Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

TL;DR (though please read my full experience before jumping in with a quick answer.)

A power user performs a certain amount of write cycles. Does an MLC SSD drive support enough write cycles to last a power user around 5 years of usage. In my first experience with an SSD, it became cranky after just nine months. Based on my usage patterns, is this normal for an SSD or was it just a dud?


About nine months ago I bought an SSD (a 60GB OCZ Vertex Turbo). Up until about two weeks ago, I really loved the drive. It was extremely reliable and it really did make my system much more responsive. But two weeks ago, the drive started failing. It took me about 1½ weeks just to pinpoint the exact problem, and in the last few days it just got progressively worse. The drive has been taken back to the shop.

During these last two weeks I've done considerable research on MLC based SSDs and to be frank, I have huge doubts about the technology. What I would like to know is whether my concerns are warranted, or did I just get a dud drive?

You can reply per point if you like:

  1. Getting bad sectors on an SSD is just a matter of time, and bad sectors develop quick. It seems the software driver controller is responsible for keeping a log of these bad sectors and avoiding the use thereof.
  2. Within 9 months of usage I developed enough bad sectors to make the controller really work to find sectors it could still use.
  3. The controller isn't perfect, and once you've got a certain amount of bad sectors, you'll have an extremely unstable and insecure computing experience.
  4. It’s not easy to pinpoint the exact cause of your system crashes.
  5. I was using my SSD as a boot drive. I had vitals installed and other development tools, I also installed Sharepoint 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2 Express. Besides this I had Visual Studio and Outlook. At no time did I copy huge movie or iso images or games to the SSD. Any non vital apps were kept on a regular hdd drive.
  6. I completely did apply tweaks such as turning off system restore, and I NEVER defragged SSD.
  7. I never turn my system off, unless I need to restart. Having said this, my system does enter standby mode when not in use.
  8. I was running Windows 7 64bit with trim enabled.
  9. I ran an anti-virus app.

Do you think if you're a demanding power user, you simply go through too many write cycles for an SSD to last more than around 9 months?

share|improve this question
7  
Please try to form a question that can be answered without writing an opinion- and anecdote-laden wall of text. –  Daniel Beck Jan 26 '11 at 17:24
2  
You got a dud drive. I've seen HDDs fail within day or two of installing them =.= does it mean HDDs are not for "power users" ? –  Sathya Jan 26 '11 at 17:26
1  
How exactly are you verifying the number of bad sectors you have, and what the controller is doing to them? Have you looked for firmware upgrades to your drive? –  ultrasawblade Jan 26 '11 at 17:29
1  
Spinning rust fails also, no way to determine a dud when you buy it and start using it, its pot luck with any storage device. That is why a backup solution is important. Be sure the page file is disabled on a SSD. –  Moab Jan 26 '11 at 17:51
1  
I don't think that one case is enough to form an opinion. It's like visiting a country for the first time and going straight to a hospital, spending all your time there, and then saying that everyone in that county is sick or a doctor.If you want anecdotes, here's one: One time I bought two same HDDs. One died on the 365th day of use (they had 1 year warranty), the other has been running for 8 years. –  AndrejaKo Jan 26 '11 at 18:04

5 Answers 5

up vote 22 down vote accepted

An Intel presentation we saw said that the SLC based SSD drives were recommended for heavy database and file usage. They are much, much more expensive, and designed for things like SANs... We use SQL express pretty heavily as well, on most of our laptops, and went with the MLC based ones.

We went with the X-25m's in about 4,000 laptops. We have had a few issues, some fixed by a firmware update.. others that were just bad drives.. but really, we are looking at about 1%-2% higher error rate than what we saw with the standard 7200rpm laptop drives. When you figure in the power, weight, and especially speed savings (we went from a 10 minute boot with XP and 7200rpm laptop drives because of all sorts of drivers and software and AV, to a 2 min boot with Win7 and an SSD) we would still choose the SSD's every day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

We had all sorts of HD's die for all sorts of reasons.. (when you have that many laptops, a 2% error rate means about 80 drives per year!) A good backup is critical, no matter what drive technology you use..

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks Brian, that sure is extensive exposure. Can you confirm that these stats remain true for usage after 1 year or more? –  JL. Jan 26 '11 at 19:24
    
Accepted answer due to the sheer volume of drives you have experience with. I hence conclude that MLC SSD drives can cope with extreme usage, and I either have a bad drive, or the drive design I have is sub standard. This does not appear to be a problem with SSD technology in general. –  JL. Jan 26 '11 at 21:56
    
I can second this - out of thousands of X-25Ms I have seen negligible problems compared to traditional drives. –  Shinrai Jan 26 '11 at 22:15
2  
We have had about 400 of them over a year old, the rest have been ordered over the last year. The oldest ones were put through the hardest paces, we were trying to break them :) Most, if they are going to die, do so after about 30 days. –  Brian Jan 27 '11 at 15:55

Yes, we have plenty of users using SSDs, and there is no single problem. We had multiple failures with disk controllers (most probably not related to SSDs) and few broken HDDs but no single problem with SSDs.

Of course this is not comprehensive study with statistical significance, but I can't see why not. We are even using SSD (Intel X25-M 40GB) for search index (updated continuously) and for swap files without problems.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks Olli for your input, very reassuring, especially the part about search index. –  JL. Jan 26 '11 at 18:51

Yes. One year of abuse here and still going strong. I say bad luck.

Edit: The Intel SSD X-25 S.M.A.R.T. tool indicates I have 6.2TB of host writes so far in 12 months. A number I believe will be more than the average user, given I don't refrain on using it to speed up various activities.

share|improve this answer
5  
Do you use your PC a lot? –  JL. Jan 26 '11 at 18:09
7  
@JL: Mother, is that you? –  mtone Jan 26 '11 at 23:28

Brand makes a big difference. The Intel drives are known to be the most reliable - just use newegg reviews to compare. You were using OCZ - if reliability is a big concern, stick with Intel.

share|improve this answer

SQL Server 2008 R2 Express

might have been the problem if you use databases stored on the SSD.

share|improve this answer
1  
Using my laptop a lot of hours each day, bought SSD half a year ago, no issues here. (Intel X-25M) –  Tom Wijsman Jan 26 '11 at 18:51

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.