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Old Feb 2, 2013, 09:14 AM   #1
turtlez
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SSD Life problem

So I've had this iMac for a week now and have been working in a lot of the adobe suite quite vigorously (work stuff) each day. I look at activity monitor just before stopping for the day and realise I am getting about 15-20GB write data to the disk each day. Seems at this rate my SSD(Fusion) will be dead in about 4-5 years. Thoughts?
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 09:46 AM   #2
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What makes you think your HDD wont die before then? You should be more worried about the only mechanical device inside your computer, aside from the fans.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 10:01 AM   #3
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I think your are way underestimating the lifespan of your SSD. The SSD is a much safer and more durable way to store and treat data than old fashioned hard drives.
If you still are concerned about this, there is software out there that will check the health of your SSD. I can't remember the name(s), but you should find out more by doing a quick google search.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 10:20 AM   #4
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I was always on the more optimistic side of the story for lifespan since there is no real world data yet for ssds. Thanks for your thoughts guys

I'm still thinking about the constant data moves of Fusion between the HDD and SSD and how many more write cycles that would produce on the SSD.

Last edited by turtlez; Feb 2, 2013 at 10:25 AM.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 11:54 AM   #5
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I was always on the more optimistic side of the story for lifespan since there is no real world data yet for ssds. Thanks for your thoughts guys

I'm still thinking about the constant data moves of Fusion between the HDD and SSD and how many more write cycles that would produce on the SSD.
I've thought about the same thing but I guess Apple usually don't put something in their hardware if it's not a proven technology. Look how long it took for USB3 etc.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 12:13 PM   #6
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I don't keep a computer for more than 3 years anyway, you should plan ahead to replace yours before any life span issues become a problem and always backup your data anyway. I know some people intend to keep their computer longer but they probably don't use it for anything work related. Advancements on hardware are made very fast and every 2 years your current computer will be practically obsolete even thought it will work fine.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 12:25 PM   #7
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Okay, lets do some math here. The NAND in your SSD is rated at 3,000 P/E cycles. With 128GiB (137.4GB) on board, that's up to 412.3TB of writes.

You said you write 15-20GB a day. If we assume a write amplification factor or 5x (1-3 is typical for consumer workloads but lets be conservative here), that's 100GB of NAND writes per day.

That's 11.3 years.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 12:29 PM   #8
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I don't keep a computer for more than 3 years anyway, you should plan ahead to replace yours before any life span issues become a problem and always backup your data anyway. I know some people intend to keep their computer longer but they probably don't use it for anything work related. Advancements on hardware are made very fast and every 2 years your current computer will be practically obsolete even thought it will work fine.
I can't say I agree with you. After nearly 7 years I still use my MacPro (with upgrades on GPU, ram, disks). In fact it's my only work machine. And I use it for not only Photoshop, Illustrator but for 3d and FCP stuff as well. It's not the fastest machine out there that's for sure but I was a bit surprised that after nearly 7 years the top of the line iMac is only x2 faster than this machine.
I ordered the BTO option of the 27" iMac since the Mac Pros haven't gotten a proper update yet but I would really love to have this new machine last for 5 years for sure.
I'm also concerned about the integrity of the SSD after so many reads and writes and something tells me it's not going to last for long. Especially if used in a work environment and lots of data get swapped around. I've seen the data stating that SSDs can last but at the same time I've seen a lot of friends with SSDs failing after a year. They might be cheap ones but still.
I guess one way to make it last longer is to make programs using scratch disk space to use an external disk instead of the internal one?

Last edited by phobos; Feb 2, 2013 at 12:34 PM.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 12:35 PM   #9
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Make regular back ups and forget about it. There isn't anything you can do. No sense worrying about things you can't change.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 12:44 PM   #10
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I've seen the data stating that SSDs can last but at the same time I've seen a lot of friends with SSDs failing after a year. They might be cheap ones but still.
With 99% likelihood, those failures have not been due to NAND endurance. There is plenty of other circuitry that can fail, such as power regulators, controller, DRAM etc...
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 02:44 PM   #11
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With 99% likelihood, those failures have not been due to NAND endurance. There is plenty of other circuitry that can fail, such as power regulators, controller, DRAM etc...
If you your are going to throw out statistics don't make them up. You have no evidence or proof that 99% of failures have not been because of NAND endurance. I am not taking a stance one ways or the other on the longevity of solid state drives. I am taking a stance that one should not spread misinformation by making up statistics.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 02:49 PM   #12
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If you your are going to throw out statistics don't make them up. You have no evidence or proof that 99% of failures have not been to NAND endurance. I am not taking a stance one ways or the other on the longevity of solid state drive. I am taking a stance that one should not spread misinformation by making up statistics.
Hellhammer knows what he is talking about. The guy is huge into HDD's and SSD's and tests them and reviews them for a living.

I personally take his word on these subject matters. But if you think he's making it up, post your counter-statistics.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 02:55 PM   #13
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Hellhammer knows what he is talking about. The guy is huge into HDD's and SSD's and tests them and reviews them for a living.

I personally take his word on these subject matters. But if you think he's making it up, post your counter-statistics.
I guess the point I didn't make was that it would be best to also provide some documentation when claiming such a huge statistic like 99%. I was not trying to says he was or was not wrong as much as I was saying that 99% could be considered somewhat unbelievable.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 03:02 PM   #14
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I don't think there's much to worry about, but as an alternative, you could at some point in the future get an external SSD in a USB3 enclosure and boot off of it after making a clone of your boot drive.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 03:29 PM   #15
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I don't think there's much to worry about, but as an alternative, you could at some point in the future get an external SSD in a USB3 enclosure and boot off of it after making a clone of your boot drive.
I'd be more worried about the mechanical drive degrading first. The quality of SSD has vastly improved, it will out last it the mechanical drive.

Although I wouldn't be worried, you'll get a good amount of years of use before this happens.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 03:32 PM   #16
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SSD life is a lot better than it used to be.

I read somewhere that today's SSDs can run for 10+ years under CONSTANT writes.

Don't worry about this. A faster/better one will be out long before this one dies.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 03:53 PM   #17
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What makes you think your HDD wont die before then? You should be more worried about the only mechanical device inside your computer, aside from the fans.
They can die for different reasons, however If they OP is writing a lot of scratch data and experiencing any performance problems, ram would help. OSX has become horrible at releasing inactive ram.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 04:09 PM   #18
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They can die for different reasons, however If they OP is writing a lot of scratch data and experiencing any performance problems, ram would help. OSX has become horrible at releasing inactive ram.
"...has become"? Always. Since 10.0. Now we just have a kernel that needs 1GB to function
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 04:31 PM   #19
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"...has become"? Always. Since 10.0. Now we just have a kernel that needs 1GB to function
Snow Leopard was the first that could use X64 application builds, yet in my experience it was better at releasing inactive memory than Lion or Mountain Lion. Mountain Lion is a zombie, and the installed dimms represent a nice juicy brain. What is really weird is how long Apple left the bottom macbook air at 2GB. It still retains a 64GB ssd. It seems really low considering its entry pricing.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 04:32 PM   #20
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I don't keep a computer for more than 3 years anyway, you should plan ahead to replace yours before any life span issues become a problem and always backup your data anyway. I know some people intend to keep their computer longer but they probably don't use it for anything work related. Advancements on hardware are made very fast and every 2 years your current computer will be practically obsolete even thought it will work fine.
<replying to this on my 2008 iMac> You are completely nuts. Mine works fine for Aperture, iMovie rendering, and anything else I throw at it. It is slower than the 2012 models, but it wasn't "practically obsolete" in 2010.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 04:42 PM   #21
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So I've had this iMac for a week now and have been working in a lot of the adobe suite quite vigorously (work stuff) each day. I look at activity monitor just before stopping for the day and realise I am getting about 15-20GB write data to the disk each day. Seems at this rate my SSD(Fusion) will be dead in about 4-5 years. Thoughts?
1. You have a backup, don't you?
2. The drives can be replaced. In three years time, they can be replaced with something a lot larger, faster and cheaper.
3. Do you think you will be using the same iMac in four or five years time?
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 04:58 PM   #22
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If you your are going to throw out statistics don't make them up. You have no evidence or proof that 99% of failures have not been because of NAND endurance. I am not taking a stance one ways or the other on the longevity of solid state drives. I am taking a stance that one should not spread misinformation by making up statistics.
Unless the SSDs were used in enterprise environment, there is simply no way the NAND endurance could have been the cause of the failure with only one year of usage. You can use the data I posted earlier, all consumer SSDs (except Samsung's SSD 840) use MLC NAND that's good for at least 3,000 P/E cycles. The older you go, the more likely it is that the SSD has NAND that's rated at 5-10,000 P/E cycles.

Now, even with a 64GB SSD, the minimum write endurance for the drive is 206.2TB. That's 565GB of data per day. Even in the enterprise world that's considered extreme because it's nearly 10 drive writes a day. In the consumer world, I can't think of a usage that would write anywhere near that, no matter how extreme write amplification factor I use.

Yes, I did make up that 99% number because I'm willing to bet that I should've said 100% instead.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 07:10 PM   #23
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Yes, I did make up that 99% number because I'm willing to bet that I should've said 100% instead.
I agree. I don't recall ever seeing a post on this forum reporting a drive death due to NAND wear. Every report I have ever seen of a SSD death here describes a sudden death, which is not consistent with a drive dying of too many NAND writes.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 08:57 PM   #24
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Okay, lets do some math here. The NAND in your SSD is rated at 3,000 P/E cycles. With 128GiB (137.4GB) on board, that's up to 412.3TB of writes.

You said you write 15-20GB a day. If we assume a write amplification factor or 5x (1-3 is typical for consumer workloads but lets be conservative here), that's 100GB of NAND writes per day.

That's 11.3 years.
Ah Hellhammer, good to hear from you. My mind is now at ease haha, thanks
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 11:00 PM   #25
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<replying to this on my 2008 iMac> You are completely nuts. Mine works fine for Aperture, iMovie rendering, and anything else I throw at it. It is slower than the 2012 models, but it wasn't "practically obsolete" in 2010.
What I meant by "practically obsolete" is that hardware changes quickly, take the DDR2 to DDR3 and PCI express 2.0 to 3.0 and all in between. In the next 2 to 3 years this stuff will change, and sure you can still use your computer and even extend its life by adding compatible upgrades where you can, but at that point in time you will be investing your money in old technology when you should be looking to spend your dollars in newer probably cheaper stuff at the rate the costs and manufacturing processes get cheaper. It's Moore's law although lately it seems it will take more than 2 years for the advancements to net double gains. At any rate for a computer such as an iMac your better off just selling it at the good resale value they seem to hold and buying the current system.
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