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In the end, there can be none
The SSD Endurance Experiment represents the longest test TR has ever conducted. It's been a lot of work, but the results have also been gratifying. Over the past 18 months, we've watched modern SSDs easily write far more data than most consumers will ever need. Errors didn't strike the Samsung 840 Series until after 300TB of writes, and it took over 700TB to induce the first failures. The fact that the 840 Pro exceeded 2.4PB is nothing short of amazing, even if that achievement is also kind of academic.

Obviously, the limited sample size precludes drawing definitive conclusions about the durability and reliability of the individual drives. The second HyperX's against-all-odds campaign past 2PB demonstrates that some SSDs are simply tougher than others. The important takeaway is that all of the drives wrote hundreds of terabytes without any problems. Their collective endurance is a meaningful result.

The Corsair, Intel, and Kingston SSDs all issued SMART warnings before their deaths, giving users plenty of time to preserve their data. The HyperX's warnings ended up being particularly premature, but that's better than no warning at all. Samsung's own software pronounced the 840 Series and 840 Pro to be in good health before their respective deaths. Worryingly, the 840 Series' uncorrectable errors didn't change that cheery assessment.

If you write a lot of data, keep an eye out for warning messages, because SSDs don't always fail gracefully. Among the ones we tested, only the Intel 335 Series and first HyperX remained accessible at the end. Even those bricked themselves after a reboot. The others were immediately unresponsive, possibly because they were overwhelmed by incoming writes before attempted resuscitation.

Also, watch for bursts of reallocated sectors. The steady burn rates of the 840 Series and 840 Pro show that SSDs can live long and productive lives even as they sustain mounting flash failures. However, sudden massacres that deviate from the drive's established pattern may hint at impending death, as they did for the Neutron GTX and the first HyperX.

Given everything we've learned, it's not really appropriate to end the experiment by crowning an official winner. But the 840 Pro wrote the most data, so it deserves to take center stage as the final curtain closes. It asked to perform a rendition of Gloria Gaynor's I will survive, and I couldn't say no.

At first I was pristine
Untouched and unwritten
And completely unaware
Of the life that I'd be livin'
But then you locked me in this case
A spectacle for all to see
And in that moment I resolved
Not to let you get to me

First we were six
All SSDs
Just lab rats in the crosshairs
Trying to cope with this disease
Electrons tunnel through our cells
With every write we slowly bleed
But all you seem to care about
Is the specs that we exceed

Go on, now watch
The gigs add up
An endless stream of files
Just to see if we'll get stuck
As one by one my friends around me slowly fall
Do you think I'll follow
Do you think I'm gonna hit the wall

Oh no, not I
I will survive
As long as I know how to write
I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my cells to give
And a persistent will to live
I will survive
I will survive, yeah yeah

Thousands of cells retired
All just to keep me whole
And still spares in reserve
So I don't lose control
I outlasted all my rivals
In this endurance race to death
And I won't lie
It puts a twinkle in my eye

And now you see me as somebody new
I'm not that chaste, naive virgin
Tryna prove something to you
'cause I took all of your best shots
Without a single error shown
You know I've written way more data
Than all of you have ever known

Go on, now watch
The gigs pile up
More senseless random files
Just to see if I'll get stuck
SMART money says that I've got miles in the tank
I ain't gonna stop now
And you can take that to the bank

Oh no, not I
I will survive
As long as I know how to wri

This whole "new media" business demands that I ask you to follow me on Twitter.TR

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