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Noldor
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SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:21 am

Recently, a friend of mine asked me to suggest him a new laptop. After assessing his needs, I stopped on an Asus model with i7-6700hq CPU and 8 GB RAM. But there are 2 versions for that model: one with a 1 TB hdd and another with a 256 GB ssd. Since for me storage space was more valuable than speed, I've never used an SSD before and, therefore, I have little practical experience with them.
To put it short, the main pros and cons would be (as I know):
- HDD have big storage capacities, but they are slower and more vulnerable to mechanical shock; the writing process on a HDD can also create fragmentation and is noisier;
- SSD: lower storage capacities, but they are faster and not vulnerable to shocks; there is also no fragmentation on SSD and are quieter.
For my friend, huge storage capacity does not really matter, but neither does the superior speed of ssd. So, chance is he will go with the version which is cheaper and ships faster. Before advising him on the final decision, though, there is something I must know: speed and space does not matter too much in this case, but reliability absolutely does. So:
1. How reliable is an SSD at preserving data long-term? I used to believe that SSD can lose data if not powered on for several months, but, from what some staff at Techreport mentioned, that does not seem to be the case.
2. How reliable is an SSD in general? I am referring here not just to data retention, but whether they are more prone to failure than hdd.
3. I know that SSD start failing after a number of writes. From the tests performed by tech reviewing sites, the amount necessary for this to happen is in the hundreds of TB or even more. I am curious though, does this apply only to writes or it applies to reads as well? For instance, let's say someone plays a game or watches a movie from an SSD: does this add to the wear of the drive?

And, in general, are there any other quirks or issues regarding SSD reliability I should be aware of?

PS: Yes, I know Google is my friend, but there are so many pieces and opinions about SSDs that a search would produce thousands of links with no way to distinguish between reliable information, biased rubbish or unsubstantiated rumor, so it's better to ask your specific question where you know you'll get reliable feedback. It's from Google that I got the idea that SSDs lose data if not powered on, which seems not to be true. :wink:

Thanks in advance.
Last edited by Noldor on Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
ptsant
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:03 am

The difference is speed is huge. Your friend will care once he sees how much faster the programs start.

Reliability varies with brands and models, for both HDs and SSDs. I would say that a standard SSD today is not very likely to read the limit of writes (no, reads don't use that up) and any failures would have to be tied to material failure (say, a capacitor burning) or a serious bug. Bugs in SSDs have become rare these days. Overall, if I had to compare a random SSD to a random HD, I would bet on the SSD for reliability, but this is a big generalization.

Don't get the HD. Adding an external HD to store movies/photos at some point is trivial. Migrating the operating system and replacing the HD with an internal SSD is much more complicated.
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Noldor
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:04 am

ptsant wrote:
. I would say that a standard SSD today is not very likely to read the limit of writes (no, reads don't use that up) and any failures would have to be tied to material failure (say, a capacitor burning) or a serious bug. Bugs in SSDs have become rare these days. Overall, if I had to compare a random SSD to a random HD, I would bet on the SSD for reliability, but this is a big generalization.


Ok. So reads don't matter for the life expectation of an SSD.

In addition to what I asked before, are there any differences in the way one should use an SSD as compared with an HDD? For instance, I've read once (again on Google :roll: ) that you should not partition an SSD. This is nonsense, of course, but is there anything one could do with an HDD and should not do on an SDD? Albeit I can't imagine anything, since I've never used an SSD before, I have to ask.
 
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:54 am

For a mobile application, go with an SSD unless you need more space and can't afford a larger SSD. Yes, if you beat on them with writes 24x7 they will wear out faster than a HDD would, but who does that? With normal use the SSD will almost certainly outlive the laptop it is in (or the user will decide to upgrade to a larger one before it wears out).

For a laptop I would say the resistance to mechanical damage more than makes up for the flash wear issue, especially if the device will be used on the road a lot. HDDs really don't like being subjected to Gs, especially while in use.

The issue with unpowered drives having trouble after a few months was related to the Samsung 840 EVO series, which had multiple design defects (bleeding edge planar TLC flash plus buggy firmware that they dragged their feet on fixing). In general, this should not be an issue for other drives (high density planar TLC has been mostly phased out AFAIK).

Longer term (on the scale of years), HDDs probably do have an edge on reliability of data retention, but only if powered down and stored in a controlled environment. So again, for mobile use I'd say the other advantages of SSD outweigh this.

SSDs can be partitioned. In fact, modern OSes require at least one partition on the system drive, more if you have EFI. You just need to make sure you use a modern partitioning tool which aligns the partitions to a multiple of some fairly large block size; SSDs do not like unaligned partitions and will take a performance hit if a legacy partition layout (e.g. what the Windows XP paritioning tool would give you by default) is used. Pre-installed OSes (and the installers for modern OSes) should take care of this for you.

To nit-pick for a moment, reads actually do matter a little, and cause a small amount of wear. But it is orders of magnitude less than for writes.
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Noldor
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:17 am

just brew it! wrote:
For a mobile application, go with an SSD unless you need more space and can't afford a larger SSD. Yes, if you beat on them with writes 24x7 they will wear out faster than a HDD would, but who does that? With normal use the SSD will almost certainly outlive the laptop it is in (or the user will decide to upgrade to a larger one before it wears out).

For a laptop I would say the resistance to mechanical damage more than makes up for the flash wear issue, especially if the device will be used on the road a lot. HDDs really don't like being subjected to Gs, especially while in use.

The issue with unpowered drives having trouble after a few months was related to the Samsung 840 EVO series, which had multiple design defects (bleeding edge planar TLC flash plus buggy firmware that they dragged their feet on fixing). In general, this should not be an issue for other drives (high density planar TLC has been mostly phased out AFAIK).

Longer term (on the scale of years), HDDs probably do have an edge on reliability of data retention, but only if powered down and stored in a controlled environment. So again, for mobile use I'd say the other advantages of SSD outweigh this.

SSDs can be partitioned. In fact, modern OSes require at least one partition on the system drive, more if you have EFI. You just need to make sure you use a modern partitioning tool which aligns the partitions to a multiple of some fairly large block size; SSDs do not like unaligned partitions and will take a performance hit if a legacy partition layout (e.g. what the Windows XP paritioning tool would give you by default) is used. Pre-installed OSes (and the installers for modern OSes) should take care of this for you.

To nit-pick for a moment, reads actually do matter a little, and cause a small amount of wear. But it is orders of magnitude less than for writes.


Thank you very much for the feedback.
Regarding the writes, I agree and I know the typical life expectations (which is at least 100 TB even on the crappiest models). My question on reliability referred more to whether there were some other factors (other than writes) which I might not have been aware of. From your answers, it seems this is not the case.

Longer term (on the scale of years), HDDs probably do have an edge on reliability of data retention, but only if powered down and stored in a controlled environment. So again, for mobile use I'd say the other advantages of SSD outweigh this.


I will follow your suggestion regarding an ssd, but, just for informative value, could you elaborate a bit on the bolded statement? This issue interests me a lot.

SSDs can be partitioned. In fact, modern OSes require at least one partition on the system drive, more if you have EFI. You just need to make sure you use a modern partitioning tool which aligns the partitions to a multiple of some fairly large block size; SSDs do not like unaligned partitions and will take a performance hit if a legacy partition layout (e.g. what the Windows XP paritioning tool would give you by default) is used. Pre-installed OSes (and the installers for modern OSes) should take care of this for you.


I know that. The statement about partitions was merely to give an example what kind of possible differences between hdd and ssd usage I was asking about. I knew the example was a baseless rumor, but I could not think of anything more substantiated. Perhaps there aren't any differences?
 
just brew it!
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:36 am

Noldor wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
Longer term (on the scale of years), HDDs probably do have an edge on reliability of data retention, but only if powered down and stored in a controlled environment. So again, for mobile use I'd say the other advantages of SSD outweigh this.

I will follow your suggestion regarding an ssd, but, just for informative value, could you elaborate a bit on the bolded statement? This issue interests me a lot.

The electrical charges in flash cells do eventually leak away (and this effect gets worse the more worn the drive is). At some point this will overwhelm the error correction coding used by the drive firmware, resulting in read errors.

The magnetic patterns on a HDD platter are very stable. As long as you can protect the mechanical parts (motor, head actuator) of the drive from deterioration due to humidity and heat, and don't subject it to mechanical shock, the data should still be intact and readable a decade down the road. I wouldn't be as confident of being able to read all the data off of a heavily used consumer-grade SSD in 10 years.

(Side note: Some bleeding edge high capacity HDDs use a sealed, helium-filled chamber for the platters and heads. Helium leakage is a concern for these drives; once the helium leaks out the drive is toast. But AFAIK this tech is only being used on high-end enterprise models these days, for use cases where server storage density is paramount and the drives will be retired in a few years anyway as higher-capacity models become available.)
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Noldor
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:48 am

just brew it! wrote:

The magnetic patterns on a HDD platter are very stable. As long as you can protect the mechanical parts (motor, head actuator) of the drive from deterioration due to humidity and heat, and don't subject it to mechanical shock, the data should still be intact and readable a decade down the road. I wouldn't be as confident of being able to read all the data off of a heavily used consumer-grade SSD in 10 years.



I see "heavily-used" specifically mentioned. Does the bolded part apply to SSDs which have not been "heavily used" and experienced only light usage (for instance just 10-20 TB of writes in 10 years)?
 
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:58 am

Don't let JBI confuse you. He's referring to a use case where you'd use an SSD like an external hard drive, hence "powered down for extended periods of time". Since this is a laptop, it's a non-issue.
For use as a backup/external storage device, SSDs don't make much sense anyway since their $/GB is so high and maximum capacity is lower than hdds.

Absolutely go with an SSD. As a general rule of thumb, all programs will load 2x faster. The OS will load roughly 5x-10x faster. We're talking powered off to fully responsive on the desktop in around 20-30 seconds typically (faster yet if you enable fast-boot)

I think you were referring to hdd partitioning like people did back in the day where they'd put the OS partition on the outside ring of the disk so it'd be "faster". No, that's not necessary.

You should also strongly consider getting an SSD. Not sure what type of system you're using (desktop/laptop) but it's absolutely a game-changer. In fact, I wouldn't recommend anyone buying/upgrading to a new system these days without an SSD. Storage IO is a significant limiter to system responsiveness.

i7-6700HQ?...I assume that's a "gaming" laptop then? Or is it this model? I normally don't recommend anything higher than i5s for laptops since the 2C/4T i7's are more expensive for not much more performance than an i5 and the 4C/8T i7 HQ models are 45W TDP so battery life will be shortened (compared to the 2C/4T i5 and i7 @ 15W). But there are always exceptions, some people need lots of performance and a laptop form factor.
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Noldor
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:20 am

DPete27 wrote:
Don't let JBI confuse you. He's referring to a use case where you'd use an SSD like an external hard drive, hence "powered down for extended periods of time". Since this is a laptop, it's a non-issue.

Well, I did mention that I was asking "in general"... :wink: On a laptop, yes, it is very unlikely to keep it powered down for months, but I've heard that stuff about loss of data and I've wanted to clarify what was that about - taking into consideration all scenarios, in a PC experiencing normal usage and in a "cold storage" scenario.

You should also strongly consider getting an SSD. Not sure what type of system you're using (desktop/laptop) but it's absolutely a game-changer.


I want as much storage space as possible and I'm a cheapskate. :P But I find your assertion that a PC with SSD powers on in 20-30 seconds quite surprising - unless you are having in mind a PC with a ton of software installed on it. Most reports I've seen state 4-5 seconds boot time for SSDs. My own laptop, which uses a 7200 RPM HDD, boots in 30 seconds max. :-?

i7-6700HQ?...I assume that's a "gaming" laptop then? I normally don't recommend anything higher than i5s for laptops since the 2C/4T i7's are more expensive for not much more performance than an i5 and the 4C/8T i7 HQ models are 45W TDP so battery life will be shortened (compared to the 2C/4T i5/i7 @ 15W). But there are always exceptions, some people need lots of performance and a laptop form factor.


:wink:
 
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:46 am

Unless your friend has a compelling need to have a lot of local storage - which it sounds like he does not - definitely go with the SSD. It's a no-brainer.

The performance gains alone are worth it. As far as reliability goes, for all practical purposes an SSD is every bit as reliable (if not moreso) than an HDD. With normal usage (whether that's gaming or business or whatever) it's not going to be an issue.

Of course, any drive can fail, so your friend should be backing up anything that he cannot afford to lose. That remains true no matter what the technology. You might get a bad drive (they're rare but they happen) or your friend might drop the laptop down the stairs. Same diff. The drive will almost certainly outlive the laptop under normal circumstances.

As far as partitioning goes, of course you can partition an SSD. In fact, you have to partition the drive for most modern operating systems. There are potential issues if an SSD is not partitioned correctly - but the OS will take care of that.

In short, the only reason not to use SSD would be if you need more space than you can afford. In terms of performance, reliability, and just about everything else, the SSD is the way to go.
 
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:36 am

Tech Report's long-term SSD endurance study:
http://techreport.com/review/27909/the- ... e-all-dead
 
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:44 am

Current SSDs are pretty damn reliable, so I wouldn't worry about that. IMO, get the SSD and, if there is an additional 2.5inch drive space, install a cheap 1tb drive for extra storage.

You may say you don't worry about speed, but SSDs are so crazy fast compared to spinning drives that its hard to go back once you make the switch. Your friend will definitely appreciate the SSD.
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:50 am

I remember reading study. I also believed that they would be more reliable but in the end both HDD and SSD pretty much had the same outcome.
 
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:38 am

techie19 wrote:
I remember reading study. I also believed that they would be more reliable but in the end both HDD and SSD pretty much had the same outcome.

I seem to recall something like this also. Although my memory serves that the SSD was more reliable by a significant margin. I believe those were server workloads though.

Noldor wrote:
But I find your assertion that a PC with SSD powers on in 20-30 seconds quite surprising...Most reports I've seen state 4-5 seconds boot time for SSDs. My own laptop, which uses a 7200 RPM HDD, boots in 30 seconds max.

My timing was from the pressing of the power button to all background processes loaded/complete (from a completely shut-down computer obviously). TR article for reference. Your 30 seconds claim on an HDD suggests you might be taking your measurement from a different point in the boot cycle, whether that's when to start the clock or when to stop the clock. Some people start the timer when you press the power button, this timing would then include the mobos BIOS initiation in the elapsed time (which varies), others start the timer when they first see the windows logo (which would really be the beginning of the "boot" process). Traditionally we consider a computer "booted" when all background processes are complete/loaded. On an SSD system, that's almost instantaneous once the desktop is loaded. Most hdds take a significant time after the desktop is loaded to actually finish loading all the background stuff (your hdd light will remain lit solid). A quick and dirty test is to try and open your web browser and navigate to a web page right away once Windows loads, although that can be tricky depending on how your system is prioritizing the web browser compared to remaining background processes that still need to load. Regardless, there's no way that a SSD isn't at least twice as fast as a hdd. Notice the difference in SSD load times there compared to the first article I linked also, that's what I'm talking about when I say there are different points at which to measure "boot duration".

There's no better way to explain the difference than to experience it yourself. I know my first SSD was put in an existing Core2Duo machine. That was a great example for me to use since nothing about the hardware changed except going from HDD to SSD. It really is a night and day difference that has to be seen to appreciate. At the same time, I can understand your hesitation, I've had difficulty explaining to people WHY they should get an SSD. Some turn down the offer, most that go with an SSD (that have been on HDD before) are blown away at the difference.

Most people run multiple drives these days. Your SSD holds your OS, programs, and some/all games and your HDD holds your music/pictures/documents/videos/games. It's easy to re-target the default Windows shortcuts to a secondary drive. Anybody that uses my computer likely wouldn't know they're accessing info from multiple drives. There aren't many people that can afford multiple terabytes of SSD.
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:53 pm

Definitely SSD.

Your mostly likely event for causing drive failure is dropping, or a hard bumping, of the laptop. The SSD will survive this far better than a HDD.
Drive failure due to normal use is about equal between a HDD and SDD.

Write endurance is so high on SSDs that 99.99% of users likely won't reach it. There is one exception... operating a SSD in a nearly full condition. If you keep your SDD drive almost full (say 90%+), there is less room for wear leveling. This will significantly shorten the life of the SSD.

Any SSD is so significantly faster in real world usage than any HDD that once you use a SSD, you never go back to a HDD.
 
just brew it!
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:54 pm

DPete27 wrote:
Most people run multiple drives these days. Your SSD holds your OS, programs, and some/all games and your HDD holds your music/pictures/documents/videos/games. It's easy to re-target the default Windows shortcuts to a secondary drive. Anybody that uses my computer likely wouldn't know they're accessing info from multiple drives. There aren't many people here that can afford multiple terabytes of SSD.

My standard desktop setup these days is SSD for the OS and applications, and a pair of mechanical HDDs (using software RAID-1) for everything else.

Laptop currently has a 500GB SSD. I have a drive caddy I can use to swap another drive into the external bay (in place of the optical drive) if necessary. It's not like the optical drive gets much use, other than for ripping the occasional audio CD.
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:56 pm

In a laptop, the SSD is unquestionably more reliable.

  • Laptop mechanical drives usually die from physical damage to either the bearings or the heads; even a gentle knock at the wrong time can total your drive. When you understand how delicate the heads are and how critical the bearing tolerances are, you'll be amazed that hard drives even work at all!
  • SSD's don't care about physical shock. They're hardcore, zero-moving parts with minimal exposed circuitry and chips that can survive even water damage (if they're unpowered). They're basically glorified USB flash drives, and a few of my flash drives have survived multiple laundry cycles!

Sure, SSD's have a failure rate that's not too different to the failure rate of mechanical drives, but it's exceedingly rare that a mechanical laptop drive ever dies of natural causes. Trust me, I've seen hundreds if not thousands of laptops with dead mechanical drives in my role over the last two decades, and anything other than impact or shock damage is vanishingly rare.

As a side benefit, not only are SSD's cooler, quieter, lighter and consume less battery power than a mechanical drive, they're also much quicker. You won't want to ever use anything without an SSD ever again once you make the switch.
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:25 pm

I should mention the alternative most TR gerbils would likely take: Buy the 1TB HDD laptop and swap out the HDD with a SSD on your own. Chances are pretty good that the upcharge on the SSD from the laptop manufacturer is at least 2x the difference in retail value (ie a 256GB SSD costs about $80 on sale but I'd recommend getting a 500GB SSD). IIRC, 1TB hdds still conform to the typical 9.5mm 2.5" form factor so any 2.5" SATA SSD from newegg would be a drop-in replacement. Feel free provide the exact laptop models if you'd like someone to confirm that it's a drop-in swap. Some laptops even have M.2 SSD slots even on the HDD-only models, so could be possible to keep the 1TB HDD and just add a M.2 SSD. M.2 SSDs are pricier than the 2.5" models though, so only choose that if you absolutely need more capacity than you can afford in an SSD only.

BTW. SSD prices are going up up up I see. Used to be you could get a low to mid level 500GB SSD from $100-$140.
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:43 pm

[quote="Noldor"][quote="ptsant"]. I would say that a standard SSD today is not very likely to read the limit of writes (no, reads don't use that up) and any failures would have to be tied to material failure (say, a capacitor burning) or a serious bug. Bugs in SSDs have become rare these days. Overall, if I had to compare a random SSD to a random HD, I would bet on the SSD for reliability, but this is a big generalization.
[/quote]

Ok. So reads don't matter for the life expectation of an SSD.

In addition to what I asked before, are there any differences in the way one should use an SSD as compared with an HDD? For instance, I've read once (again on Google :roll: ) that you should not partition an SSD. This is nonsense, of course, but is there anything one could do with an HDD and should not do on an SDD? Albeit I can't imagine anything, since I've never used an SSD before, I have to ask.[/quote]


YEAH, Definitely DO NOT DEFRAG an SSD, it is only useful for HDDs and indexing the contents of a SSD is not nearly as useful as doing so with a HDD. So most people recommend not to index a SSD.
 
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:21 pm

Partition alignment and TRIM support, I guess, but Windows should take care of that automagically. I'd say going lighter on swap use would be good (to reduce writes), but you can't adjust that in Windows and it really doesn't matter anyway.

If you just plug in an SSD and use it exactly like you would a HDD, you're already massively ahead of the HDD on everything but capacity. An SSD may be happier if you optimize a few things around it, but Windows does the most important stuff for you, and it still wouldn't mind *that* much if Windows thought it were an HDD.

Branching into different use cases, SSDs are a bad idea anywhere they'd be in cold storage (not that that would be a common scenario anyway, as already mentioned), and the reliability benefits aren't so massive in a stationary application (again as already mentioned).

I just tested my system at literally one second from end of BIOS to login prompt and something less than 2.5 seconds from login prompt to fully loaded graphical environment (probably a whole lot faster, but the transition to the Nvidia proprietary driver causes my screen to blank for about 2 seconds at the resolution change). Linux probably counts as cheating, though. :wink:
 
Noldor
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:57 pm

DPete27 wrote:
I should mention the alternative most TR gerbils would likely take: Buy the 1TB HDD laptop and swap out the HDD with a SSD on your own. Chances are pretty good that the upcharge on the SSD from the laptop manufacturer is at least 2x the difference in retail value (ie a 256GB SSD costs about $80 on sale but I'd recommend getting a 500GB SSD).


Not necessary in this case. As surprising as it may seem, the version with the SSD is the cheaper one, by about 35$.

BTW, I followed the advice provided and told my friend to get the laptop with SSD, which he just did, so the urgings "go for the SSD" are outdated as of now - the SSD it is.

Feel free to keep talking about the issues mentioned in the topic, though, if you feel there is something more I should know.

PS: If you wonder why I keep inquiring about SSDs, even though I'm not the buyer, it's because he can't even make the difference between bit and bytes and he has me doing his maintenance for him when necessary. :roll: (that's why he put me to pick his laptop for him, btw).
 
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:59 pm

Noldor wrote:
PS: If you wonder why I keep inquiring about SSDs, even though I'm not the buyer, it's because he can't even make the difference between bit and bytes and he has me doing his maintenance for him when necessary. :roll: (that's why he put me to pick his laptop for him, btw).

IMO you are losing your geek creds if you are still stuck on a mechanical, unless you really have money issues. :P

cphite wrote:
Of course, any drive can fail, so your friend should be backing up anything that he cannot afford to lose. That remains true no matter what the technology. You might get a bad drive (they're rare but they happen) or your friend might drop the laptop down the stairs. Same diff. The drive will almost certainly outlive the laptop under normal circumstances.

This cannot be stressed enough. The way you keep harping on this subject of "reliability", the more you need to think about some sort of backup strategy for your friend, regardless of mechanical vs solid state.
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:20 pm

I wouldn't be surprised if it was cheaper for the manufacturer in the long run to use an SSD instead of a mechanical drive. As others have mentioned, one of the best things about using an SSD in a laptop is it makes the machine a more drop-proof. With no mechanical hard drive in it the screen is probably the next most breakable component. Aside from that, the machine has got to be beat up pretty good to cause more than cosmetic damage. If someone is that clumsy with their laptop chances are they'll spill their morning coffee on it or something first.

And yeah... backups are the best example of something you'd much rather spend the time to do and never need, than to need a backup and not have it.
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DPete27
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:36 pm

Noldor wrote:
As surprising as it may seem, the version with the SSD is the cheaper one, by about 35$.

That is very surprising actually, unless one was on sale and the other wasn't. What were the two choices? (links are easiest)
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cphite
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:40 pm

cphite wrote:
Of course, any drive can fail, so your friend should be backing up anything that he cannot afford to lose. That remains true no matter what the technology. You might get a bad drive (they're rare but they happen) or your friend might drop the laptop down the stairs. Same diff. The drive will almost certainly outlive the laptop under normal circumstances.

This cannot be stressed enough. The way you keep harping on this subject of "reliability", the more you need to think about some sort of backup strategy for your friend, regardless of mechanical vs solid state.


The most straightforward way to think of backups is, think of your machine as a single unit - and assume that that unit can go away at any moment. Anything on that machine that you cannot afford to lose, you need to have a copy of somewhere else. Not on the same drive, not on another drive in the same machine, and not even on a drive that's permanently connected to the machine. All it takes is one power surge or particularly bad piece of malware and your data goes bye-bye... and if your only backups are sitting on a connected drive, those go bye-bye too. If you get hit with ransom-ware and your only backups are on a NAS that your machine has rights to, you probably just lost 'em.

That may sound obvious, but I cannot tell you how many times I've seen people running servers (SQL and otherwise) who were backing up to a drive on the same machine, or even to the same drive as their data. I guess it's useful if you need to go back to a previous version or something like that, but it's not going to be worth a damn if you have any sort of real issue on the machine.

Cloud-based backups are relatively cheap, fast, and they're always offsite. They're also very convenient because you generally don't have to do much of anything. Most of them will simply watch your drive for changes and copy those changes to the cloud. The good ones have versioning of files, so for example if your drive is corrupted or hit by an encryption malware thing, you can restore to prior versions of files.

A local NAS is another option; though it's better that it require authentication to reach your actual backups. For example, I have a NAS that has an open area where I store music and stuff like that, and a locked area that requires a password every time to access - that's where backups go.

And, of course, the old standby is to just have a good external drive that you only connect when you want to back something up. Less convenient, but also more secure.
 
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:57 pm

DPete27 wrote:
Noldor wrote:
As surprising as it may seem, the version with the SSD is the cheaper one, by about 35$.

That is very surprising actually, unless one was on sale and the other wasn't. What were the two choices? (links are easiest)

If the HDD is 7200 RPM it could make sense. Otherwise, yeah the one with the SSD must've been on sale (or there was some other difference in the specs, like the amount of RAM).
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Noldor
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Re: SSD reliability

Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:19 pm

DPete27 wrote:
Noldor wrote:
As surprising as it may seem, the version with the SSD is the cheaper one, by about 35$.

That is very surprising actually, unless one was on sale and the other wasn't. What were the two choices? (links are easiest)


Asus X550VX i7-6700HQ 8 GB RAM GeForce 950M 2 GB. There were 2 versions of this, one with a 1 TB 7200 RPM hdd, another with a 256 GB SSD. Links are pointless, since they weren't on an international site like amazon, but at a major retailer in my country, which only ships nation-wide, and that makes it irrelevant for non-natives.
Technically, both were on sale, but, in reality, the retailer is lying about this: most retailers where I live are in habit of listing exaggerated "original" prices to make it look like they offer massive discounts. They got fined about this, but they still don't stop.
Overall, there aren't any significant differences in price between SSD and HDD versions of similar laptops at the retailers in my country; RAM drives the prices up much more.

This cannot be stressed enough. The way you keep harping on this subject of "reliability", the more you need to think about some sort of backup strategy for your friend, regardless of mechanical vs solid state.


Okay, guys, hold on. My inquiries about "reliability" have nothing to do with back-ups. He has back-ups. More than a year ago, I had a "close encounter" with a ransomware virus, so, since then, I always impressed upon all my acquaintances (him included) the need for back-ups.
There is something else behind my inquiries about reliability. There are 2 types of tech-illiterate people: the ones who think that if they entrust their PC to someone who "knows what he's doing", then everything gets magically fixed; and those who think that, if someone as much as opens the case of their machine, the PC will burst into flames. My pal is the second sort. That's why I picked him an i7-6700HQ. He wanted a more powerful CPU than what he has now (i5-2410) and more RAM, but an i5-6300HQ would have been enough: the problem is that he wanted an Asus, since he likes the brand, and all available Asus with i5-6300HQ had just 4 GB RAM, which isn't enough. When I suggested he could put an additional 4 GB of RAM in an i5-6300HQ machine, he winced as if I suggested heart surgery.
That's why I asked so much about the reliability of SSDs. Not because of back-ups, but because my pal thinks of replacing parts in his machines as something akin to vivisection and drives are (or were, more exactly, until SSDs became more common) the most breakable component.
 
bfg-9000
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Re: SSD reliability

Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:18 pm

Well, the RMA numbers for 2015-2016 from the largest retailer in Europe are as follows:
HDD
Seagate 0,72%
Toshiba 0,80%
Western 1,04%
HGST 1,13%

SSD
Samsung 0,20%
Intel 0,27%
Crucial 0,28%
Kingston 0,29%
Sandisk 0,62%
Corsair 1,67%

There are notable outliers--256GB Samsung 950 Pro had a whopping 2.33% return rate, likely because some people who bought it discovered their M.2 slot didn't support NVMe...

Backblaze is the place to look for HDD failure rates, at least in their high-vibration cabinets with 24/7 use, but they don't use SSDs. I would guess many laptop HDDs die from impact.

I will say in case of failure, data is much more likely to be recoverable from a HDD than a SSD. SSDs have a rated write life, and for example a 34nm Intel SSD may be rated to only 15TB of writes, but that's with a guarantee of still holding the data after 1yr power-off. Someone wrote an incredible 1759TB to a 40GB X25-V but near the end it would lose data after only a few hours power-off

BTW Windows will by default actually defrag a SSD once a month if System Restore is enabled as it speeds up volsnap, in addition to the weekly TRIM
 
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Re: SSD reliability

Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:27 pm

bfg-9000 wrote:
I will say in case of failure, data is much more likely to be recoverable from a HDD than a SSD. SSDs have a rated write life, and for example a 34nm Intel SSD may be rated to only 15TB of writes, but that's with a guarantee of still holding the data after 1yr power-off. Someone wrote an incredible 1759TB to a 40GB X25-V but near the end it would lose data after only a few hours power-off

Really depends on the failure scenario. Many SSDs go into read-only mode once they get to the end of their rated write life, and the data is still recoverable. If a head on a HDD fails, then anything on that platter is gone for good unless you want to pay big bucks to a data recovery service.
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Noldor
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Re: SSD reliability

Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:06 pm

just brew it! wrote:
bfg-9000 wrote:
I will say in case of failure, data is much more likely to be recoverable from a HDD than a SSD. SSDs have a rated write life, and for example a 34nm Intel SSD may be rated to only 15TB of writes, but that's with a guarantee of still holding the data after 1yr power-off. Someone wrote an incredible 1759TB to a 40GB X25-V but near the end it would lose data after only a few hours power-off

Really depends on the failure scenario. Many SSDs go into read-only mode once they get to the end of their rated write life, and the data is still recoverable. If a head on a HDD fails, then anything on that platter is gone for good unless you want to pay big bucks to a data recovery service.


What is the difference between bad sectors and a head failure? I've read about people experiencing hdd crashes, but I've never had any catastrophical failure, even though I've used quite a lot of hdds. I had some drives which went bad in the past (all of them external, never had any trouble with an internal HDD), starting to develop bad sectors, but at no point did they become completely unreadable: yes, the data written in the bad sectors was no longer recoverable, but the rest of it was fine.

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