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?

  • 9
    Please try to form a question that can be answered without writing an opinion- and anecdote-laden wall of text.
    – Daniel Beck
    Jan 26, 2011 at 17:24
  • 4
    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" ?
    – Sathyajith Bhat
    Jan 26, 2011 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?
    – LawrenceC
    Jan 26, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2011 at 18:04

6 Answers 6


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..

  • 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, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2011 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.

  • Thanks Olli for your input, very reassuring, especially the part about search index.
    – JL.
    Jan 26, 2011 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.

  • 6
    Do you use your PC a lot?
    – JL.
    Jan 26, 2011 at 18:09
  • 8
    @JL: Mother, is that you?
    – mtone
    Jan 26, 2011 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.


SQL Server 2008 R2 Express

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

  • 1
    Using my laptop a lot of hours each day, bought SSD half a year ago, no issues here. (Intel X-25M) Jan 26, 2011 at 18:51

Since my fist ssd (intel I have los t 0 GB from any ssd ever owned (that intel, evo 840 120GB, 2x evo 840 250G and 1x evo 500G), same goes for other flash media like usb keys, sd cards, memory in phones.

During the same time 5 HDD died and took the data with them. An old WD 80GB SATA, an old Maxtor 320GB IDE and 3 less then a year old WD 1TB green SATA drives. n=1 so make of this what you will.

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