SSDs longevity and reliability - how do they compare to HDDs?


SSDs are gaining in popularity for a number of reasons; cost is coming down, storage capacity is increasing, and the current shortage of HDDs due to the flooding in Thailand, just to name a few. But how does the longevity compare to HDDs? HDDs are what I would consider a pretty mature technology, and generally provide long and reliable service. In the past, SSDs did not have a sterling reputation for a long service life. How do SSDs today perform with respect to longevity and reliability?

Tags: hardware, HDD, SSD
Topic: Hardware
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3 total
Vote Up (31)

The way SSD storage works is different than a HDD, as you probably know.  On the upside, there are no moving parts for flash memory, so you don't have to worry about mechanical wear from moving a mechanical wear around to read data, so head crash is a thing of the past.  There is an erasing limit on the flash memory cells and when that limit is reached, SSDs will not be able to write (data is erased when data is written, and yes I know that sounds circular, but there you go, it erases old data before it writes new data, it cannot over-write like a HDD).  Once that limit is reached, which depending on the firmware is 5,000 to 10,000 operations, a SSD becomes read only, so most of the time your data is still accessible.  The upside is that usually you can calculate life remaining so that you are not faced with a sudden and unanticipated failure.  Usually.  Like anything else in life, SSDs are not perfect, and you can sometimes have a failure occur without warning. 

Vote Up (27)

Hi rtrembley,

You might want to check out this article from Tom's Hardware. It looks at whether or not SSDs are more reliable than HDDs. I think you will find it helpful.

Investigation: Is Your SSD More Reliable Than A Hard Drive?,2923.html

"Reliability is a sensitive subject, and we've spent many hours on the phone with multiple vendors and their customers trying to conduct our own research based on the SSDs that are currently being used en masse. The only definitive conclusion we can reach right now is that you should take any claim of reliability from an SSD vendor with a grain of salt.

Giving credit where it is due, many of the IT managers we interviewed reiterated that Intel's SLC-based SSDs are the shining standard by which others are measured. But according to Dr. Hughes, there's nothing to suggest that its products are significantly more reliable than the best hard drive solutions. We don’t have failure rates beyond two years of use for SSDs, so it’s possible that this story will change. Should you be deterred from adopting a solid-state solution? So long as you protect your data through regular backups, which is imperative regardless of your preferred storage technology, then we don't see any reason to shy away from SSDs. To the contrary, we're running them in all of our test beds and most of our personal workstations. Rather, our purpose here is to call into question the idea that SSDs are definitely more reliable than hard drives, based on today's limited backup for such a claim.

Hard drives are well-documented in massive studies because they've been around for so long. We'll undoubtedly learn more about SSDs as time goes on. "

Vote Up (18)

YOU MUST NEVER DEFRAG an SSD drive as this WEARS the MEDIA. there is nothing to be gained

defragging the media since data is not stored the same way as on a HDD. also note that VISTA does

not offer all the functions required by an SSD drive while win7 and win8 does have the extra routines.


hope this helps

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