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mcvaughan
Feb 17, 2008, 12:25 PM
Well, while enjoying a beautiful, sunny day here I was outside with my MBA surfing the web. I had a few other apps open at the same time like iTunes, QuickTime and Mail. Safari all of a sudden beach balls and I wait a bit until I try doing a force quit on it. After a while I still have no response and I cannot close it. So, I hold my breath while forcing a shutdown with the power button. To make a long story short, I ended up with the flashing question mark on the gray screen. Now I'm doing a remote reinstall from my MBP! :mad:

A beautiful day turned gray... :rolleyes:



mcvaughan
Feb 17, 2008, 12:48 PM
Well, more bad news... I think my SSD has failed. After initializing the remote install from my MBP, nothing shows up for an installation destination. :mad:

I guess I'm off to the Apple store. :(

Cybergypsy
Feb 17, 2008, 12:58 PM
let us know...........

CalMin
Feb 17, 2008, 02:55 PM
Oh man, that's terrible. I though SSD were supposed to be more reliable.

I do agree with your diagnosis though. There's no much that could destabilise OS X in the way you described except for a hardware failure. My XP box craps out after about 6-12months requiring reinstall, but I've never found that to be the case with OS X.

Malcster
Feb 17, 2008, 03:06 PM
Well, more bad news... I think my SSD has failed. After initializing the remote install from my MBP, nothing shows up for an installation destination. :mad:

I guess I'm off to the Apple store. :(

Can you use Disk Utility from the OS X Installer to wipe the drive and have it ready to go? it may not be the answer but its saved me a couple of times.

mcvaughan
Feb 17, 2008, 03:17 PM
well, just got back from the store. Drive is definitely toast -- does not show up in disk utility. Of course, the store had no 1.8/ssd airs in stock, so I am on a waiting list for a new one. Hopefully tomorrow. :(

drchipinski
Feb 17, 2008, 04:30 PM
well, just got back from the store. Drive is definitely toast -- does not show up in disk utility. Of course, the store had no 1.8/ssd airs in stock, so I am oka waiting list for a new one. Hopefully tomorrow. :(

On that note...I will wait for a MBP or a MB, not another MBA

Spievy
Feb 17, 2008, 04:37 PM
Oh man that is insane.. I figured the SSD drives would be more stable (no moving parts).

Malcster
Feb 17, 2008, 04:41 PM
On that note...I will wait for a MBP or a MB, not another MBA

Your judging an entire product line on one hardware failure?

I wont buy another car, i hear one broke down once.

mcvaughan
Feb 17, 2008, 06:00 PM
Your judging an entire product line on one hardware failure?

I wont buy another car, i hear one broke down once.

Agreed. The MBA is a fantastic machine, and there's no reason to pass it over because of isolated failures. It's easy to get a bad one out of thousands and thousands of good ones. I look forward to getting my replacement unit.

CaptainCaveMann
Feb 17, 2008, 06:36 PM
Agreed. The MBA is a fantastic machine, and there's no reason to pass it over because of isolated failures. It's easy to get a bad one out of thousands and thousands of good ones. I look forward to getting my replacement unit.

+1

This is really the first time I've heard of this happening. Overall people seem to be singing the MBA's praises. And I'm stoked about getting one. Be grateful you can afford such a high end machine, period. :cool:

synth3tik
Feb 17, 2008, 06:42 PM
Oh man, that's terrible. I though SSD were supposed to be more reliable.

I do agree with your diagnosis though. There's no much that could destabilise OS X in the way you described except for a hardware failure. My XP box craps out after about 6-12months requiring reinstall, but I've never found that to be the case with OS X.

At their current state SSDs are less reliable, just as fast, and take up about the same amount of power.

Chrispy88
Feb 17, 2008, 06:47 PM
At their current state SSDs are less reliable, just as fast, and take up about the same amount of power.

Where did you hear that they are less reliable? I've heard that they're more reliable and faster at some tasks, slower at others...???

ks-man
Feb 17, 2008, 07:03 PM
Where did you hear that they are less reliable? I've heard that they're more reliable and faster at some tasks, slower at others...???

I'm guessing he's saying they are less reliable since they are less proven. Until they've been around longer as an OS housed drive they must be viewed cautiously. I'm not saying they won't prove to be more reliable but currently people who get an SSD based hard drive are doing so knowing they are a new technology.

That being said, as others have posted we can't judge SSD technology based on one incident. We'll see if more of these posts start to come out.

drchipinski
Feb 17, 2008, 08:16 PM
Your judging an entire product line on one hardware failure?

I wont buy another car, i hear one broke down once.

I am juding it on the fact that I had two defective machines within a 24 hour period....all I have been hearing/reading is that the machine looks good...but let me tell you about the problems it has been having....

That is why I am judging it the way I am .

Personal experience.

Malcster
Feb 18, 2008, 04:42 AM
I am juding it on the fact that I had two defective machines within a 24 hour period....all I have been hearing/reading is that the machine looks good...but let me tell you about the problems it has been having....

That is why I am judging it the way I am .

Personal experience.

Fair do's, i don't know your story as its not in this thread but there are good ones out there.

I thought mine had a battery issue (7 hours to charge) but it turns out it just needs a few charges/discharges to calibrate it. Its now perfect.

Cromulent
Feb 18, 2008, 04:56 AM
Oh man, that's terrible. I though SSD were supposed to be more reliable.

Not at all. Solid state drives are actually rated at a shorter mean time to failure than standard drives.

Malcster
Feb 18, 2008, 06:06 AM
Not at all. Solid state drives are actually rated at a shorter mean time to failure than standard drives.

This is misleading, Hard Disks and SSD's have similar MTBF's but quoted lifespans are where its at, a regular Hard Disk for example will never last long enough to reach its MTBF!

Decent Server Grade Hard disks generally last 50-70k hours, but they have an MTBF of a million hours, no point in having an MTBF that good when the drive will never last that long!

An SSD with quality flash and load levelling algorithms etc. will far outlast a regular hard drive.

steffi
Feb 18, 2008, 10:19 AM
So regarding load leveling algorithims then.

Does the drive do anything to spread the writes across the drive? ie. not repeatedly write to the same part of the drive?

This is misleading, Hard Disks and SSD's have similar MTBF's but quoted lifespans are where its at, a regular Hard Disk for example will never last long enough to reach its MTBF!

Decent Server Grade Hard disks generally last 50-70k hours, but they have an MTBF of a million hours, no point in having an MTBF that good when the drive will never last that long!

An SSD with quality flash and load levelling algorithms etc. will far outlast a regular hard drive.

mcvaughan
Feb 18, 2008, 10:10 PM
Ugh. Well, no SSD shipments at one of my local Apple stores today. I was told to call back tomorrow. How frustrating! I haven't had it two weeks and I'm back to waiting, but now for a replacement. At least I have my MBP, otherwise I'd be dead in the water. I think I can only wait until Friday until I decide to either:

A. return it

or

B. suck it up and buy a 1.6/80 (might be hard knowing the speed of the SSD)

I just have this feeling that there won't be a steady supply of these any time soon.

I guess I'm back to lugging the MBP around for now (not that that's entirely awful. :-))

steve31
Feb 18, 2008, 10:41 PM
Ugh. Well, no SSD shipments at one of my local Apple stores today. I was told to call back tomorrow. How frustrating! I haven't had it two weeks and I'm back to waiting, but now for a replacement. At least I have my MBP, otherwise I'd be dead in the water. I think I can only wait until Friday until I decide to either:

A. return it

or

B. suck it up and buy a 1.6/80 (might be hard knowing the speed of the SSD)

I just have this feeling that there won't be a steady supply of these any time soon.

I guess I'm back to lugging the MBP around for now (not that that's entirely awful. :-))after having the SSD you will never be happy if you dont go ssd...but you can always put an ssd drive in later for cheaper.;)

BlizzardBomb
Feb 19, 2008, 11:28 AM
Not at all. Solid state drives are actually rated at a shorter mean time to failure than standard drives.

I wouldn't say shorter mean time to failure = less reliable. After all, that statistic is useless if it fails in a recent purchase (which can also happen to HDDs).

Current flash technology supposedly lasts over 10 years of regular use and no-one I know uses a 10 year old computer as their primary computer. :)

BryanLyle
Feb 19, 2008, 11:37 AM
Current flash technology supposedly lasts over 10 years of regular use and no-one I know uses a 10 year old computer as their primary computer. :)

True, but I just revived a 9 year old iMac (Strawberry) and installed 10.3 on it. It really is amazing that it actually runs and is useable :) Kids have something they can beat on now.

Sandy Santra
Feb 19, 2008, 03:31 PM
+1

This is really the first time I've heard of this happening. Overall people seem to be singing the MBA's praises.

I second this. I read this board religiously, mostly because I can't afford an MBA SSD (yet), and this is the FIRST time I have heard of an SSD failing. Thanks for posting, otherwise I never would have noticed this stat. Makes me all the more psyched about purchasing the SSD option!

BlizzardBomb
Feb 19, 2008, 03:41 PM
True, but I just revived a 9 year old iMac (Strawberry) and installed 10.3 on it. It really is amazing that it actually runs and is useable :) Kids have something they can beat on now.

Yup, it's amazing how we don't realise that some really old computers can still perform tasks nicely. But like I said, it's likely many people don't use a computer regularly (e.g. daily) for over 10 straight years.

robrose20
Feb 19, 2008, 06:35 PM
Well, while enjoying a beautiful, sunny day here I was outside with my MBA surfing the web. I had a few other apps open at the same time like iTunes, QuickTime and Mail. Safari all of a sudden beach balls and I wait a bit until I try doing a force quit on it. After a while I still have no response and I cannot close it. So, I hold my breath while forcing a shutdown with the power button. To make a long story short, I ended up with the flashing question mark on the gray screen. Now I'm doing a remote reinstall from my MBP! :mad:

A beautiful day turned gray... :rolleyes:

Now can you imagine that you are on an important business trip and it fails and you cannot do a reinstall of the operating system because you haven't brought your external superdrive????????

This thing is not ultraportable ...

MazingerZ
Feb 19, 2008, 06:46 PM
Now can you imagine that you are on an important business trip and it fails and you cannot do a reinstall of the operating system because you haven't brought your external superdrive????????

This thing is not ultraportable ...

Or you are on an important business trip and your hard drive craps out and you can't reinstall because you usually don't bring your OS install disks with you.

Jeeez....did you decide to wake up today and bash the MBA again? :rolleyes:

mcvaughan
Feb 20, 2008, 03:47 PM
Update:

Since my Air is less than two weeks old, I'm being sent a box to send it in for repair. I was hoping that a retail store could replace it, but since my Air was a CTO order which included the SuperDrive, I have to send it in.

I guess the lesson here is that you should buy locally, or to not do a custom order to avoid having to mail it in for any issues. :rolleyes:

jjchando
Feb 20, 2008, 06:06 PM
Update:

Since my Air is less than two weeks old, I'm being sent a box to send it in for repair. I was hoping that a retail store could replace it, but since my Air was a CTO order which included the SuperDrive, I have to send it in.

I guess the lesson here is that you should buy locally, or to not do a custom order to avoid having to mail it in for any issues. :rolleyes:

I think that I would talk to apple and demand a replacement... unless this doesn't bother you that much. Usually you can reason with apple with issues like this.

mcvaughan
Feb 20, 2008, 10:24 PM
I think that I would talk to apple and demand a replacement... unless this doesn't bother you that much. Usually you can reason with apple with issues like this.

When I was in the store a couple employees were in fact talking with Apple to see about an in-store replacement. As it was explained to me, when there's a custom order made online they have different part #'s than those in the store. And because of this, they wouldn't be able to just swap out the defective unit. At the same time, I'm sure Apple is curious to know what the problem was too, considering the SSD's don't have a high probability of failure.

The Apple employees did try, but I'm sure they were told to follow protocol.

netdog
Feb 21, 2008, 01:49 AM
True, but I just revived a 9 year old iMac (Strawberry) and installed 10.3 on it. It really is amazing that it actually runs and is useable :) Kids have something they can beat on now.

Yes, but that's 10 years of use. Not existing for 10 years. You can pull out your 10 year old air after 5 years in mothballs and it should work fine.

dbp1999
Feb 21, 2008, 03:48 PM
Yes, but that's 10 years of use. Not existing for 10 years. You can pull out your 10 year old air after 5 years in mothballs and it should work fine.

Well I just pulled my 1984 Zx Spectrum out of the box, connected up the last remaining cassette drive in the house and loaded JetPac and it worked!! Wonder if the MBA will beat that ;-P.. I will pop back in 2032 to see if anyone posts ;-)

mcvaughan
Feb 26, 2008, 10:46 AM
Another update:

Bad news and good news. My MBA is still in the "repair in progress" stage. I don't know how long it will take to diagnose and/or repair, so I went and bought a new one this morning. It's been 10 days without my MBA, and if something else breaks it's a royal pain to have to send it in. In the future I will make sure my orders online are not custom orders. So, when my first MBA makes it back I'll either sell it or pass it down to a family member.

Glad to have an MBA again!

clayj
Feb 26, 2008, 10:55 AM
Mcvaughan, sorry to hear you had trouble. It's an unfortunate reality that for every new product, someone is going to have trouble with it right away.

For the rest of you, a word of advice: Just because you got an ultra-reliable, no-moving-parts SSD in your MacBook Air does not relieve you of the responsibility of making regular backups of your data to an external hard drive, a CD or DVD, a thumbdrive of some sort, or another machine. SSDs *can* fail, just like anything can fail.

mcvaughan
Feb 26, 2008, 11:01 AM
Mcvaughan, sorry to hear you had trouble. It's an unfortunate reality that for every new product, someone is going to have trouble with it right away.

For the rest of you, a word of advice: Just because you got an ultra-reliable, no-moving-parts SSD in your MacBook Air does not relieve you of the responsibility of making regular backups of your data to an external hard drive, a CD or DVD, a thumbdrive of some sort, or another machine. SSDs *can* fail, just like anything can fail.

My concern wasn't data loss, as I have my critical stuff on my MBP, which is backed up with TM. The pain was waiting for the MBA to be fixed and back in my hands. I was spoiled with the MBA on business trips! And not to mention the fantastic screen on the MBA...

I understand all too well about early adoption and Murphy's law.

mcvaughan
Feb 26, 2008, 04:39 PM
And another update for today (presumably the last). I received an email from Apple, which said the following:

---
"The unit that you sent to the repair depot has been put on hold so that we might discuss another option with you.

Our engineers have requested to take your unit aside to study the failure of it, and therefore to facilitate that we would like to offer to replace your machine with a NEW one from the Apple Online Store that matches your configuration.

You may have some reason for wanting that particular unit back, such as data, added hardware, or something else. If so we would proceed as before, to repair the unit and return it to you.

If you have no reason for needing it back and can freely part with it unconditionally and receive a new unit in its place then the replacement option is available.

There is no option to back up, transfer or otherwise deal with any data on the machine in repair.

Could you please respond stating which option you would like:

1) End hold, repair, and return.
2) surrender unit to engineers and receive NEW replacement machine.

If time is a factor please note that ordering from the Apple Store currently has the following wait: 6-8 business days (lead time plus shipping time of one day)
It should be faster to repair the unit since it is already there and we usually quote 5-7 business days but most repairs occur in less time.

If you have any other questions I'd be happy to answer them."
---

So, I opted for a new unit so they could study the failed one. All for the good of science. ;)

Cromulent
Feb 26, 2008, 04:42 PM
Current flash technology supposedly lasts over 10 years of regular use and no-one I know uses a 10 year old computer as their primary computer. :)

That has nothing to do with whether the hard drive has failed or not. I have old computers with 8 - 10 year old hard drives in them that are still going strong.

chaoticprout
Feb 26, 2008, 05:04 PM
And another update for today (presumably the last). So, I opted for a new unit so they could study the failed one. All for the good of science. ;)

Good man.

vgame64
Jan 3, 2010, 12:23 AM
Same thing happened to me today.

Happened twice before (had the SSD in my 13" uMBP for a month)...each time before, disk utility was able to save it...not this time.

I have installed a 7200RPM 200GB Hitachi Travelstar and after getting readjusted to the lesser battery life, hard drive sounds, and increased heat...the unit feels almost the same speed as before.

duky
Jan 3, 2010, 07:02 AM
Same thing happened to me today.

Happened twice before (had the SSD in my 13" uMBP for a month)...each time before, disk utility was able to save it...not this time.

I have installed a 7200RPM 200GB Hitachi Travelstar and after getting readjusted to the lesser battery life, hard drive sounds, and increased heat...the unit feels almost the same speed as before.

I'm not sure what SSD you had in there before but if it was a Vertex or X25-M then I think there was something wrong with your setup if you truly feel the speed is almost the same as before. I let my gf (who is not big on tech at all) borrow my SSD for a month and when I gave her back her original hard drive she was astonished by how much slower the computer felt. Maybe you may want to look again at your setup and see what might have gone wrong (defective drive maybe?)..

jimboutilier
Jan 3, 2010, 10:11 AM
Now can you imagine that you are on an important business trip and it fails and you cannot do a reinstall of the operating system because you haven't brought your external superdrive????????

This thing is not ultraportable ...

Not that this is specific to a MBA, but on a critical MAC I regularly do an image backup to a USB HD and in the case of a HD/SSD failure you can continue using your machine by booting from the image.

Any machine can fail. MAC's real issue is that they have no concept of a critical business use machine, and offer no fast repair agreement, no on site repair etc. In this respect they are far behind many major PC brands and the typical scenario for me is buy a new MAC and wait for the old one to be repaired as the OP ended up doing. Not exactly ideal but until Apple gets the fact that many people can't be without their PC for several days to weeks there is not much of an alternative for a MAC

vgame64
Jan 3, 2010, 10:19 AM
I'm not sure what SSD you had in there before but if it was a Vertex or X25-M then I think there was something wrong with your setup if you truly feel the speed is almost the same as before. I let my gf (who is not big on tech at all) borrow my SSD for a month and when I gave her back her original hard drive she was astonished by how much slower the computer felt. Maybe you may want to look again at your setup and see what might have gone wrong (defective drive maybe?)..

It was a Kingston V series. Not as fast as my RAID 0'd X25-M G2's in my desktop but not slouch either.

Beyond apps opening instantaneously and the OS starting/restarting/shutting down uber fast, my day to day wasn't much different. I always put my Macbook to sleep with Firefox open and pretty much use my notebook for working on pictures in Lightroom, browsing the web, and watching movies...SSDs don't help too much in those tasks especially with 4GB RAM.

But you are right, most likely the SSD was screwed up as it had many anomalous behaviors.

iDisk
Jan 3, 2010, 10:24 AM
Well, more bad news... I think my SSD has failed. After initializing the remote install from my MBP, nothing shows up for an installation destination. :mad:

I guess I'm off to the Apple store. :(

Thank GOD you have Applecare.

Your issue, though not pleasant, is not that big of a deal if you have Applecare. ;) . Thanks for sharing BTW


Also FYI Flash-memory cells have limited lifetimes and will often wear out after 1,000 to 10,000 write cycles for MLC, and up to 100,000 write cycles for SLC. Special file systems or firmware designs can mitigate this problem by spreading writes over the entire device, called wear leveling.

As a result of wear leveling and write combining, the performance of SSDs degrades with use.

** MLC = Multi Level Cell

** SLC = Single Level Cell

coast1ja
Jan 3, 2010, 08:17 PM
I also had an SSD die in my Rev. A 1.8. Unfortunately I didn't have applecare on it, so I just replaced with the 80gb HDD. I couldn't stand how slow it was so I sold it and bought my Rev. B SSD.

jtmav
Jan 4, 2010, 07:46 AM
My Rev B SSD failed as well, I did have Applecare and the unit was replaced with a brand new Rev C 2.13. Apple also extended my warranty for a fresh three years from the issue of the new Air. I was very happy with the effort from Apple, both in the attempt to repair and final resolution. I love the Rev C BTW. :D

vgame64
Jan 8, 2010, 07:20 PM
I'm not sure what SSD you had in there before but if it was a Vertex or X25-M then I think there was something wrong with your setup if you truly feel the speed is almost the same as before. I let my gf (who is not big on tech at all) borrow my SSD for a month and when I gave her back her original hard drive she was astonished by how much slower the computer felt. Maybe you may want to look again at your setup and see what might have gone wrong (defective drive maybe?)..

Ultimately, you were correct. I ended getting an X25-M G2 drive as using the 7200RPM drive for a few days made me miss solid state. The excess heat and gradual slowing down was too much for me.