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Reliability of PC Flash SSDs?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the failure-is-failure dept.

Data Storage 467

An anonymous reader writes "SATA and IDE flash solid-state disks are all the rage these days — faster and, allegedly, more reliable than traditional spinning-rust disks. My organization dipped its toe in the flash-disk waters, buying a handful for some PC and Linux boxes. Out of 8 drives from various manufacturers, 3 have failed in the space of four months! Some are reporting bad blocks, others just crapped out and stopped responding entirely. (And no, this isn't a wear-leveling issue, nor were these machines in particularly harsh environmental conditions, nor were all failed drives from the same manufacturer.) So I ask you, the readers of Slashdot: what has your experience been like with basic, consumer-grade SATA or IDE flash drives? Are they failing for you too, or are we just unlucky? It's starting to remind me of the claims about long-lifetime compact fluorescent light bulbs that, in reality, have turned out to be BS!"

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Same type of experience here (5, Interesting)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885015)

I have avoided investing any money into those types of drives for that very reason. As a small business owner I see customer units come in that make use of those types of devices and I see a lot of failure. I'm still being patient.

Re:Same type of experience here (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885539)

We've not being seeing widespread failure of Ipods or other keydrives, even though they use the same F-RAM technology. I'm kinda surprised to hear any reports of failure in the new solid state PC drives, unless it's an issue of making the cells too small to be reliable.

Aside - I have two traditional hard drives in my PC. They've been spinning almost-nonstop since 2003. Any idea how much longer I have until they crash?

Aside #2 from the Summary -

- The savings on CFLs is trivial. I might switch my bulb from 40 to 10 watts, but I still have a 10,000 watt heat pump running. I'm not seeing smaller monthly bills.

- CFLs hate temperature extremes. CFLs hate dimmers. In practical terms this means CFLs can not be used in 80-90% of present fixtures, like those that are enclosed (heat kills CFL electronics) or outside (too cold to light) And I bought a so-called "dimmable CFL" which died 5 minutes after I installed it in my living room dimmer switch.

- CFLs hate being turned on and off. Rapid cycling makes them die even faster than an incandescent bulb (as stated in the summary). So you've spent 5 times as much for a bulb than doesn't last any longer.

- CFLs have a warm-up time. The 60-watt-equivalent bulb hanging upside-down in my kitchen is sometimes so dim, it looks like a brown dwarf star... barely any light at all. It takes 3-4 minutes to finally reach full brightness.

Re:Same type of experience here (2, Funny)

cellurl (906920) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885615)

Until I see a graph from consumer reports [consumerreports.org] , I don't believe anything.

Donate time, not money [wikispeedia.org]

Re:Same type of experience here (0, Flamebait)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885725)

Reminds me of some religious types. "If it ain't in the book, I don't believe it."

Re:Same type of experience here (4, Informative)

jggimi (1279324) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885683)

Any idea how much longer I have until they crash?

While nothing is ever a certaintly -- a tool for your OS that inspects SMART data from your drives' electronics would answer that question, at least from a trend perspective. I like smartmontools [sourceforge.net] , but you may prefer something else, or it may not be applicable for your OS.

See Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] for some background information on SMART, and what it can tell you.

Re:Same type of experience here (1)

sh00z (206503) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885791)

- CFLs hate temperature extremes.
- CFLs hate being turned on and off.
- CFLs have a warm-up time.

CFLs are also sensitive to vibration. Don't install one in a ceiling fan or garage door opener, at risk of drastically reduced lifespan.

My experience with Flash SSD? (-1, Offtopic)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885017)

Didn't have one in my hand yet. But I can tell you that my 1TB USB hard drive is quite slow.

Re:My experience with Flash SSD? (1)

adisakp (705706) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885117)

USB connected drives are painfully slow compared to SATA (or eSATA) connected drives. SATA HD's are quite a bit slower than a good SATA SSD.

However, I'm not sure how your post is on topic since your slow USB HD experience has very little to do with the longevity of SSD's ?!?

Re:My experience with Flash SSD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885361)

Duh!

eee ssd (4, Interesting)

selfabuse (681350) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885025)

The junky 4gb ssd that came with my eee 900 died inside of a month. The 16gb OCZ SSD that I replaced it with has been going strong for a year now though /me crosses fingers

Re:eee ssd (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885583)

So far I'm happy with the 32GB RIDATA that I upgraded my 900 with. I probably should have gone with the SATA version rather than the PATA version, but my wife resents every penny I spend on computer related stuff.

Re:eee ssd (3, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885593)

Same problem here. The 4G SSD in my eee 901 went bad the 2nd month. I sent it to Asus and they replaced it. The new one has been working since, but I don't store any critical data on that PC.

I'd also like to see optical media go away. Burns take too long, are too likely not to work on another drive or even the same drive, have one little bad spot that spoils everything, and drives go bad all the time. I'll take SSDs over DVD-RWs. Wish more Linux distros were set up for easy installation onto and from flash memory drives.

I bought a dozen of those LED night lights. That's a much cheaper way of trying LED lighting than going for regular lights. 4 of them failed early. Their brightness varies hugely even between the same models. That's life for beta testers. Have had better luck with CFLs. Only one early failure so far, and it wasn't real early-- lasted 5 years. Manufacturers have done a very poor job of informing people that most CFLs do not work with dimmer switches. Last time I went looking for a CFL for dimmers, I couldn't find one. Took a while to go through the fine print on all the models and confirm that none could hack a dimmer switch.

Re:eee ssd (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885647)

For once I don't feel bad about buying early and getting a 7** eee, as I haven't had any problems with its SSD, although I do most of my writes to SD cards.

Re:eee ssd (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885787)

Same here, my 701's 2 years old now and running fine despite going through a dozen kernel compiles.

I was thinking of getting the newer model but it seems there's a complaint about almost every component inside it. I can live with the small screen and short battery life, at least until ARM netbooks take off.

Re:eee ssd (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885767)

This reminds me of the old advice we used to get, to the effect of that solid-state drives have a more or less finite number of read/write operations possible on them. This used to be given as a reason not to use journalling file systems.

I've never explored this idea, so I have no idea whether this is bullshit or not. However, I have had enough flash drives fail to leave me regarding them as unreliable media for any kind of long-term or critical storage. On the other hand, I still have a few of the aforementioned "spinning rust" drives that are now almost 20 years old but which still work. (Though, in the interests of saving physical space in my safe, I have now transferred their contents to more modern media.)

chipset inside and utilization? (4, Interesting)

A little Frenchie (715758) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885039)

your not saying what chipset and what kind of usage you did.

if you are going to put a MLC drive for a gentoo distribution which is compiling 24/7, you will kill it in no time

if you got first gen micron chipset... you will have bad experience too

try again with indilinx or intel drive with SLC and come again

Re:chipset inside and utilization? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885093)

Hi, I was the guy that posted the original question. Thanks for your response. I didn't give details simply due to space constraints. The drives were:

1. FHM16GF25H = Super Talent MasterDrive 16GB under linux
2. Transcend TS32GSSD25-M under Windows/XP
3. Patriot Warp v2 32GB under Ubuntu 8.04 with ext3

The machines were not super heavily loaded (i.e., no compiles 24/7), and we did the "obvious" things like turning off atime updates to the filesystems, etc.

Re:chipset inside and utilization? (5, Informative)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885353)

I'd be more looking at the fact that all of those are JMicron based controller drives and are shitty examples of SSD's in the first place.
http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3531&p=17 [anandtech.com]

Re:chipset inside and utilization? (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885421)

Patriot? Transcend? Super Talent? Those are not household names. Perhaps you have the all-too-common problem of shoddy workmanship by second-tier factories in Taiwan or China.

When you buy Intel or Seagate or Maxtor SSDs and they fail, then I'll take note.

Re:chipset inside and utilization? (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885463)

Those are all bad SSDs, get an intel or OCZ drive instead.

That's what happens when you try to go cheap.

Re:chipset inside and utilization? (3, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885707)

Apparently, the JMicron controller that's been faulted for at least two of the drives in questions is also found in 3 OCZ SSDs. At least, that's what anandtech reports, and they've been very good with these kinds of investigations in the past.

I'd suggest to apply the same technique that should be applied to all new technologies: get a thorough understanding of the technology and the involved manufacturers before buying one. And any price that's too good to be true probably is - cutting edge technology never is cheap, and SSDs are still cutting edge technology.

Re:chipset inside and utilization? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885541)

AFAIK, all 3 drives are with the Jmicron-controller.

http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=736

You got junked out by one bad make, that has been rebranded alot :/ It was stupid of Jmicron to even release such a controller, and it has put it's taint on SSDs by those who got burned, but SSDs are coming.

Buy an Intel G2 SSD and tell us your new experiences.. Those Jmicrons not only fail often, they also have slower performance than HDs and stutter.

Certain Manufacturers are Doing It Wrong (5, Informative)

Concern (819622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885657)

Thank you. The brands/models were the critical piece of information.

You're probably aware that SSD's have been in the server space, at a very different price point, for a few years now, without any extraordinary reliability debacles. To some extent, this is a case of getting what you pay for. I did a moderate amount of research on SSD drives, relying especially on the independent review sites, and quickly eliminated all of the brands you described.

As is frequent in fairly new markets, there are a few smaller and less well-run companies trying to dive in, and their first customers get to beta test their v0.* and v1.* offerings.

The prevailing wisdom seemed to me (and to people like i.e. Torvalds) that Intel was far and away the top of the heap in terms of performance and reliability, and some drives based on a newer Samsung controller (i.e. OCZ Summit) were a perhaps credible alternative. Other brands were clearly struggling to even be in the game, with frequent firmware updates and outright debacles (i.e. Indilinux, Micron) and we're in the process of shaking out who will make it and who will not.

I have only fielded a few consumer-grade SSDs over about the same amount of time as you, but going with Intel's G1 and G2 MLC products has so far yielded zero failures.

If you are already in the market for an SSD, and you are ready to spend premium money for premium performance, you should go the whole distance and go with Intel, the current market leader. See also the latest news on these models. [tomshardware.com]

Don't Defrag (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885041)

Make sure you turn of the scheduler for defragging in Windows or whatever OS you are using. Defragging those types of drives will effectively kill them.

Re:Don't Defrag (2, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885119)

Why?

Re:Don't Defrag (5, Informative)

golfbum (1408137) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885147)

defrag benefits hdd due to their long latency to retrieve widely separated block of info. ssds have essentially no latency therefore don't benefit by such reorganization. gb

Re:Don't Defrag (5, Informative)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885195)

Lots and lots of extra reads and writes, which are unnecessary as SSDs do not benefit from defragmentation.

Re:Don't Defrag (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885687)

SSD can benefit from defragmentation. This because of the READ/WRITE MULTIPLE ATA commands, which transfer X blocks in a row. Of course the blocks need to be in a row then, hench the defrag.

The final speed increase will be pretty limited, but it could help. I would still recommend against it tough.

Re:Don't Defrag (2, Informative)

gregthebunny (1502041) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885209)

Wow... Google much [google.com] ? http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/246283-32-defrag [tomshardware.com]

Re:Don't Defrag (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885471)

Ok, there's no speed advantage, but...

Is there a lifespan advantage to be had from moving all your files around the SSD once in a while?

eg. You could move the least-used cells to the most-used cells to even out the wear.

Re:Don't Defrag (4, Informative)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885579)

Is there a lifespan advantage to be had from moving all your files around the SSD once in a while?

eg. You could move the least-used cells to the most-used cells to even out the wear

Any {dr}ecent controller does wear leveling

Re:Don't Defrag (5, Funny)

ballpoint (192660) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885715)

[dr]ecent. Fixed that regex for you.

Re:Don't Defrag (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885651)

There is, but that's why the controller does it for you. It does this based on how long it's been since a given block was written to, and it tries to consolidate infrequently-written blocks into the same cell. Running defrag messes up this heuristic.

Windows 7 is SSH friendly (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885675)

A moot point maybe since everyone agrees already..

But I noticed that Windows 7 detects SSD (even in a RAID config with the on-board ICH controller) and automatically turns off defrag on them.

Nice !

The 60 and 120GB drives (3, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885055)

in my everyday desktop are working fine since January, and they are the most used drives of the system, the smaller one being used to boot the system and store programs, the other storing program data and some DBs.

Early days for consumer SSDs (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885059)

When they've been making the damn things for as long as the spinning-rust disks, we will see. I suspect when they get the flash right and the manufacturing processes and the real-world support with TRIM and such things will get better than they could be with spinning rust. But consumer SSDs are currently behind and if you're actually buying for reliability SSDs are NOT there in the consumer space.

Re:Early days for consumer SSDs (4, Informative)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885109)

you mean the real world support for TRIM in Windows 7 and supported in Indilinx and Intel controllers?

the one that has been recently tested out on Anandtech and shown to have very positive results?

oh yeah, that one.

Re:Early days for consumer SSDs (2, Informative)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885557)

There's no public trim on the Intel controllers yet.

Do you mean the experimental trim support in the beta Indilinx firmwares that caused data corruption when your computer went into sleep? Great! Those drivers got pulled for obvious reasons.

The offline 'trim' doesn't count btw, it's not using the trim command and you have to run it manually periodically rather than it running automatically when the disk's idle.

Trim will be great but don't pretend it's available.

Yes there is (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885739)

As of this morning. It's a couple stories down on the /. front page.

If you are talking about 3 that failed... (3, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885061)

then to say "Some are reporting bad blocks, others just crapped out and stopped responding entirely..." is misleading.

You know the numbers, so tell them. If the total is 3, then you can't use a plural for two separate types of failures "some this, others that". That is just logically impossible if the number of failures is 3. Think about it.

Re:If you are talking about 3 that failed... (2, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885297)

then to say "Some are reporting bad blocks, others just crapped out and stopped responding entirely..." is misleading.

You know the numbers, so tell them. If the total is 3, then you can't use a plural for two separate types of failures "some this, others that". That is just logically impossible if the number of failures is 3. Think about it.

I think all of us understood what the poster meant.

Think about it.

That's a condescending thing to say. Whenever someone says "Think about it", it's always with the air of superiority - as if they have this insight that the lesser people haven't seen or unable to see.

My response to that order is "I'll spend every waking moment thinking about it." - then I forget about it.

Re:If you are talking about 3 that failed... (-1, Troll)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885595)

I'm sorry you took that as condescending. In truth, I was just suggesting that the author erroneously used plural for two cases that should sum to 3, but the minimum sum of two cases being plural (and positive integers) would be 4. The taste of superiority/condescension is a figment of your perspective. Would it be wrong for me to think you may be insecure? Is that *bad* too? What if you've got poop on your shoe, should I tell you?

Re:If you are talking about 3 that failed... (5, Funny)

PaladinAlpha (645879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885701)

What if one of them reported bad blocks and then "crapped out" afterwards? Wouldn't that mean two of them reported two bad blocks, and then two crapped out entirely, resulting in a total of three? Set theory. Think about it.

Re:If you are talking about 3 that failed... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885757)

Off-topic comment: "Think about it" does not indicate insight that others can't see or don't have. On the contrary, it indicates that the insight is something derived from something that you already have, and that you can reach just like everyone else.

Manufacturers / Drive Info (5, Insightful)

adisakp (705706) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885065)

Can you at least tell us which 3 of your 8 drives failed ? Perhaps there is some similarity in controller or Flash memory used?

FWIW, I have 2 of the Intel Drives and 1 OCZ drive and I haven't seen any problems.

Re:Manufacturers / Drive Info (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885231)

Hi, I was the guy that posted the original question. Thanks for your response. I didn't give details simply due to space constraints. The drives were:

1. FHM16GF25H = Super Talent MasterDrive 16GB under linux
2. Transcend TS32GSSD25-M under Windows/XP
3. Patriot Warp v2 32GB under Ubuntu 8.04 with ext3

The machines were not super heavily loaded (i.e., no compiles 24/7), and we did the "obvious" things like turning off atime updates to the filesystems, etc.

No problems here... (2, Interesting)

thesameguy (1047504) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885103)

I've got a pair of Dell Mini 9s, one with a 4gb SSD and the other a 32gb. Neither have had problems, although they only see maybe 1-2 hours of use daily. We also run a pair of Dell XPS laptops - one 1340, one 1640, both with the 128gb Samsung (IIRC) SSDs. Those systems are on and working 6-10 hours a day every day, no problems. All four of these systems run XP; the 4gb Mini 9 runs a lightened version. I've also got a home-built HTPC made out of mostly ASUS components running Win7RC on a Patriot 64gb SSD. It's on 24x7, though never sees heavy use - just streaming movies from various places. It's been flawless as well. I've not heard of any SSD reliability grand conspiracy - maybe your users have personal magnetic fields that disrupt the traditional and proper flow of electrons?

Linus says... (5, Interesting)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885113)

http://torvalds-family.blogspot.com/2008/10/so-i-got-one-of-new-intel-ssds.html [blogspot.com]

He sorta knows what he's talking about more often than a random average slashdotter.

Re:Linus says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885241)

Of course, that blog post is more than a year old at this point and the landscape has changed quite a bit since then..

Linus updated it 5 months later (4, Informative)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885521)

Linus updated his SSD post [blogspot.com] 5 months later and in the follow-up mentioned, among other things, an AnandTech article [anandtech.com] he liked at least parts of.

Re:Linus says... (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885597)

Yeah, forgot about the passage of time. I couldn't find this more recent article from jeff atwood when I first posted it.

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001304.html [codinghorror.com]

With ssd right now, the manufacturer makes a big difference in quality and reliability.

Re:Linus says... (1, Redundant)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885347)

All Linus did was provide *initial quality* of the gadget. That tells us nothing about long-term user. Perhaps his shiny new Intel drive will fail next year.

Aside -

I have two traditional hard drives in my PC. They've been running almost-nonstop since 2003. Any idea how much longer I have until they crash?

Re:Linus says... (1)

i.am.delf (1665555) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885547)

I also bought a 80gb Intel SSD. I agree that it absolutely lives up to the hype. I use it day in and day out on my desktop since March 2009. I have been running Windows 7 beta through release on it. I have had zero problems and zero performance degradation so far. I run games and I run normal productivity software. Nothing fancy, but it does see about 10 hours per day of use. With that in mind it only take a cursory review of SSD articles to find that not all SSDs are created equal. Many are really crap because of bad controllers or flash cells that were not designed for use in an SSD.

Why the CF bulb hate? (1, Offtopic)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885137)

I don't know where people have been getting their compact fluorescent bulbs, but I've never experienced one actually wear out since they came on the market.
I think they are mostly Philips.

Re:Why the CF bulb hate? (1)

Dunkirk (238653) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885249)

Lowes. I can't stand the light they give off, so I only use them on the outside garage fixtures that our neighborhood covenant requires that I leave on all night. (They're on a light-sensing switch.) Despite the promises, they manage to only last about a year or two. While this is dreadfully short of their supposed life, it's a lot longer than the couple of months that conventials were lasting in the same fixtures, which is why I switched. I guess external applications don't count.

Re:Why the CF bulb hate? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885287)

I had one catastrophic bulb failure - the glass actually burned up or something. Big brown stain on it and it ceased to function suddenly.

Aside from that every bulb I've had coming up on 3 years now is still in commission or was decommissioned for a higher intensity bulb. I am now up to using 120w equiv (30w) bulbs. in some places. 100w equiv in others, and 60w (13w) for outside nighttime lighting. Even exposed to the elements (in a housing) these bulbs still last a long time.

I was really surprised recently to pick up 2 100w for $4.56 combined.
I really like the "nvision" brand - they seem to fit better and last fine.

Re:Why the CF bulb hate? (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885319)

I bought some flood-light type bulb replacements from a big box store (Lowes or Home Depot, I forget which). The bulb looked like a flood light, but you could see it was just a curly CFL inside.

The bulbs were purchased about 18 months ago, so I assume they were "modern".

I hated them. They were slow to start, and had a terrible pink cast to them until they warmed up over 5 to 10 minutes. I was both surprised and glad that they lasted less than a year (maybe 1500 hours on them).

To be fair, I do have some regular CFL bulbs behind a couch that come on fast, run cool and look fine.

I think the CFL Hate comes from a couple of directions, first, some may have had bad experiences like me (or just not like the quality of the light). The other reason for the hate is just the idea that they may be mandated, and the ensuing slippery slope arguments that follow.

Re:Why the CF bulb hate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885341)

Yeah, I have yet to replace any of mine either, and there are some that I've turned on and off several times a day for years now. A lot of the evidence in that article sounds pretty circumstantial. The only thing I'd take at face value was the RPI testing, which found that 80% of the bulbs lived up to their advertising.

As far as SSDs go, I bought a very cheap 32GB drive off eBay from some Shanghai-based reseller. It was primarily an experiment, and a way to keep my old Thinkpad X40 relevant for another year or two. So far it's lasted half a year, so if it continues for another 6 months or longer I'll consider the experiment successful.

Re:Why the CF bulb hate? (2, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885395)

Depends a LOT on the quality of wiring and electricity that you have. CF bulbs have integrated electronics to get the power to what is needed to light up. If your house power is running out of spec, they can fail pretty quickly. Since an incandescent bulb has a large range of voltage that it'll respond and light up in, there's no problem with them in places with dirtier power.

Re:Why the CF bulb hate? (1)

hamburgler007 (1420537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885477)

Definitely depends on the brand you get, the quality and lifespan of the bulb can vary dramatically. If you get the cheap ones from home despot, they last a good amount of time, but they take forever to reach their full brightness.

Re:Why the CF bulb hate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885501)

I've had a dozen CF bulbs go out on me... each of them in a smokey, poofy death. Yep, I also see the brown burn stain inside the glass and sometimes goig down into the housing for the circuitry. I do not think I've saved much $$$ yet.

Re:Why the CF bulb hate? (1)

tonyreadsnews (1134939) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885603)

Same here, that last comment made me think the question a bit trollish. This sort of thing happens with all products including incandescent bulbs, but I don't see any mention of that.

Re:Why the CF bulb hate? (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885619)

I have used Philips and GE - both have an average lifetime of around 9 months in my applications.

        Brett

Re:Why the CF bulb hate? (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885667)

I have 3 Lights of America CFLs laying right next to me. They started flickering only a few months after install, and died less than a year later. They should have lasted at least 5 years according to the warranty.

My GE CFLs come on nice-and-bright but they are limited in usage, because they are "swirls" and most of my lights don't accept swirls. They require traditional round bulbs.

My Philips CFLs provide that nice round bulb, but they are slow to reach full brightness, which is rather annoying. The 60-watt-equivalent bulb hanging upside-down in my kitchen is sometimes so dim, it looks like a brown dwarf star... barely any light at all.

In brief:
- CFLs hate temperature extremes. CFLs hate dimmers. CFLs hate being turned on and off.
- The savings on CFLs is trivial. I'm not seeing smaller monthly bills.
- In fact I'm actually *wasting* money because of failed experiments with the LOA and Philips bulbs.

Re:Why the CF bulb hate? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885729)

I've had about half of mine fail so far. Mind you, I bought them about ten years ago, so I'm quite happy with that failure rate. I generally have to replace one every 6-12 months. I'm not sure when the last failure was; the electricity company sent me two through the post about a year ago and I haven't used either of them yet, so it must be over a year, but that's quite unusual. This is in a house with wiring from the '50s (which is badly in need of replacing).

They do lose brightness over time, however. I generally combat this by moving the oldest ones into lamps and leaving the newest ones as room lights.

Re:Why the CF bulb hate? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885733)

Leaving a CFL turned on for less than 15 minutes at a time lowers the life expectancy. It's something to do with the inverter not warming up completely, I don't remember exactly.
I had several CFLs die within 1-2 years, as opposed to their advertised long life. I did some research and then changed my usage patterns. I installed an incandescent in the bathroom for the quick in-and-out. In the rest of the rooms, I will leave the light on when I leave, then turn it off when I have re-entered and exited the room again. Since making these changes over 2 years ago, none of the CFLs have died.

Re:Why the CF bulb hate? (2, Informative)

valhallaprime (749304) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885737)

It really depends on the brand of the bulb. I've had a few Philips that were bought in the 90's, used every night dusk till dawn outside, and they lasted 10+ years. In our school dorms, I replaced a few spots in the common area with a few of the older looped (not squared-off) Ikea 11W'ers. Light's are on 24/7/365. 6 of the 8 are at 2+ years now, that's almost 20,000 hours, on -already used- bulbs.

We replaced all the hall lights in the dorms with 13 watt and 20 watt CFL's, for a total of about 45 bulbs. All GE brand....4 have failed after 18 months of 24/7/365. The rest are still going strong. That's still way above their spec of 8,000hrs IIRC.

I've used a few FEIT and Lights Across America. One LAA had a "bad failure", where the ballast base actually started smoking. The FEIT's had a pretty wide range of color temp, for being the same model.

For organizations such as ourselves where we have areas that need to be lit 24/7/365, the savings are very easily calculated. In the 24/7 sockets, with myself and a student worker volunteering our time to purchase and install the bulbs, the cost of the bulb payed for itself in electric savings (city industrial rate, $0.141/kwh) in less than 5 weeks, over the 65W incan floods they replaced. Crazy.

I Don't think they have been proven yet. (1)

olddoc (152678) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885163)

I LOVE my flash drives in my desktop (OCZ) and Thinkpad (Samsung) I'd hate to go back to legacy spinny storage, but I had 2 USB flash drives crap out recently. A 32GB OCZ and a 1GB no name recently failed without being abused. I would be hesitant to place consumer ssds where there is no backup in place or where replacement is an issue. The CFL reliability story is apropos: it is easy to slap a 10,000 hr rating on a bulb or a 1,000,000 hr MTBF rating on a SSD. In the real world, it might not work that way.

Like with the CF bulbs, cheap = not good. (3, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885173)

Cheap SSD drives fail more often then good, expensive ones. This is not shocking news. Or at least it shouldn't be. But the vast majority of consumers never look past the capacity and purchase price.

Re:Like with the CF bulbs, cheap = not good. (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885499)

When stuff has come down in price over time because of improved manufacturing et al, it will usually have a fairly good quality (see cheap ATA drives), when it starts cheap it will have a high failure rate because not enough was invested in manufacture/design/testing.

tl;dr Cheap new stuff, last less time than Cheap old stuff, news at 11

Reminds me of... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885175)

Sounds like you are unfamiliar with what a product warranty is for. Complex products (especially new ones) are going to fail at a pretty good rate. If it breaks, get it replaced. This serves you (you get a new, working one) and the vendor (they get to figure out why it broke and avoid it in the future.)

I could dig up a dozen recent "reviews" of traditional hard drives where the reviewer claimed an outrageous failure rate. Yep, magnetic platter disks just aren't ready for prime time, just like compact fluorescent light bulbs. Better go back to a gas lamp and a punch card, those sure are reliable.

Re:Reminds me of... (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885255)

Of course, it also means the vendor gets a copy of whatever is on the drive... Confidential company information, personal data, furry pr0n...

Re:Reminds me of... (3, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885401)

Of course, it also means the vendor gets a copy of whatever is on the drive... Confidential company information, personal data, furry pr0n...

Clever, in a completely unrelated way. What if a company (say they were operating out of a country not completely allied with the US) were to create a SSD device that had logic to "incapacitate" itself at some rate after it had been used to store enough information, before the warranty had expired, and not often enough (across the population) to raise suspicion. The disk could be a sort of new age Trojan horse, sneaking in, and back out with valuable, undetected all the while.

Re:Reminds me of... (1)

AzureDiamond (1314257) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885719)

It's an interesting idea, and I actually modded you up for it with another account. However I don't think it would actually work. Consider.

A Chinese company make SSDs designed to fail. They ship them to the US. Now most people have no data which is particularly useful so you get back stacks of failed disks and scan them and get nothing of value. A few people might have something you could use commercially perhaps - bank login details for example. Still if you use those someone is likely to report you to the FBI etc. Even worse you have a chain of distributors, some in the US and some who will act purely on commercial interest. A higher failure rate than the competition mean you get dropped quite quickly by these people.

Last but not least the CIA, NSA, etc presumably don't buy no name flash disks. My guess is they buy enterprise disks at vast expense. If those disks fail they probably have some deal where they can destroy them onsite rather than sending them back.

So the odds of getting useful information is rather low, and the capitalist system would probably weed out drives with a higher than average failure rate.

Re:Reminds me of... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885443)

So? if they were to look at it or use it in any way they would shortly stop getting orders.

Re:Reminds me of... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885749)

This is why you use filesystem encryption on any disk containing potentially sensitive information.

One of 7 Transcends (5, Interesting)

lcreech (1491) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885183)

I have 7 Transcend SATA SSD's, 3 32GB and 4 192GB, one of the 192GB drives is flakey, random bad blocks and file curruption issues of files that had been fine but gone bad and have not been written to since their creation some months ago. I've reloaded it several times but eventually had to remove it from service because of its poor reliability.

An interesting reference. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885235)

As silly as it is, I learned a lot from CFLs. I really wanted them to be great...and they are...now. When they were first introduced, Sam's Club was the first place I found them at a semi-affordable price. I bought a ton of them and replaced everything in my house that wasn't on a dimmer. I replaced them all again inside of 6 months as they all died. Fast-forward a few years to the present. I was at Sam's the other day and noticed that they have LED based incandescent/CFL replacements!!!! I stopped myself as I was picking up a few packs. "At least find some reviews first", I told myself. So I did. Same crap, different decade. They'll eventually be good and affordable. Right now they're neither...just new and cool. I suspect SSD's are the same. Cool. New. Nifty. Whatever. In a few years, I'll buy one when a TB SSD is cheaper than a TB platter.

BS? (5, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885259)

It's starting to remind me of the claims about long-lifetime compact fluorescent light bulbs that, in reality, have turned out to be BS!"

Bad troll. I read the fine article linked in this claim. The claims are not BS... there have just been problems with the supply-chain doing cost-cutting, and with people using cheap CFLs inappropriately. It's important to note that the Energy Star ratings board has been retesting CFLs and revoking use of the label for CFLs that fail to meet the standard.

It's not BS... it just needs some refining. Don't use CFLs on a dimmer switch. Don't use them in poorly ventilated enclosures. Don't use CFLs in fixtures you turn off and on a lot.

A little bit of consumer education goes a long way... but unfortunately so does FUD like the submitter's.

Re:BS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885453)

it's true though that a lot of the cfl's sold during certain big box promotions were lacking.

I used cfl's at the the time for one of my grow rooms.

The ones I bought at $4 or $5 a pop lasted a couple of years, the ones walmart was pushing at $1 ea lasted about a year.

Fixtures were cheap, but not heat-trapping, which is the main factor in cheap fixtures causing premature failure as I understand it.

On balance, I prefer my metal halides.

Sure, a spare $100 bulb is expensive, but cheaper than the cfl's it replaces.

just wait for LED bulbs (5, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885489)

LED bulbs are going to render CFL bulbs a flash in the pan

no toxic mercury, no 30 second wait to dim up completely after turn on, not nearly as fragile, lasts much longer, nicer white glow, similar very low energy usage...

but currently, they are a little pricey and their lighting wattage is low

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/06/coming-soon-a-40-watt-led-light-bulb/ [nytimes.com]

Re:BS? (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885781)

Also, don't use in rooms with showers.
I use CFL, and the ones in dry rooms last a long time, but the ones I put in my bathrooms kept dying. Humidity shortening the life of CFLs is a known problem.
I've since switched to halogen bulbs in the bathroom and they work better for me with some power savings over normal incandescents.

That's a good analogy. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885261)

Like with the bulbs, the problem is probably that you're going for the cheapest thing you can find. Cheap out on hardware for marginal savings, have it turn out to be shit, what a surprise.

Enough Memory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885267)

How is the memory on your PCs? I just realized this week that my 4GB of memory on my PC is being read as 2GB and my HD is getting slammed anytime I run anything that uses a lot of memory. Fortunately I don't have an SSD and additional memory is now on the way...

Compact Fluorescents are awesome. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885275)

I think that article is not very balanced. Have I had failures? Yes, but the bulbs that work go long and strong. In my parents house there is a CF bulb that has been on for almost 6 years. It is rarely turned off (they use it as a night light). They may have issues but I don't think it is any greater than tradition bulbs have.

"PC and Linux boxes" (1)

TC Steve (455528) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885283)

What exactly is the difference between a "PC" and a "Linux box"? Or has this guy fallen prey to the marketing of Microsoft / Apple and using "PC" to mean "Microsoft Widows" computer?

Re:"PC and Linux boxes" (1)

Virak (897071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885399)

Or has this guy fallen prey to the marketing of Microsoft / Apple and using "PC" to mean "Microsoft Widows" computer?

I realized some of Apple's ads were a bit questionable, but I didn't think any of them went quite so far as to claim Microsoft's software actually kills people.

I think your data sample is missing something (3, Insightful)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885291)

My first response would be: "What type of computers are these being used in? Desktops? Servers? Laptops? Netbooks?"

My second response would be: "What systems settings have been changed so the OS is properly set up for an SSD drive?"

My third response would be: "What exact make and model drives are we talking about here?"

All of this is important in determining whether this is just another typical anecdotal ask slashtards to make me feel better type question, or whether you are seriously asking.

Without specifics, this is nothing more than a waste of time.

If all of the failed drives are of a specific manufacturer's netbook mini pcie based 4GB SSD drives, and all were having the same basic issue, then it's really an indication of a problem with one manufacturer's drives, and not SSD's as a whole now isn't it?

It's like saying all 1.5TB rotational hard drives suck and lose data becuase at one point seagate had tremendous firmware problems with their 1.5TB hdd's.

If on the other hand, it's several different drives, in different environments, from several different manufacturers and across several physically different types of SSD's (mini pcie, full size, etc) utilizing several different types of RAM and several different controllers, then it would suggest a more widespread problem.

You don't even have a large enough data sample to begin to answer these questions.

Me personally, I've got SSD drives in everything from my home desktop, to my work laptop, to a couple of small file servers, to two different Dell Mini 9's running aftermarket Runcore SSD's

All have been in use for at least a year (the work laptop is actually a Dell xps m1330 that is almost 2 years old and has a 64GB Samsung SSD in it).
All are working flawlessly and show no signs of dieing.

Re:I think your data sample is missing something (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885387)

The original poster didn't ask you to debug his problem or theorize why he drives failed. He asked you a very simple question: what have your experiences been like with flash drives? You don't need any of the data you're asking for above to do that.

My SSD died yesterday (3, Interesting)

fljmayer (985663) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885309)

I got an OCZ Vertex 5 months and was very happy with the speed increase. Yesterday the laptop blue-screened and wouldn't boot any more. The BIOS test reported a read error. I am waiting for an RMA number from OCZ.

Re:My SSD died yesterday (1)

T7g (725446) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885553)

I have a Vertex as well but I spent the extra time to convert my Gentoo install into a read-only drive that hosts everything except /var and /home, /etc and /tmp are located on ramdisks and /etc is copied up from another directory at boot. So, I can emerge sync without remounting rw but I can't emerge anything else unless I remount rw. So, I pretty much have free reign on when it gets written to and when it doesn't I also used nilfs2 as it's filesystem, screwed up it's entry in /etc/fstab so the garbage collector never runs, and left a bunch of unallocated space at the end of the drive for wear leveling. Not a single problem yet.

What products? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885333)

So one of the first things I did was learn about SSDs by reading some of the articles on AndDTech. I am running an OCZ at home for about a month or two and it's been great so far. I made sure to reflash the firmware first before doing anything. At work we run a EMC SAN that uses SSD's. The I/O on it is amazing and as far as I know there have been no failures on it.

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3531

I can't help you with your SSD issue, but the... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885371)

...CFL issue TFA is referring to is pretty clearly a case of PEBLAS

Problem Exists Between Lamp and Stepladder.

Thank you, thank you, I'm here all week.

hmmm, that's not so good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885391)

i was going to build myself a HTPC with a 30GB OCZ drive, but i think i'll leave it a bit longer if this is the case..

built a few dinky machines running a non-live, non-journal, filesystem off of 4/8GB compact flash cards in CF to IDE converters, and occasionally, scsi to ide, then ide to CF adapters... no page file or defragmentation malarky either. still going fine a year or two later. from either sandisk extreme2/3, or no-name "speedy" branded cards.

maybe the size increase, increases the possibility of a duff cell or three?

nearly went SSD for my laptop's drive upgrade, but went for 500GB 7200rpm "rusty rotator" instead.

haha (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885423)

Nice troll.

You link to a story that has nothing to do with the question. Man, this is sloppy even for /. 'editors'.

The article is using examples of incorrectly manufactured bulbs that fail to spread FUD.
I couldn't help but notice they don't compare it to the failure rate of cheap incandesents.

I have never replaced an IFL and I have been replacing my non-dimming regular bulbs for over 5 years and have only replaced one, and that was because I put it in a dimmer to see what would happen.

Guess what? it's a personal anecdote, and not data; much like that article.

Re:haha (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885623)

Did you read the article you linked to (registration only, but if you google for the URL then follow the link it works because NYT doesn't require registration of the referrer is Google)? It says that CF lightbulbs do generally save money and last longer, but a few Chinese manufacturers were cutting costs and using substandard components, meaning that the bulbs didn't last long. Fortunately, they all come with something like a ten-year guarantee, so if they fail as early as the anecdotes in the article were claiming then you can just take them back to the shop and get a replacement for free.

If you read the article, you'll see that, sensationalist headlines aside, it doesn't even support the allegation of 'BS' in the link to it. First rate trolling indeed.

No problems (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885567)

I have had one on my notebook computer for 1 1/2 years so far with daily usage, no problem whatsoever.

Shouldn't heading say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29885625)

"An anonymous Seagate or Western Digital or Hitachi employee writes:". Just sayin'...

OCZ Vertex - so far so good (1)

magnosis (1366143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29885783)

I have 2 of the 32GB OCZ Vertex II in a RAID-0 configuration for my OS (Windows 7). Blazing fast and error-free since installation (3 months ago).
As noted in my previous (anonymous) post Windows 7 is very friendly to SSD, it detects mine (even when RAID0 with the onboard ICH controller) and automatically turns of defrag.
It should be noted that I selected the Vertex II based on excellent reviews, plus OCZ now uses a much improved chipset on them. A bit pricey, but you get what you pay for.
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