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Solid State Drives

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
How really reliable is the solid state drive compared to the regular hard drive?
post #2 of 5
You can't lose your data if it fails.

You know, unless you punch four inch nails through the drive.

SSD fails? Everything on it is still readable. HDD fails? Take the platters out, put them in another drive, hope they're still readable.

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post #3 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You can't lose your data if it fails.

Not quite. The controllers apparently map the data out in different ways so if your controller dies, you can't get the data back without the exact same controller, with the exact same firmware from the same manufacturer or a custom one that behaves the same way at least.

Just like a HDD platter, the NAND could be transplanted into another device (even one not using an official controller e.g software controller maybe) but it's likely not something you could do yourself. What would be quite cool is if the SSD manufacturers were able to provide a software override for the controller for the particular SSD and that way you could recover the data yourself, possibly wipe it and RMA the drive to the manufacturer if it failed.

I'd say the best thing about the NAND recovery is that it wouldn't require a clean environment to do it in so the cost of setting up an SSD recovery lab should be less and all that would be required is a thorough knowledge of how each SSD controller and firmware maps out the data.

As for the likelihood of a failure comparing SSD to HDD, manufacturers have claimed they are around the same rate. There is a report here supposedly from manufacturer data from December 2010:

http://forums.storagereview.com/inde...o-hard-drives/
http://www.hardware.fr/articles/810-...omposants.html

The data would suggest:

- SSD failure rates are in the region of HDD, around 2%
- 2TB HDDs have pretty high failure rates, up to 10%
- Intel's SSD is the most reliable at just 0.6%
- OCZ SSDs are the least reliable with 5x Intel's failure rate

Someone on Newegg had posted they managed a bunch of computers and installed quite a few Intel SSDs without 1 failure but had to RMA a few OCZ drives but they could have worked for Intel you never know.

Not that OCZ's rate is all that bad vs HDD anyway but if you're going to get one for reliability, Intel's seem to be the best. It would be interesting to see what Apple's own SSD failure rates are with their Toshiba controllers.

The rates listed above seem higher than I'd expect too. In the best case of Intel, you are talking about 1 in 170 drives being returned. The HDD rates are probably higher than listed too as you wouldn't necessarily return a broken HDD given that they are so cheap but pretty much every failed SSD would be returned.

Intel just came out with the 320 series 25nm drives too. Pricing could be worse but still around $1.90 per GB:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...20320%20series
http://www.amazon.com/Intel-2-5-Inch...ata/B004T0DNI8

The sizes are annoying though - either 160GB (too small) or 300GB (slightly more than necessary). Decent prices would be:

256GB for $199
512GB for $299
1TB for $499

The best hope is to buy older SSDs once all the new ones arrive. Anand just reviewed the C400 so it shouldn't be long before it comes out and there have been some ok prices on the C300.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Not quite. The controllers apparently map the data out in different ways so if your controller dies, you can't get the data back without the exact same controller, with the exact same firmware from the same manufacturer or a custom one that behaves the same way at least.

Just like a HDD platter, the NAND could be transplanted into another device (even one not using an official controller e.g software controller maybe) but it's likely not something you could do yourself. What would be quite cool is if the SSD manufacturers were able to provide a software override for the controller for the particular SSD and that way you could recover the data yourself, possibly wipe it and RMA the drive to the manufacturer if it failed.

I'd say the best thing about the NAND recovery is that it wouldn't require a clean environment to do it in so the cost of setting up an SSD recovery lab should be less and all that would be required is a thorough knowledge of how each SSD controller and firmware maps out the data.

As for the likelihood of a failure comparing SSD to HDD, manufacturers have claimed they are around the same rate. There is a report here supposedly from manufacturer data from December 2010:

http://forums.storagereview.com/inde...o-hard-drives/
http://www.hardware.fr/articles/810-...omposants.html

The data would suggest:

- SSD failure rates are in the region of HDD, around 2%
- 2TB HDDs have pretty high failure rates, up to 10%
- Intel's SSD is the most reliable at just 0.6%
- OCZ SSDs are the least reliable with 5x Intel's failure rate

Someone on Newegg had posted they managed a bunch of computers and installed quite a few Intel SSDs without 1 failure but had to RMA a few OCZ drives but they could have worked for Intel you never know.

Not that OCZ's rate is all that bad vs HDD anyway but if you're going to get one for reliability, Intel's seem to be the best. It would be interesting to see what Apple's own SSD failure rates are with their Toshiba controllers.

The rates listed above seem higher than I'd expect too. In the best case of Intel, you are talking about 1 in 170 drives being returned. The HDD rates are probably higher than listed too as you wouldn't necessarily return a broken HDD given that they are so cheap but pretty much every failed SSD would be returned.

Intel just came out with the 320 series 25nm drives too. Pricing could be worse but still around $1.90 per GB:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...20320%20series
http://www.amazon.com/Intel-2-5-Inch...ata/B004T0DNI8

The sizes are annoying though - either 160GB (too small) or 300GB (slightly more than necessary). Decent prices would be:

256GB for $199
512GB for $299
1TB for $499

The best hope is to buy older SSDs once all the new ones arrive. Anand just reviewed the C400 so it shouldn't be long before it comes out and there have been some ok prices on the C300.

Thanks for your excellent and descriptive explanation of the SSD vs the HD.Maybe I will wait a while.
post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by marvfox View Post

Thanks for your excellent and descriptive explanation of the SSD vs the HD.Maybe I will wait a while.

There is absolutely no reason to wait. A decent 2nd Gen SSD can be had for $1.25 a GB. While expensive the performance from one of these drive is second to none. Add to that the benefit of zero moving parts and lower power consumption. They are excellent laptop drives.

As with all computers... backup... backup... backup.

2011 13" Core i5 Macbook Pro | Intel 520 SSD | 8GB Corsair DDR3 1333 | OSX 10.7
iPhone 4S - AT&T

iPad 3 Wi-Fi

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2011 13" Core i5 Macbook Pro | Intel 520 SSD | 8GB Corsair DDR3 1333 | OSX 10.7
iPhone 4S - AT&T

iPad 3 Wi-Fi

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