Need advice as to reliability of X-25...very nervous

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rotobadger, May 23, 2010.

  1. rotobadger macrumors 65816


    Sep 18, 2007
    Hey gang. I've done a considerable amount of research and reading on SSD and the X-25. I found a local guy who has a brand new boxed Gen 2 for a nice price and really am considering pulling the trigger and putting it in my 17 inch i5 MBP.

    Here's the deal: Reliability is INCREDIBLY important. I work in the legal industry as a consultant and use my laptops in live courtroom situations such as trials and hearings. In some cases there are hundreds of millions of dollars on the line and I can NOT have a failure. It can mean a world of hurt for me. With that said, I do carry a back up laptop with me.

    The laptop will be on for extened periods (12-16 hours at a time) and, in certain scenarios, will be running video to external monitors for 3 or 4 hours at a stretch. The hard drive will have constant accessing for images as well.

    So, can any SSD experts comment on my particular situation? I am very attracted to the benefits of the X-25 but, for me, this is uncharted territory.

    For what its worth, I get nervous when I get any new piece of equipment, including hard drives.

    Or should I just get the Scorpio Black 7200?
  2. piwi macrumors regular

    Dec 24, 2006
  3. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    My x-25m spontaneously died on me after after some use. My replacement has worked great for about a year. More than likely a bad batch, from the first generation .

    Oh and then again there was that firmware update intel peddled out that nuked data on drives.

    Got your attention yet?

    An x25-m will work fine for what you've described. It'll be much better than any mechanical storage simply for the fact that it isn't moving, but 'they ain't' bullet proof, which is the point i'm trying to make above.

    Honestly if you are working with "hundreds of millions of dollars" of anything you need to have a full fledged contingency plan and a robust backup in place. I dunno how much research you've done but i'd recommend pretty much everything (off site, live/hot backup on your person, shadow copies (time machine), etc).
  4. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Nothing, and I do mean nothing, is 100% fail proof. That is why redundancy storage is so important. That said, my MacPro is on 12-15 hours per day and things have been good. Again, redundancy is key and if things are really that important then you don't need anyone to tell you that.
  5. rotobadger thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 18, 2007
    Thanks for the reply. I have to admit, the link you posted gives me pause. Please understand, I do indeed have a fairly robust backup in place. My concern is not for lost data but for a meltdown in a live situation. If this (God forbid) should happen, it requires me to stop the entire proceeding to swap drives or laptops and get the software back up and running. While this is certainly a potential scenario with any hard drive, I just need to make sure it is equally or less likely to happen than with a standard HDD. My clients can become extremely nervous and upset even at the slightest hint of technical mishaps.

    Also, in trial, we are not generating new data, only retrieving and displaying what has been already prepared and saved.

    So, again, my apprehension is more about the potential for a computer that's working one second and then completely dead the next.

    I'm just being overly cautious. I guess another way of putting my question is: Will an SSD be more likely or less likely to fail than a traditional HDD? Or are they roughly the same in that regard?

    Thanks again for the reply!
  6. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    Do I think an SSD will have better reliability than a traditional drive? Yes.
    Here's what i'd do.
    Option 1: Get the x25-m and carry a clone of your system on a portable external.
    Option 2: Get the x25-E.

    Further reading:

    From a mechanical standpoint the theory is that, again, no moving parts > greater reliability which favors the SSD. No heads to crash, no spin up problems, none of that.

    With that said, SSDs are still considered to be relatively young (for this type of application), so whilst the x25-m will work and has worked for many, there could be something lurking in the shadows that could cause, for example, the controller on the SSD to delete the entire drive. I know, doomsday stuff, but it could happen. Heck, after the first consumer SSDs came out (jMicron) , people were like "hey why are our SSDs stuttering?" and they realized what was going on, so new technologies were/are being deployed every day on newer stuff to try and fix the previous mistakes.

    If you aren't a gambling man (and I suspect you aren't) and have lots of money, piwi's suggest may be the best one. An enterprise level drive like the x25-E uses SLC memory instead of MLC like on the 25-m. In a nut shell, SLC lasts longer and is designed for more extreme environments than MLC mem. You will have to pay for this quality, and i'll even say that unless you are running heart rate monitors on your machine, it might be overkill, but if you simply cannot have errors, an enterprise level drive will offer the enterprise level performance you seek.
  7. Gorilla Power macrumors 6502

    Gorilla Power

    Mar 19, 2010
    I have had the X-25M G2 for a few months now. Seems rock solid to me. Careful, you want the G2 series, ie. second gen drives.
  8. fehhkk macrumors 6502a


    Jun 11, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    The expected lifetime for this drive is close to 1 million hours of use.
  9. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    In terms of reliability the Intel Solid State Disks are at the top with a proven memory controller and NAND flash ram.

    I have been using the 80GB Solid State Disk since release and had no issues.
  10. rotobadger thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 18, 2007
    Thanks again for the replies. I'm feeling a little bettter especially after reading a few positive anecdotes. Eddy: I see the points you're making. Always a slight risk when you're an early(ish) adopter. The server grade drive (X-25E) may indeed be a bit of overkill. While the stakes are high and the disputes heated, it is not a life and death situation (well, maybe only my life if I have a heart attack).

    I'm leaning toward giving this a shot but preceding very cautiously as some of you have suggested.
  11. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    Keep a bootable clone of the drive in a Firewire enclosure. If anything happens, just boot from the firewire drive.
  12. rotobadger thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 18, 2007
    Good advice that's been given here a couple of times. I will definitely be doing that.

    Kind of off topic but related to your advice: Can I clone an external drive for my MBP and have it include a clone of the Windows partition (I will be running Bootcamp)? Any suggestions for software that will allow me to do this frequently and easily? An image of my computer including the Windows side that I can boot from externally?

    Thanks again for all the great advice!
  13. Lyshen macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    The X-25M are great. Have 2 of them, 1st one, 80GB G2, is in my server on 24/7. The 2nd one, 160GB G2, is in my wife's MB which is used off and all throughout the day.

    Both work great and no issues at all. Owned the 80GB one for about 8 months or so while the 160GB for about 2 months now.

    As for my own laptop, I decided to give Crucial's C300 a whirl and it hasn't let me down. Although I did have to reinstall once when I flashed their v2 firmware.
  14. bentmywookie macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2002
    Palo Alto
    Not sure if this is overkill for you but another thing I *THINK* you can do (I say "think" because I've never done it myself but in theory, from my understanding of things, this should work) - do the Optibay mod to your laptop (replace the optical drive with a 2nd hard drive) and then run both hard drives in RAID 1 mode (mirroring).

    Maybe someone with RAID 1 experience can comment but I believe this would prevent against the event of a single hard drive failing on you (and thus having to swap out, etc. etc.) Then later on in the day you can replace the failed hard drive.

    You can also always carry around an external superdrive if needed.
  15. bentmywookie macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2002
    Palo Alto
    You could use two of these in the RAID1 setup -

    The OWC Mercury Extremes have been getting rave reviews, if you have the money for them. 2 of those in a RAID1 in your laptop should be enough to quench any fears of a heart attack. :)
  16. Lyshen macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    That is definitely a possible solution but a rather pricey one. If you happen to get their 400GB x2, that would be more than the price of a MBP lol...
  17. Jason Beck macrumors 68000

    Jason Beck

    Oct 19, 2009
    Cedar City, Utah

    This is exactly why you carry a backup. Drive fails, then you have a clone. Then, unless your logic board goes kaput your fine.
    I have had my x25 for a few months and it is stable. More so than any single spinning platter drive I have ever known. No issues of slowdown, nothing. Its on almost 24/7 and I have filled it a few times over 80%.

    This would be ideal for you because you need to access info fast. Say you need to open a Word document or a PowerPoint presentation... they will open _fast_. Word and PowerPoint open in under 2 seconds for me.

    You should be keeping good backups in your field anyways. I'm certain you can afford one, and I know you have your research done. Either you pull the trigger or you don't. None of us can make you buy one. With that said, the Intel drives have proven to be the most stable. Maybe not the fastest, but the most stable. Thanks to the good firmware and excellent parts.

    You will get a little more battery life, and these drives are rated at over a million work hours. Theres no moving heads, no clicking... you will have a good work machine for what you do. The industry will head to SSD soon enough in a big way so you may as well get accustomed to the technology.

    I know when the wheel was born it was scary.. but those Geico caveman made good use of it. Just do it. Like Nike says.
  18. LedCop macrumors regular


    Apr 7, 2008
    Long story short, if you've been making your living off mechanical hard disk drives all this while, moving onto an SSD can only be a step up. The only thing that gives me pause was that firmware upgrade bug but since you wouldn't upgrade the firmware while in Court, an SSD should be better in all respects (i.e. speed, reliability) except cost per unit of disk space. Just be sure to backup before upgrading the firmware; a small price to pay for actually getting potential improvements.

    Besides reliability, everyone in court will appreciate the near instantaneous operating of your computer in opening files, programs, etc.
  19. mghtown macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2010
    Sorry for coming in a little late on the conversation. If you are looking for advice as to the reliabaility of the X-25m G2, it's awesome. I have been using the 160gb in my Macbook 3,1 since January and it is consistently reliable. I currently just installed Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit into it and I am amazed.

    Just as the other posts stated, clones and consistent backups are important. If you have not read any details of maintenance for the ssd, look into it. You cannot defrag the drive and trim will not work in Snow Leopard. I used disktester to completely erase the drive and then cloned the OS back onto the dirve. If you are worried about it failing in court, I understand that concern I am in law school right now, clone your drive using either SuperDuper of Carbon Copy Cloner. I have used both in the past and they are great. If you have a windows partition, you cannot make a bootable clone of the boot camp partition using wither of the previous 2 programs. Winclone is great but still not sure if it will clone Windows 7.

    As far as how my Mac runs with the X-25m compared to the factory, it's night and day. My girlfried just got a Macbook Pro with a great HD and Processor. My Macbook boots faster than hers. Another thing to consider is adding RAM if you upgrade to the X-25m. I currently use 4gb of it. Hope that helps.
  20. percival504 macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2009
    I am a lawyer - I use 2 X25-Es in RAID 0

    I have never had a problem (2 years, countless erases and OS reinstalls). Backups are critical, but I'd say they are extremely reliable.
  21. SkillsToShow macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2008
    I also have a Intel X-25 G2 and I can say it has been a great experience using it so far.

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