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post #1 of 38 Old 01-05-2015, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
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SSD Death Question

Has anyone had an SSD just up and die, where it was old enough that the issue was too many write cycles (as opposed to a firmware glitch or just some other defect)?
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post #2 of 38 Old 01-05-2015, 06:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Karyk View Post
Has anyone had an SSD just up and die, where it was old enough that the issue was too many write cycles (as opposed to a firmware glitch or just some other defect)?
Yeah, I had a Corsair 120GB go belly up on me when I was away on a business trip. Put my laptop to sleep at work, and when I got back to the hotel it was dead. No Boot Device Detected.

From what I understand that was a failing not entirely uncommon to those drives. There was an issue with putting them to sleep. Vast majority of my data was backed up on a 2nd (and 3rd) system so it was pretty trivial to get running again. I'm told that in some cases if you power cycled the drives enough they might resurrect but I never bothered with it.

Edit: I've used around a dozen of them. My main PC has one, both my laptops have them, my HTPC has one, and several other PCs I've used prior to my current ones had them too. The only thing around my place that doesn't have on is my server.

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post #3 of 38 Old 01-05-2015, 06:57 PM
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Not yet (around 10 installed, time will tell) ~ had an abrupt power failure cause one to disappear though
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post #4 of 38 Old 01-05-2015, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karyk View Post
Has anyone had an SSD just up and die, where it was old enough that the issue was too many write cycles (as opposed to a firmware glitch or just some other defect)?
I've had a total of three SSD's outright fail on me. one was the boot drive on my main HTPC (40Gb Corsair) a second one was a 60Gb el-cheapo installed on a digital oscilloscope I was using at work. The most recent was a patriot 120Gb purchased on a shell shocker deal through newegg. Wrote Windows 7 to it, rebooted and it never came back up. Read errors or something..

SSD's are great and all, but when they go down, they don't get back up.
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post #5 of 38 Old 01-05-2015, 07:33 PM
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I've got at least a half dozen in use 24/7 and so far, so good. Most of them have been running constantly for over a year, although I did just replace a 120GB drive in my main PC with a 240GB Crucial M500 SSD I picked up dirt cheap during a Christmas sale (2 x 240GB drives for $130). I've got a bunch more that get occasional use, such as when I set up a new PC or experiment with various hardware configurations. I keep a few on hand for such purposes. When I'm ready to put one into service I'll usually clone the test drive to the working drive taken from an existing PC.
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post #6 of 38 Old 01-05-2015, 08:07 PM
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i've only used samsung SSDs, and the oldest one, a first gen 810, is now on 3 yrs old, 256 gb, used as a boot / main drive on a daily desktop computer in my office - about month ago, it started failing to boot in the morning, and continued to fail to boot even after 4-5 "repair disc" boot file "repairs" - it would boot fine right after the "repair" but not the next morning. I then did a completeclone from a backup SSD, same failure to reboot next morning, then did a complete re-install of windows with same results. I pulled it and replaced with the clone backup 840 Evo, and been using the 810 as a "work table" drive after "wiping" it except for the MBR partition, which is where i believe the boot files reside.

As a work table drive, it's been fine - i've used it for video editing, and been filling the only partition to the max (besides the mbr partition) before wiping it again and starting overC

in an interview with the folks at OCZ re their SSDs, they indicate their SSDs are good for 20 Gb a day writing for 3 years usage, and that the average user (non video editing user) writes 10 GB a day, so they warranty their's for 3 years.
That sammy 810 i'll guesstimate saw that average 10 gb/day write usage before the mbr kept corrupting boot files.

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post #7 of 38 Old 01-05-2015, 10:26 PM
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The problem with most SSD failure is they have nothing to do with the media wearing out - in normal use an SSD would typically outlast a regular HD.

The most common failure mode is not media wear - there are experiments where people do nothing but wear out SSDs on purpose and they give ample warning of failure - the media wear indicator reaches 0% long before the media actually wears out (giving you lots of time to replace it - typically you get another 50-100% use out of it).

No, what happens is the SSD corrupts its internal management tables, usually because of a bad power down. You see, to manage the flash, an internal algorithm called a Flash Translation Layer manages the physical to logical mappings of sectors, bad blocks, garbage collection and data movement and idle cleaning. To do this requires a number of internal tables that need to be saved to flash. These tables are so critical to operation that corruption renders the SSD useless. Problem is, for speed you want those tables in RAM and the lazy-write them back. So there's a chance every time your turn off the SSD that it was in the middle of a table update, leading to corruption.

Now, some SSDs have a small bank of capacitors on them such that when you turn off the SSD, the capacitor powers the SSD long enough to flush the tables to flash so they're safe and uncorrupted. Of course. Cheaper SSDs like to dispense with this and they basically need to do different things to maintain a consistent table - either by writing it out always and keeping a backup of the old table until the new table is updated or other mechanism. Of course, handling sudden power off in software is hard and it slows down the SSD. In fact, OCZ did the worst thing possible - they used the fast mode of operations and they didn't put in capacitors required for that mode, so yes, you got very fast SSDs but a sudden power off would corrupt the table and boom, there goes your data. (Hence their poor reliability ratings and why people avoid them)

So when the table gets corrupted, the SSD controller freaks out and stops trying to read data since it's corrupted and there's nothing it can do to fix it. Usually it goes I to a weird 8MB state where it shows up and is a tiny hard drive, but it can also just not boot up and be hidden.

If it is in the 8MB state, it's potentially fixable in that you can regain use of the SSD. You can't recover any data since the tables are what managed the data, but you can erase the SSD in such a way that the SSD regenerates new tables. To do this you need to do an ATA SECURE ERASE command that resets the disk (on spinning rust drives, it actually wipes the platters and can take hours, but on an SSD it takes about 5 minutes to erase the media and rebuild the table in a blank state.
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post #8 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karyk View Post
Has anyone had an SSD just up and die, where it was old enough that the issue was too many write cycles (as opposed to a firmware glitch or just some other defect)?
Four years ago I built this PC I'm on right now, our "everyday" PC, with a Sandforce SSD and it had a firmware glitch and disappeared-without-a-trace one day only a week or so into it's short life. I subsequently got an Intel 510 and now almost 4 years later it continues to work perfectly and at least according to Intel's Toolbox it has 98% of its life remaining.

I'd never have trusted in 2011 that an SSD would stand-up to this daily abuse but at least this Intel certainly has. Now I hope by posting this it continues to work perfectly for me!!!
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post #9 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worf View Post
The problem with most SSD failure is they have nothing to do with the media wearing out - in normal use an SSD would typically outlast a regular HD.

The most common failure mode is not media wear -
And that seems to be the case with most of the failures mentioned in this thread.

Beyond what you noted, a couple of years ago the firmware on many of the SSDs seemed to be a bit half-backed or not ready for prime-time. Certain models were very problematic.
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post #10 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larryccf View Post
i've only used samsung SSDs, and the oldest one, a first gen 810, is now on 3 yrs old, 256 gb, used as a boot / main drive on a daily desktop computer in my office - about month ago, it started failing to boot in the morning, and continued to fail to boot even after i did a complete re-install of windows - pulled it and replaced with a clone backup 840 Evo, and been using the 810 as a "work table" drive after "wiping" it except for the MBR partition, which is where i believe the boot files reside.
Thanks--that was interesting.
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post #11 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 09:06 AM
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http://www.pcworld.com/article/28560...ity-fears.html

“At this rate, it’ll take me a thousand years..."

The whole SSD longevity "issue" is overblown.

Yes, I had an OCZ fail on me, but their issues are well documented, and have nothing to do with life span. They were just crap drives.
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post #12 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 09:24 AM
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Just recently had a 43 month old Crucial M4 64gb go bad on my all in one pc. Luckily I had back up image of my drive. I've gone with a SamSung 850pro which carries a 10year warranty.
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post #13 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Just recently had a 43 month old Crucial M4 64gb go bad on my all in one pc. Luckily I had back up image of my drive. I've gone with a SamSung 850pro which carries a 10year warranty.
That's a great warranty, but if you have a claim in year 9, I really wonder how the company will provide you with such an ancient drive. Searching eBay?
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post #14 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 09:41 AM
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Typically they don't send the same drive in those situations. There's usually something along the lines of "equal or better value" in the warranty.
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post #15 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Typically they don't send the same drive in those situations. There's usually something along the lines of "equal or better value" in the warranty.
But in 9 years the interface would likely be totally different, so you might end up with something you can't even use (ignoring the fact that your computer might not be able to recognize the then smallest drive made--a 3,000TB drive).

Maybe I'm over-thinking this though, because my current computer is about 7 years old, and the drive interface is still widely available.
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post #16 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 10:00 AM
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I have some of those old systems still being used too. One of my workstations and my server are old AM2+ boards that still have PATA interfaces on them. The server even has a PATA hard drive in it (it's the WHS boot drive backup drive).

My other hobby is rock crawling. Not rock climbing, but rock crawling - you know, the crazy guys in the highly modified offroad rigs. In rock crawling, we call that situation "opportunity for upgrade". In other words, Samsung sends a new drive with a new interface, and I get to tell the wife that I have to buy a new motherboard because my 9 year old system doesn't support the new drive I just got.
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post #17 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 10:50 AM
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That's a great warranty, but if you have a claim in year 9, I really wonder how the company will provide you with such an ancient drive. Searching eBay?
That would have to happen in the 1st place but the real thinking behind the purchase was more peace of mind that the drive will last longer than the previous. There is a reason why some ssd's have 3-5year warranty vs. 10years. IMO
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post #18 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 10:53 AM
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Maybe, just because a Kia has a 10 year 100,000 mile warranty doesn't mean it will outlive those that have a 2 year 24,000 mile warranty. Sometimes these things are marketing gimmicks.

(Kia/Hyundai does make a good car though)
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post #19 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 10:55 AM
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The most common failure mode is not media wear ....what happens is the SSD corrupts its internal management tables, usually because of a bad power down.
Are you referring to a sudden power outage (during a storm, car hits telephone pole down the block, etc..) or it can happen even when doing a proper "shut down" windows via the start button?

The first situation can be corrected by using a UPS, the new mini-PC's can run on 10-20 watts so even a small UPS could keep it running for an hour or longer. If we're getting drive SSD corruption even when doing a proper Windows shutdown- that's a real problem!

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post #20 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 11:08 AM
 
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Are you referring to a sudden power outage (during a storm, car hits telephone pole down the block, etc..) or it can happen even when doing a proper "shut down" windows via the start button?

The first situation can be corrected by using a UPS, the new mini-PC's can run on 10-20 watts so even a small UPS could keep it running for an hour or longer. If we're getting drive SSD corruption even when doing a proper Windows shutdown- that's a real problem!
Both.

My old corsair for example had an issue with sleep mode, but even when used "properly" it was still prone to failure.

But generally speaking the current crop of drives (if not equipped with counter measures) would just be susceptible to corruption from power outages.
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post #21 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 11:21 AM
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.....generally speaking the current crop of drives (if not equipped with counter measures) would just be susceptible to corruption from power outages.
Good to know- thanks for the info
One day I'll test my UPS (I replaced it's battery a few months back) to see how long it can keep my mini-PC (Zotac ci321) running. At 11 watts draw I'd think it could go at least an hour on my 550Va UPS.

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post #22 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 11:42 AM
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I will say that my wife's cousin used an ssd caddy in his 2008 macbook pro and filled the poor thing up on an OS that didn't support trim and obviously in a time before ssd manufacturers had made trim obsolete . . . I think it died of wear, and he is skeptical of ssd drives that aren't sponsored by apple to this day
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post #23 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 11:57 AM
 
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I will say that my wife's cousin used an ssd caddy in his 2008 macbook pro and filled the poor thing up on an OS that didn't support trim and obviously in a time before ssd manufacturers had made trim obsolete . . . I think it died of wear, and he is skeptical of ssd drives that aren't sponsored by apple to this day
Aren't all Apple users skeptical of anything that isn't Apple?
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post #24 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 12:12 PM
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Aren't all Apple users skeptical of anything that isn't Apple?
Maybe he wasn't at first but he was after a combination of that story and an inability to get a cheap belkin wireless g adapter to work on his parents 12 year old XP machine ☺ As a comp sci B.o.S. degree holder you may expect more but like most new comp sci grads he is really only interested in mobile software and web design. His family uses only apple now, lol
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post #25 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Aren't all Apple users skeptical of anything that isn't Apple?
I'd say they aren't skeptical enough--otherwise they wouldn't buy Apple products.
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post #26 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 01:41 PM
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I've never lost any flash media to "age". I've lost them to electrical problems and bad controllers, which used to be pretty normal several years ago. Now, not so much.
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post #27 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTJ View Post
Maybe, just because a Kia has a 10 year 100,000 mile warranty doesn't mean it will outlive those that have a 2 year 24,000 mile warranty. Sometimes these things are marketing gimmicks.

(Kia/Hyundai does make a good car though)
lol, this it no gimmick believe me. 10 year warranty is a 10 year warranty. A 2 year warranty is a 2 year warranty. Maybe you'd pay more for the 850pro vs. 850Evo because of the longer warranty deal. But really I have no idea.

No gimmick you get what you pay fer. 10year vs. 5year. And to the other idea of what you'd get on 9 year of the warranty, who knows? I surely don't but it's warranted.
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post #28 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 03:00 PM
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Don't get me wrong, I have Samsung 850 pro drives installed around here. But I was referring to what was said before, regarding after 9 years the interface has probably changed, etc.
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post #29 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 03:01 PM
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Why bring up the Kia? should have I gotten a Yugo?
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post #30 of 38 Old 01-06-2015, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Why bring up the Kia? should have I gotten a Yugo?
Civil war was probably a good thing for Yugo. It kept them from having to honor their 12 month warranties.
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