Agility 3, and that was a firmware issue where the drive locked up and never came back, and that was in a personal system. All my personal machines, and about 50% of the work ones have only a SSD. The others are mostly SSD/HDD combinations, and only some old machines run purely HDD.

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#14 Beenthere

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:56 PM

Rose tinted spectacles, or bad memory.

"Oh, I've been using computers since 1908 and I still run DOS3.3 so I know all about computers". :rolleyes:

Many of us on this forum, and particularly continuum have had contact with more computers in the last few years than you'll ever see, let alone "work with" in your lifetime. I personally support over 200 PCs that are in 24/7 USE, and I mean there's people sitting there 24/7 using them, for example.

In my experience, SSDs are infinitely more reliable than even the best spinners. Only SSD I've had fail were some of the early OCZ Agility 3, and that was a firmware issue where the drive locked up and never came back, and that was in a personal system. All my personal machines, and about 50% of the work ones have only a SSD. The others are mostly SSD/HDD combinations, and only some old machines run purely HDD.


How on earth can you make such ignorant statements about me when you know nothing about me? You need to stop making your comments personal and just address the subject matter with your subjective opinion - for what it's worth. You have no idea what I do for a living, how many PCs I build or monitor a year and what my experience is with SSD reliability or compatibility. In addition none of that matters. What matters is what is true not what you believe. Making insulting, meritless, ignorant, claims and pontificating, does not validate your beliefs.

Your anecdotal experience is nice but it is meaningless in the big scheme of life. Without accurate statistic on actual SSD failures and modes, no one can predict SSD failure rates or longevity. There are enough websites that have documented SSD compatibility and reliability issues with many SSDs to warrant caution for anyone who requires secure data. It is demonstrated almost weekly that SSD makers are rushing poorly validated products to market with issues that consumers find as unpaid beta testers. The Samsung 840 Pro is a perfect example.

#15 Valleyforge

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 05:27 AM

Your anecdotal experience is nice but it is meaningless in the big scheme of life.


Right back at you, with bells on. :blink:

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#16 Beenthere

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 09:17 AM

Right back at you, with bells on. :blink:



You seem to be clueless...

As I said it doesn't matter what my experience is or another person's experience is, what matters is what is true not, what some folks believe.

Those who have no SSD issues falsely believe that SSDs are trouble free while the tens of thousands of people who have lost data, seen the drive size magically diminish, seen Crucial SSDs become minute drives after 100 hours of use, those with SandForce 2281 controller SSDs requiring 3-5 firmware updates to eliminate most of the problems, Mushkin having a ~ 50% failure rate on Chronos SSDs, etc. - people with these problems know that SSDs are being rushed out the door without proper validation and that the compatibility and reliability issues are absurd as a result.

To illustrate the situation contines with the trick-of-the-week rushed out the door SSDs...

http://www.anandtech...40-pro-failures

Edited by Beenthere, 29 November 2012 - 09:26 AM.

#17 Kdawgca

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:38 AM

You seem to be clueless...

As I said it doesn't matter what my experience is or another person's experience is, what matters is what is true not, what some folks believe.

Those who have no SSD issues falsely believe that SSDs are trouble free while the tens of thousands of people who have lost data, seen the drive size magically diminish, seen Crucial SSDs become minute drives after 100 hours of use, those with SandForce 2281 controller SSDs requiring 3-5 firmware updates to eliminate most of the problems, Mushkin having a ~ 50% failure rate on Chronos SSDs, etc. - people with these problems know that SSDs are being rushed out the door without proper validation and that the compatibility and reliability issues are absurd as a result.

To illustrate the situation contines with the trick-of-the-week rushed out the door SSDs...

http://www.anandtech...40-pro-failures



Did Anand every update the post with with failures with a retail 840 pro? Review samples with pre-production firmware may not be a good example...

Anyone that uses any type of storage media should have a backup. The problem here is the whole technology industry(Manufacturers will always try to rush the latest generation of crap before their competitors can) and even the consumers(will always buy the latest generation of crap). I still find it sad that hard drives in 2012 still need a new firmware to address excessive head parking, that we are close to 2013 and yet 4TB drives still use 5x800 platters, or that current notebooks are just re-hashing old stuff and ignores the obvious(Screen selection, fan control, and simple stuff like beefy GPU + sub 1in case may not be a good idea etc).

You can either be that guy on the side of a busy intersection with a sign that tells us the 'end of the world is near' , or you can be more productive, since SSDs are here to stay(atleast until something faster comes :)).

I don't see any updated backup guides, so you can make one geared towards SSD users. Or, If you find any SSDs you like, you can make a new thread in the SSD forum with a mention of their names and your opinion why.

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#18 Beenthere

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:10 PM

Did Anand every update the post with with failures with a retail 840 pro? Review samples with pre-production firmware may not be a good example...

Anyone that uses any type of storage media should have a backup. The problem here is the whole technology industry(Manufacturers will always try to rush the latest generation of crap before their competitors can) and even the consumers(will always buy the latest generation of crap). I still find it sad that hard drives in 2012 still need a new firmware to address excessive head parking, that we are close to 2013 and yet 4TB drives still use 5x800 platters, or that current notebooks are just re-hashing old stuff and ignores the obvious(Screen selection, fan control, and simple stuff like beefy GPU + sub 1in case may not be a good idea etc).

You can either be that guy on the side of a busy intersection with a sign that tells us the 'end of the world is near' , or you can be more productive, since SSDs are here to stay(atleast until something faster comes :)).

I don't see any updated backup guides, so you can make one geared towards SSD users. Or, If you find any SSDs you like, you can make a new thread in the SSD forum with a mention of their names and your opinion why.


FYI- If you read the Anandtech article you would have your answer...

Trying to rationalize unscrupulous manufacturers mentality and behavior in rushing unvalidated products to market so that consumers are the unpaid beta testors, is futile and ignorant.

Telling people they should have a back-up because SSDs are unreliable is an insult to anyone with a clue about PCs and data storage.

It has nothing to do with an "end of the world mentality". The SSD product quality, reliability and compatibility issues are a result of unscrupulous Biz practices swept under the carpet by many in their lust for and promotion of new tech. The SSD business is the equivilant a new car maker selling a vehicle that the wheels fall off of 50' from the new car dealership driveway, the transmission only has one gear of four that actually works and the brakes only work the sixth Tuesday of the month. It's insane to accept the equivalent crap from the SSD makers or any other industry.

Trying to rationalize unacceptable business practices is downright ignorant and delays the release of proper quality products that consumers actually paid good money for in the first place. If consumers rejected this crap, then SSD makers would fix the problems before they ship products or go bust - which would be appropriate if they are that incompetent and/or unscrupulous.

When did they pass legislation rationalizating shoddy products and consumer fraud to replace personal responsibility and proper product validation? I am well aware that many people are led like sheeple but eventually some of them wake up before they reach the slaughter house.

Edited by Beenthere, 01 December 2012 - 12:12 PM.

#19 Valleyforge

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:12 AM

The Anandtech Samsung SSD failures were using pre-production firmware. No customers would ever have encountered this firmware "in the wild", so really your argument hasn't got a leg to stand on. Again.

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#20 rugger

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:33 PM

Trying to rationalize unscrupulous manufacturers mentality and behavior in rushing unvalidated products to market so that consumers are the unpaid beta testors, is futile and ignorant.


While your argument has some merit, you really do overexaggerate ....

If SSDs were as bad as you are suggesting, then I certainly would have seen something by now. Yes, I've seen a few firmware stuffups, and sandforce should be beaten with a metal poll for the firmware they release, but hard drives have the same sorts of stupid firmware issues too.

Certainly some SSDs are worse then others in this regard. Just like hard drives, there are some SSDs that you need to stay the hell away from (eg OCZ Petrol models)

Telling people they should have a back-up because SSDs are unreliable is an insult to anyone with a clue about PCs and data storage.


It isn't because SSDs are unreliable ... it is because all data storage is inherently unreliable.

Anyone who has a clue about PCs and data storage should already know this. Doesn't matter if you use hard drives, SSDs, optical disks or even data chisseled into stone ... you need a backup or one day you will lose data. I, so far, have seen pretty damn good data reliability from SSDs, but any device can up and insta-die on you.

It has nothing to do with an "end of the world mentality". The SSD product quality, reliability and compatibility issues are a result of unscrupulous Biz practices swept under the carpet by many in their lust for and promotion of new tech. The SSD business is the equivilant a new car maker selling a vehicle that the wheels fall off of 50' from the new car dealership driveway, the transmission only has one gear of four that actually works and the brakes only work the sixth Tuesday of the month. It's insane to accept the equivalent crap from the SSD makers or any other industry.


Funny enough, wheels still fall off cars .... but we accept it anyway as a price of having affordable transport.
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Trying to rationalize unacceptable business practices is downright ignorant and delays the release of proper quality products that consumers actually paid good money for in the first place. If consumers rejected this crap, then SSD makers would fix the problems before they ship products or go bust - which would be appropriate if they are that incompetent and/or unscrupulous.

When did they pass legislation rationalizating shoddy products and consumer fraud to replace personal responsibility and proper product validation? I am well aware that many people are led like sheeple but eventually some of them wake up before they reach the slaughter house.


Of course, SSDs cannot be nearly as inexpensive as they are now if you want perfection out of the box. I'm prepared to live with the status quo, of letting early adaptors find the problems and get them fixed before deploying an SSD, and get better prices doing so. I'll even be an early adaptor occasionally!

#21 Beenthere

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:46 PM

^^^ Rationalizing consumer fraud and incompetence doesn't make it acceptable to the majority of people with good judgment.

#22 Axl

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 11:35 PM

In the last 5 years, I've used a lot of WD spinners (all Black or RE or VelociRaptor) and all sorts of SSD's, and I haven't had any drive fail. I also use nothing but SeaSonic power supplies and for what it's worth, nothing but AMD cpu's and apu's, usually sitting in a Gigabyte (but very occasionally Asus, and one mITX Jetway) mobo. Sure, my sample size is far too small to draw any industry-wide conclusions. I have no issue with that. I research thoroughly before I buy and gravitate toward manufacturers with whom I've recently been pleased. Lately, for me, that's AMD, SeaSonic, and well-researched SSDs. Types of SSDs that haven't died on me include OWC Mercury Extremes, all sizes of original Corsair Force, Corsair Nova 2, many Kingston HyperX 3K's, Crucial m4's.....and more.

I distinctly remember parallel SCSI drives needing firmware updates in many cases, by the way.



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