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SSD Annual Failure Rates Around 1.5%, HDDs About 5%

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the breaking-news dept.

Hardware 512

Lucas123 writes "On the news that Linus Torvalds's SSD went belly up while he was coding the 3.12 kernel, Computerworld took a closer look at SSDs and their failure rates. While Torvalds didn't specify the SSD manufacturer in his blog, he did write in a 2008 blog that he'd purchased an 80GB Intel SSD — likely the X25, which has become something of an industry standard for SSD reliability. While they may have no mechanical parts, making them preferable for mobile use, there are many factors that go into an SSD being reliable. For example, a NAND die, the SSD controller, capacitors, or other passive components can — and do — slowly wear out or fail entirely. As an investigation into SSD reliability performed by Tom's Hardware noted: 'We know that SSDs still fail.... All it takes is 10 minutes of flipping through customer reviews on Newegg's listings.' Yet, according to IHS, client SSD annual failure rates under warranty tend to be around 1.5%, while HDDs are near 5%. So SSDs not only outperform, but on average outlast spinning disks."

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Put in perspective... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836765)

That's a significantly lower failure rate than the Jersey Shore.

News at 11 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836783)

An intel apologist supporting intel? Shocking!

Poor statistics (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836791)

"client SSD annual failure rates under warranty tend to be around 1.5%, while HDDs are near 5%"
So they are less likely to fail early in their life.

"So an SSDs not only outperforms, but on average outlast spinning disk."

This is completely unsubstantiated by the evidence provided.

Re:Poor statistics (1)

MickLinux (579158) | about a year ago | (#44836941)

That said, my memory was that some reported on Âlashdot that you can force the failure of an SSD by powering it down in themiddle of a write, then powring it up, causing it to go into chkdsk, and finally powering it down in the middle of chkdsk. Which is not too unlikely an occurrance. If you wanted to decrease the user failure rate, you might hook it upyo a supercapacitor.

Re:Poor statistics (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837235)

Preferably one with spillchick.

Re:Poor statistics (2)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about a year ago | (#44837261)

One of the few benefits of a spinning platter is that they can briefly generate their own juice when the power goes out.

Re:Poor statistics (5, Funny)

BancBoy (578080) | about a year ago | (#44837297)

One of the few benefits of a spinning platter is that they can briefly generate their own juice when the power goes out.

As many of us do, when the power goes out...

Re:Poor statistics (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837271)

There's another factor they don't take into consideration - when the drive fails, in which condition will it be afterwards. I had multiple HDDs fail on me in my life, and the most common effect was inability to read a bunch of sectors. It damaged the file system and several files, but in most cases I could still mount it read-only and recover most of the stuff from it unscathed. Just a few weeks ago I had an SSD failure (OCZ Vertex3). I was working and the drive just suddenly died. Without a warning, and of course without any screeching noises. I noticed because a couple of applications crashed and could not be restarted afterwards. While the drive was still mounted, I saw that about half of directories on it became inaccessible, or disappeared. After shutting down and attempting to mount this drive elsewhere for rescue, I realized that the FS was damaged beyond any recognition - half of the sectors were unreadable, I could not recover a single piece of data from it. Yes, I had backups but as usual not necessarily the freshest, and I had to reinstall everything. At least gave the opportunity to switch to a fresh 64-bit install after I've been using my old install continuously since 2004.

MicroSD cards = great SneakerNet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836795)

They are easy to fit inside a balloon in the rectum, leave the tail of the balloon hanging outside the anus.

Re:MicroSD cards = great SneakerNet (0)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44837195)

why use a balloon?

Do the math (0, Flamebait)

djupedal (584558) | about a year ago | (#44836799)

5% of a 4TB HDD that sells for USD$200 is roughly 200 GB = $10.

1.5% of a 4TB HDD that sells for USD$29,000 is roughly 60 GB = $425.

I can guess who is pushing these casual comparisons, but seriously - when price parity kicks in, let me know. In the mean time and as a developer, I have no use for SSD in my desktop system.

edit (2)

djupedal (584558) | about a year ago | (#44836823)

1.5% of a 4TB SSD that sells for USD$29,000 is roughly 60 GB = $425.

Re:Do the math (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836845)

Alright, I'll do the math....

9ms average access times on a 7200RPM spinning drive == ~100 IOPS.
High-end SSD: 100K IOPS.

Yes, a thousand times the number of disk accesses. If you're really a developer, you'll see your compile times cut by a factor of 5-10 (depending on how much CPU power you have to spare). Things load from disk like magic.

You don't buy SSDs for the raw capacity, you buy them for the *fast* access times. Period.

Re:Do the math (2, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#44836891)

9ms average access times on a 7200RPM spinning drive == ~100 IOPS.
High-end SSD: 100K IOPS.

The SSD that most consumers are using are neither high end nor have such IOPS ratings.

Re:Do the math (5, Informative)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year ago | (#44837019)

Actually, you'd be surprised. The Samsung 840 EVO, a low-cost consumer drive (the high-end is the 840 Pro) that gets down to $0.70/GB, can hit 90K IOPS read on every model, and 90K IOPS write on 500GB models and up.

Sure, older or ultra-cheap drives won't hit that (my new Chronos doesn't get there), but rounding to the nearest order of magnitude will get you 100K IOPS even on medium-end consumer drives.

Re:Do the math (-1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#44837207)

Wow, so you are saying I can save like 8 milliseconds on my compile time if I switch to SSDs?

Seriously, this is not the 1960s anymore.

Re:Do the math (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | about a year ago | (#44837387)

I upgraded to an SSD recently and compile times didn't really change at all, which was surprising. Boot times, application load times, system responsiveness etc however are massively improved. At least on my setup (Xeon E31270, Windows 7, Visual Studio), compile times aren't particularly IO limited.

Re:Do the math (3, Funny)

dunng808 (448849) | about a year ago | (#44836851)

Is 4TB representative? Or are you just putting more spin on this story?

What a pun... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836931)


Re:Do the math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836943)

> as a developer, I have no use for SSD in my desktop system.

Do you compile code?

Re:Do the math (5, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44837005)

> as a developer, I have no use for SSD in my desktop system.

Do you compile code?

SSDs are for booting. RAM disks are for compiling, and hdd is for long term storage.

Re:Do the math (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837345)

RAM disks are for compiling for those who don't really understand how a modern OS buffercache works.

Re:Do the math (2)

brit74 (831798) | about a year ago | (#44837079)

A while back Joel Spolsky (joel on software) tried switching to an SSD and compared his compile times to his old HDD. The result: no difference. Apparently, the disk access isn't the slow part of the compilation process. The bottleneck in compiling seems to be the processor speed.

Re:Do the math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837231)

HIGHLY HIGHLY dependent on the compiler and the language. C/C++/Fortran and many other traditional compiled languages generally can be compiled so fast that disk speed is VERY MUCH a factor.

With Java and C#, RAM is much more the limiting factor. I'm sure it ALL depends on the specifics of what you are doing.

Re:Do the math (4, Informative)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year ago | (#44837283)

Wait, you are basing the improvements in compile times on one guy's anecdotal results? Well, here's another: when I switched to an SSD at work my compile times were cut by more than half. It was an huge difference in compile time ie. productivity.

It all depends on your codebase and tools, really. He was probably compiling a relatively small codebase, and for all we know his methodology sucked so a lot of it was in the RAM cache. I can tell you for a fact that a clean build on a large code base was drastically improved.

Re:Do the math (1)

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) | about a year ago | (#44837341)

How often does a developer need to do a clean build? If your build flow is set up right, not very often. Especially not often when the developer is in the critical code/compile/fix-compile-errors or compile/run/debug/fix loops which are where the compile times are important. There are even build flows/tools that let you not ever do a clean build, by storing versioned object files. And if your codebase is large enough, hopefully you're using dynamic linking which means that the link step isn't too long either.

Re:Do the math (3, Informative)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | about a year ago | (#44837411)

Fairly large codebase here, ~4 minute compile times, C++ with Visual Studio. Compile times were unaffected by the SSD upgrade. Searching code, however, massive speed improvement and paid itself off with productivity improvements after about a month.

Re:Do the math (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about a year ago | (#44837285)

For any reasonable code size, the data's all cached in memory already from you editing and saving the files in question.

Re:Do the math (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44837205)

> as a developer, I have no use for SSD in my desktop system.

Do you compile code?

With a 32 GB RAM, why do you thing compilation would be relevant for the SSD or HDD choice?

Re:Do the math (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837007)

*shrug* As a developer, installing an SSD paid for itself in time saved due to waiting on disk within three months.

Seriously, git is instantaneous, greps and compiles are ludicrously fast, etc,, etc, etc. I mean, unless your rate is like 10USD/hr, you owe it to yourself and your clients to install a decently-sized decently-fast SSD in all of your dev boxes.

Re:Do the math (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44837227)

Or... you know.... actually put some RAM into your developer machine.

Re:Do the math (3, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#44837015)

5% of a 4TB HDD that sells for USD$200 is roughly 200 GB = $10.
1.5% of a 4TB HDD that sells for USD$29,000 is roughly 60 GB = $425.

You mean 5% of the space size in GB is that.

Your math is wrong, because you are misinterpreting the statistics. A 1.5% SSD failure rate, with a small number of disks, does not mean that "1.5% of the capacity" fails; if you purchased N 4TB SSD "that sells for 29k"; on average N*1.5% Of those entire SSD drives fail; and if you purchased N 4 TB HDDs that sell for $200, N*5% of those entire HDDs fail.

Due to I/O constraints; when you use HDDs, you don't get to use all your total space, before performance degrades to unacceptable levels, and you have to buy more HDDs; furthermore, all those extra HDDs consume a lot more power than SSDs. The $/IOP is not attractive for HDDs: the vast majority of computer users do not need 4TB HDDs; and will use 100 to 150GB TOPS.

Therefore: SSDs look a lot more attractive, when you discount, or forget the existence of the portion of the capacity that the user cannot use due to performance constraints, or will not use -- due to not needing the space.

Last I checked; you cannot go to Amazon, Newegg or your local supermarket and buy a 200GB hard drive for $10 It is not an option; the least cost new HDD you can pick up is about 60 bucks. However, you definitely can go to Newegg, and buy a new 150GB SSD for about $250.

Also, the Crucial M500 1TB SSD is $600. 4 times that is $2400, not $30,000.

4TBs are for archival purposes, where the hard drive will be powered off most of the time, anyways. The failure rate of 3 TB and 4 TB HDDs is probably much higher than the 5% average, due to the tighter mechnical tolerances and higher density encoding methods required. I believe the 5% figure applies to 1.5TB disks.

Re:Do the math (4, Informative)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about a year ago | (#44837291)

No he's doing the math right -- At an annual failure rate of 1%, you need to replace 1% of your total capacity every year. With an annualized failure rate of 5%, you need to replace 5% of that capacity overall. The averaging is done because over time, it works out, just like insurance. Sure, on any given year *if* a drive fails, you have to pay for the whole thing, but that's not how one accounts for such failures.

Re:Do the math (1)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | about a year ago | (#44837041)

More to the point, you can buy 4 4TB HDDs for $800 and setup a RAID1 and get a lot of the same read performance as an SDD while having heavy redundancy. Yes, you don't get the same level of gains for writes nor do a lot of systems support 4HDs readily (not enough physical space to place them) and there's the issue of power consumption. But if there's a 5% of failure with one HD, then presuming there's no relationship to the drives (ie, you don't just buy a bunch of drives from the same company which were all from the same batch production), then you'd expect a very low probability that all the drives would fail (something like 0.000625%). Besides that, you could very trivially buy multiple extra HDs for backups and still be way cheaper all around.

Re:Do the math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837249)

200 IOPS a drive on average for SAS drives. SATA are often closer to 100-120 IOPS a drive != 90k IOPS. SSDs are crazy fast when it comes to small random IO.

Re:Do the math (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | about a year ago | (#44837335)

More to the point, you can buy 4 4TB HDDs for $800 and setup a RAID1 and get a lot of the same read performance as an SDD while having heavy redundancy.

Where by "a lot of", you mean less than 1% of, right?

Typical IOPS on a 7200 RPM HDD is around 80. Typical IOPS on a garden variety SSD is 80,000. We'll be generous and assume linear speedup for the four HDDs, which gives us 320 IOPS, or 0.4% of the performance of a single SSD.

Re:Do the math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837087)

I guess you won't be buying any RAM for your desktop system, either.

Because that costs more per byte, too.

Sure, it's faster - but it costs more. And I guess that's all that matters.

Re:Do the math (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#44837093)

After "doing the math" a mixture works - cheap small SSD for system files and a pile of spinning disks with ZFS to hold stuff. Of course on MS Windows with the C: drive nonsense still hanging about a mixed system is a bit more difficult and may mean a bigger and more expensive SSD for those programs that will only work on the system drive.

Re:Do the math (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44837137)

You might want to factor in that SSD's often have longer warranties than HDD's these days.

OCZ's SSD's are 3-year while Intel SSD's are 5-year. HDD's manufacturers reduced their warranties from 3,4, or 5 year to 1, 2, or 3 year in 2011.

I'm not saying that thats the situation of the data in the study, but it could be. 5% on an average 2 year warranty vs 1.5% on an average 4 year warranty, well that is quite a significant difference.

Re:Do the math (1)

wolrahnaes (632574) | about a year ago | (#44837233)

Everyone's already jumped on you on this one, but I still have to chime in and say holy crap are you ever wrong if you think a SSD is not worth every dime right now.

You don't need *everything* to be on SSD, just the commonly-used data; your system, binaries, etc. I have a 120GB Intel 330 series SSD (though in hindsight I'd rather have gone with something ~250GB and 2TB of normal spinning disk, plus a 7TB server. The system, my home directory (minus downloads directory), and my main games are on the SSD, the rest of my games are on a 1.5TB 7200 RPM disk, and downloads get an old 500GB disk. My machine spends more time in POST than the entire rest of the boot process, browsers launch instantly, IDEs take half a second, games practically skip their own loading screens, etc.

Unless you place no value on your time, in any interactively-operated machine where you can have multiple storage drives a SSD is a no-brainer. Laptops where a second disk is challenging or impossible it entirely depends on your mobile storage needs, but the reduction of moving parts and performance/battery improvements are a strong argument in favor of them.

Re:Do the math (1)

Dorianny (1847922) | about a year ago | (#44837397)

According to Research from Segate, a hybrid drive needs just 8gb of NAND to achive %95 performance of a a NAND drive in a typical business environment "During the five days of study, the average amount of data read by machines in a business environment stood at 19.48GB. Out of this amount, just 9.59GB was unique; the rest consisted of duplicate reads" Of course this is not exactly a large scale study, but it was presented in a industry workshop so its not just fabricated marketing material either. []

Since benchmarking software is useless for gauging the effect of caching, It would be interesting to see a similar study done on typical usage scenarios for a home machine.

Re:Do the math (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year ago | (#44837369)

Why on earth do you need 4TB "as a developer"?

And it's absurd to claim that SSDs aren't useful over HDDs just because HDDs are more cost effective by space. HDDs are also more cost effective by space than RAM - so why not just minimize your RAM and create a huge swap space?

Re:Do the math (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#44837405)

Yet, on a laptop with a 128GB SDD, I've got ~95GB free. Why would I want to buy a huge HDD, if I've got more than enough with a tiny SDD?
Differente people have different needs, and, the point is, for those who want reliability for a brand new disk, SSDs are the way to go.

But the disc can store much more (2)

Marrow (195242) | about a year ago | (#44836805)

So you need to multiply the failure rate of the SSD by as many SSDs as it would take to equal the storage of the disc. Do you want the storage rate per arbitrary device size, or rate of failure per data stored?

Re:But the disc can store much more (4, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44837381)

Thats a silly thing to do. Lets examine this, shall we?

A 5% chance to lose 2TB vs a 1.5% chance to lose 250GB.

You argue that since it requires 8 of these 250GB SSD's to equal the capacity of the 2TB HDD that we should multiply 1.5% by 8, so a 12% chance... a 12% chance of what, tho? In actuality, there isnt a 12% chance of anything...

The chance of losing at least 1 of those 8 SSD's (that is specifically 1 or more) over the period is (1 - (1 - 0.015)) = 0.114, but the chance of losing all of those 8 drives over the period is 0.015^8 = 0.0000000000000025628906. In other words, losing all 2TB in the SSD scenario is effectively never going to happen while it remains 5% for the HDD scenario.

The actual breakdown of all possibilities of drive failings (0 drives, 1 drive, 2 drives, etc..) rounded to thousands of a percent is:

0 drives: 88.611%
1 drives: 10.795%
2 drives: 0.575%
3 drives: 0.000%
4 drives: 0.000%
5 drives: 0.000%
6 drives: 0.000%
7 drives: 0.000%
8 drives: 0.000%

So we see that you would be twice as likely to lose some data than in the HDD scenario, but invariably it will only be 250GB of data instead of 2TB of data (only 1 in 173 of these 8 drive experiments will witness more than 1 drive fail, and the majority of those will be exactly 2 drives failed)

So no, you do not need to multiply the failure rate of the SSD's by the number of SSD's that you would need to equal the HDD. What you need to do is define the problem better because as it stands SSD's look a hell of a lot better when you suppose that you need a pile of them.

Re:But the disc can store much more (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44837401)

Woops. Missed an exponent when typing that out. The first equation is supposed to be (1 - (1 - 0.015)^8) = 0.114.

Great... (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#44836811)

Yet, according to IHS, client SSD annual failure rates under warranty tend to be around 1.5%, while HDDs are near 5%. So an SSDs not only outperforms, but on average outlast spinning disk.

What about annual failure rates outside of warranty?

SSD failure rates (1, Informative)

rjr3 (658693) | about a year ago | (#44836819)

If you have a new Apple notebook it does not matter what the rate is - you can not replace them.
Lose the SSD and you have lost the Retina.

Re:SSD failure rates (1)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#44836901)

Yet another reason to never buy Mac.

Re:SSD failure rates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836951)

People with Macs are professionals who have more important shit to do than ementary pc technician bullshit, just take it to the Applestore and you get a new one and get back to work.

Re:SSD failure rates (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837109)

People with Macs are professionals

The opposite is true. The people who have always bought Macintosh are clueless amateurs who can't figure anything out.

lease them (1)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about a year ago | (#44836967)

Yet another reason to never buy Mac.

You're absolutely right.

That's why we lease them for work;

Re:SSD failure rates (1)

BronsCon (927697) | about a year ago | (#44836925)

Off-topic but... I bought my wife a new MacBook Pro a couple months ago because I couldn't afford one in 2011 when they last made the 17" models and they haven't made a laptop worth buying since (the MacBook Air is a netbook... and netbooks were never worth buying). I took her late-2011 17" and love it; she always said it was too bulky, so it was a win for both of us.

To bring it back on topic: I've killed quite a few hard drives; I seem to lose one every year, on average, and have for as long as I've owned a computer with a hard drive (that is to be read as I've lost as many 5yr old drives). With a 1:1 ratio of SSDs to spinning disks in my home for the last 2 years, I'm still losing HDDs at the same rate, but the SSDs seem to be holding up. I don't mind the diminished capacity; that's offset by the extremely improved performance and replacing the DVD drive with a HDD caddy for bulk file storage; combined with network storage (and VPN for remote access) and automated backups, I still have all of my data.

Re:SSD failure rates (5, Informative)

gander666 (723553) | about a year ago | (#44836927)

Bullcrap. They can be replaced. Look up [] they sell several sizes for the airs and the pro retinas.

Re:SSD failure rates (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836959)

How dare you bring facts into this conversation!

Re:SSD failure rates (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837141)

The SSD may be replaceable, but it uses an Apple proprietary interface which limits options. Furthermore, how about upgrading or replacing failed RAM? In that case, you are left with a $2200+ brick. (not even usable as a doorstop, thanks to Steve's obsession with thin at the expense of functionality...)

Re:SSD failure rates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837169)

Yeah, after you buy that DIY kit. A laptop hard drive replacement shouldn't require anything more than a normal screwdriver and the removal of a single panel. With the Macbooks, you have to do a complete teardown with specialized tools.

Re:SSD failure rates (1)

drhank1980 (1225872) | about a year ago | (#44836995)

Not completely true. You can get one from OWC [] . You will pay more for it and it is a pain in the butt to do the work but you can replace them. I do remember when working on mac hardware was easy and quick [] but those days are long gone.

newegg's listings (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836839)

come on, it's suicidal to buy a hdd or ssd off a refurbisher/discounter like newegg. buying monitors, mp3 players, even ram maybe, but storage? oh fuck no.

Hard drives warranty (4, Insightful)

danbob999 (2490674) | about a year ago | (#44836853)

5 years should be mandatory by law. If you can't support your drive for 5 years, you shouldn't be allowed to manufacture hard drives at all.
I don't understand this new trend in making new hard drives with only 1-2 years warranty. The same goes for SSD.

Re: Hard drives warranty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836889)

"Shouldn't be allowed"? I hope you are joking.

Re:Hard drives warranty (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year ago | (#44836963)

margins are paper thin. no time to do QA. what ends up happening is that we, the buyers, are the 'remote QA dept'.

sad but true. we have to test the hell out of things we buy for the first 30 days.

profit profit profit! isn't extreme capitalism wonderful? sigh ;(

Re:Hard drives warranty (1)

citizenr (871508) | about a year ago | (#44837159)

margins are paper thin.

WD and Seagate have a healthy 40% margin on every drive they sell.

Re:Hard drives warranty (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about a year ago | (#44837305)

Except they've priced their drives so low that you're looking at 40% of very little... on a per-unit basis, they're still making very little money and better have a very low return rate to account for it.

Re:Hard drives warranty (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#44837199)

margins are paper thin. no time to do QA.

Not just margins. Development time is short. A model of the drive has to be produced and sold in less than a year, and replaced with a new model after that. Who can afford an endurance test, even if accelerated?

Re:Hard drives warranty (2)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#44837045)

I don't understand this new trend in making new hard drives with only 1-2 years warranty. The same goes for SSD.

If it shaves cost off the unit; there are people who will buy it, and take the chance.

I would say that the manufacturers have a right to offer them this option.

In fact; I would say manufacturers have a right to provide options with less than a 1 year warranty.

Re:Hard drives warranty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837213)

Manufacturers have no rights. They're not people.

Re:Hard drives warranty (3, Insightful)

Burz (138833) | about a year ago | (#44837071)

In the 2000s consumers became almost the exact opposite re: warranties as they were in the late 80s/ early 90s when a good warranty seemed to matter as much as any other criteria. I've been trying to buck that trend, but until the last couple years it was almost impossible. When I shop for electronics that have no moving parts and are *not* portable, the warranty has be be at least 3 years and this even includes some moving-parts items like hard drives. My two most recent HDD purchases (and some that I helped friends and clients with) had 5 year warranties.

The thing about insisting on a 'long' warranty is that the price then becomes an aid in finding equipment that is actually more reliable. Among stable brands, the cheaper models in the longer warranty class will tend to be more reliable; A higher confidence level from the manufacturer is often reflected in the lower price. Likewise, the junkier models will get higher price tags in order to be able to cover the higher failure rate. Nowhere is this more obvious than with computers that have options to purchase mfg extended warranties.

Of course, even if the prices are the same, getting equipment with a higher failure rate is still a raw deal because of the cost of downtime, possible data loss, shipping, etc.

But but but but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836867)

I thought "solid state" was supposed to be so reliable? And why can't we 3D print SSDs? Hm?

Re:But but but but (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about a year ago | (#44836895)

Fail Troll is FAIL

And after the warranty expires? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836907)

"Yet, according to IHS, client SSD annual failure rates under warranty tend to be around 1.5%, while HDDs are near 5%."

And outside of warranty...? The great majority of individuals will still be using their SSDs long after the warranty expires. This is even more true for businesses. A better measure of drive reliability would be one taken over an extended period of time, one that more accurately mirrors typical drive usage.

how long's the warranty? (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | about a year ago | (#44836915)

That under warranty less SSDs fail doesn't mean they outlast HDDs... If warranty is 1 year, and all SSDs fail in 1.5 years, yet hard drives usually fail only in 3 years, hard drives are still better off.

In other news, Laxori666 was too lazy to RTFA and is hoping someone will chime in. He is tired and drowsy and so he will blame it on that when in fact, he would have done the same regardless - except perhaps without this addendum as such honesty usually requires some sort of altered state of consciousness.

SSD failure rates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836945)

What is it that is said about lies and statistics ?

if I harddrive survives the 100 hours it is likely to last a long time, an ssd on the other hand will die.

I have lots of experience with spinning disks, not so much with ssd, but what I have had is mostly bad, be it firmware bugs that wipe all the data or just outright failures. I have one today in a laptop where the drive was toasted but still passed the bios diagnostics which were built into the laptop.

Bit error rates are more important to monitor (2)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about a year ago | (#44836969)

While catastrophic drive failures make headlines what's more likely to happen during the useful service life of both HDDs and SSDs are unrecoverable media/bit errors and these may ruin your day as much as a catastrophic error. If you look at the bit error rate of any contemporary HDD and compare it to its capacity you'll come to a startling conclusion - an unrecoverable read error is rated to occur once every 2 to 5 times the full capacity of the drive is read. SSDs have about the same unrecoverable read error rate.

Paucity of information.... (2)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about a year ago | (#44836973)

The author of the summary and/or TFA seems to draw a conclusion based upon a paucity of information.

Yet, according to IHS, client SSD annual failure rates under warranty tend to be around 1.5%, while HDDs are near 5%. So an SSDs not only outperforms, but on average outlast spinning disk."

The unknown in the equation is the length of the warranty periods for the drives used in the comparison.

Re:Paucity of information.... (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#44837121)

And also what happens afterwards. Most drives will not fail under warranty, most should fail many many years afterwards.
This does not tell us if the average SDD fails 1 week after its 2 year warranties runs out, or if the HDD lasts for 8 year longer on average.

my hard drive is going bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836979)

my hard drive has developed bad sectors on the platter. SMART says there are some reallocated sectors, pending pending sectors and uncorrectable sectors. the hard drive fails all of Seatools's tests. oh yeah, the bad sectors are at the end of the Master File table of the NTFS. Maybe i should buy an SSD now instead of a computer. lol

3 weeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836981)

I got my 1st ssd this spring, it was awesome and fast, for 3 weeks.

Re:3 weeks (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44837043)

I got my 1st ssd this spring, it was awesome and fast, for 3 weeks.

What a coinicidence... so was mine. Still is, as a matter of fact. Oh, and so is the one in my laptop.

Re:3 weeks (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44837095)

I've got an EeePC with an SSD. Bought back in 2008. Still runs fine.

Apples and oranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836987)

If an SSD fails after its shorter warranty has expired, does that mean it's more reliable than a traditional hard drive that's lasted longer, but is still under warranty? No? Then what's the point of comparing failure rates "under warranty" if the warranties can be unequal?

To make SSD's look good, I imagine.

Oh, and also traditional hard drives often make alarming noises several hours to days before they fail, giving you time to back them up. SSD's, not so much.

Re:Apples and oranges (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | about a year ago | (#44837209)

I think it's a good question whether warranties are unequal.

I think it's a bad assumption that they are slanted to SSDs (for instance, the demand seems more likely to be there for SSD warranties given the reputation). It might be true but it's not obviously true.

Yawn. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44836993)

Anyone who isnt using a SSD by now for at least their boot drive is stuck in the past.
It's the single best upgrade you can make anymore.

Either way stop the fucking articles about it.
Leave them with their warm feelings for spinning rust full of multi gigs of stuff they never touch.

They'll wise up eventually. Or not.
Either way it won't hurt you any. Enjoy your speedy pc and laugh at the rusties if you must.

Re:Yawn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837111)

Not sure if troll or what. It takes less time to boot and log in than it takes me to go for a cuppa, I only have to do it once and the rest of the day it is cached. And that is if I shutdown the pc, instead of just sending it to sleep.

A SSD for a pc is cute tho.

Re:Yawn. (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#44837119)

Anyone who isnt using a SSD by now for at least their boot drive is stuck in the past

You've just summed up those stupid applications on MS Windows with hard coded paths to "C:" drive. They still exist.

Stay away from OCZ and SandForce (5, Interesting)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#44837023)

OCZ's failure rates are higher than the rest of the industry's by an order of magnitude. Also, earlier SandForce drives have reliability problems because the firmware was written by paranoid loons who were deathly afraid of reverse-engineering and the drive goes into irrecoverable 'panic mode' when any abnormality of any kind is sensed. I think that newer SandForces (post-LSI acquisition), especially Intel's, are less likely to do this, but the original failures still taint the brand with the stigma of flakiness.

If you stick with Samsung, Intel, and SanDisk, you should be fine. Stay away from OCZ at all costs, and be skeptical of any SandForce drive not made by Intel.

Bad statistics? (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about a year ago | (#44837033)

What are the warantee periods? Are SSDs shorter. Is it the same usage scenario -- for example using the SSD for swap?

What do the failure curves look like?
I suspect for HD's it's a gaussian and for SSD's it's a skew normal distrubution with the scew leaning towards the end. Meaning a large amount of SSD fail past a certain. time while many HD still work? Have we even seen enough SSD's in the wild to see that failure yet?

Are they including D.O.A. ? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#44837057)

I've heard several people state that they've bought SSD drives that just would not work when they got them home and they had to do an exchange. Do these statistics include those returns or only ones that failed in service?

Re:Are they including D.O.A. ? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#44837143)

SDDs and HDDs. There is a huge percentage that arrive dead, or die within a week. But I do not think SDDs fair any worse that HDDs.

Re:Are they including D.O.A. ? (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about a year ago | (#44837323)

All electronics fail on a bathtub curve ... they either fail predominantly when new, or when old, and rarely in the middle. That's why burn-ins are common among the knowledgeable -- it gets you past that initial failure stage before you've used the drive for something important.

Major fault. Linus lost an ssd (1)

chromaexcursion (2047080) | about a year ago | (#44837107)

another story on /.
a TRULY dead ssd is impacting the linux kernel release.
one in Linus's server.
bad timing, to try to pump bad statistics.
there are lies
damn lies
then there are statics

better to go with the lies ...

and hire better tech aware ad men

in my experience... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837123)

... a significant percentage of HDD failures occur within the first month of life, resulting in very little actual data loss, as people still retain prior backups.

Does anyone have hard numbers for the DOA rates of each type of drive?

Ability to recover (2)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year ago | (#44837139)

Now for the useful information. How many of the failed SSD's were they able to recover data? I suspect not many.

Re:Ability to recover (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837373)

Who cares? That's why you use them for your boot drive and not to store your porn collection.

Recoverable Failure rate: 99.9% HDD, 1% SSD (1, Troll)

citizenr (871508) | about a year ago | (#44837203)

Wrong stat.

Yes, things to break, but its important HOW they break. HDDs have very 'nice' failure modes. You can recover bits from the platters as long as you do not put one in MRI machine or a fire. SSDs just DISAPPEAR from the system with data and encryption keys to that data and NO ONE including manufacturer can do recovery (they can put flash chips in reader and read encrypted bytes, but encryption keys were in the controller that just died).

How about another one: Warning before failure rate? Again 90% HDD, 1% SSD.

Do you know how many SSDs survive running out of spare sectors? Again about 1% :) 99% just die without going into read only mode.

Christmas wishlist: solid state storage that rocks (0)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about a year ago | (#44837221)

Lack of a good replacement for spinning platters in 2013 is a little depressing.

SSDs consume nearly as much power as spinning disks, writes are destructive high current cap banks faillure prone average I/O per day lifetime ratings assume just *minutes* at max write performance per day, bit density/cost sucks and lots of free space required for effective wear leveling.

Personally I'm sticking with spinning platters until memristers or something replaces SSDs. While ago rumor was it would be late this year or next year before product starts shipping. I can wait/save up.

With regards to the failure rates according to TFA most models of Western digitals provide the same ~1.5% figure.. I don't buy from other vendors or have the outlier WD model so their contributions don't effect me personally.

Also take percautions in assuring proper airflow/temperature range, not spinning down, vibration dampening mounts and never shipping ground when ordering online.

So the non-failing hard drives (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year ago | (#44837251)

So, if 5% of hard drives are failing in the first year of warranty, then the other ones have to last 180 years on average in order to meet the MTBF specifications of 1.5 million hours that hard drive makers claims. Because surely they wouldn't lie to us.

It takes a ream but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44837301)

Paper only fails when water is involved.

Infant mortality vs wear (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | about a year ago | (#44837303)

Statistics are wonderful things, if you choose the right one you can make any case you want. I want to know more about the warrentees. I want to hear about the nature of the issues. Recoverable errors vs complete death. Infant mortality vs just wear.

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