back to article Samsung's latest 2TB SSDs have big hats, but where's the cattle?

Samsung’s 2TB SSDs have long warranties, but not much capacity for total lifetime data written. While being the largest consumer SSDs to date and having 5-year (EVO) and 7-year (PRO) warranties, the drives don’t actually have impressive numbers with regard to the total TB written over the life of the drives. The 2TB 850 EVO …

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  2. Fuzz

    Just a warranty figure

    The 150 or 300 TB figure is just for the warranty. Anandtech have a good write up on this here http://www.anandtech.com/show/8239/update-on-samsung-850-pro-endurance-vnand-die-size

    They reckon that for a worst possible case the 1TB version would withstand 430GB per day for 5 years.

    The old 256GB 840 Pro managed to clock up 2.1PB in the tech report test http://techreport.com/review/27909/the-ssd-endurance-experiment-theyre-all-dead/2

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just a warranty figure

      Exactly, the official Samsung p/e cycles rating for all of their 3D-VNAND products is very conservative. Real world numbers seem to be much higher, giving plenty of durability even for heavy users.

      Now the real question is why does Samsung rate them so conservatively? It's not really good PR.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just a warranty figure

        Actually, I think it's a terrific idea. Better to assume the worst and be pleasantly surprised than to hope for the best and be disappointed.

  3. Nate Amsden

    for me at least

    My Samsung 850 PRO ~500GB drive has written about 9TB of data since about last August (on my primary computer), at that rate the new stuff would easily work for me.

    1. Jim Willsher

      Re: for me at least

      Just checked mine, I have an 840 EVO which I've had for a couple of years I reckon. 931GB capacity, and I've written 14.52TB overall. And my laptop is in use all day, every day. Looking at SMART I have 7755 power-on hours (861 cycles).

      So either of the shiny new devices would be very welcome on my desk. Thank you, I'll clear some space.

  4. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    I examined all 4 endpoints in my house and we've an average about 2.5TB since the beginning of July written. We use these for watching videos, browsing the web, playing games and doing work. (Mostly writing, photo manipulation and very rarely some minor video work.) We occasionally do some data recovery for a friend, but that's about it.

    We do use the computers intensively. 8-16 hours a day, as they are our work boxes, as well as our home entertainment systems, but 150TB - which is what one of the new Samsung 2TB drives guarantees for writes) is just not enough. Even 300TB is low.

    Maybe ever shrinking processes aren't the answer to SSDs. Maybe we need more chips of a lower process to keep the write limits up.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Watching videos does not write.

      Browsing the web barely writes (hell, I don't even bother with anything but in-ram caching nowadays)

      Playing games does not write at all (maybe swap, but that's an indicator of an under-RAM system more than a drive problem).

      Sorry, I just don't believe you've WRITTEN 2.5Tb in a handful of days. If you have, you are certainly NOT a normal use-case. This isn't a RAID or server drive, most people don't download or create 2.5Tb of new content in a WEEK. And every other type of write is incidentally, small and fleeting.

      I use my computer 24 hours a day, effectively. When I'm not doing something, it is. But 150Tb would last me... years. Even you it would last 60 months, which is 5 years, at your claimed rates of writing.

      To be honest, even one Tb a week is a constant, sustained data writing rate of 1.7Mb/s constantly, 24/7.

      Either your maths is wrong, or whatever you're doing is WAY out of the scope of normal drives anyway.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Watching videos does write in that the player buffers the video locally (not just to RAM). We switched to one of these because streaming 1080p over WiFi can be quite shit.

        Games do write. They have *massive* patches on a regular basis. Character files and save games are written locally...in many cases the save games can be quite big.

        Browsing the web writes all sorts of temporary files locally. Hell, Google Earth alone is pretty big; my Earth directory is something like 20GB of cache.

        Windows updates. All the applications run updates. Over and over and over...it adds up.

        I have maybe created 100-150GB of new content on this drive in the past week and a half, but the system just doing its thing has churned through rather a lot of writes.

        Maybe you lot should actually update things once in a while...

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          I have a Steam account with 1000 games. They all update. They all save. They get a LOT of playtime

          I have an Origin account. Same. I have Desura and GOG and all kinds of games.

          I have a development environment for Windows.

          I have VM's for Linux, Mac (cough) and Windows.

          I have development environments in each of those two.

          I have all the browsers.

          I have updates.

          I have every photo ever taken by me, thousands of games, even more emulators (a full MAME is easily hundreds of Gigs).

          ****ALL ON THE SAME LAPTOP****

          I still don't get that amount of writes. You're not measuring the right thing or your computer is so drastically short of RAM that it's swapping constantly and you haven't noticed.

          I certainly don't see where you're getting your numbers applying to the average person (this is a CONSUMER drive). Look at Internet download speeds and bandwidth caps. You just can't download that much as an average user, let alone write it to disk. Users are not "creating" this amount of data and not writing it as a matter of course just by having their computers on. And we're power-users here, not amateurs. I have networks putting Tbs of data every week at work, from servers and SANs capable of ludicrous write numbers. But for a standard SSD drive, you are NOT going to wear it out before a normal hard drive with even your usage - as said, the warranty would cover you for FIVE YEARS at your usage (not ten, as they may state, but your usage is way at the top of the bell-curve here).

          Game "downloads", saved games, temporary Internet files and the rubbish about things "buffering video to disk" are just laughable, sorry. Video editing, possibly, but any amount of that veering into Tbs or writing is NOT every day usage and needs proper storage.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Gotta disagree. A few tereabytes a month written is really not that big a deal. "consumer" drives basically mean "everything that is not server". You shouldn't have to put server drives into your business desktops. An endpoint drive is an endpoint drive.

            Maybe what they should do is sell this marketed to as "for aunt Tilly who never uses her computer for anything except the internet". You know, people who think the little blue "e" is the internet, that the box under their desk it "the hard drive" and who smack the monitor when the computer doesn't do what they expect?

            And then they can sell real endpoint drives for people who actually use their computers for everything from CAD to entertainment, and who aren't limited by the speed of their internet connections.

        2. JP19

          "because streaming 1080p over WiFi can be quite shit."

          So you have written 2.5TB this month (9 days) using the computer(s) 12 hours a day on average. That is 6.4MB for every power on second, or about 51Mb per second and you are connected by WiFi that you say can't reliably stream 1080p which needs about 15Mb per second.

          9 days solid of 1080p video is only 1.5TB.

          "Maybe you lot should actually update things once in a while..."

          As far as I am concerned you made a mistake which is forgiveable, being a dick about it not so much.

        3. Orv Silver badge

          Man, I'd love to know what ISP lets you download 2+ TB of data. Comcast limits me to around 250 GB/month before they start to complain.

          1. Daniel B.

            Man, I'd love to know what ISP lets you download 2+ TB of data. Comcast limits me to around 250 GB/month before they start to complain.

            Any other ISP, I'd think. Especially ISPs outside the US.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              My standard package is 2TB/month. I can go over that once in a while without the ISP griping, but usually stay under it.

              It's not "unlimited", but it may as well be. One particularly busy month hit just under 5TB

          2. Jim Willsher

            I get 1TB/month allowance. Sadly I'm only on an 8Mb connection, but soon to move house with a 80Mb connection.

      2. Daniel B.
        Boffin

        Playing games does not write at all (maybe swap, but that's an indicator of an under-RAM system more than a drive problem).

        Only if you're playing shit social games.

        Every single game ever saves something to disk. Especially the newer "Call of Halo" genre games that insist in autosaving after every action.

        And high HDD/SSD write amounts are credible. My monthly disk write stats may be near the 1TB mark if you were to base 'em on my current uptime (6 hours, 7.51 GB written). I got to agree with Trevor_Pott here, especially as my coworker has already killed an SSD, it lasted him ~14 months.

    2. JP19

      "about 2.5TB since the beginning of July written"

      I find that very hard to believe. I have a 500G 840 EVO used as the system drive, with temp directories and swap file. Another partition for documents and another that I use as a temp drive.

      9400 power on hours, 615 power cycles (typically 1 a day) and it has written 8.9TB. It was an upgrade from a 160G Intel SSD which was less than 2% worn out after around 3.5 years.

      At 100MB/s writing 2.5TB would take nearly 7 hours.

    3. Najt

      I will call this a bulls* or error in reading counters/doing math.

      Bellow is data from SSD in our dev/test server and my work laptop.

      Dev/test server:

      102561 GB host writes in 17758 hours --> 5,8 GB per hour writen

      Work laptop:

      8100 GB host writes in 3597 hours --> 2,3 GB per hour writen

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

      (1) M4-CT512M4SSD2

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Model : M4-CT512M4SSD2

      Firmware : 070H

      Serial Number : 000000001205032CDF07

      Disk Size : 512,1 GB (8,4/137,4/512,1/512,1)

      Buffer Size : Neznano

      Queue Depth : 32

      # of Sectors : 1000215216

      Rotation Rate : ---- (SSD)

      Interface : Serial ATA

      Major Version : ACS-2

      Minor Version : ATA8-ACS version 6

      Transfer Mode : SATA/600 | SATA/600

      Power On Hours : 17758 ur

      Power On Count : 27 zag.

      Host Writes : 102561 GB

      NAND Writes : 174441 GB

      Wear Level Count : 343

      Temperature : Neznano

      Health Status : Dobro (96 %)

      Features : S.M.A.R.T., APM, 48bit LBA, NCQ, TRIM

      APM Level : 00FEh [ON]

      AAM Level : ----

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

      (1) INTEL SSDSA2BW160G3L

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Model : INTEL SSDSA2BW160G3L

      Firmware : 4PC1LE04

      Serial Number : BTPR138500LN160DGN

      Disk Size : 160,0 GB (8,4/137,4/160,0/160,0)

      Buffer Size : Neznano

      Queue Depth : 32

      # of Sectors : 312581808

      Rotation Rate : ---- (SSD)

      Interface : Serial ATA

      Major Version : ATA8-ACS

      Minor Version : ATA8-ACS version 4

      Transfer Mode : ---- | SATA/300

      Power On Hours : 3597 ur

      Power On Count : 2152 zag.

      Host Reads : 9405 GB

      Host Writes : 8100 GB

      Temperature : Neznano

      Health Status : Dobro (100 %)

      Features : S.M.A.R.T., 48bit LBA, NCQ, TRIM

      APM Level : ----

      AAM Level : ----

  5. arnieL

    Pah!

    Almost pushed to replace a stack of 600Gb HDD in our main database server with some of these for a major speed and capacity boost. Not with that endurance though - the Revodrive that does tempdb duty has run at an average of 0.2DW/D, so proper database/log drives are going to at least double that (guessing, no stats form the LSI controller to prove either way).

  6. Charles 9 Silver badge

    Any figures on data longevity on these drives without periodic refreshing? Especially compared to spinning rust? The consumer sphere sorely lacks a reliable medium-term (say, 3-7 years) backup medium, and spinning rust IIRC trends towards the low end of that range on a good day.

  7. DougS Silver badge

    Drip feed?

    Who the hell writes over 1 TB of data to their drive a day? All that says is that servers shouldn't use this drive, but for consumers and even professionals (unless you do stuff like video editing or CAD) it would be fine.

    People worry way too much about this, because they never had to think about it with hard drives, but if you check the amount of data you actually write to your drive over a week you'll find you have nothing to worry about.

    1. Daniel B.

      Re: Drip feed?

      Well, my current uptime is 6 hours 27 seconds and according to OSX's Activity Monitor, I've already written 8GBs. And that's w/o counting hibernation er.... "safe sleep" which might write up to 16GB every time my Mac "sleeps".

      So no TB/day worries, but I might actually hit 1TB/mo at this rate.

  8. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    So one (possibly not entirely credible) report suggests that they, with potentially atypically high write rates, would hit the endurance limit in 5 years.

    Oddly enough, that's been the expected lifespan of a magnetic disk for many years.

    From which we can conclude that these SSDs can be expected to last as long as a magnetic drive, although the failure modes will obviously be different.

    So no problem there.

    1. Orv Silver badge

      Pretty much. Even with server-class drives, I definitely notice an uptick in failure rates at around the 6 year mark.

  9. Annihilator

    "A 6 or 7-year warranty sounds good, but many users will be switching to faster replacement drives with more capacity before the warranty period ends, such is the pace of SSD technology development."

    I don't want to be all "640K is enough for anyone" about it, but I'm not convinced that people would be replacing SSDs to get a speedier model. I've been running an 80GB drive as the boot disk for the past 5 years and have no intentions of replacing it.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "I'm not convinced that people would be replacing SSDs to get a speedier model."

      They aren't.

      SSDs are generally more reliable and robust than spinning media, so as soon as SSDs get within reasonable calling distance of magnetic, people upgrade (especially in portable systems, for obvious reasons)

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        They're more reliable, yes, but not big enough yet. Data demands are still growing somewhat which means not everything can go to the SSD drives just yet.

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