SSDs Have High Failure Rate?

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News Posted: Mon, Mar 17 2008 11:16 PM
Conventional wisdom says that solid state drives (SSDs) should have lower failure rates than their mechanical counterparts simply because SSDs lack moving parts.  Sadly, it seems that theory and reality have clashed once again:

“A large computer manufacturer is getting around 20 percent to 30 percent of the flash-based notebooks it is shipping sent back because of failure rates and performance that simply isn't meeting customer expectations, the firm stated in a report on Monday. Avian gathered this information on a recent swing through Asia.

Approximately 10 percent to 20 percent of the flash notebooks shipping from the large manufacturer are coming back because of technical failure, (Avi) Cohen (of Avian Securities) said, far higher than the 1 percent to 2 percent of notebooks that come back because of technical failure with hard drives.”


Since this study only concerns products from a single company, it is entirely possible that they're placing orders from a limited number of SSD manufacturers.  As a result this could simply be a 'bad batch' or the result of an immature manufacturing process and/or QA procedures that need to be updated.
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AjayD replied on Tue, Mar 18 2008 3:54 AM
A very logical assessment Chad, I would have to agree. These failure rates are far to high and disproportionate to those of HDs. In all likelihood the notebook manufacturer decided to increase their profit margins by buying the cheapest SSDs they could find. Even if this were a 'bad batch', that would still mean the manufacturer has done insufficient product testing and has very poor quality control. Hopefully this is remote enough of an occurrence not to tarnish the reputation of SSDs.

 

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ice91785 replied on Tue, Mar 18 2008 7:15 AM
They are still basically in the infancy of their life -- of course its going to take a while to hone them to a find tuned piece of hardware. Until the formula is just right...there will always be a fail here and there which will taper away with time

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Marco C replied on Tue, Mar 18 2008 9:00 AM
Everyone also has to keep in mind that flash storage can only be written to a certain amount of times before they fail (usually a few hundred thousand times). So, if an SSD's usuage pattern requires many writes and rewrites, it will be prone to failure.

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frg1 replied on Tue, Mar 18 2008 9:05 AM

  i thought they had special wear reducing algorthiums for this

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ice91785 replied on Tue, Mar 18 2008 9:40 AM
So just out of curiosity BigWop -- what would you say the average read/write rate of a PC is in the course of a day? And by comparison how long would flash storage last an average user

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digitaldd replied on Tue, Mar 18 2008 4:52 PM

frg1:

  i thought they had special wear reducing algorthiums for this

yes they're similar to what is used in regular hard drives, although they haven't developed anything like S.M.A.R.T. for SSDs yet. Basically an SSD drive is a certain % larger than its stated size the extra space is for error correction so when an area on the SSD fails they swap in a good block from the extra space just like a regular hard disk. SSDs also have another means to make them last longer. Whenever an SSD is written to the bits are moved to different areas on the disk so that the entire SSD wears evenly and one single area isn't always being written to.

Another factor that willaffect how long an SSD lasts is what type of flash memory is used to create it. Did the vendor use the cheapo MLC flash memory that a lot of usb thumb drives & memory cards use or is made of SLC NAND flash which tends to last 5-10 times longer than the MLC stuff. You would think with the cost of SSDs they would all be made from the SLC NAND flash chips but that isn't true.

 

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frg1 replied on Tue, Mar 18 2008 5:35 PM

 you think if they used chepo memory the prices would be lower than what they are now

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Marco C replied on Tue, Mar 18 2008 7:46 PM
I can't really comment intelligently on that. Not sure at all.

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frg1 replied on Tue, Mar 18 2008 7:54 PM

 i guess they like taking are money

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peti1212 replied on Tue, Mar 18 2008 9:03 PM

I don't think I will be getting a solid state drive for a few years just yet. I don't see the good thing about it if you do not have a notebook, and it also seems like the technology is just too raw at the moment for them. I'll wait a bit till everything gets fixed.

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frg1 replied on Tue, Mar 18 2008 9:04 PM

if i want something fast i will just get a raptor

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Anne@Dell replied on Wed, Mar 19 2008 9:11 AM

The recently published analyst report estimating a high return rate for Solid State Drive technology (SSD) in Dell products is unfounded and wholly inaccurate.  We've posted our  responce on Dell's external blog, www.direct2dell.com.

Dell sees SSD as the future of mobility storage and offers the technology across a wide variety of laptop models, including business, consumer and mobile workstations. Second Generation SSDs, like Samsung’s SATA II Drive, actually outperform existing notebook drives. Dell is offering this drive (called the Dell Flash Ultra Performance SSD) across our laptop portfolio.

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trueg50 replied on Wed, Mar 19 2008 9:41 AM

 Well, this is simply a normal developmental cycle.

 

 First generation of any product will be slow / higher failure rate, but they will improve, and will be superior.

 

Some company was talking about the limited writes, their solution was to throw several gigs of something sort of like RAM for use as a page file / virtual memory. 

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frg1 replied on Wed, Mar 19 2008 10:11 AM

 like a really big cache

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digitaldd replied on Wed, Mar 19 2008 12:19 PM

Anne@Dell:

The recently published analyst report estimating a high return rate for Solid State Drive technology (SSD) in Dell products is unfounded and wholly inaccurate.  We've posted our  responce on Dell's external blog, www.direct2dell.com.

Dell sees SSD as the future of mobility storage and offers the technology across a wide variety of laptop models, including business, consumer and mobile workstations. Second Generation SSDs, like Samsung’s SATA II Drive, actually outperform existing notebook drives. Dell is offering this drive (called the Dell Flash Ultra Performance SSD) across our laptop portfolio.

 

 

So do you know if dell is selling SSDs with the MLC or SLC flash memory in them? or do i have to buy one to find out? 

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frg1 replied on Wed, Mar 19 2008 12:28 PM

 probably just a hardrive labeled as a ssd

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replied on Wed, Mar 19 2008 3:49 PM

hybrid disk drives aren't that good either

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frg1 replied on Wed, Mar 19 2008 6:46 PM

like isaid before if you want good relible speed get a raptor 

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ice91785 replied on Thu, Mar 20 2008 10:14 PM

raptor will give you speed yes -- but the fact that they are 10000RPM creates a lot more heat/vibration and actually makes them more susceptible to failure than would a lot of 7200RPM drives.....

If you want reliabilty and speed -- you would need a few raptors in a Raid 5 or something of the sort

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frg1 replied on Thu, Mar 20 2008 10:18 PM

i still think a raptor is more realible than a ssd is at the moment 

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replied on Fri, Mar 21 2008 8:01 AM

The SSD however,is completely silent,and the Raptor is louder than a lot of normal performance hard-drives.

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frg1 replied on Fri, Mar 21 2008 1:02 PM

get a silencer it will still be cheaper to get a hdd silencer and the raptor  than a ssd alone 

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ice91785 replied on Fri, Mar 21 2008 10:09 PM

frg1:
i still think a raptor is more realible than a ssd is at the moment

 

Based on what?

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willardcw4 replied on Fri, Mar 21 2008 10:28 PM

id say based on the price performance point :) you can get a nice WD hard drive for a lot less than a comparable SSD (size wise)... and i've been reading a lot of articles talking about the prematurity of SSDs, they arn't necessarily more efficient and can in some cases, be less efficient... hell, I could setup a Raid 0+1 for less money that an SSD.... 500 GB HDs are cheaapp!

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ice91785 replied on Fri, Mar 21 2008 10:39 PM

well yes that addresses the performance but not the reliability issue.........

I would tend to agree with you on the RAID -- really what is stopping you from RAID 5; you get performance AND reliability this way. SSD still has a ways to go in terms of both but just the fact that we are talking about it alone shows that SSD is obviously a player in the "storage" game :)

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frg1 replied on Sat, Mar 22 2008 1:31 AM

well im basing the raptor observation off friends who have gotting them  they have never had a problem the oldest one out of the group is only over 1.5 years old but if ssd are failing at this rate it would seem to me the raptor as more realible though i have never seen a ssd so you could be enterly right

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Some people compared the newest Seagate 7200.11 drives with the Raptor and they said it does pretty well regarding the performance compared to the Raptor.So if you put 2 Seagates in Raid,I guess you get a much better performance,more storage space than a single Raptor 

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zingwaves replied on Mon, May 31 2010 3:46 AM

THIS 20% TO 30% FAILURE RATE HAS ALREADY BEEN CONFIRMED A BOGUS CLAIM made by some uninformed "journalist". SSD's are actually very reliable instead.

THIS 20% TO 30% FAILURE RATE HAS ALREADY BEEN CONFIRMED A BOGUS CLAIM made by some uninformed "journalist". SSD's are actually very reliable instead.

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