SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

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SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:03 am

Ok guys, I just got and installed my Samsung 840 EVO 250GB and I've been reading up about SSDs as I familiarize myself with mine. I've been a bit worried about what a sudden power failure would do to an SSD and I came across this article, which tells about the horrors of SSDs failing after power failures. Where I live everything sucks and sudden power failures are not uncommon. And after spending a bundle on my new SSD I'm hesitant to buy a UPS. What do you guys think?
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:08 am

Interesting. I had no idea there was such a problem. Glad I'm connected to a decent battery backup.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:16 am

ronch wrote:Ok guys, I just got and installed my Samsung 840 EVO 250GB and I've been reading up about SSDs as I familiarize myself with mine. I've been a bit worried about what a sudden power failure would do to an SSD and I came across this article, which tells about the horrors of SSDs failing after power failures. Where I live everything sucks and sudden power failures are not uncommon. And after spending a bundle on my new SSD I'm hesitant to buy a UPS. What do you guys think?


That Extremetech article is (as usual for this publication) not very accurate and intentionally exaggerated for the purposes of "sensationalism" :wink: The Crucial's M4 that they mention did have some issues with "disappearing" or suddenly becoming inaccessible, especially after "unexpected power loss" but that was mostly related to firmware issues and was improved in further firmware releases:
http://forum.crucial.com/t5/Solid-State ... td-p/57854
And it's not even an issue with newer Crucial M500 series which employs capacitors to protect the drive itself and the buffered data during sudden power loss.

That said, you should definitely spend some money for good UPS unit, regardless of SSD model. Doesn't have to be an expensive high-capacity unit, all you really need is to provide a couple of minutes of power for it to shut down gracefully.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:38 am

My M4's Unexpected Power Loss Count (AE) attribute is at 68 and I've never had any problems with it (yet). Do note that most of the count comes from resets (my GPU likes to go bonkers from time to time), not power loss, so the drive had time to write the buffers.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:41 am

ronch wrote:I came across this article


When a headline takes the form of a yes or no question, the answer is almost always no.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:53 am

The core of the problem is that OS are still treating SSD as HDDs. It also shows up in RAID on fault tolerance, especially on legacy controllers. The OS expects the SSD to manage "parking the header" and do an "emergency spin-down". SSD typically just stop writing/reading from the cells. It can happen when it is using cells that hold data related to the master part of the file system or boot sector.

SSDs that fell victim to abrupt power loss were typically first and second generation units. The firmware on newer models is resistant against this kind of data corruption/lost. It still doesn't hurt to have a back-up in the event something does happen (good policy to follow regards of the reasons).

HDDs used to have problems with abrupt power failures that would usually result in the header landing on the disk platters (creating bad sectors to killing the HDD itself). Prior to this, you had to go the access the hard driver controller and park the header before shutting down your computer. Fortunately, HDD manufacturers eventually were able to figure out how to get the HDD controller to do an "emergency park" on the header. It is mostly a non-issue on modern HDDs.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:16 am

Note that while the power failures caused data corruption on many of the drives, only a small percentage seemed to be highly susceptible to the "bricking" issue. Although SSDs may be more vulnerable (due to background garbage collection), random power failures will corrupt data on a mechanical HDD as well!

If you have frequent power failures you should've invested in a UPS long ago, regardless of whether you have a SSD.

At this point, I'd just be careful not to leave the machine running unnecessarily (i.e. make sure it is set to hibernate when idle, and/or power it down when you leave the house if you don't do so already), and start saving for a UPS.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:38 am

Hey Ronch. Good to see that you are jumping into the world of SSDs. You'll like the performance boost, believe me.

As for the whole power-loss issue, I'll echo JBI's comments when I say that sudden power loss can cause data corruption with any read-write storage medium. The SSD potentially has some extra issues due to TRIM or garbage collection, but it's really not much different than a conventional disk during a write operation or defrag operation. A complete brick of an SSD due to power loss is actually pretty rare and is usually due to firmware bugs that hopefully get resolved (some Intel SSD models had this issue a year or two back).

A UPS is always a good idea for multiple reasons, so I'd go down that route and look into hooking your PC up to the UPS via USB so that the PC can safely shut itself down if there is an extended power outage.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:42 am

chuckula wrote:A UPS is always a good idea for multiple reasons, so I'd go down that route and look into hooking your PC up to the UPS via USB so that the PC can safely shut itself down if there is an extended power outage.

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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:48 am

ronch wrote:Ok guys, I just got and installed my Samsung 840 EVO 250GB and I've been reading up about SSDs as I familiarize myself with mine. I've been a bit worried about what a sudden power failure would do to an SSD and I came across this article, which tells about the horrors of SSDs failing after power failures. Where I live everything sucks and sudden power failures are not uncommon. And after spending a bundle on my new SSD I'm hesitant to buy a UPS. What do you guys think?


If you have frequent sudden power failures, you should already have a UPS.

As others have mentioned, any storage medium can be corrupted if you suddenly cut the power and it's in the middle of a write. That is why, for example, you're supposed to "eject" removable drives before disconnecting them.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:48 am

Not that a UPS isn't a good idea, but I've had animals yank the power on my PC, storms knock power out, etc and no worse for wear on a 3+ year old OCZ Vertex.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:55 am

Captain Ned wrote:Saved my bacon twice during the recent ice storm.

You've figured out how to save bacon using your hard drive? OMG! Mmmm... bacon.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:59 am

steelcity_ballin wrote:Not that a UPS isn't a good idea, but I've had animals yank the power on my PC, storms knock power out, etc and no worse for wear on a 3+ year old OCZ Vertex.

Yup, you could go years without an incident, since it really depends on whether a write (or garbage collect) is happening at the instant of the power failure. Or you could get really unlucky, and the first outage could trash stuff (or brick the drive, if you've got a drive that is susceptible to that). Best to play it safe, but even without a UPS the odds are you'll be OK unless the drive is being written to constantly.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:51 pm

ronch wrote:840 EVO


This is the primary reason I would invest in a good UPS in this situation, although all the preceding comments are also quite valid.
If you make use of the ram caching feature from the EVO range and the power goes, anything in ram is susceptible to loss.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:33 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
chuckula wrote:A UPS is always a good idea for multiple reasons, so I'd go down that route and look into hooking your PC up to the UPS via USB so that the PC can safely shut itself down if there is an extended power outage.

Saved my bacon twice during the recent ice storm.

I'll second that. Toronto got hit hard (thousands still without power). My UPS units allowed for a controlled shutdown and I was able to use the remaining battery power to charge my mobile devices during the outage.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:52 pm

steelcity_ballin wrote:Not that a UPS isn't a good idea, but I've had animals yank the power on my PC, storms knock power out, etc and no worse for wear on a 3+ year old OCZ Vertex.


It's actually pretty rare that you're going to see damage from a power loss with modern hardware, but you could see corruption of your data, and if that data is a system file, you could have some problems. Problems could range from losing a file, to widespread file system corruption, to (for some drives) total failure of the drive.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:00 pm

Phaydren wrote:
ronch wrote:840 EVO

This is the primary reason I would invest in a good UPS in this situation, although all the preceding comments are also quite valid.
If you make use of the ram caching feature from the EVO range and the power goes, anything in ram is susceptible to loss.


Just don't use RAM caching. The EVOs are already fast.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:27 pm

Thanks for all the replies, guys. It's a bit comforting to know that today's SSDs have better firmware but yeah... I really need to get a UPS. I DID have a UPS a few years back (got it April 2009) but about a year ago I realized that its battery is already useless and it goes down too whenever there's a power *fluctuation* (not even a power outage, mind you). I guess I'd better think deeply about getting another UPS soon.

Samsung Magician informs me that a new firmware is available for my EVO so I'm just gonna wrap things up and update my drive. Hope all goes well and it's better designed to survive power failures, among other things.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:38 pm

Ok, tried to update the firmware several times. Got this instead:

Image

The download would reach about halfway then Magician would give me the error. Anybody else having this sort of issue? Using the latest version of Magician (4.3) as of this post.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:50 pm

This is a known issue - Samsung's own tool, just like all other similar Windows-based firmware flashers, is not compatible with certain hardware/software configurations. Do update like it is normally done - make a bootable CD and use that to update the firmware. You can find the bootable ISO with latest firmware at Samsung's site:
http://www.samsung.com/global/business/ ... 3-11000279
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:40 pm

Thanks, JohnC. I don't have any blank discs right now so I'm looking at using this piece of software that allows one to 'burn' an ISO to a flash drive and supposedly use it just like a CD. Are these things reliable?
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:20 pm

This software might work... Try it, the worst that can happen is your USB flash drive will not be bootable or the flashing utility will refuse to run from it.

P.S: Actually, the worst thing that can happen is that your PC might lose power during flashing process and your SSD might turn into the brick, all because you don't have a UPS :evil: ... But that is highly unlikely to happen :wink:
In any case, make sure to backup whatever valuable data you might already have on your drive.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:34 pm

Operating a desktop without a UPS is equivalent to playing Russian Roulette with your data. Eventually you will find that loaded chamber. That being said, I see a ton of UPS's being used out there being used without any UPS monitoring being used on the OS which is almost as bad.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:58 pm

Image
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:12 am

Deanjo wrote:Operating a desktop without a UPS is equivalent to playing Russian Roulette with your data. Eventually you will find that loaded chamber. That being said, I see a ton of UPS's being used out there being used without any UPS monitoring being used on the OS which is almost as bad.

Depends on the nature of your power problems. At work we used to have very frequent (multiple times/week) but brief (lasting under 5 seconds) power glitches. In situations like that, even a UPS without monitoring is a vast improvement over no UPS at all.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Sat Dec 28, 2013 4:26 pm

I had 2x 256GB OCZ Vector's in a RAID0 configuration and lost everything after a botched overclock. One of the drive's failed to be recognized by the BIOS and had to be sent in for RMA. The failed overclock led to a sudden power loss and this may have caused the issue.
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:55 am

Don't know why Thief Deadly Shadows, one of my favorite games, isn't running properly now. SSD is the only thing that was installed. Could be Samsung Magician...
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:09 am

I don't know if this is normal for an SSD or not. The SSD had 211GB of free space. I uninstalled Thief Deadly Shadows (which takes up 2GB), so the free space went back to 213GB. Reinstalled the game. Now free space is 205GB. Used Samsung Magician's Performance Optimization feature, which says that if my OS doesn't support TRIM, I can use this feature to optimize my SSD's performance. I assume this Performance Optimization function within Magician issues a TRIM command. Free space remains at 205GB. Not sure this feature or TRIM frees up space in an SSD, but the first time I used it, free space seemed to go up. Any ideas why this is happening?

Also, after reinstallation, Thief Deadly Shadows still doesn't work right. The game would minimize itself upon launching. Earlier today the game would minimize only after loading a saved game, now it happens upon starting the game all the time. I've had this game since 2004 and this is the first time something like this has happened. Does anyone here think it has something to do with the SSD?

Edit - Uninstalled Samsung Magician. Thief is working fine now. So it's the Magician's fault. Free space is still at 205GB
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:14 am

Did you do fresh install? Where do you keep page file or hibernation file? What does the Disk Management screen show?
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Re: SSDs and Sudden Power Failures

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:18 am

@JohnC - Yeah, I did a fresh install. Everything was fresh. I deleted the old partitions of my old 1TB hard drive as well (it was partitioned as Drive C and Drive D before) and just used it as a whole for Drive D. SSD was also partitioned, of course. I noticed the capacity drop from 211GB to 205GB when I uninstalled Thief 3 (went back to 213GB), then 205GB after installing Thief 3. Thief 3 still occupies just 2GB. Where did my 6GB go?

Edit - Ok, JohnC, I got it. I disabled hibernation via the (elevated) command prompt. SSD free space went back to 211GB. I also configured the page file so that the OS will use my mech hard drive instead of the SSD to reduce wear and tear on it, like so:

Image

By the way, is there a disadvantage by disabling hibernation (apart from obviously not being able to hibernate)? Can it possibly harm the SSD?
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