How Long Do The Flash Drives Last In The iPad's?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Rodster, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    #1
    I'm pretty new to SSD technology. I was wondering how long do SSD's in Tablets usually last? I saw a picture where the iPad NAND Flash is soldered on the motherboard.
     
  2. macrumors 65816

    fabian9

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #2
    Interesting question, I'm pretty sure they'll last longer than the useful life of the product itself, and longer than a SSD in a normal computer as the iPads memory is likely to see fewer Read/Write cycles than a normal computer.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    #3
    Yeah I've been told they should last. I also read that writes and erasure is what wears them out, not reads to the drive.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #4
    No one knows, iPads have not been out long. Check back in 10 years and we'll let you know!!
     
  5. macrumors 603

    Carlanga

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    Location:
    PR
    #5
    at the very least 8-10 years if you are using intensive apps.
     
  6. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #6
    My dad got a first-gen iPad about halfway through its life cycle. It's still working fine. They probably have at least the same life span as hard disks, if not longer because of the lack of moving parts.

    You might want to ask around with people who own an original iPhone. I haven't heard of any widespread dying of the storage.
     
  7. macrumors 604

    wordoflife

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    #7
    Trust me, it's nothing to worry about.

    I'd say 10 years. I have flash based device that are over 7 years old that are still running fine.
     
  8. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #8
    Your battery is going to fail (probably 5 times over)before the memory will.

    I'd honestly worry about every other component before I'd worry about memory failure. Flash reliability is variable but at the minimum should be good for 100,000 program/erase cycles up to 1,000,000 program/erase cycles. Keep in mind this is on a per block basis so just because you've reached the limit in one block doesn't mean the entire memory is shot.

    The flash memory in the iPad likely has wear leveling as well, which is a feature in which writing/erasing are spread across the entire memory rather than just rewriting the same section over and over again leading to premature failure in that section.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    #9
    Thanks for all the responses and for clearing things up. It also made me think that if NAND Flash was not reliable Apple wouldn't be using it let alone replacing new units with refurbs. :)
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    r-sparks

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #10
    Generally speaking, isn't there two types of flash memory, and only the high-grade is used within computing devices for storage? And the low-grade stuff ends-up in things like USB sticks? This is one reason why tablets are so expensive — these storage chips cost much more than the equivalent USB sticks, albeit they seem the same.

    So while USB memory sticks and memory cards will fail within a few years (or even less if used daily), this probably won't happen with storage used as primary storage within computing devices.

    This PDF seems to explain:

    http://www.supertalent.com/datasheets/SLC_vs_MLC whitepaper.pdf
     
  11. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    #11
    The only guaranteed minimum time is the length of the warranty.
     
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2012
    #12


    Your theory that inexpensive low-grade stuff ends-up in USB sticks is partially incorrect. My 16GB USB government secure stick cost $299. It can be read/written 100,000 times per sector before it starts to fail. So please check your fact prior to posting such comments.
     
  13. kdarling, Jun 3, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012

    macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Location:
    Device engineer 30+ yrs, touchscreens 24+.
    #13
    The type of MLC Flash that Apple uses in iOS devices is usually good for only about 5,000 - 10,000 erase cycles per block. That's why it's affordable.

    It's also why Safari doesn't cache pages to Flash, but instead will only remember what will fit in RAM.

    However, it's plenty for its main use in the iPad/iPhone, as media files do not change very often, and apps only save when necessary.
     
  14. macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #14
    For longer than you'll be using it ;)
     
  15. macrumors 604

    mcdj

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    NYC
    #15
    In the iPad's what?
     
  16. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    #16
    No one knows the answer to the OP's question and it is Ok to say so rather than make up an answer based on speculation and rumor.
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    #17
    I've wondered about this as well. Seems that the software on the iPad will be outdated long before the hardware becomes unusable. Would not updating the software (ie no new apps, not updating current apps, not updating iOS) alleviate this and make the hardware usable for a longer time period?
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    #18
    I have a customer who still happily uses his original iPad and has tons of photos and no problems. As kdarling mentioned it's all about writes and erases. I believe the iPad uses mostly the Toshiba MLC NAND whereas Samsung prefers SLC OneNAND which has 10x the durability but it has a higher cost.

    If you use kdarling's numbers that's still a lot 5-10K writes into just one cell. Samsung SLC is rated at over 100K. The advantage MLC has over SLC is 1) lower cost b) it's denser than SLC.

    But yeah if you didn't update apps and such there are less writes to NAND. OTOH as others have mentioned by the time the NAND fails you're possibly looking at 4-5 generations of newer iPads.

    I wasn't aware of until kdarling mentioned that Safari doesn't page to Flash but instead it uses Ram. I wonder how many other stock Apple apps do the same? :)
     
  19. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    #19
    Your iPads lifespan is 5 years at a maximum period. By than you would have upgraded or something would have broken and product will have been replaced. Likely hood a upgrade. Or even if you got another product. The usage will decline on the iPad.
     

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