back to article The Hardware mid-life crisis

The good old PC, along with the phone, is today the main, if not only, interface that users have to IT systems and services. The experience that people have of their personal system often colours their perception of how well IT does its job, regardless of how well run the rest of IT is. Most PCs get to have a long life in …

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Silver badge

Anybody any data

on how long PCs with SSD storage last before requiring the SSD to be replaced?

I know that flash memory is getting better, but even with data shuffling and sparing, I expect to see SSD needing to be replaced before a spinning disk. Any chance of such devices lasting 6 years of daily use?

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SSD

Depends on the SSD. Datacentre grade SSD is nothing like the slow, write limitted USB fobs we all carry. Indeed, its sweet spot is in the areas with the most active I/O, where the absence of rotational latency speeds things along.

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Coat

SSDs? No way...

Please don't try to justify the upgrade to SSDs. Companies that rely on heavy storage usage, either on a wall-to-wall rack or on desktops would have high-spec machines already, with high performance storage anyways, before the introduction of SSDs. Only top notch, elite desktops would have this kind of upgrade justified. On notebooks, only rugged usage would justify that. For regular usage, you can buy 5-10 times more storage and a SATA controller wtih any form of RAID for the same price of a single SSD.(considering retail prices). Do you work for WD or Samsung, by any chance?

On the other hand, memory upgrade is a charm on outdated machines. I mean, really outdated. Provided you can find the old memory, a machine with 512MB that can jump to 2GB will increase performance 8-12-fold. I tested it myself on a number of occasions. Chances are, these crusty old PCs will be running Win98 or XP or some proprietary OS or software in exclusive mode, in the back of a warehouse, gathering dust or something, and are surely already using the world famous disk-swap-HDD-LED-always-lit-up scheme, and they've been doing that for the past 5-8 years. For people with really tight budgets, memory pays off.

SSDs are just a fad, where high performance is essential. It would never justify to take a 5-year old machine and slap a SSD in it, not upgrading anything else. Chances are, there are even no SATA controllers on it, to begin with. Outside the top (boss) notebook, it is a Catch-22 to justify this sort of upgrade.

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FAIL

Fail

I have several "old" machines under my pervue, and the end users complain about how "slow" they are, even with 1-2GB of RAM. I could bump them up to 4GB, true, but that won't make them "faster" to the end user. What is my solution? A "cheap" 40GB SSD (Sandforce controller mind you) and the old clunker now boots XP to login in 7-12 seconds. Applications open instantly (and all the other SSD "fad" news). This absolutely would NOT be accomplished by more RAM. Why? The data still has to come from the hard drive. The upgrade cost roughly what 4GB of RAM would have, and IMHO is a much more noticeable performance boost. For the RAM people, I did upgrade the RAM to 2GB as well, pushing spare sticks down the line, saving a bit of cash. Loads cheaper than buying a new machine which would still have exhibited the same "slowness" troubles in 3 months.

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Headmaster

Longer than that

How about 51 years using the worst case scenario http://www.storagesearch.com/ssdmyths-endurance.html ? Probably a bit optimistic ...

The guy was trying to correct the myths about "write endurance". Also this report http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/apple/2010/07/01/mac-ssd-performance-trim-in-osx/1 looked at the TRIM command on SSD and found that there was some performance degradation over time with Windows 7 and TRIM but not with Mac OS X (lacking TRIM). So the way that the OS uses the drive can have an impact.

I'd treat an SSD like the motherboard or an expansion card in terms of worrying about failure or replacement so 6-10 years seems about right. Whereas I plan for my office HDD to fail after 18-24 months :)

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Silver badge

Many years

Each physical sector of flash may only last 100000 erase cycles, but the controller has wear levelling so many writes to a single logical sector will be converted to a few writes to many physical sectors. As there are about 1000000 physical sectors in my small SSDs, they should survive 1000 writes per second 24/7 for 3 years. In real life, desktops do not get thrashed anything like that hard. I would expect my small SSDs to outlast my big video storage drive.

As SSDs get bigger, they get more physical sectors, and so last longer. A more modern drive would have a bigger DRAM cache, so fewer writes make it past the cache to cause erase cycles. I switched to SSDs 13 months ago and I have yet to notice any degradation of performance whatsoever.

Other people have reported reductions in performance - usually with drives packed full of data (some of them were ignorant enough to defrag their SSD). I recommend leaving about 10% of the capacity unpartitioned. This gives the wear levelling algorithm more choices so it rarely has to move static data onto worn sectors while you are busy. Using the Trim command also helps. (When you delete a file, the drive does not know that the data is no longer needed, so it cannot increase the pool of erased sectors unless the operating system follows the delete with trim commands for the relevant sectors.)

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WTF?

Odd article.

This seems to be giving advice than any IT tech worth their salt would know anyway. How odd.

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Yag

well...

Some of us are not IT tech, but still interested in such informations...

I actually find this article a bit shot

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Big Brother

Full HDD encryption...

...is in the vast majority of cases a solution looking for a problem, that only creates more problems than it solves. How many people could honestly say they work with data that are either remotely sensitive, or remotely likely to be a target for theft, let alone both?

The computer privacy conspiracy theorists seem to have taken over Blighty!

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FAIL

Sods

As a member of the IT community dealing with Healthcare, full disk encryption is standard practice. So yes, I would consider myself among that number that can "honestly say they work with data that are either remotely sensitive, or remotely likely to be a target for theft, let alone both?" No privacy conspiracy needed.

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