Weird problem where SSD is losing its contents...?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by omvs, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. omvs, Jun 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012

    omvs macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2011
    I've got a 2011 27" iMac with a OCZ Vertex 2 SSD via Seagate Thunderbolt adapter. The SSD had 2 partitions - a OSX bootable partition (encrypted) and a Win7 partition. I use the SSD as a boot drive, but my user data and other stuff lives on the internal hard drive.

    About a week ago, I came home to wake up the machine, and couldn't get past the unlock screen - got the spinning cursor, gave its few minutes, and finally forced a power off and back on. When booting back up, the SSD didn't show up as a boot drive, so I booted the internal drive instead. Then I checked disk utility, and the SSD showed NO partitions.

    I hoped this was a fluke, and rebuilt another boot partition (and windows partition) - thankfully I have a good backup scheme, and this doesn't take particularly long.

    Today, the exact same thing happened again - I try and wake up the computer from sleep, got spinning cursor for ~5 minutes until I forced a power off, and when I came back the SSD showed no partions. DOH!

    S.M.A.R.T. status is showing as verified, though I haven't looked at any more detailed smart data yet -- I know how to access the error logs via linux, but have no experience doing this under OSX yet.

    Has anyone else seen a failure like this? I had been running in this setup for a while (month? two?), so not sure what happened. Previous to that I had been using the SSD for a windows-only and never had anything like this happen.

    Only thing I can think of is maybe a problem with Trim Enabled & the drive causing data loss... Unfortunately, I do use file vault for OSX, so not enabling Trim would probably kill my drive performance over time.

    Anybody else hit a problem like this? Or have useful suggestions?

    EDIT: Its a relatively big drive (240G), so I'm not excited about spending a bunch of $ to replace it now...
  2. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2012
    I would say you have a lemon. How old is the drive?
  3. omvs thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2011
    I think 18-24 months. I had been using as a windows drive for a while without any problems like this - first in a PC (6+ months), then mounted internally in the iMac (~8 months), then in the thunderbolt adapter (last 3 months). Only in the last month had I reformatted to have both OSX & Windows on it, and I ran for a few weeks without problems.

    If its a hardware problem, it seems odd that it only shows up by whacking the sectors with the partition table, but the drive is fine after a reformat. I'd expect a little more random data corruption. But I think the SMART logs will give a better indicator - if there's no recent events of a failure, i think it has to be a software issue or bad interaction with TRIM, OSX, and the drive.
  4. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2012
    Yeah, if it's two years old then I suspect that it's behaving oddly because it's being a boot drive for two different operating systems and some software interaction is freaking it out (possibly something to do with TRIM in one or other of the OSes).
  5. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    That's what scares me about SSD's and what is keeping me away from them ..... for now.

    Data integrity.

    I mean when they lose data, it is lost.
  6. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2007
    Yeah, have to agree here. Don't get me wrong, platters die plenty themselves, but you sometimes get lucky when you hear the "click of death", or find increasing bad sectors. And if you've got tons of $, you can ship the platter off for a recovery service. SSDs live fast and silent... and they tend to die in the same way.

    I think I'm going to wait one more generation before I jump on board with SSDs.

    No warranty on your drive at all?
  7. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2012
    The same is true of a hard drive though - it can fail just as suddenly and totally. Sure you can manage to get some to limp along to salvage data, but you should never need to if you have a good backup strategy. If a drive dies, HDD or SSD just pull it and restore from backup.
  8. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    Backups are always necessary however you CAN recover data from a failed HDD ..... ain't gonna happen with an SSD.

    I had a 2TB Seagate drive die on me, and it was one of the backup drives. However nothing was lost, and 100% of the data was recovered. The only HDD failure that will cause hard data loss is if the drive head contacts and damages the physical platter but that type of failure is rare. More likely than not the electronics on an HDD fail.

    If that had been an SSD, I would have been sunk.

    That is why people with SSD's up to this point have always said .... " use the SSD for a boot drive and an HDD for your data. "


    The technology is still to immature for me to jump on to it.

    They need to do three things to get me there ....

    1) Drive Capacity Increase
    2) Cost Reduction
    3) Data Integrity

    We have one SSD here and we ran it in a Macbook Pro - found it to be somewhat impressive for boot time and app opening, but not enough to justify the costs per machine.

    Now if I was booting and rebooting the machines 30 times a day and opening, closing and reopening apps 100 times a day it would be worth it maybe .... but that data integrity thing!

    As it is, on our workhorses they get booted up once a day, if they were shut down the night before ... more often they are left on to complete some ongoing task of the user just forgot to shut them down.

    Maybe in another generation or three thing will get to where they need to be, to be acceptable for commercial use. ( at least by me ) For now they seem to be in the " Geek Experimental " category, used by those who like to tweak things.

    HDD's are just too easy to work with, should one go down you replace and rebuild it ( or it rebuilds itself if in the proper RAID Array as we have here ). No need to tweak settings or worry about the firmware.

    I like things to be functional, simple, and most of all RELIABLE.
  9. philipma1957, Jun 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    you are not going to like this but at least the drive is not buried in the computer.
    first try buy this cable.

    3 reasons

    1) a few of us myself included have had a bad apple t bolt cable
    2) this is better built and seems to run more stable
    3) this is the cheapest fix if it works _____________________________________________________________________

    second buy a new t-bolt adapter 2 reasons

    1) some have gone bad
    2) it is cheaper then a new ssd
    __________________ ______________________________________________________________


    get a new ssd

    last choice as it is the most expensive thing to do

    I have to say as an early adopter of t-bolt

    i have had better luck with lacies' little big disk. with samsung series 470/810 ssds . then the seagate t-bolt adopter.

    the new cable is 57

    a little big disk is 350

    2 x 256gb ssds are 340

    here is my thread on it

    my osx drive is 3 samsung 256gb ssds in a raid0 in 2 lacie little big disks see thumbnail. I prefer it to the t-bolt solution from seagate. more stable and allows for daisychain.

    Attached Files:

  10. omvs, Jun 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012

    omvs thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2011
    Well, the SMART data was clean, though it did suggest the drive didn't support error logging (!?!), so hard to say if there were any error events.

    The Firmware was a bit out of date -- OCZ's utility had a mac firmware option (?), so I chose that for now, and it put 1.37 on the drive (was 1.28). Rebuilt the drive this morning, and gonna see if it happens a third time.

    EDIT: Firmware release notes claimed "Fixed: Blue screen on sleep mode from S3 / S4" - that's sounding a bit promising.

    Since the drive is still functional after formatting, I don't think the drive is bad. *Maybe* the enclosure or cable, but I think that'd show up as a problem while running, not when coming out of sleep. Still suspecting TRIM as the primary cause, and hoping the firmware update improves it.

    BTW: For those who are worried about data integrity...

    I sure hope if you're running OSX, you're using time machine or some other strategy. Apple made backup and recovery pretty easy, so there's really no excuse these days unless you can't afford a cheap USB drive (!?!).

    In the past two decades, I've had a LOT of hard drives fail, and while sometimes you can get some data, a lot of times you can't -- at least without using a drive recovery service, which I've heard mixed things about success rate, and generally cost a bundle of $. The SSD's I've been exposed to seem to have about approx the same failure rate, with probably the same options for data recovery.

    Don't wait for a failure before you start a backup strategy. Or I'll say I told you so. ;)
  11. Rlnplehshalo macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2011
    +1 I just picked up a 2TB WD My Book instead of an SSD for this reason, at least it's recoverable.

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