is it stupid to build a HTPC with a SSD drive only? - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 92 Old 07-11-2014, 09:44 PM
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You asked a question and I provided the answer....
I did not ask a question.

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All anyone asking this question wants is anecdotal evidence of SSDs wearing out under normal circumstances.
Wow, and all this time I thought mind reading was a parlor trick. And you are capable of it across the internet. Simply amazing. Well I am going to go out on a limb and guess that people appreciate a combination of anecdotal evidence and a more scientific set of data.

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They want to be able to judge their usage scenario against the wear out lifespan of someone else's experience. That evidence doesn't exist because it doesn't happen. These test don't provide us that answer. They just stick the idea that SSDs wear out in people's heads.
What the hell are you talking about? The whole point of that article is to present a worse-case scenario and prove without a shred of doubt that no normal use case could possibly wear out an SSD. Here is a quote from the second page of the article:
The more important takeaway is that all of the SSDs, including the 840 Series, performed flawlessly through hundreds of terabytes. A typical consumer won't write anything close to that much data over the useful life of a drive.
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Do we need HDD endurance tests to tell us how long an HDD is going to last? Of course not. It's no different for SSDs.
I can see how it makes sense to compare the two as the technology and the timeframe they have been in mass consumer use is so similar...

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People have a false preconceived notion that SSDs will wear out before they are done using them because of the terrible quality of the 1st generation of SSDs.
Once again your power to read the mind is astonishing. So I guess it's not possible that some people question SSD endurance because they they read an SSD review that mentioned the fact that flash memory has a limited number of writes, and that number goes down as processes shrink (which is pretty much every SSD review ever witten)? And even if your mind reading powers are correct and every single person who is concerned about SSD endurance really did come to that based on the poor quality of gen 1 drives, how exactly does that make an article that is all about dispelling the myth that SSDs will wear out in their useful lifetime "not useful"?
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post #32 of 92 Old 07-12-2014, 04:25 AM
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oh crap, now there is two of them!
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note: the post above is my opinion. as such, when reading any recommendations from me, please do you research and seek out other recommendations and make up your own mind on your next course of action. i mean, most reasonable adults should know that, but it seems this should be stated anyways.
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post #33 of 92 Old 07-12-2014, 09:56 AM
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I did not ask a question.
Typically when you end a sentence with a ? it's assumed that it's a question.... I was left with the impression that you asked if it was useful. I answered saying it's not. Because it isn't.

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So providing credible references to back up the claims of anonymous internet posters in an internet forum is not useful?


I don't need to be a mind reader. It's called a basic understanding of consumers purchasing technology. You need to realize that those endurance tests are as unrealistic as a test can possibly be. Bloggers keep doing them to validate manufacturers stated PE cycle and they can't understand why their results aren't even close to the specs... ever.


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post #34 of 92 Old 07-12-2014, 02:20 PM
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i for one think techmattr has been of great value to many of us here, especially when it comes to storage solutions. he is very qualified, and it shows in the help he provides.

note: the post above is my opinion. as such, when reading any recommendations from me, please do you research and seek out other recommendations and make up your own mind on your next course of action. i mean, most reasonable adults should know that, but it seems this should be stated anyways.
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post #35 of 92 Old 07-12-2014, 02:40 PM
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i for one think techmattr has been of great value to many of us here, especially when it comes to storage solutions. he is very qualified, and it shows in the help he provides.
I think he can be a great value when he shares his experience and doesn't try to speak for the masses.

In this particular case, all he's doing is being pedantic. (and wrong at that... as @nvmarino was clearly not asking a question, nor did he end his statement with a "?")

Furthermore, the point that nvmarino was trying to make is certainly a valid one, and techmattr's "mind reading" is completely off base as he has no way of knowing what a given person is looking for in regards to SSD longevity.

If one is trying to prove that SSD's will wear out prematurely in HTPC usage then the longevity tests aren't necessarily conclusive, however if someone is simply interested in finding out if the drives will last as long as the manufacturer's claim then those endurance tests are absolutely useful.
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post #36 of 92 Old 07-12-2014, 02:58 PM
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Typically when you end a sentence with a ? it's assumed that it's a question.... I was left with the impression that you asked if it was useful. I answered saying it's not. Because it isn't.
Agreed it's safe to assume ending a sentence with a ? is a question. So we do agree on something. Now let me quote my original post:

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With all these comments about SSD endurance I'm surprised no one has linked to the Techreport SSD Endurance Experiment yet...
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I don't need to be a mind reader. It's called a basic understanding of consumers purchasing technology.
I spent the past ten years of my career in product management at... wait for it... consumer electronics companies. I am curious to know what your credentials are to qualify your statement?

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You need to realize that those endurance tests are as unrealistic as a test can possibly be. Bloggers keep doing them to validate manufacturers stated PE cycle and they can't understand why their results aren't even close to the specs... ever.
I don't need to realize anything. The folks who do those articles are perfectly aware that the drives are going to far exceed the manufacturer stated specs. That is the whole point of them - to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there is no concern of the drives wearing out.

I don't even understand what point you are trying to make. One minute you say people have some pre-conceived notion that SSDs will wear out before their useful lifetime, but then you argue against detailed analysis that proves otherwise. Further, you are arguing that pointing people to references validating the fact that SSDs will long exceed their useful life is not helpful. It just doesn't make any sense.
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post #37 of 92 Old 07-12-2014, 02:59 PM
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@nvmarino was clearly not asking a question, nor did he end his statement with a "?")
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So providing credible references to back up the claims of anonymous internet posters in an internet forum is not useful?.
Really?

Go ahead and find some users that have had SSDs wear out during HTPC usage.... Again, the tests don't replicate real world usage and the write patterns are so different that the unrealistic nature of the test makes it useless other than comparing results against other drives. The test results don't align with real world usage and they don't align with manufacturer testing and published specs. So they only thing they do for consumers is confuse people.




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but then you argue against detailed analysis that proves otherwise.

It's mind blowing that you don't get this.... the test don't prove anything. That's my point. They in no way shape or form prove that a drive lasts longer or shorter than manufacturers specifications. They prove absolutely nothing.


Putting you both back on ignore...
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post #38 of 92 Old 07-12-2014, 03:24 PM
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Really?
Wow. Just... Wow. Your comment about me asking a question was clearly in reference to my first post.

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Go ahead and find some users that have had SSDs wear out during HTPC usage....
Umm... I can't because they don't wear out under normal usage. And I can say that with confidence because I've read the techreport article, along with many others, that confirm this beyond a reasonable doubt. Not _just_ because a guy on an internet forum told me so.

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Again, the tests don't replicate real world usage and the write patterns are so different that the unrealistic nature of the test makes it useless other than comparing results against other drives.
And again that is exactly the point of the tests - to provide a worse-case scenario condition to prove that the drives will not wear out during normal use.

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The test results don't align with real world usage and they don't align with manufacturer testing and published specs.So they only thing they do for consumers is confuse people.
So you have access to manufacturer testing procedures? Please do share how the major manufacturers validate drive endurance then? And stating repeatedly throughout the article series that drives drives did not fail before the specs provided by the manufacturer, and in fact far exceeded them, somehow confuses people? Would love for you to provide a reference that read the techreport article and came away confused about SSD endurance...

Last edited by nvmarino; 07-12-2014 at 03:33 PM. Reason: Added this: Not _just_ because a guy on an internet forum told me so.
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post #39 of 92 Old 07-12-2014, 03:30 PM
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It's mind blowing that you don't get this.... the test don't prove anything. That's my point. They in no way shape or form prove that a drive lasts longer or shorter than manufacturers specifications. They prove absolutely nothing.
I understand your point. It's just that your point is wrong.
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post #40 of 92 Old 07-12-2014, 07:18 PM
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Well I have all these spare 7200 rpm HDDs just sitting around, i figured I could convert them into an external drive and use that as the live tv buffer/dvr. If I went that route (and dont notice any slowness overall), then I dont need the endurance of the 850, and could get by with just the EVO.

at this point i think it's best to wait till Broadwell ships and then see what I can get. I may as well wait a few more months.
Still wondering what sort of live tv you are watching and whether or not you have a server. XBMC and MB3 both support ServerWMC (surely soon to be in MBT if not already)

I still have *just* a dvr drive in my server, outside the flexraid array, shared over the network. ServerWMC uses it for the live tv buffer and all recordings. I've only tested it with two xbmc clients at a time though.
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post #41 of 92 Old 07-13-2014, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Still wondering what sort of live tv you are watching and whether or not you have a server. XBMC and MB3 both support ServerWMC (surely soon to be in MBT if not already)

I still have *just* a dvr drive in my server, outside the flexraid array, shared over the network. ServerWMC uses it for the live tv buffer and all recordings. I've only tested it with two xbmc clients at a time though.
I watch mostly sports on tv, but a lot of the time, its just on as background noise. I have a Synology DS412+ Nas which can do a lot but I was told there was no way to use a mapped network drive as a live tv buffer/DVR, so i never explored that option.

are you saying you use XBMC to watch live tv?? how on earth do you do that? I was led to believe copy-protected channels like HBO/Starz dont work over anything besides WMC...
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post #42 of 92 Old 07-13-2014, 02:42 PM
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I was led to believe copy-protected channels like HBO/Starz dont work over anything besides WMC...
That is correct. I just don't have those particular channels

It wouldn't work for your scenario
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post #43 of 92 Old 07-13-2014, 03:35 PM
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I have a Synology DS412+ Nas which can do a lot but I was told there was no way to use a mapped network drive as a live tv buffer/DVR, so i never explored that option.
You can use iSCSI with WMC to record directly to the NAS. You can also share the iSCSI target via the PC using WMC so it can be accessed via other WMC PCs or ServerWMC. I have been using iSCSI for a couple of years and the only issue I have seen is when it fires off 4 recordings (or so) at once Microsoft Defender at times will confuse WMC and the recordings will be corrupt. I ended up switching to Norton and haven't seen the issue since.
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post #44 of 92 Old 07-13-2014, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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You can use iSCSI with WMC to record directly to the NAS. You can also share the iSCSI target via the PC using WMC so it can be accessed via other WMC PCs or ServerWMC. I have been using iSCSI for a couple of years and the only issue I have seen is when it fires off 4 recordings (or so) at once Microsoft Defender at times will confuse WMC and the recordings will be corrupt. I ended up switching to Norton and haven't seen the issue since.
I have the diskstation running on a schedule. What happens if i turn on the HTPC if the diskstation is off, where the iSCSI target is no longer available?
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post #45 of 92 Old 07-13-2014, 05:02 PM
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I've had a pretty decent amount of experience with SSDs, including a lot of failures. I'm currently using an Intel MLC SSD as my HTPC's boot drive, but I use an external Thecus N5550 iSCSI RAID for DVR and other media storage.

Technology-wise, there are 3 main flavors:
1) SLC - Expensive "enterprise grade" drive - write endurance not much of a practical concern.
2) MLC - Write endurance is a real concern for write intensive usage, which includes usage as a DVR. Would never use for a server that does much writing.
3) TLC - Write endurance is even more of a concern than MLC. Cost efficient for non-write-intensive usage, like typical laptop or workstation use (not continuously running write-intensive applications). Would never use for a server.

Samsung makes drives in all three of these categories. Look at your specific model, but you would know if you had an SLC drive.

I have tried a number of brands, and only Samsung and Intel have delivered what I'd consider acceptable reliability. I ran into so many problems that I stopped messing with other brands. I also came across a study that backed this up. This is independent from the write endurance issues above. Other brands of SSDs can be flaky in multiple ways.

So, to answer your question, don't use an SSD as a DVR. Use a conventional hard drive. They are great, though, for read-intensive use, or as a boot drive, when you do your write intensive stuff on a conventional drive or RAID.

BTW, for usage as a DVR and media server, that Thecus N5550 for iSCSI has been awesome. Cheap. Simple. Low power usage. Maxes out Gigabit Ethernet (125 MB/sec) over iSCSI using RAID5.

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post #46 of 92 Old 07-13-2014, 05:15 PM
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What happens if i turn on the HTPC if the diskstation is off, where the iSCSI target is no longer available?
Typically Windows will gracefully handle the NAS going offline/online although good practice would be disconnecting beforehand. Such as it will reconnect when its available.

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post #47 of 92 Old 07-13-2014, 05:16 PM
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BTW, a DVR is one of the worst-case scenario applications for SSDs. Manufacturer specs and "typical usage" generally assume that you aren't going to use one as a DVR.

The only worse scenario one that does constant random writes. With write amplification, that can burn up MLC and TLC drives shockingly fast.

SSD endurance is, unfortunately, a relatively new and complicated topic.

Like I said, the simple answer is they aren't good for use as a DVR.
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post #48 of 92 Old 07-13-2014, 05:20 PM
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Typically Windows will gracefully handle the NAS going offline/online although good practice would be disconnecting beforehand. Regarding WMC if the drive isn't available the recording will fail of course...
It depends on a couple factors:

1) Did it go down when the file system was in an invalid state? If you have write caching on (particularly with disabled write buffer flushing), it's possible to corrupt your whole file system. Similar things can happen with an unreliable network link. That said, if you can give it a reliable link, and the whole chain is running on UPSes, you can get dramatic performance improvements from write caching.

2) Can the application handle write failures gracefully? WMC is indeed good about that.
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post #49 of 92 Old 07-13-2014, 06:02 PM
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BTW, a DVR is one of the worst-case scenario applications for SSDs. Manufacturer specs and "typical usage" generally assume that you aren't going to use one as a DVR.

The only worse scenario one that does constant random writes. With write amplification, that can burn up MLC and TLC drives shockingly fast.
Well, a drive that is >90% full of static data and being used for a DVR is going to be particularly bad as wear-leveling will be doing it's thing which in turn is going to increase the write amplification.


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SSD endurance is, unfortunately, a relatively new and complicated topic.

Like I said, the simple answer is they aren't good for use as a DVR.
Again, it is going to depend on what you consider acceptable in terms of the life of your SSD, but the math isn't that new or complicated...

Running 8 CC tuners 24/7 would be ill-advised on an SSD by most people's standards, but using a couple tuners a few hours a day isn't going to have a significant impact on the usable life of a drive, as interpreted by most people.

If you find the amount of data written to an SSD by a couple of tuners seeing light to medium use objectionable, I'd also say, you probably wouldn't want to put a swap file, a hibernation file, an OS, or any for of cache or database on your SSD either. If that's your stance, more power to you. I just think you'll find more people aren't looking to use their SSD for 5+ decades so the amount of data written by a couple tuners isn't going to have a significant impact.

Speaking for myself, the main reason I don't have my tuners buffering on the SSD is because there is no practical benefit in doing so, and I'd rather have 2TB of storage for my DVR instead of 20GB. Lifetime of the SSD didn't effect my decision one bit.
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post #50 of 92 Old 07-13-2014, 10:43 PM
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Well, a drive that is >90% full of static data and being used for a DVR is going to be particularly bad as wear-leveling will be doing it's thing which in turn is going to increase the write amplification.




Again, it is going to depend on what you consider acceptable in terms of the life of your SSD, but the math isn't that new or complicated...

Running 8 CC tuners 24/7 would be ill-advised on an SSD by most people's standards, but using a couple tuners a few hours a day isn't going to have a significant impact on the usable life of a drive, as interpreted by most people.

If you find the amount of data written to an SSD by a couple of tuners seeing light to medium use objectionable, I'd also say, you probably wouldn't want to put a swap file, a hibernation file, an OS, or any for of cache or database on your SSD either. If that's your stance, more power to you. I just think you'll find more people aren't looking to use their SSD for 5+ decades so the amount of data written by a couple tuners isn't going to have a significant impact.

Speaking for myself, the main reason I don't have my tuners buffering on the SSD is because there is no practical benefit in doing so, and I'd rather have 2TB of storage for my DVR instead of 20GB. Lifetime of the SSD didn't effect my decision one bit.
A DVR will typically fill most of your storage space, but if you use a small % of it (assuming you get all the subtleties right), you can get more life. As you said, that's pretty impractical with limited SSD storage space. It's impractical to get a decent amount of reliable storage.

Swap files, hibernation files, OS, and read-intensive databases are usually fine on SSDs, but databases that do a good amount of writing (especially random writes) will tend to chew up SSDs (except enterprise grade SSDs).

By contrast, HDDs give more storage for less $, and they don't wear out faster with write-intensive workloads. They are clearly the right choice for use as DVRs.
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post #51 of 92 Old 07-14-2014, 12:42 AM
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A DVR will typically fill most of your storage space, but if you use a small % of it (assuming you get all the subtleties right), you can get more life. As you said, that's pretty impractical with limited SSD storage space. It's impractical to get a decent amount of reliable storage.

Swap files, hibernation files, OS, and read-intensive databases are usually fine on SSDs, but databases that do a good amount of writing (especially random writes) will tend to chew up SSDs (except enterprise grade SSDs).

By contrast, HDDs give more storage for less $, and they don't wear out faster with write-intensive workloads. They are clearly the right choice for use as DVRs.
As ajhieb mentioned, it really depends on usage.

For extremely write heavy long term storage, consumer SSDs are an impractical choice. If you just need a live TV buffer for a few hours a day and only record one or two shows a week which promptly get deleted after viewing, even a 120GB SSD with TLC NAND will work just as well (at least up to the typical 3-year warranty).

As for HDDs not wearing out due to writes, that may be the case but they also run hotter and are more sensitive to high temps compared to SSDs. One of the reasons I moved to SSDs is because my HTPC builds tend to be of the ultra-SFF variation and it seems all the 2.5" HDDs I've used in those tiny cases tended to die on an annual to biannual basis.

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post #52 of 92 Old 07-14-2014, 04:20 AM
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As ajhieb mentioned, it really depends on usage.

For extremely write heavy long term storage, SSDs are an impractical choice. If you just need a live TV buffer for a few hours a day and only record one or two shows a week which promptly get deleted after viewing, even a 120GB SSD with TLC NAND will work just as well (at least up to the typical 3-year warranty).

As for HDDs not wearing out due to writes, that may be the case but they also run hotter and are more sensitive to high temps compared to SSDs. One of the reasons I moved to SSDs is because my HTPC builds tend to be of the ultra-SFF variation and it seems all the 2.5" HDDs I've used in those tiny cases tended to die on an annual to biannual basis.

The type of write-heavy long term storage that could wear out an SSD within the warranty period is not something you will ever achieve unless you are using it in a server where you see daily writes measured in TB (and in scenarios like this, you have to use flash storage anyway, because no array of mechanical drives is keeping up with that). There is nothing remotely impractical about using an SSD for "extremely write heavy long term storage". The only factor in which your decision on SSD vs HDD should depend on is capacity vs. price.
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post #53 of 92 Old 07-14-2014, 04:45 AM
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The type of write-heavy long term storage that could wear out an SSD within the warranty period is not something you will ever achieve unless you are using it in a server where you see daily writes measured in TB (and in scenarios like this, you have to use flash storage anyway, because no array of mechanical drives is keeping up with that). There is nothing remotely impractical about using an SSD for "extremely write heavy long term storage". The only factor in which your decision on SSD vs HDD should depend on is capacity vs. price.
I agree with your overall point, but I'm not entirely sure about some of the details.

An HTPC running 8 cablecard tuners could approach a TB per day which is enough to have an impact on consumer SSD lifespan. Sure, it's an unlikely scenario but that's not really the point I'm disagreeing with. Sustaining a paltry 12MB/sec can get you to over 1TB/day. Heck you can even approach those numbers with a good (100Mb) internet connection. And even the weediest of modern HDDs can keep up with that. SSD is in no way necessary for that much volume. Now I agree if you're talking about random I/O a single spinner might have trouble keeping up, but a properly optimized RAID-10 array of spinners can keep up with nearly any amount of data you're likely to be able to generate.

But like I said, we at least agree on the overall point that capacity and price are a bigger concern for a DVR drive.

RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.
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post #54 of 92 Old 07-14-2014, 05:31 AM
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I agree with your overall point, but I'm not entirely sure about some of the details.

An HTPC running 8 cablecard tuners could approach a TB per day which is enough to have an impact on consumer SSD lifespan. Sure, it's an unlikely scenario but that's not really the point I'm disagreeing with. Sustaining a paltry 12MB/sec can get you to over 1TB/day. Heck you can even approach those numbers with a good (100Mb) internet connection. And even the weediest of modern HDDs can keep up with that. SSD is in no way necessary for that much volume. Now I agree if you're talking about random I/O a single spinner might have trouble keeping up, but a properly optimized RAID-10 array of spinners can keep up with nearly any amount of data you're likely to be able to generate.

But like I said, we at least agree on the overall point that capacity and price are a bigger concern for a DVR drive.
As I outlined in my first post to this thread, buffering 4 tuners 24/7 would be 200-300GB/day of writes, which would take about 9 years to run out the wear indicator. When I stated "measured in TB", I did not mean 1TB/day. I meant tens or hundreds.

The point is that if you even have to ask the question of whether or not your use case will wear out an SSD, the answer is no.
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It depends on the details. It's common for DVRs to run full, reducing lifespan. You don't record a few shows a day. Over time, you collect more shows that your record over time (until your run out of tuners), most of which you never watch. Also 4-8 tuner cards are common. Sure, you can make contrived examples where an SSD would last a decade, but I don't think that represents common usage. Also, keep in mind that TLC SSDs with less write endurance are becoming increasingly common. This is fine for most applications, but not a good match for typical DVR usage.

Another issue to watch out for with SSDs is that many of them aren't properly implemented to detect and report errors in a RAID configuration, unless you're running a file system with end-to-end error detection, like ZFS or ReFS.

That said, for appropriate applications, SSDs are awesome.
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post #56 of 92 Old 07-14-2014, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, I went ahead and bought this case http://www.amazon.com/Vantec-NexStar...+hdd+enclosure and put in a 7200rpm 500gb 2.5" HDD i pulled out of one laptop that I replaced with a SSD (the HDD was just sitting around doing nothing anyway). So far, I havent noticed any real lag or performance issues but I have the mac mini, and the HDD sitting on the top shelf of a A/V cabinet. Whenever I run the mac mini, I open up the doors, but I'll keep checking to see if any heat issues pop up.

It is also kind of nice to have gone from 20 hours of record time on the SSD to 45.5
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Well, I went ahead and bought this case http://www.amazon.com/Vantec-NexStar...+hdd+enclosure and put in a 7200rpm 500gb 2.5" HDD i pulled out of one laptop that I replaced with a SSD (the HDD was just sitting around doing nothing anyway). So far, I havent noticed any real lag or performance issues but I have the mac mini, and the HDD sitting on the top shelf of a A/V cabinet. Whenever I run the mac mini, I open up the doors, but I'll keep checking to see if any heat issues pop up.

It is also kind of nice to have gone from 20 hours of record time on the SSD to 45.5
The only potential performance issue I can imagine is if you have multiple viewers watching shows off the drive simultaneously. If that happens and you run into stuttering, an SSD or a RAID setup may be necessary.
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post #58 of 92 Old 07-14-2014, 07:24 AM
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As I outlined in my first post to this thread, buffering 4 tuners 24/7 would be 200-300GB/day of writes, which would take about 9 years to run out the wear indicator. When I stated "measured in TB", I did not mean 1TB/day. I meant tens or hundreds.
And as outlined in my post above, running 8 tuners 24/7 would approach 1tb per day. I have a boatload of hour long recordings on my DVR that are ~4.5GB. That would be 36GB/hr, or 864TB/day. Not quite 1TB/day, but based on your estimation of 300GB/day lasting 9 years, that comes out to just over 3 years for a drive. That would be a signficant decrease in life of the drive. Also as outlined above, with more typical DVR use, you shouldn't have to worry about premature failure of an SSD. On that point I believe we agree.

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The point is that if you even have to ask the question of whether or not your use case will wear out an SSD, the answer is no.
In the context of a DVR, I agree. But your assertions about the amount of data it would take to prematurely wear out an SSD, and how that relates to spinning drives was wrong. The notion that an array of HDDs couldn't keep up with a gigabit ethernet connection (which is the data rate we're talking about here) is laughable.

RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.
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post #59 of 92 Old 07-14-2014, 07:26 AM
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The only potential performance issue I can imagine is if you have multiple viewers watching shows off the drive simultaneously. If that happens and you run into stuttering, an SSD or a RAID setup may be necessary.
A 7200rpm laptop drive is more than fast enough to handle several concurrent video streams.

RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.
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post #60 of 92 Old 07-14-2014, 08:06 AM
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A 7200rpm laptop drive is more than fast enough to handle several concurrent video streams.
Yes, in terms of throughput, but depending on buffering, seeks can put you over. I've known people who have run into this with WMC, but I've had no problems with my RAID. They may be able to get one drive to work by tuning OS or WMC buffering parameters.
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