Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

cancel ×

149 comments

Not more reliable, (1)

Leon Buijs (545859) | about 3 years ago | (#36920488)

or should we conclude 'just as reliable'?

Re:Not more reliable, (2)

alphatel (1450715) | about 3 years ago | (#36920684)

The author reviews several data sets that show SSDs are probably less likely to fail, and then describes several reasons why that information cannot be taken at face value. Not all of the data presented by the author is classified as reliable or even useful. The final chart is either not well-documented or would take a seminar to explain because it does not seem directly related to the rest of TFA.

Either way, the SSD drive market, is oddly enough, as good as spindrives but like anything else, the data released by vendors should be taken with a grain of salt.

acid base SSD (1)

epine (68316) | about 3 years ago | (#36920870)

Think of flash memory as acid/base chemistry: a one is stored by pH much lower than 7, a zero is stored by a pH much greater than 7. The reaction is confined to pores in a pumice stone. In order to reduce cost, pumice stone with increasingly small bubble cavities (and mineral wall thickness) has been pressed into service.

By the laws of solid state physics, this makes acid/base pumice stone inherently more reliable than magnetic domains spinning on a fluid bearing.

The bottom line here is that every SDD die shrink generation is an entirely new set of loaded dice. Due to the incredible churn rate in IC fabrication technology, no SSD product remains in the market after establishing a solid track record.

It could be that Intel SSD products are like the Staal brothers. Or not. If you're willing to average over a flock of white swans and black swans, it could well be more reliable than HDD storage.

I find the underlying variance frightening. The maturity model sucks, because as fast as they figure out one problem, the problem is immediately replaced by a harder problem, as per Douglas Adams.

Re:Not more reliable, (0)

GooberToo (74388) | about 3 years ago | (#36921882)

Most of the reports I've read say they are about 1/10 as reliable as a hard drive.

Whaddayamean "long term"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36920490)

SSDs haven't even been available "long term". The SSD in this computer hasn't been available for longer than 20% of its warranty period, for example. Extrapolating data from generation zero SSDs to today's SSDs seems foolish.

I would take that article with a grain of salt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36920716)

Tom's Hardware has a rather sordid history of... biased reporting.

Re:I would take that article with a grain of salt (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#36920800)

I've not seen much evidence of bias from Tom's Hardware, although I did stop reading their site several years ago, just shocking levels of ignorance and stupidity.

Re:Whaddayamean "long term"? (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 3 years ago | (#36920826)

Well considering that the failure rates are bad enough Atwood at Coding Horror says SSDs should be judged on a hot/crazy scale [codinghorror.com] I'd say that is a pretty bad sign. Note that he still buys them even though they keep failing, but this is a guy that spends $400 on a pair of headphones.

My problem with SSDs and why I won't recommend them to anyone but a few edge use cases (those that doing a lot of traveling with their laptop, servers where IOPS is the #1 goal) is because when they DO fail in my experience there is no warning at all and that is simply unacceptable. I have a couple of "Must rule teh benchmarkz!" gamer customers and both went SSD. These guys ain't cheap and bought the baddest SSDs they could find, price be damned. With both guys both drives failed with NO warning, not even SMART. They just turned on their machines one day and poof! Bye bye SSD. One I was able to get a small amount of the data back, the other couldn't even be detected in BIOS. Sure they both had warranties but so what? it isn't like the warranties covered downtime or the HDDs they had to buy to replace it while they waited on the RMA. both ended up selling their SSDs and going with a pair of Raptors in RAID 0.

So until they fix this major flaw I will simply tell my customers to avoid them. With HDDs I don't think I can remember a time I've had a HDD fail without ample warning. Windows delayed write failures, SMART, noise and temp of the drive, in all cases you were given ample time to get your data off the failing drive. Not so with SSD, when it goes it just goes poof! Having that risk hanging like the sword of Damocles over your head just isn't worth the speed IMHO.

Re:Whaddayamean "long term"? (2, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#36921050)

The fix for this was released a long time ago, it is called proper backups. Instead of avoiding a superior product, trying using them and proper backups.

Re:Whaddayamean "long term"? (5, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | about 3 years ago | (#36921474)

If you're unlucky backups won't save you from this:
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r25491097-Dell-Laptop-and-SSD-Time-warp-issue [dslreports.com]

yesterday I spent over an hour fomatting, re-installing windows and everything else I needed.

Also updated windows fully, customized everything to my liking... in short, a good 2-3h of work.

This morning, I open up the laptop and surprise... EVERYTHING's back to the pre-format. I have no idea how this is even remotely possible.

OCZ is calling this the time warp issue, and is related to the sandforce controller...

http://forum.notebookreview.com/alienware-m17x/552728-fresh-os-install-ocz-ssd-r3.html [notebookreview.com]

any firmware before 1.29 can result in you experiencing what OCZ refers to as "Time Warp" (you lose all info stored on drive since last boot - happens at random). 1.29 decreases likelihood of this happening, but does not eliminate the possibility.

The big problem with this failure mode is the drive still appears to work. So if you are unlucky to not notice that the pricelist/tender document you are about to send or commit to is no longer showing the corrected figures/information, things could get way more painful than if your drive just didn't work (in which case work would just be delayed while you restore from backups, or if you have no backups you would just have to deal with the data loss).

Re:Whaddayamean "long term"? (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#36921608)

Sure it would have. How long does it take to image a drive and load a backup?

Reinstall is for chumps.

Re:Whaddayamean "long term"? (2)

TheLink (130905) | about 3 years ago | (#36922266)

So how long would it take for you to notice you had the "time warp" problem to actually start restoring from backups?

Given you don't appear to have read what I posted, you might not be one of those who would notice in time.

Re:Whaddayamean "long term"? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#36922638)

I read it fine. This is not much different than any other method of losing data. The cause is not a huge deal, fixing it is. I would assume I would notice as soon as the times on files looked wrong.

Re:Whaddayamean "long term"? (2)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 3 years ago | (#36921894)

For a personal computer SSDs are probably best used for OS/Application storage, not data (documents, images, music, etc.). The cost per GB is too bloody much to justify otherwise and the less noticeable failure symptoms bolster that notion. Besides that, application load time is where these toys have their niche.

Re:Whaddayamean "long term"? (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 3 years ago | (#36921270)

always remember: RAID is not backup.

One day, with a traditional HDD based setup, you'll come into the office to find the place a mess, everyone standing around and when you ask "what's happened", you'll get the reply "we were burgled, your PC is right now being sold on ebay".

So who cares whether SSDs fail immediately or with a huge flashy light show whilst beeping out La Marseillaise, it won't help you none.

You'll find other stories of HDD RAID that failed simultaneously (which is more common than you think, drives go bad in batches, or I think, die at the same time just out of stubborness) either due to power surges, or raid failure that led to data corruption.

So the only solution is to have adequate backup. With the number of continuous backup solutions out there, there's no excuse not to run it.

PS. you replaced your SSDs with a pair or HDDs in RAID 0 format. Beggers belief.

Re:Whaddayamean "long term"? (1)

Amouth (879122) | about 3 years ago | (#36923582)

PS. you replaced your SSDs with a pair or HDDs in RAID 0 format. Beggers belief.

and on top of that because the SSD failed and they lost data .. makes me wonder if they even have a clue what they are doing.

Re:Whaddayamean "long term"? (3, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | about 3 years ago | (#36921340)

The other failure mode is the "time warp" failure.

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r25491097-Dell-Laptop-and-SSD-Time-warp-issue [dslreports.com]

Also updated windows fully, customized everything to my liking... in short, a good 2-3h of work.

This morning, I open up the laptop and surprise... EVERYTHING's back to the pre-format. I have no idea how this is even remotely possible.

The big problem with this failure mode would be if the user doesn't notice anything wrong till too late.

A 100% dead drive sucks, but if you do regular backups you lose 1 day of data.

A "time warp" failure that you don't notice could result in you sending out of date info in an important email. Or overwriting something important with invalid data and not noticing. The resulting damage could be far far worse than a dead drive.

In my experience "spinning rust" rarely fails 100% without warning (or abuse - e.g. you drop the drive ;) ). You can often salvage some stuff out (just hope it's the stuff you want ;) ). I've managed to use knoppix to salvage data from people's failed spinning disk drives.

In contrast these SSDs just go totally dead. Or really weird shit happens.

In both cases the manufacturer might get an RMA. But they're not the same. If OCZ drives are getting RMA'ed at higher rates than spinning drives, and their failure modes are 100% dead or "time warp" they are far worse than the stats show: http://news.softpedia.com/news/French-Website-Publishes-HDD-SSD-and-Motherboard-RMA-Statistics-196538.shtml [softpedia.com]

Re:Whaddayamean "long term"? (1)

Anrego (830717) | about 3 years ago | (#36921384)

Just to throw another data point into the soup .. I had one fail.. and it did so in a gradual and obvious manner. Basically it would periodically lock up for a few seconds, and I'd see the appropriate error message in syslog. These lockups became more frequent and eventually the drive just died (no longer recognized at boot).

It was no big deal because I had an up to date full backup of the drive. I have an internal file server where I keep most of my "real" files, and my desktop just has a small (the one that failed was 32GB, current one is 60GB) drive that is usually not even half full.

I ordered a new SSD when the old one started failing.. it arrived like a day before the drive finally died (good timing!) .. swapped them out, restored, did a little tweaking with grub .. and back in business!

Even if SSD were insanely unreliable (and I don't think they are), I'd still use them for desktops/laptops. With the cheap cost of storage, backups are trivial. One fails, replace it! Meanwhile, enjoy the performance benifits (and don't worry so much about moving your running laptop around)! On my file server, I'll keep using traditional spinning disk, at least until SSDs have been around long enough to establish a track record of reliability.

Obviously my exact use case is somewhat specific and probably useless to the average consumer... but the general idea of "keep a good backup" definitely applies. Enjoy the nice speed and quiet operation / resistence to shaking you get with SSDs, and have the peace of mind knowing that if it dies, you don't lose anything.

Re:Whaddayamean "long term"? (1)

beezly (197427) | about 3 years ago | (#36921480)

The failure mode that is easiest to manage is when they completely fail.

Good luck to you with disks that fail silently over a long period of time, corrupting your data without you knowing about it.

Some correct fixes for this are combinations of RAID, backups, a filesystem that checksums data and metadata (BTRFS, WAFL, ZFS). Limping along on half knackered drives is probably one of the worst things you can do.

Re:Whaddayamean "long term"? (1)

WhoBeDaPlaya (984958) | about 3 years ago | (#36922152)

That's why you only have your OS and (mostly) disposable data on the SSD, with non-disposable data and a snapshot of the drive backed up. After using an SSD for the last few years and the vastly increased responsiveness over even short-stroked RAID-0 Raptors, I can never go back.

Geriatrics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36920494)

Fuckin' old people are a parasitic plague on USA.

Voting themselves into my wallet via the Ponzi scheme of Social Security (oddly enough same acronym as Hitler's shock troops, the SS) is an injury.

Driving slow as fuck 10-20mph below the already low speed limit so I can't even get to work on time to pay the welfare they have voted for themselves... now that's just insulting.

Being ultra high maintainence and requesting tons of little meaningless changes anytime they encounter service personnel is pretty damned annoying too. Oh yeah, and that stranger who's forced to be nice to you for fear of job loss, he really doesn't give two shits about what your grandkids did last week. If you are really so lonely you have to impose on strangers to get your social fix try joining a retirement community.

Re:Geriatrics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36921356)

Fuckin' young people are a parasitic plague on USA

Consume 10 times the resources that they produce. Have 4 times the vehicle accident rate as people over 25.
Think they are the center of the world even tho they are just a nobody stuck in a dead-end service job.

If the only way you can build yourself up is to complain to strangers about old people, maybe you should just shoot yourself.

This applies to all young people except my grandkids, who are wonderful. Here. Let me show you pictures ...

Re:Geriatrics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36923998)

Fuckin' middle-aged people are a parasitic plague on USA.

Hey, I just didn't want to leave anyone out. Now everyone is covered! :-D

Uh, yes they are (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#36920496)

Did the poster even look at the chart he linked to? Those big lines that shoot up to the top after 1-3 years? They're the failure rates for hard disks. The ones near the bottom? They're the failure rates for SSDs. Now, some of the SSD figures are projected and look quite optimistic, but the number of hard disks failing after 3 years looks high than the number of SSDs failing after three years by all of the studies. For most workloads, the SSDs fail less often, and the SSD failures only exceed HD failures very early on in their lifetimes.

Re:Uh, yes they are (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | about 3 years ago | (#36920594)

While the chart isn't a very good chart, I also can't figure out how anyone could write

based on numbers, it seems SSDs aren't more reliable than hard drives

about it. Even if the projections are thrown out there are wild differences between all the SSD plots and all the HDD plots.

This is an off-topic post. (1)

rwade (131726) | about 3 years ago | (#36921434)

Reply to un-do accidental moderation. Apologies.

Re:This is an off-topic post. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36921606)

Truly a gentleman and a scholar.

Re:Uh, yes they are (1)

geogob (569250) | about 3 years ago | (#36921536)

It would not be a surprise if the long term failure rate of SSD is drastically different than the one for HDD. Although the extrapolation may turn out to be wrong (it's an extrapolation after all), I do not believe it is that far fetched. From another point of view, fitting HDD failure rate curves to SSD would be plain wrong.

Re:Uh, yes they are (2)

msauve (701917) | about 3 years ago | (#36920694)

Well, it depends on the application. Assuming the chart is accurate, disks are more reliable for the first year. So, if you have a short term application/need, or replace your hardware every year, then disks are more reliable.

Re:Uh, yes they are (5, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 3 years ago | (#36920764)

Did the poster even look at the chart he linked to?

Did you? Apparently not.

Ignore the dashed lines-- those curves are not data, they are "projection." The chart has no data on SSD failures late in the lifetime. So, when you say "...SSD failures only exceed HD failures very early on in their lifetimes," that is equivalent to saying "SSD failures only exceed HD failures in the region of the graph for which there is data."

Re:Uh, yes they are (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#36921042)

But that's not true. Every SSD on the chart has a lower failure rate in the small section proceeding the 6 - 12 month mark.

Re:Uh, yes they are (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 3 years ago | (#36921252)

But that's not true. Every SSD on the chart has a lower failure rate in the small section proceeding the 6 - 12 month mark.

??

Apparently we are looking at different graphs. The graph I'm looking at is the one linked in the summary above, here: http://media.bestofmicro.com/4/A/302122/original/ssdfailurerates_1024.png [bestofmicro.com]
In the "small section proceeding the 6 - 12 month mark" that you refer to, the highest failure rate is the light green curve, labelled "SLC SSD (Ku 2011)", while the lowest failure rate is the red curve, labeled "HDD (Schroeder 2007)".

The red HDD curve remains the lowest out to 2.5 years, which is farther out than any of the data on SDD.

Re:Uh, yes they are (3, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 3 years ago | (#36920872)

Look closer. At any points where they have actual data, the failure rate for SSDs is higher than that of HDD, except for the Google study, which I bet puts the drives under massive load or something else funky (given its massive difference from all the other HDD charts.) Only in the projections for the SSDs do the HDDs begin to curve upwards, throwing off the graph. And from what I know of flash memory, especially MLC (which most SSDs are), I'd bet that SSDs will curve upwards too. Sure, wear leveling will help, but if a cell fails with data in it, which can still happen, then that data is lost. So yeah, for any section where they have actual data, SSDs do have a higher failure rate that hard drives. Incidentally, that's a really terrible and deceptive chart.

Re:Uh, yes they are (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36921184)

You do know that HDDs also require wear leveling right? (Well, not really, but defective blocks were pretty much part of life when HDDs were in the 10-100MB size.)
So yes, both SSDs and HDDs are likeyly to wear out after time. What wear leveling does is that it makes sure that the entire disk is pretty much worn out when you start encountering bad blocks.
With SSDs there is however one slight improvement. Since flash memory have been used for so long without wear leveling and in applications were it's damn important to get a good estimate of the the product life (Advanced fire alarms, mars probes and such.) it is actually possible to get good information on when a SSD is likely to fail.
I assume that HDD manufacturers have at least some clue of how many writes their disks will take before it is worn out (Otherwise they will have to alocate unused blocks for the wear leveling on a hunch.) but good luck getting that information from them.

So yes, both SSDs and HDDs are likely to fail sometime. The big difference is that if you are designing a system where it actually matters you can actually select an SSD with the correct specification. If it really matters you are probably going to get SLC anyway. If you don't want to pay for it it is likely that you don't need reliability.

Apparently (1)

oGMo (379) | about 3 years ago | (#36920950)

Did the poster even look at the chart he linked to? Those big lines that shoot up to the top after 1-3 years? They're the failure rates for hard disks. The ones near the bottom? They're the failure rates for SSDs.

The poster probably saw the chart, as they seem to have actually read the article in addition to merely glancing at a picture on the last page. Right below that graph:

But under the best of conditions, hard drives typically top out at 3% by the fifth year. Suffice it to say, the researchers at CMRR are adamant that today's SSDs aren't an order of magnitude more reliable than hard drives.

There are other numerous quotes as well about MTBF not being equivalent to reliability, correlation to vintage, etc.

Re:Apparently (1)

Hyppy (74366) | about 3 years ago | (#36921142)

The poster probably saw the chart, as they seem to have actually read the article in addition to merely glancing at a picture on the last page. Right below that graph:

But under the best of conditions, hard drives typically top out at 3% by the fifth year. Suffice it to say, the researchers at CMRR are adamant that today's SSDs aren't an order of magnitude more reliable than hard drives.

So you're quoting that SSDs are not 10x more reliable than HDDs. That doesn't exactly prove a point that HDDs are more reliable.

Re:Apparently (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 3 years ago | (#36921352)

They do not need to be.

What I mean is:

SSDs are way more expensive per gigabyte than hard drives. However, they are faster, use less power* and are more reliable, or it was said. So, if you do not care about speed SSDs are probably not worth the high prices, since they are not more reliable than HDDs.

* seems to me that the power consumption is not much less than that of the hard drives too.

Re:Apparently (2)

oGMo (379) | about 3 years ago | (#36921442)

So you're quoting that SSDs are not 10x more reliable than HDDs. That doesn't exactly prove a point that HDDs are more reliable.

The original poster said "it seems SSDs aren't more reliable than hard drives." Do not create a straw man. The article indicates that while marketing and simpletons may point out select statistics as "more reliable," there's a lot more to the story, and it's difficult to impossible to get meaningful data at this point. That is, based on their analysis, SSDs are not provably more reliable at this time.

Re:Uh, yes they are (1)

Smallpond (221300) | about 3 years ago | (#36921400)

Did the poster even look at the chart he linked to? Those big lines that shoot up to the top after 1-3 years? They're the failure rates for hard disks. The ones near the bottom? They're the failure rates for SSDs. Now, some of the SSD figures are projected and look quite optimistic, but the number of hard disks failing after 3 years looks high than the number of SSDs failing after three years by all of the studies. For most workloads, the SSDs fail less often, and the SSD failures only exceed HD failures very early on in their lifetimes.

Not only does the data point to better reliability for SSD, look at the application!

All of the HDD data is from datacenters - rack mounted, cooled, well cared for drives. Now imagine what happens to a drive in a laptop. I think it would be interesting to see that comparison.

Re:Uh, yes they are (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 3 years ago | (#36921574)

What I dont get is that companies like Dell have been shipping SSD's for much more than 5 years now. Surely Dell has some good statistics about failure rates, since their customers want refunds and shit when things die quickly. Is it that Dell wont release the data? Has anyone even asked?

I understand that the latest crop of SSD's from companies like OCZ have been a real nightmare. I suspect the OCZ issue has to do with powering down the device, with the capacitor responsible for ensuring this happens correctly isnt supply enough power for long enough to let all the buffers write out correctly.. most of the failure posts you see on newegg begin "I put the machine to sleep...." .. in other words, several gigs were written out right before the device lost its primary supply of power. So it could easily be that final book-keeping is failing to complete correctly, leaving the flash in a "corrupted" (the controller cant make sense of its own "block system") state

Re:Uh, yes they are (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 3 years ago | (#36923838)

I understand that the latest crop of SSD's from companies like OCZ have been a real nightmare. I suspect the OCZ issue has to do with powering down the device, with the capacitor responsible for ensuring this happens correctly isnt supply enough power for long enough to let all the buffers write out correctly.. most of the failure posts you see on newegg begin "I put the machine to sleep...." .. in other words, several gigs were written out right before the device lost its primary supply of power. So it could easily be that final book-keeping is failing to complete correctly, leaving the flash in a "corrupted" (the controller cant make sense of its own "block system") state

More likely, it is a case of drives playing fast and loose with the ATA spec. A rather dangerous way to speed up performance on filesystem metadata operations is to ignore the commands that tell you to flush buffers to disk. This means that multiple metadata writes to the same block return much more quickly, but it also means that the data isn't really committed to stable storage when the OS thinks that it is. If the machine shuts down and that data still hasn't been flushed, it goes away.

A more common variation on that is to actually perform the sync operation, but return immediately saying that the operation is finished even if you are still writing the buffer out to disk. With a typical disk that has only a handful of tracks in its buffer, that's usually not a problem, but when you crank up to a larger buffer size, if the computer doesn't take extra time before powering down, you get data loss. Operating systems have huge quirk tables to work around exactly these sorts of broken drives.

The result in either case is exactly this sort of behavior: one minute your data is there, the next it isn't. I'd imagine the problem on these drives is similar.

I've also heard of the "sync returns immediately" bug on a lot of cheap USB enclosures, and in some cases, on the drives within the enclosures. If both the enclosure and the drive lie to you, that's when things get really ugly.

I used to have this data loss problem reliably with an internal ATA drive in a beige PowerMac G3. I ended up working around it by always rebooting the machine once before shutting it down. In that case, I vaguely recall that Apple fixed the problem with an OS update, but that was well over a decade back, so I can't say I'm certain; it might have been a drive firmware update.

Either way, the point is that this sort of problem has been happening periodically with hard drives for decades, and the only reason the OCZ drive "time warp" is getting so much attention is that these drives are the new shiny. Give it ten years for SSDs to be old tech, and this will still be happening, but it just won't get reported. Quality costs money, and "mostly works" is usually good enough.

Re:Uh, yes they are (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36923748)

Just based on reading reviews of many SSDs in my search for one, it seems the overriding negative comment is "failed in a couple of weeks", "failed in a couple of months". So you have to pray that it makes it 3 months and then you might be safe. That isn't acceptable for me nor should be acceptable for anyone considering probably 90%+ of the use is as the OS drive. There needs to be some sort of a burn in process occurring which of course the manufacturers want nothing to do with. So now you're either forced to do backups frequently which of course no home owner or business owner wants to do or put the drive into your system as an unimportant drive for a couple of months and have some process to exercise it frequently. I unfortunately will have to wait until I see drives out there that aren't failing so quickly.

Read the paper, not the graph (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 3 years ago | (#36920500)

The chart linked is not terribly useful, since the legend doesn't really explain what the curves are (three completely different curves with the same label, HDD Schroeder 2007).

Re:Read the paper, not the graph (2)

pympdaddyc (586298) | about 3 years ago | (#36921740)

Somewhere, Ed Tufte just puked and has no idea why. Poor guy.

AFAIK (1)

the_one_wesp (1785252) | about 3 years ago | (#36920516)

Hasn't this always been the assumption? I've always been told by everyone in every discussion about SSD vs HDD that SSD has a lesser lifetime.

Re:AFAIK (1)

sglewis100 (916818) | about 3 years ago | (#36920768)

Hasn't this always been the assumption? I've always been told by everyone in every discussion about SSD vs HDD that SSD has a lesser lifetime.

Doesn't make them less reliable, necessarily. An SSD may have a generally shorter lifespan than a HDD... but if the failure rates are known to be lower, then they are more reliable over that time period. For me, it's a moot point, since the rate at which I upgrade is quicker than either, so I go for both - SSD in my laptop for speed, small USB hard drive that I throw in the bag to store photos, media, etc, and two big RAID arrays at home for long term storage and short term backups. I'm more concerned about long term archiving, which I've traditionally done DVDs, and more recently, BluRay discs. For movies and stuff, who cares, but in terms of photos, long term is an issue!

Huh? (5, Insightful)

adamjcoon (1583361) | about 3 years ago | (#36920548)

I didn't read TFA but the chart doesn't tell me that "SSDs aren't more reliable than hard drives".. the SSDs were generally 6% or under (assuming the linear progression) whereas regular HDD approached 14%+ after five years. And "Long-term" in the title? The SSD data in the chart only goes for 1 year. Not exactly long term when the chart goes from 1-5 years of use. The actual data for the SSDs is only 20% of the time span.

Who said they were? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 3 years ago | (#36920552)

it seems SSDs aren't more reliable than hard drives.

I have never ever heard a single fucking person make the claim that SSDs were more reliable. Faster, yes. Less reliable, yes. But I've never heard anyone claim they were more reliable as some sort of selling point.

Re:Who said they were? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 3 years ago | (#36920590)

And as for the "less reliable" claim that people usually make (including prominent bloggers relying entirely on anecdotal data), I'm not sure I buy into it. Short of an immediate failure, the life time of an SSD should be as long as a hard drive or more. It should certainly last more than long enough that the system it's in will have been upgraded and the drive replaced with something larger by then.

Re:Who said they were? (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 3 years ago | (#36921388)

I do not replace working drives. If I need the space I add a new drive to the system, not replace an old one with a new one.

Re:Who said they were? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 3 years ago | (#36921896)

Really? When it comes time to build a new machine, I put new huge drives in it. I don't waste that space stuffing 250gb drives or 500gb drives into slots that 3tb drives could be taking up.

Re:Who said they were? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36920624)

I've heard the claim that they were more reliable, but usually in the context of laptop drives which might be subjected to quite a bit of movement while in use.

Re:Who said they were? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36920668)

i remember this from when SSD's were first landing so it may be wildly inaccurate now...

wasn't there a claim that SSD's were more reliable in that if there was a failure you would still be able to easily read from the device.

as i say that may not be true but that's the claim i remember.

Re:Who said they were? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 3 years ago | (#36923984)

Only if the failure is caused by the flash parts wearing out. Most SSD failures are, amusingly, caused by cold solder joints, same as a sizable percentage of hard drive failures.

I'm still waiting for somebody to build a micro-RAID out of solid state storage. Use a single SATA connector, but make them show up on separate LUNs. Have a row of stick-style SSDs connected to a single controller, all in the space of a standard laptop HD. Then RAID the individual sticks with a drop-dead simple controller that does nothing more than LUN rewriting and switched routing.

Re:Who said they were? (2)

Enleth (947766) | about 3 years ago | (#36920766)

They're more durable - you can bang one against the desk, throw it around the room all day, then plug it in and it should still work (or, at worst, require fixing a broken solder joint or two, SMD capacitors sometimes fall off the PCB after a strong enough jolt), while no HDD in the world is going to survive that. Maybe people got that confused, the word "reliable" means many different things in layman's speech.

I say they are more reliable. (1)

Kludge (13653) | about 3 years ago | (#36920806)

I have had laptop hard drives fail on me because of the hits they take in my bicycle carrier or on my lap as I bounce along in the shuttle on city roads. My SSDs have yet to fail. Never again will I get a hard drive in my laptop, because of reliability.

Re:Who said they were? (3, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 3 years ago | (#36920844)

I remember there being lots of claims that SSDs would be more reliable because they had no moving parts.

Re:Who said they were? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36920860)

I've had numerous sales persons make the claim that SSD hard drives were both faster and more reliable in reference to their SAN products. But then I've also had numerous sales person claim their unicorns would shit gold bars.

Re:Who said they were? (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about 3 years ago | (#36920996)

Many people refer to SSDs as more reliable when they're talking about laptop drives... when you drop your laptop, it's much easier to kill a hard drive than an SSD :)

Re:Who said they were? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 3 years ago | (#36921884)

That isn't reliability, to me. That's durability. Reliability, to me, is if I sit an SSD and a spinning platter drive in a machine (or for testing purposes, a hundred of each) - which one has the longer life with less failures? In this regard, I have not heard it commonly claimed that SSDs are superior, as the article's initial premise starts from.

Instead, it has almost exclusively been claimed that reliability is poor and that the SSD failure rate is huge. As I mentioned, it seems largely anecdotal to me, these claims of "high failure rates". Here's an example of "oh noes, SSD skies are falling".

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2011/05/the-hot-crazy-solid-state-drive-scale.html [codinghorror.com]
" I feel ethically and morally obligated to let you in on a dirty little secret I've discovered in the last two years of full time SSD ownership. Solid state hard drives fail. A lot. And not just any fail. I'm talking about catastrophic, oh-my-God-what-just-happened-to-all-my-data instant gigafail. It's not pretty. "

So, unlike what the blurb asserts, I would say the common position is not that "SSD is more reliable than spinning disks", but that "SSD has a super high failure rate".

Re:Who said they were? (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about 3 years ago | (#36922320)

"That isn't reliability, to me. That's durability."

Agreed. Some people don't understand this, hence, "SSDs are much more reliable!!!!one11!"

Re:Who said they were? (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 3 years ago | (#36921066)

sigh, someone else who didn't RTFA. If you look on page 8 you'll see this image [tomshardware.com] where Intel's 'reliability study at IDF 2011' says HDDs are pants, SSDs are great.

of course, this is part of Intel's marketing for SSDs, so you'd expect them to say this kind of thing. Of course, that means someone has said this - specifically as some sort of selling point.

Re:Who said they were? (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 3 years ago | (#36921612)

Apparently Intel's SSDs are more reliable than HDDs.

April 2011
http://news.softpedia.com/news/French-Website-Publishes-HDD-SSD-and-Motherboard-RMA-Statistics-196538.shtml [softpedia.com]

http://news.softpedia.com/newsImage/French-Website-Publishes-HDD-SSD-and-Motherboard-RMA-Statistics-4.png/ [softpedia.com]

December 2010
http://www.behardware.com/articles/810-6/components-returns-rates.html [behardware.com]

Yes I know these are return rates and not failure rates. But "spinning disk drives" should in theory more vulnerable to "shipping and mishandling" and "oops user dropped it" than SSDs.

And if Intel can get 0.3- 0.59% and OCZ 2.9 - 3.5% I don't think we can blame shipping and the users for the difference ;).

So the non-intel SSDs seem pretty bad.

Whoever wrote that article.. (1)

Dynamoo (527749) | about 3 years ago | (#36920596)

Whoever wrote that article might know a lot about drives. But they don't know a lot about how to write an interesting and readable article.

Re:Whoever wrote that article.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36921052)

I really doubt they know much of anything about writing or drives. Tom's Hardware hasn't been a credible tech site sense Best of Media purchased them.

Re:Whoever wrote that article.. (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 3 years ago | (#36921382)

Not to mention the site is an unnavigable mess of javascript. I think it sets a new record for how many 3rd party scripts noscript has blocked. I couldn't find which site to allow that would make the nav or image links work. Fallen very far downhill has tomshardware, I suppose this is why i haven't visited the site in years.

Re:Whoever wrote that article.. (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 3 years ago | (#36921958)

IMO whoever wrote that article is a shill, full of shit or an idiot. The article is not analysis, it's far closer to "anal-related" stuff...

Example: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-reliability-failure-rate,2923-3.html [tomshardware.com]

Ultimately, the French-English language barrier was responsible for how hyped-up this information became. Sites like Mac Observer and ZDNet incorrectly reported these figures as "failure rates" based on a Google Translation.

A drive failure implies the device is no longer functioning. However, returns can occur for a multitude of reasons. This presents a challenge because we donâ(TM)t have any additional information on the returned drivesâ"were they dead-on-arrival, did they stop working over time, or was there simply an incompatibility that prevented the customer from using the SSD

But from the french retailer's stats:
Released in April 2011
http://news.softpedia.com/newsImage/French-Website-Publishes-HDD-SSD-and-Motherboard-RMA-Statistics-4.png/ [softpedia.com]
Released in December 2010
http://www.behardware.com/articles/810-6/components-returns-rates.html [behardware.com]

You will see that Intel has 0.3% and 0.59% return rates respectively.

So the difference in the return rates should tell anyone with brains that the non-intel SSDs (particularly OCZ SSDs) are crap, the Intel ones are decent. Saying bullshit like "returns can occur for a multitude of reasons. This presents a challenge" seems to be more spin than a 15krpm drive.

As for the stupid graph in http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-reliability-failure-rate,2923-9.html [tomshardware.com]

Larger version: http://media.bestofmicro.com/4/A/302122/original/ssdfailurerates_1024.png [bestofmicro.com]

It's also shit. For most of the known period, SSDs are worse than HDDs. It's mainly his estimates/projections that show SSDs as better.

Go figure how stupid that is, it's like saying:
"Oh look, most SSDs are worse than most HDDs for the actual data we have, this means that SSDs are more reliable than HDDs"

And one wonders how many data points he actually has on the graph for SSDs, if it's just from the french retailer, I think it's two points for each drive brand/model.

I haven't been to tomshardware for a while till today. And it seems to have got even worse from the time when I stopped reading their articles because they were too crap.

You want something that's not so crap, go to Anandtech. They're not perfect, but this Tom's Hardware article makes Anandtech look like the Richard Feynman of IT reviewers.

The article does help clarifying the differences.. (1)

madhatter256 (443326) | about 3 years ago | (#36920712)

THG did a good job separating the cause of 'failures' between SSDs and HDDs as I get asked a lot by potential customers the differences between the two.

SSD is a whole other ball field and, personally, I'm more HDD biased than SSD.

I still see SSDs as a brand new technology that has yet to normalize as much as HDDs have in the past 15 years. However, the article does make me realize that SSDs really won't normalize as much as HDDs have due to how vastly different they work. So, I'll have to give SSDs some slack in future customer builds.

In the beginning, the issue with SSDs were the write speed, but now the focus in this sector is on the controller chip (ie. Sandforce) more than the storage medium (SLC vs MLC) the SSD uses.
It looks like having the SSD/HDD combo in a PC is still the best way to go until the storage chips drop considerably.

Too early to say? (1)

tsj5j (1159013) | about 3 years ago | (#36920784)

I don't think it's really fair to say at this stage that SSDs aren't more reliable than hard drives.

For one, SSDs are still rather new. Yes, they've been around for a few years but compared to hard drives they are still at the beginning of their development cycle, and it shows: firmware issues and recalls, as stated in the article, may be a heavy contributing factor to the SSD failure rates. We can expect this to drop as manufacturers continually revise their firmware and manufacturing techniques for the better.
For another, the article also notes that the SSD failure rates, to this point, are rather constant. If this trend holds, SSDs can easily outstrip HDDs in reliability by the 3rd or 4th year.
Finally, SSD has been coined reliable often in the perspective of the average consumer. The benefits are obvious: when mishandling occurs (which happens much more often than you'd think, even on desktops), HDDs will have a far higher chance of damage.

Hence, while the results of this article is indeed interesting, perhaps a study done when the technology matures further would be more useful.

Re:Too early to say? (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 3 years ago | (#36920898)

For one, SSDs are still rather new. Yes, they've been around for a few years but compared to hard drives they are still at the beginning of their development cycle, and it shows: firmware issues and recalls, as stated in the article, may be a heavy contributing factor to the SSD failure rates. We can expect this to drop as manufacturers continually revise their firmware and manufacturing techniques for the better.

I wouldn't bet on it.
Price is also a major factor - probably the major factor.
SLCs are almost impossible to find because of just that; even though they have a magnitude higher write count and much faster worst-case write times, they don't sell because of price.
If the customer has a choice between paying more to get a more reliable drive, or pay less to get a less reliable drive, guess what he will choose? That's also why computers who used to last ten years now last two.

Quality just isn't a major concern in consumerism.
We get what we're willing to pay for, and we're not willing to pay.

Re:Too early to say? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#36921702)

Because we replace them every couple years.
Besides my homebuilt rigs last fine. Sure my power supply is a lot nicer than what dell provides, but that is what cheap gets you. I save in the long run though buy just replacing parts of the machine to upgrade.

Remote Storage Service (1)

hantarto (2421914) | about 3 years ago | (#36920796)

I'm sure that some of us maybe has ever thought about this idea.

This idea wil come true if :
1. the speed of our telecommunication line is fast enough,
2. our telecommunication's charge is low enough.

The basic of this idea is :
There is a storage service provider that leases its storages to the individual/corporate customers, using internet. So that the customer does not need to bring their notebook with their harddisks or other storage devices. They just bring an input-output device (keyboard, CPU, RAM, monitor, modem), a telecommunication device (handphone, radio link, etc), and maybe a printer. Customers access this remote storage as if they access their local harddisks.

The advantages of this system are :
1. Customers will not worry about the lost of their data due to lost/damage of their notebooks. They just buy another notebook, and then connect again to the storage service provider.
2. Customers can use any computer from anywhere at anytime to access their data. They don't need to bring their computers when they go abroad.
3. Customers can count on their storage service provider. The storage service provider must guarantee : backup data system, virus free, security of data, newest version of application softwares, etc.
4. The price of the computer will go down.

The disadvantages are :
1. Speed will slow.
2. Telecommunication's charge will go up.
3. The security of data.

I'm sure that this idea will become a standard in the future. With hard disk failure rate not improving, is better to store all of one's data with offsite provider so is accessible everywhere and backed up on probably redundant disk array tape drive backup tape.

Better yet, holographic storage with probability matrix encompassing all permutation of your data, so is always already there haha.

terrible graph (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36920798)

WhereTF are dotted line projections coming from? Where is the comparison HDD lines?

Zag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36920866)

I have over 100 Intel 320 and X25-M drives in my organization and not had one fail yet.

Re:Zag (1)

Thundersnatch (671481) | about 3 years ago | (#36921486)

Ditto here. About 50 Intel X-25s or 320s so far, many in service for 2+ years, and zero failures. All in laptops. We started buying all SSDs in laptops about a year ago. We see much higher (~5% annual) failure rates in our desktop mechanical disks, as well as the hundreds of "near-line" 7200 RPM and "enterprise" 15K drives in the datacenter. Our next SAN/NAS purchase will definitely have good MLC SSDs on tier-0 or as massive read/write cache, backed by spinning rust in RAID-6 or something similar for capacity. We will of course hammer the crap out of some demo units with random writes for several weeks to provide confidence in the SSD lifetimes.

Re:Zag (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#36922816)

I have over 100 Intel 320 and X25-M drives in my organization and not had one fail yet.

Good luck. The 320 has a known bug where it will power up claiming to only have an 8MB capacity and requires a complete wipe to recover (do a web search for intel 320 8mb).

Sadly this was discovered about a week after I bought one.

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.... (1)

cormandy (513901) | about 3 years ago | (#36920908)

The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very, very brightly Roy...

Worst. Ever. (4, Insightful)

DarthVain (724186) | about 3 years ago | (#36920924)

Let me summarize:

A) Chart is worthless. I have never see a more ambiguous meaningless chart in my life. They might as well not bother to label things.
B) Lets do a reliability study on SSD's that they don't have any long term data on past 2 years, yet compare it to HDD that typically at least have a 3 year warranty. By that I only mean, I'll go out on a limb and guess that the average failure rate of HDD is > 3 years, if only for economic self preservation.
C) Results in either case depend highly on specific device model and configuration.

Re:Worst. Ever. (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 3 years ago | (#36921908)

But, you can make projections from limited data. Disclaimer, all I looked at was the chart and I think you can assume linear failure rates for SSDs and exponential for HDDs (probably because of more components and different failure points). The chart is pretty clear if I'm interpreting it correctly.

Just like sampling a population in statistics, you're working with limited data but you can hypothesize based on a small sample. What you can't tell is if there's some failure bomb (unlikely) outside the data range.

Re:Worst. Ever. (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about 3 years ago | (#36922804)

http://xkcd.com/605/ [xkcd.com]

I agree. However if it only makes sense if you assume failure in 2 years or less.

If you are comparing them to the HDD on the graph, you can see that HDD have a failure rate of about 1-2% in the first two years (dependent on whatever the fsck the different colors mean), and beyond that can go as high as 20% after 5 years.

So what is it you are testing for? What are you doing comparisons against? Not to mention why they assume one is linear as opposed to all the other long term data being exponential. If anything you should come to the conclusions that after two years 2-4% failure rates in SSD could translate into 40% after 5 years or something of that nature. Run it statistically, and all that jazz of course.

Anyway bottom line is they are trying to come to conclusions with too little data and trying to extrapolate some sort of meaning, when there is none to extrapolate. It. Is. Meaningless. They go on to say in the text that apparently it is HIGHLY depended on what actual device you use, so unless they do a large sample so as not to be weighed by a bad model, or batch for that given year, leap in technology or whatever it is even harder to say one way or the other. So even had they they most robust amount of data, they could really only come up with some very general numbers to depict a trend between general technologies but not subject to specific cases. However they can't do that.

The reason I hate the chart, besides the linear extrapolation, is the meaningless legend. Which I realize is probably taken out of context by being displayed on its own, and likely there are explanations of what the varies lines mean off chart. So my criticism was more of the post and editors, than the actual article itself.

Anyway ..... (1)

wsanders (114993) | about 3 years ago | (#36923320)

We don't buy SSDs because they are more reliable (they don't seem to be in our large RAID arrays), but because they are faster than HDDs.

Baed on numbers... (2)

tanderson92 (1636327) | about 3 years ago | (#36920998)

Based on numbers, the study shows SSDs to be more reliable than HDDs. The best data I have seen in that article is the following:

SSDs: 1.28--2.19% over 2 years

HDDs: >=5% over 2 years

The HDD data comes from: http://media.bestofmicro.com/2/N/289103/original/google_afrtemputilization_475.png [bestofmicro.com] The SSD data comes from the table on Page #6.

I don't think any of this data is particularly surprising, HDDs are mechanical so the curves for failure would not be linear. The most interesting part of the article for consideration with SSDs is that SMART is going to be near useless for them. Since most failures are random occurrences in electronics which SMART isn't good at detecting, we may need better technology for detecting SSD failures.

Re:Baed on numbers... (2, Interesting)

rayd75 (258138) | about 3 years ago | (#36921610)

The most interesting part of the article for consideration with SSDs is that SMART is going to be near useless for them. Since most failures are random occurrences in electronics which SMART isn't good at detecting, we may need better technology for detecting SSD failures.

Have you ever seen SMART perform in a useful way on a mechanical disk? At work and at home, I've gone through a crap-ton of hard disks in the last decade or so that SMART's been prevalent and never have I seen SMART flag a drive as problematic before I already knew I had a serious problem. More often than not, I've had systems slow to a crawl due to massive numbers of read errors and sector reallocations while the drive firmware actively lied to me about the drive's condition. Only looking at the raw SMART stats and watching the counters increase wildly reveals the truth.

Re:Baed on numbers... (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 3 years ago | (#36922192)

The raw SMART stats are part of SMART. That's all I look at. With some brands of drive, certain counters increase wildly because those stats aren't supported, and you're seeing random data. I always go by Reallocated Sector Count, Pending Reallocations, and uncorrectable sectors - among others if they are available.

Re:Baed on numbers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36923146)

HD Tune is a good program for this. It will highlight SMART parameters in yellow [tomshw.it] that fall outside of spec.

Re:Baed on numbers... (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#36923250)

Have you ever seen SMART perform in a useful way on a mechanical disk?

Yes. When my laptop drive failed the problem was very obvious from a perpetually increasing reallocated sector count; that gave me long enough to copy off my data files to a new disk and replace the old one.

I had a similar experience with the only other hard drive I've had fail; they both went gracefully with plenty of warning and plenty of time to get the data off.

Re:Baed on numbers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36923716)

I've seen smart work on a number of occasions however the statistical approach it uses to defining a failure is highly flawed due to manufacturers pushing the allowed tolerances as high as they can get away with to ensure the product going out the door doesn't blow error codes; often it actuates too late in the drives life to be of any use. Used to be 10 years ago you'd do a surface scan and if there was 1 dead sector the disk was trash; nowadays there's space overhead on the disk for the disk to automagically rewrite bad sectors too. Bad parts are now rediculously slow but they work, so people don't return them as it's harder to quantify a slow part then a dead part. This is one of the reasons I baseline and benchmark systems I build from time to time; if I start seeing a massive performance difference I know either the OS is hosed or the machine needs rebuilt.

What I take away from this study is drive failures in a retail environment you get 2-5% depending on the drive within the return or RMA period (DOA). From there, if they go into an enterprise environment you can expect 1%SSD/3%HD to fail in 1 years, 3%\5-10% to fail in 2 and 5%\10-20% to fail within 3. For retail there's no reliable data as people just toss them out.

The thing the study did not track, which any field tech knows is a problem, is heating and cooling cycles which causes the mechanical layout of the drive to change. Machine turns on, drive goes from 30c to 60c, machine turns off, cools. Heats up, parts expand, cools down, parts contract. That can kill any drive in short order and anyone who says otherwise is an idiot in my book.

and those that do fail (2)

mikey177 (1426171) | about 3 years ago | (#36921088)

it is also a lot easier to retrieve data from disc then SSD that most of the time go without warning

Linear interpolation (1)

damaki (997243) | about 3 years ago | (#36921240)

According a a perfectly baseless linear interpolation on several charts, SSD have similar failure rates as HDDs. Just great... Call me back when we have 5 years of solid data, not just conjectures et inference.

Quite an extrapolation on the SSDs (1)

AbrasiveCat (999190) | about 3 years ago | (#36921244)

Referring to the chart on the last page the HDs look linear at the beginning too. I guess we don't really know yet. What if the SSD start failing at a higher rate at three years.

My opinion on SSD and the desktop... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36921722)

A waste of time. Read some of the FAQs people make on how to get the most from an SSD with a Windows machine and keep it reliable. There is a laundry list of 5-20 things to do and maintain and monitor. All for what? Benchmarks and the cool factor on your freaking desktop? What are these people doing with their desktops that the 50% bootup time reduction and speed of SSD as the boot drive is that important and worth the hassle and money to get that "performance" edge, and was the SSD the major bottleneck that could not be overcome with other hardware at a reduced cost?

I'm not against SSD, I maintain SANs at work with tiered storage including SSD and we have found some improvement in certain circumstances where disk IO/latency was a bottle neck, for disk cache it is an advantage for the rest of the systems. For us, the ROI was questionable compared to other routes we could have taken and if our SAN vendor had not sweetened the deal and lead us in that direction, it would not have even been close.

Re:My opinion on SSD and the desktop... (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#36922762)

I use SSDs on systems I want to boot fast, but that's about the only use I have for them and find the 'no, don't upgrade CPU/RAM/whatever, get an SSD it's the best upgrade for any system' nutters rather amusing.

I have seen people saying that SSDs speed up compilation a lot though I'm surprised because header files and the like should pretty quickly go into the disk cache and never require another read from disk. However, those same people also say they have to replace the SSDs at least once a year because they wear out... which isn't a bad deal if a $100 SSD saves you an hour of programmer time every week.

My most used SSD here has about 1500 hours and has used 1% of its write cycles; but that one is set up to put all the regular writes (/tmp, /var/tmp, /var/log, etc) into a RAM disk instead of going to the SSD.

Re:My opinion on SSD and the desktop... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922970)

A waste of time. Read some of the FAQs people make on how to get the most from an SSD with a Windows machine and keep it reliable. There is a laundry list of 5-20 things to do and maintain and monitor. All for what? .

None of that FAQ stuff has anything to do with reliability, it's all about performance. And while you've got to do a fair amount for XP (and a little for Vista) to maintain SSD performance, for Win 7 you don't have to do anything special. Nothing.

What you get is arguably the only performance boost from a HW upgrade that is actually noticeable to a regular joe user guy.

I want a different study (1)

Jay L (74152) | about 3 years ago | (#36921866)

I want to know if SSDs are more reliable than HDDs in an environment full of cat hair. I've never had a SCSI HDD outlast its warranty.

Comment Refers to Article Not Graph (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922072)

If you read the article you'll understand that the AFR for the only two years of data they could get their hands on for SSD shows the reliability is not different from 2 years of reliability of enterprise drives. Since there was no information after two years you cannot draw a conclusion of the AFR.

Haha Fail! (worse than a hdd) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922720)

glad Im not going bonkers the chart did say the opposite....

Can we conclude anything? (1)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | about 3 years ago | (#36923164)

I read TFA, and to me, it seems like a bunch of samples that aren't necessarily comparable nor do they necessarily agree with each other.

This is interesting as a starting point, and I applaud Tom's Hardware for the effort they have put into this article, but I think we will need a lot more data before we can get meaningful conclusions.

What did surprise me, though, are the return rates on hard disks. Multiple percent in a single year seems high to me! I'm glad I'm not in the hardware business.

Re:Can we conclude anything? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#36923306)

What did surprise me, though, are the return rates on hard disks. Multiple percent in a single year seems high to me! I'm glad I'm not in the hardware business.

I would guess that most of the failures are due to damage during shipping or installation. I'm still amazed by the limited protection on some of the disks I've received through the mail.

Firmware is still trumping physical chip limits (1)

m.dillon (147925) | about 3 years ago | (#36923638)

That's my take. And unlike a hard drive, firmware is something which can be continuously improved. SSD manufacturers are starting to understand and deal with the failure modes.

One thing they don't mention is off-line storage. If I take a hard drive out of service and store it on a shelf for a year, it's virtually guaranteed to fail when I power it up. That is, every single HDD I've taken off the shelf will tend to work for a short while, long enough for me to get the data off of it usually, but every single one has failed within a month of being repowered.

I expect over the next few years the combination of firmware improvements and flash improvements (that is, improvements in being able to predict a flash cell failure) will result in the SSDs running away in the reliability department. Hard drives have been around for a long time and yet they still fail at a horribly high rate... too high for the higher capacities they now have. Intel has certainly already seen the light.

Several vendors are now putting hi capacity caps in their SSDs to remove one common failure mode... exploded meta-data/table table due to unexpected power downs, which is a particular problem for SSDs which use idle time for wear leveling activities.

One thing for sure, we are going to get some excellent statistics over the next decade.

-Matt

Jeff Atwood had a good take on this (1)

whyde (123448) | about 3 years ago | (#36924024)

Any thread on SSD failures should include a link to Jeff Atwood's blog entry on the topic:

I feel ethically and morally obligated to let you in on a dirty little secret I've discovered in the last two years of full time SSD ownership. Solid state hard drives fail. A lot. And not just any fail. I'm talking about catastrophic, oh-my-God-what-just-happened-to-all-my-data instant gigafail. It's not pretty.

Full post here: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2011/05/the-hot-crazy-solid-state-drive-scale.html [codinghorror.com]

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...