Until the last SSD standing
I knew it was possible for some of the SSDs in our endurance experiment to survive 2PB of writes, but I didn't really expect any of them to make it this far. Two petabytes is a staggering amount of data for consumer-grade drives.
To be fair, our sample size is too limited to draw definitive conclusions about the drives we tested. Flash wear is tied to the physical integrity of individual cells, so it can be influenced by normal semiconductor manufacturing variances. One needs to look no further than the experiment's twin HyperX units to see that, even within the same family, some SSDs simply have more durable NAND than others.
The results of our experiment do, however, point to some more general conclusions about SSDs as a whole. Although only two drives made it to 2PB, all six wrote hundreds of terabytes without issue, vastly exceeding their official endurance specifications. More importantly, the drives all survived far more writes than most users are likely to generate. Typical consumers shouldn't worry about exceeding the endurance of modern SSDs.
With 2PB in the bag, our survivors are already on the lonely road to the next milestone. Their ongoing battle reminds me a little of the Iron War, an infamous showdown between Dave Scott and Mark Allen during the 1989 Ironman triathlon world championship. After matching each other through the race's 2.4-mile swim and 112-mile bike, the two legends ran side-by-side for much of the marathon that followed. Allen ended up pulling ahead in the final miles to win the eight-hour race by less than a minute.
Yeah, I've written enough of these endurance updates that I'm now tapping the well of obscure sports references to keep things fresh. But the Ironman is all about endurance, just like this experiment.
Right now, it's hard to say which of our remaining subjects will be the last SSD standing. As the lone survivor to remain free of serious errors, the 840 Pro is already a victor of sorts. The question is whether it can outlast the last HyperX, which refuses to give up despite stumbling through a couple of uncorrectable errors. The HyperX has write compression on its side and plenty of spare flash in reserve, so the final duel could go on for a while. We'll be watching.
61 comments — Last by RGB at 12:12 AM on 02/27/15
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