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Flash Destroyer Tests Limit of Solid State Storage

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the step-right-up-place-your-bets dept.

Data Storage 229

An anonymous reader writes "We all know that flash and other types of solid state storage can only endure a limited number of write cycles. The open source Flash Destroyer prototype explores that limit by writing and verifying a solid state storage chip until it dies. The total write-verify cycle count is shown on a display — watch a live video feed and guess when the first chip will die. This project was inspired by the inevitable comments about flash longevity on every Slashdot SSD story. Design files and source are available at Google Code."

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Interesting! (3, Interesting)

exasperation (1378979) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367354)

It'll be nice to get some third-party data on exactly how long these things last on average.

Re:Interesting! (4, Informative)

mantis2009 (1557343) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367538)

Just checked out the video feed. The chip already lasted longer than 1 million writes, which is the number of writes the chip is supposed to last over its lifetime. As of this writing, the chip has survived more than 1,600,000 write cycles and counting.

Still, since this test isn't on an actual, shipping solid state drive (SSD) product, the results will be discounted by a lot of critics.

Re:Interesting! (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367814)

The rated write cycles may be at the extreme of the rated operating temperature. He needs to bake the test rig in an oven for the duration of the test.

Re:Interesting! (5, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368030)

Or connect the drive inside any computer running a Prescott P4 with 100% CPU utilization.

Re:Interesting! (3, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367918)

since this test isn't on an actual, shipping solid state drive (SSD) product, the results will be discounted by a lot of critics.

Assuming that the flash is of equivalent technology (e.g. SLC NAND, cell size, etc) to that used for SSD, then this would present a best case test, since it is exercising all cells equally.

An SSD tries to do wear leveling (distribute writes evenly), but that can't done perfectly, as is done in this test.

Re:Interesting! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32368184)

You're wrong, twice. Almost all consumer SSDs use MLC (eg the X-25, nearly all products based on the Indilinx or Sandforce controllers). Also SSDs ship with a few gigabytes of extra space for wear leveling; available sectors just get lined up neatly in a queue (according to whoever has had the least write cycles so far) and the controller picks the sector at the top of the list. The absolute worst-case scenario is that someone will fill up the entire drive and then write to the same spot over and over again; even in this extreme corner case, wear-leveling algorithms are "perfect" in that they will distribute the writes 100% evenly across all available spare sectors until one of them dies (at which point it *should* repeat the process with the remaining sectors, until they're all gone too).

Re:Interesting! (4, Insightful)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367954)

And honestly it's a pretty valid argument. This is definitely going to be informative, but I'm just as interested in how a particular SSD handles the flash blocks failing as when they fail. A SSD with flash that averages 1,000,000 writes before blocks start to fail but does it gracefully with little/no data loss could be better than one that averages 2,000,000 but goes out in a blaze of glory as soon as the first block fails.

Re:Interesting! (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368528)

A SSD with flash that averages 1,000,000 writes before blocks start to fail but does it gracefully with little/no data loss could be better than one that averages 2,000,000 but goes out in a blaze of glory as soon as the first block fails.

That depends on how you define "better", and for my personal definition, it depends on exactly how glorious a blaze it is. :)

Re:Interesting! (5, Informative)

Kindgott (165758) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367986)

Yeah, the title seems misleading, since they're writing and verifying data on an EEPROM, which is not used in solid state drives last time I checked.

Re:Interesting! (4, Informative)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368120)

I find this "not very interesting" RTFA. This is not a flash destroyer. It is an EEPROM destroyer. NOT THE SAME THING AND NOT USEFUL!

Re:Interesting! (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368530)

Just checked out the video feed. The chip already lasted longer than 1 million writes, which is the number of writes the chip is supposed to last over its lifetime. As of this writing, the chip has survived more than 1,600,000 write cycles and counting.

Still, since this test isn't on an actual, shipping solid state drive (SSD) product, the results will be discounted by a lot of critics.

This destroys EEPROM - not NAND flash.

Based on all the people RMA'ing SSDs in the 12-24 month range, I'm betting the number of actual write cycles is significantly below the number of theoretical write cycles.

agreed (1)

thenewguy001 (1290738) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367592)

but let's hope more than one third-party decides to run these tests so we have larger data sets and from separate sources.

Re:Interesting! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32367622)

Yes, its nice to finally get some independent data on this. It would also be nice to try this tool on spinning platter disks. People tend to forget that they also only endure a limited number of cycles. From what I remember from the time before spinning platter disks had wear leveling implemented the number of writes was way lower than that of modern flash memory. (Or perhaps I was just unlucky.)

Re:Interesting! (4, Insightful)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367788)

Mechanical disks have lots of great failure modes. You can do seek tests until the arm breaks or voice coil fails, you can do write/read tests until you get enough bad sectors that they can't recover the data any more, or you can do start-stop of the drive motor until it dies. Another good one is to stop the motor for a while, then see if it starts up or has stiction (sic), but that test takes a long time. If the drive is not held rigidly enough, vibration will kill it, and it it isn't cooled properly, heat will kill it. Did I miss any?

Re:Interesting! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32368002)

Yea, you missed one.

What happens if you pee on it?

Re:Interesting! (5, Funny)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368102)

If you have any important data on that drive, urine trouble...

Re:Interesting! (1)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368112)

Just one...you can blend it.

Re:Interesting! (1)

beaviz (314065) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368142)

Did I miss any?

Oh yes!

Can it be overloaded with excessive amounts of (bad) porn?
How long will it survive in the hands of a 2-year old?
What will happen if it were to meet the goatse-guy in a dark alley?
Can you eat it?
What will happen if you leave it in the microwave oven for too long?

Hmm. I should go to bed.

Re:Interesting! (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368302)

I'm just curious, why use sic in your own posts? Wouldn't you just correct whatever you are sic-ing?

Re:Interesting! (4, Interesting)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368420)

I'm just curious, why use sic in your own posts? Wouldn't you just correct whatever you are sic-ing?

IMHO, this kind of use of [sic] is perfectly valid. It means "this is not a typo, it's really how it is spelled" (literally "thus"). In this case it refers to an unusual word that may look like a misspelling of a more common word. However, it can also refer to a genuine misspelling, when you are referring to what somebody else wrote.

Re:Interesting! (4, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367882)

I would like to see a comparison with a mechanical drive doing the same thing in parallel.

While the Solid Sate has a theoretical Limited number of writes vs. the mechanical drive, it would be interesting to see what real world has to offer.

Re:Interesting! (1)

quercus.aeternam (1174283) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367904)

I vaguely recall reading that the more writes flash has, the less likely it is to remember what is written to it over time - kind of like volatile storage, but with the length of time the data lasts being inversely related to the number of writes.

Given what I know about flash, I'm not quite sure how this could happen physically. I believe this was mentioned when I was looking into ssd caches for zfs, where this type of failure would be insignificant. It could be completely incorrect, too.

If it is correct, this sort of test alone will not be definitive. Instead, a batch of chips would have to be written to different levels, and then periodically verified.

live stream (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32367392)

a live stream linked on slashdot.. ouch..

Re:live stream (2, Insightful)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367600)

They should have a bit torrent-like system for streams. Like, you just connect to the swarm and request a fairly recent image. Everyone keeps the past minute or so cached to send to new people in the swarm. Maybe a tiered system so that the people who have been connected longest are closest to the original stream.

Let's say I connect to Joe and Mary, who're connected to the original server. They send me frames two or three frames behind the server. Jack connects, and he's getting a bit lagged images too, right with me. Now Sally connects and she's behind me and Jack, so Me, Jack, Joe and Mary all send her images. It's like a pyramid scheme for streaming video.

Now Joe leaves. I've been around longer than Jack, so I move up in the tiers. I see a single frameskip, but now I'm connected directly to the source stream.

The real purpose here is to relieve some of the pressure from the initial server. Maybe they've got 100/100, and I connect with my 20/5. Well, 5 isn't much compared to 100, but I'm pulling less than 1. Let's call it 1. Now the available bandwidth for streaming is 105 and I'm only using 1. With all them other folks connected up, the server might be only holding half the load. And higher bandwidths could get tiering priority, like, if I have 100/100, well, I get directly connected to the server pretty quick so I can redistribute the stream faster.

Oh, that's right, video comes in streams, not images... well, okay, it's got some problems. But it seems like a good solution to a very, very common problem. Make things easier on Hulu and Youtube (cause we all know they need the help, right?) and such too. Maybe drastically reduce the barrier for entry into that field, at least.

Just a thought.

Re:live stream (4, Informative)

kipin (981566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367790)

http://torrentstream.org/ [torrentstream.org]

Works pretty well actually.

Re:live stream (4, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367810)

You've just described what multicast was designed to solve.

https://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps6552/products_ios_technology_home.html [cisco.com]

Re:live stream (1)

kirillian (1437647) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368350)

Someone already mentioned that this stream is broadcast with flash. There are actually some flash-based versions of multicast type technologies...I remember an octoshape(?) that was used to enable the broadcast of President Obama's swear-in over CNN if I remember correctly. There are also features built in to version 10+ of flash that basically make the above-mentioned structure possible. Needless to say, I will be happy to leave this coding house for a job where I don't have to code in the Flash world. Why did we ever as a society let marketing departments be in charge of ANYTHING??!!??!?

Re:live stream (1)

suso (153703) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367834)

I thought that was what multicast was for. Ouch! Too early.

Re:live stream (1)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367782)

Which ironically uses Flash.

Re:live stream (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368204)

..which ironically many feel should be destroyed.

Re:live stream (2, Interesting)

game kid (805301) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367956)

Doesn't multicast help any? Given a bunch of people who want to view the same exact stream, the server should be sending the same packets and letting the viewers' players deal with sync, starting at a key frame (and not in the middle of some crumbly diff frames), et cetera. With that, the server could just concentrate on the list of viewers' IPs, send packets far less often, and the /. arson fails.

Live streams, to me, seem easier than webpages because the viewer always wants the current frames of a live video but may want any portion of any other pages.

Re:live stream (1)

Mantis8 (876944) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368188)

Now all of us /.er's have a new past time...flash burning parties!

Re:live stream (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368280)

The webcam destroyer has only been running for 3 days so far. Keep an eye on it.

Die? (1)

Denis Lemire (27713) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367444)

You would think after the write cycles were exceeded the chips would be more or less read-only instead of 'dead.'

Am I mistaken on this presumption?

Re:Die? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367548)

You would think after the write cycles were exceeded the chips would be more or less read-only instead of 'dead.'

Am I mistaken on this presumption?

Yep. When it dies, you can still write. It is just what you write won't be right. :) Hence the verify part of the test.

Re:Die? (2, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367658)

Depends - if the chips are using some sort of error correction, they may well just fail. I have USB-based Flash die all the time and it DIES, as in not even presenting a usable device to the OS despite being "detected". The theory is that they fail nicely but the chances are that any non-premium flash will just die a death. Why bother making the device fail gracefully if it's failed anyway?

Literally - I've never seen a flash device in such a "read-only" mode, even for a single bit, but I can't even begin to count the number of flash-chips in certain devices (everything from routers to USB sticks) that just die for no reason and never recover.

Re:Die? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32367982)

What you're probably seeing is the microcontroller failing. The actual flash memory chips could be just fine but inaccessible.

Re:Die? (2, Insightful)

fbjon (692006) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368150)

It may be that the controller on the device just doesn't know what to do when something goes pear-shaped. To be sure, you should be accessing the raw NAND chip itself.

Re:Die? (1)

Entrope (68843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367578)

It depends on the architecture of the flash cells, but yes, I would expect that the chips would fail into some mode where erase and program operations have no effect. (Being a software guy rather than a Flash memory guy, I wouldn't want to guess whether over-erased cells would be at logic 1, logic 0 or a mix of the two.)

Re:Die? (3, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368294)

(Being a software guy rather than a Flash memory guy, I wouldn't want to guess whether over-erased cells would be at logic 1, logic 0 or a mix of the two.)

Well I'm not an expert on flash, but I know a little about how they work. In NOR flash the data line is pulled up to one, so that's the default state for any bit. There's a transistor connected to ground, and if the floating gate has a charge in it and the transistor is on, then it pulls the data line down to 0. "Erasing" a NOR flash sets all the bits to 1, and programming it sets certain bits to 0.

The most common failure mode as I understand it is that electrons get trapped in the floating gate even after erase cycles such that it's very close to or over Vt for the transistor, so that bit would be stuck in the "programmed" state of logic 0.

NAND memory is the opposite, the erased state is 0 and the programmed state is 1, so a permanently charged floating gate should result in a stuck-at-1 fault.

Which, relating to the OP's question, means either way the memory wouldn't be good for much of anything. Your NAND SSD is going to fail during an erase-program (aka "write") cycle, and except in the extremely unlikely case that the pattern you were writing did not involve changing any previously stored 1s to 0s on stuck bits, then the result is going to be wrong. You could read it, but you'd be reading the wrong data.

Huh? (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367680)

If it fails on a write, then the data written is useless (because some random bit/s will be wrong), so the storage is "dead" in that it is no longer useful. IOW, it can no longer be used for its intended purpose.

"Read-only" refers to storage which contains useful information, in that it was written once with the desired data, even if it can't be again (ROM or PROM). So even though it's read-only, it still fulfills its intended purpose.

In any case, read-only = useful, dead = not useful; worn out flash = not useful.

Re:Huh? (1)

Denis Lemire (27713) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367824)

Right, but failing gracefully into a "no more writes" state is far better than an "I'm dead and I took your data with me" scenario.

I honestly don't know which is more common or if it varies amongst various flash storage devices, hence why I raised the question.

People in general should but don't have backups of their data so this distinction is pretty important.

Re:Huh? (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368046)

Since you don't know it's failed until you have an unsuccessful write, what "graceful" mechanism are you proposing?

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

Denis Lemire (27713) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368480)

Graceful as in data not related to your recent failed writes are still readable so they can be backed up and migrated to a new drive. Not sure why that concept is so difficult. I consider something dead as "completely unreadable, ALL your data has been destroyed - have a nice day."

No longer reliable but still semi recoverable isn't quite "dead."

Maybe I'm just using a stricter interpretation of the word dead than you are?

Let's use a marker on a white board analogy. If I was storing all my data on a suitably large white board using a marker and I completely exhausted my marker's supply of ink, I'd be pissed if this resulted in a blank whiteboard, wouldn't you? On that same note, if I wiped a small section of my whiteboard with the intent of writing something new in that area and only then realized that my marker was no longer suitably supplied with ink and my write failed, I would find the blank void in that section alone acceptable.

Does that clarify things?

Subject here (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32367446)

Flash! Aa-aaahhh!!

Re:Subject here (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32367514)

He's a miracle!!!

Re:Subject here (2, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368164)

King of the impossible!

Re:Subject here (1)

Yannic (609749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368408)

What's happening Flash?
[...]
But he can never fail

This really reminds me of why I shouldn't consume beverages while reading Slashdot. It was a near-miss.

Re:Subject here (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367764)

Now do that a million more times and we'll see if you wear out. Don't forget to include the live video feed.

Re:Subject here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32368182)

Flash, I love you, but we only have 14 hours to save the Earth!

for the guy (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367452)

For the guy a couple days back who asked what kind of project can he do that would be useful to the world, here is a great example. Try something like this.

Re:for the guy (3, Funny)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367588)

The fact that you said this shows you spend way to much time on slashdot. The fact that I recognized it, and was one of the first posters in the thread you refer to says the same about me. I wonder if I can find a life for sale on craigslist?

Link to thread in question...
http://ask.slashdot.org/story/10/05/23/1547202/Scientific-RampD-At-Home

Re:for the guy (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367832)

Here, take mine, I don't need it anymore, apparently. I recognized the reference too.


Just kidding. I don't have one either.

Die Flash, DIE! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32367466)

Wait, which flash are we talking about here?

Re:Die Flash, DIE! (2, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367890)

> Wait, which flash are we talking about here?

We're talking about flash photography [funnychill.com] , of course.

We need more of this (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367468)

Excellent work! Given that the chance that the manufacturers will provide this data approaches zero, this is the only way we're going to get realistic figures for the longevity of flash chips. Hopefully, this will encourage more independent hardware testing in other fields

dull (5, Funny)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367502)

I was expecting something cool, like storing a picture, displaying it, and then constantly XORing each pixel with some random number twice, repeatedly, and watching the image decay over time. Although it would appear that it'd need quite a lot of time.

Ha! (2, Funny)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367510)

This project was inspired by the inevitable comments about flash longevity on every Slashdot SSD story.

Take that every 'dotter that says bitching on this website doesn't get anything done!

/removestonguefromcheek

Re:Ha! (1)

Bugamn (1769722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368300)

  • Teste SSD longevity: check
  • Destroy evil Windows and Mac: in progress
  • Create perfect government: who are we kidding?
  • Get a girlfriend: better forget

SSD's? no. (5, Informative)

hypethetica (739528) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367534)

article says: We used a Microchip 24AA01-I/P 128byte I2C EEPROM (IC2), rated for 1million write cycles.

Um, SSDs don't use anything like this part as their storage.

Re:SSD's? no. (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367582)

Yeah, that's what I was wondering too the moment I saw the 1 million cycles... what I heard was that SLC is usually rated for ~100k writes and MLC for ~10k writes, so completely different type of chip. So I'm not sure what this data will be relevant for, but it's not SSDs... what's this for, BIOS chips or something?

Re:SSD's? no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32367716)

Micron [micron.com] has SLC chips that do 1 million cycles as of 1.5 years ago.

Re:SSD's? no. (2, Informative)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367746)

Oh bleh... AC box checked accidentally. The parent is me.

Re:SSD's? no. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32368022)

+1 Informative :)

Re:SSD's? no. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32367868)

More importantly, the test pattern does not resemble normal SSD usage. Complete writes are very unusual for SSD and a cycle is not completed nearly as quickly as a cycle on this EEPROM (400 cycles per minute). When an SSD is written to in normal usage, a wear leveling algorithm distributes the data and avoids writing to the same physical blocks again and again. The German computer magazine C't has run continuous write tests with USB sticks and never managed to destroy even a single visible block on a stick that way. The first test (4 years ago) wrote the same block more than 16 million times before they gave up. The second test (2 years ago) wrote the full capacity over and over again. The 2GB stick did not show any signs of wear after more than 23TB written to it.

Re:SSD's? no. (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368270)

Yeah, that's what I was wondering too the moment I saw the 1 million cycles... what I heard was that SLC is usually rated for ~100k writes and MLC for ~10k writes, so completely different type of chip. So I'm not sure what this data will be relevant for, but it's not SSDs... what's this for, BIOS chips or something?

Oddly, the NAND I deal with (MLC and SLC) tend to have ~1M writes for SLC, and at least 100k writes for MLC. The 10k flash chips I used were high capacity Intel Strataflash (MLC, but NOR), which aren't written as often.

NOR has markedly less endurance because it uses tunnelling one way (erase, I think) and hot electron injection the other way (write). Sending electrons blasting through insulation is a good way to wear it out. NAND flash uses tunnelling, so it doesn't wear as much.

I've also seen this kind of I2C flash with as low as 1k write/erase cycles.

And a little known fact is that these endurance ratings tend to be guaranteed by manufacturer. In practice, it's not unheard of to get 10x as many cycles in. The other thing is, flash gets slower as it wears out - if the cell doesn't die outright (i.e., insulation breakdown), the cell may take so long to program or erase that that internal programming/erasing timer expires and you get a timeout. That too is an error condition.

Re:SSD's? no. (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367608)

I'd like to know what universe you get your SSDs from that don't use EEPROMs. Oh, you think the size is a big deal? Let me introduce you to a wild concept known as 'scaling'.

Re:SSD's? no. (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367796)

You mean, like reptiles?

Re:SSD's? no. (2, Informative)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367846)

Actually, I rescind my post, as I realize I was confusing EEPROM with NOR/NAND. Your point is actually quite valid.

Re:SSD's? no. (4, Informative)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367936)

Okay, I'll bite. Let me introduce you to this thing called "functional equivalence". You do realize that even though they are all "nonvolatile storage," there is a difference between EEPROM and Flash, and that there are many different kinds of low- and high-density Flash and they all have different proprietary silicon designs with different characteristics?

Microchip EEPROMs are specifically designed for low-density, high-reliability applications, and are totally different at the transistor level from high-density MLC Flash used in solid state disks.

Re:SSD's? no. (-1, Redundant)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368506)

Flash is a kind of EEPROM. It's an electrically erasable programmable read-only memory.

Re:SSD's? no. (1)

Wierdy1024 (902573) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368312)

Anyone feel like replicating this experiment with a standard flash chip scrounged from a USB stick?

It would also be nice to try an entirely software approach on a USB stick plugged into a pc, to see how good the wear levelling in commodity usb sticks is.

The more of you that watch, the faster it dies (2, Funny)

bluestar (17362) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367552)

I bet the server's IP address is untraceable.

Re:The more of you that watch, the faster it dies (2, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367604)

Looking back on it, that was a pretty bad movie.

really old news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32367568)

wasn't there a /. story about this several years ago? As in, someone who just wrote:

n=0
while true; do
head -c$(( 1024 * 256 )) > t.t
mount /mnt/usb
cp t.t /mnt/usb/t
umount /mnt/usb
mount /mnt/usb
cmp t.t /mnt/usb/t || { echo $n; exit 1; }
umount /mnt/usb
n=$(( $n + 1 ))
done

and ran it on an old computer for 5 years straight with no errors?

Relevant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32367570)

He's running a test on one of the old EEPROM chips that have existed for maybe 30 years. This is totally different technology from the flash memory in modern devices (including memory cards, USB sticks, and solid state disks). This project really bears no relevance to solid state storage.

Re:Relevant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32367708)

I wondered this myself, but I can't find anything on wiki that suggests EEPROM and flash aren't actually the same thing (floating gate transistors), besides the fact that flash is block-erasable whereas EEPROM is byte-eraseable.

Anyone out there know?

fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32367612)

the numbers on the live video are updating at about 7 per second. even if the ssd was a 4GB one, that means 28GB/second. sorry i didn't know we already had SATA version 14 with supports 28GB second...

Re:fake (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367718)

They're writing and verifying a pattern to a 128 byte storage chip.

This is vaguely similar to what you might get without wear-leveling.

The display only goes to 9,999,999! (2, Insightful)

Rick Richardson (87058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367636)

The display only goes to 9,999,999! I think that won't be enuf... should be 100M or 1G.

Re:The display only goes to 9,999,999! (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367944)

It will loop. They'll just have to keep count of how many times it looped...

I know (5, Funny)

billlava (1270394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368132)

They could add an extra digit to the front of the display showing how many times the other numbers have reached their maximum! Brilliant, 10x the capacity for only one digit more!

Re:The display only goes to 9,999,999! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32367992)

Don't you mean 1B?

Re:The display only goes to 9,999,999! (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368344)

When I read his post I assumed he meant 1 Googol. Needless to say, I was awed by his optimism.

Re:The display only goes to 9,999,999! (3, Funny)

Silly Man (15712) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368044)

But it will be *over nine thousand!!!*

And it dies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32367640)

NOW!

Myth Busters (4, Funny)

PSaltyDS (467134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367664)

Now, to see how much explosives it takes to MAKE it fail!

This is my favorite part! :-)

Re:Myth Busters (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368494)

No no no. first they'll run it to the 1,000,000 write cycles. Then they'll to 10,000,000. Then they'll break out the home-made thermite.

Is this like (1)

jra (5600) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367740)

That Castrol commercial with 50 engines running on engine stands with no oil in them?

Re:Is this like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32368532)

Its more like the one where the guy whips people with a dipstick.

But how much data does it write? (3, Insightful)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367828)

Most modern flash memories have their controllers check which blocks are dying or dead and re-route write and read requests to good blocks. So while your flash may seem to be working perfectly well, various blocks inside it may be dying and its storage size may be progressively decreasing.

So I hope they are rewriting the entire flash in their test. Otherwise it is not representative.

Re:But how much data does it write? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368032)

Rewriting an entire SSD is time-prohibitive. It would take several minutes to write 32GB to the fastest 32GB SSD, now multiply that by the 10,000 write cycles claimed by the manufacturers... 20,000 minutes or so at a minimum... and thats without verifying the write.. so add in another 15,000 minutes or so...

In other words, it will probably take about a month to intentionally brute-force a full-bandwidth-kill of a 32GB SSD. Larger SSD's would take proportionally longer.

Re:But how much data does it write? (2, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368066)

Nonsense, it's completely representative of normal use. That's exactly the point. Until data loss occurs, or there are no more free blocks to use, the flash memory is objectively perfectly good.

Re:But how much data does it write? (3, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368190)

They're testing an EEPROM: it is bit addressable and it does not contain any wear leveling algorithm.

WRONG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32367908)

This is internal EEPROM and is a whole different kettle of fish compared to the new state of the art sub-sub-micron stuff in flash drives now days.

The most important thing is that this is rated for an industrial environment. It's not going to prove anything!

Apples and hippos (5, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368148)

They're testing an EEPROM: while the underlining physics of storing data in an EEPROM and Flash RAM are the same - floating gate transistors - EEPROMs use best-of-breed implementations, single-bit addressable floating gate, while the Flash RAM found in SSDs is the cheapest, lest enduring MLC NAND. MLC NAND are the cheapest per bit, and have a write cycle endurance of two to three orders of magnitude lower than EEPROMs.

SSDs do not contain EEPROMs. They don't even contain SLC (NOR or NAND). In fact, SSDs don't even contain NOR MLCs. Only the cheapest will do, for SSDs.

Re:Apples and hippos (3, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368446)

They don't even contain SLC (NOR or NAND).

Some, usually the more expensive models, will use SLC NAND. No SSD uses NOR for data storage due to a total lack of density on that technology. They may for storing firmware/FPGA data, however.

"Flash Destroyer"? (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368260)

Never heard of him. Is he a Marvel Universe character?

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