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what is wrong with ssd manufacturers?


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#1 carangil   Members   -  Reputation: 482

Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:08 PM

This is a little bit of a rant, but I also sort of want a serious answer:

 

I'm looking into getting an SSD system drive for my PC, but there seems to be a constant issue with firmware issues and bluescreens.  What I want to know, is what is wrong with the manufacturers?  I've never had to update the firmware on a mechanical drive.  Modern mech drives have complex firmware, remapping bad blocks, etc, but I've never heard of a particular model of hard drive being so crappy that it just craps out to blue screens every few hours.  It would never pass Seagate, WD, etc. testing labs.  Also, flash cards like SDHC camera cards, compact flash, etc often have built-in wear leveling and error correction.  And I've never had to update the firmware on an SD card.  And, I shouldn't have to install any weird utilities or drivers at the OS to make it work properly either.  Sure, turn on TRIM in the filesystem driver.  That should be it.  Apart from that, the drive should just look like a plain old mechanical drive on SATA to the OS, just one that's super fast.

 

What is going on? Do the programmers for SSD firmware just suck?


Edited by DracoLacertae, 07 January 2013 - 07:14 PM.


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#2 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 12394

Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:29 PM

What SSD manufacturer and OS?

 

 

I've seen Intel drives on Windows 7 be about as robust as any other digital equipment ever manufactured. I've seen other drives (sadly, don't recall the brand offhand) on OSes with less than stellar drivers burn up and die in a matter of days.

 

You get what you pay for, caveat emptor, read the product reviews, etc. etc. :-)



#3 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 24034

Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:49 PM

I've seen Intel drives on Windows 7 be about as robust as any other digital equipment ever manufactured.
You get what you pay for, caveat emptor, read the product reviews, etc

I had a 120GB Intel SSD on Win7, and it's the only drive that's ever failed on me. I've never had an HDD failure.

I went to turn on my PC one day and it couldn't find the OS... Looked in the BIOS and my Intel drive was just plain missing. Completely dead without any warning, only 9 months after purchasing it!! The worst part was that I hadn't pushed to my remote Git repository for 2 weeks and put myself way behind schedule...

 

Intel's also had a massively wide-spread fuck-up with their firmware on their 120GB drives, like Draco is complaining about. If you have one, make sure you've updated to the latest firmware or you risk it being bricked! (a threat I've never faced with any other drive...)

 

General performance with an SSD is amazing, so I recommend them to everyone (I now have 2 - the replacement Intel and a 240GB SanDisk), but thanks to Intel I now also warn everyone to pair it with a HDD backup for when it dies.


Edited by Hodgman, 07 January 2013 - 11:15 PM.


#4 Bacterius   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7024

Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:57 PM

I've had my 120GB Intel SSD for about six months now and it's still as fast as the day I unboxed it. I tend to view SSD's as efficient read-only storage, which can also be written to but only when absolutely necessary, and so I tend to only put operating systems and programs on them, and not actual documents - which also means I don't need to backup these drives as often - and I've never had any trouble. No firmware issues either, though I did have to enable AHCI in my BIOS to get the advertised speeds.

 

Of course, this is only my experience with a single drive. I'm sure one day this trusty drive will die on me, but I have taken my precautions. I second Apoch - do your homework and always read lots of product reviews on newegg and other websites, before deciding on a particular product. If more than a couple reviews say the drive blue-screened two weeks after purchase, you would do well to stay away from that drive, even if it's really cheap. A drive that doesn't work has infinite cost.


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#5 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1712

Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:37 AM

I've had my 120GB Intel SSD for about six months now and it's still as fast as the day I unboxed it. I tend to view SSD's as efficient read-only storage, which can also be written to but only when absolutely necessary, and so I tend to only put operating systems and programs on them, and not actual documents - which also means I don't need to backup these drives as often - and I've never had any trouble. No firmware issues either, though I did have to enable AHCI in my BIOS to get the advertised speeds.

 

lolwut? Why would you ever treat an SSD as read-only? They are so much faster than mechnanical hard drives! I have been SSD only for about 4 years now, and over 5 laptops and 2 desktops I have never had an issue. It's pretty easy to research ahead of time what SSD manufacturers are having firmware problems at the time and buy accordingly.



#6 Bacterius   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7024

Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:56 AM

lolwut? Why would you ever treat an SSD as read-only? They are so much faster than mechnanical hard drives!

 

 

Any particular reason you need more than 100MB/s write throughput? Perhaps backups, but this applies only if you have multiple SSD's, since backup speed will be bounded by the slowest hard drive. Screen recording comes to mind, but your SSD will quickly run out of space if you do that, and that hits it pretty hard (not too much of a problem now, though). I really haven't got a need for very fast write (or read, for that matter) speeds. Low software latency and high IOPS is much more relevant to me and my SSD takes care of that very well, as all my executable stuff and operating system is on it.

 

PS: I didn't say strictly read-only, just that I wouldn't go writing gigabytes upon gigabytes of data on it every day. Mainly because I don't have a need for it, really (write limits are not relevant anymore).


Edited by Bacterius, 08 January 2013 - 12:59 AM.

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#7 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 12394

Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:18 AM

Compiling any C++ project more than a few thousand LOC will benefit immensely from an SSD, both in terms of reads and writes. So much so that standard dev machine spec at work includes a large SSD, on which we put code, compiler temporaries, and a swapfile.

There are plenty of desktop apps that are disk bound, so the drive speed is more than worth the price of admission. I'm not sure where your 100MB/s numbers come from; industrial-strength single SSDs are in that range for write throughput, but traditional spinning disks are closer to 2-3MB/s on random writes. This is especially true of slower-RPM drives such as typically mounted in laptops, where going SSD will give you both vastly better battery life and much better disk performance.

#8 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5833

Posted 08 January 2013 - 03:07 AM

I went to turn on my PC one day and it couldn't find the OS... Looked in the BIOS and my Intel drive was just plain missing.

Maybe it was not the drive. My motherboard fall apart piece for piece, one day my newest harddrive was not working any longer, the bios was not able to detect it. After some panic I plugged it to an other PC and it works flawless. My motherboard died a slow death, starting with the DVD-player, going over to different videocards, later a HDD drive and finally the last working ATI videocard stopped working. All components still work on my wifes PC !



#9 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 741

Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:18 AM

There are plenty of stories I've seen over the years of non-SSD hard disk failures - I've not seen evidence that these days, SSD is worse?


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#10 slicer4ever   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2602

Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:46 AM

i currently have two ssd drives, both from ocz.  originally when i brought the first one, it died within 2 months of use, but ocz replaced it for free, so all has been good for the last year, when i purchased my laptop i brought a 240GB vertex3 for it, and i have never experienced any slow-downs from disk access, and load times for games are incredibly fast(but you should all know that stuff anyway).

 

in short, what manufacturer was the OP talking about?


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#11 0BZEN   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1891

Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:24 AM

Huh? 

 

I have an Old Samsung PB22-J. No issues.

 

I have two crucial M4. No issues.

 

I have a Samsung 840 Pro. No issues.

 

Now let me guess, your drives are Sandforce / OCZ?


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#12 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4068

Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:42 AM

I've used OCZ SSDs for 5 years, had one failure (Core series). During the same period of time, I've had 2 hard disk failures. What gives?

When I started using SSDs, this was new technology. Much opposed to harddisks, which one should assume far beyond teething problems. Yet, in my observation frame, harddisks fail twice as often.

In the mean time, much has passed. SSDs are not only much faster, they also have TRIM and are more reliable and live longer.

I'm currently using an OCZ Vertex4-256 as development disk, and I'm about to replace the system disk (harddisk) with another one. That is, 2 SSD system with zero harddisk. Not worried in any way.

Never did a firmware upgrade, never had a problem with the Vertex 4.

Edited by samoth, 08 January 2013 - 10:43 AM.


#13 Xanather   Members   -  Reputation: 701

Posted 09 January 2013 - 05:00 AM

I had a 128GB Corsair Force 3 GT for a year, it still works fine (its in another PC now). Got a new SSD now (not because anything was wrong with the previous one though).

 

I was so happy with SSD's that I just got a Intel 520 Series 480GB SSD, and now use it as my primary drive and is the only drive on my computer (I use a network drive to back things up though). Having a half a terrabyte SSD is so nice, you dont have to worry about total space remaning and EVERYTHING is extremely responsive (everything is installed on the SSD and not a half-half setup with a SSD/HDD combination).. Lets see how this drive plays out for the next 2 years :).



#14 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 9732

Posted 09 January 2013 - 05:20 AM

By this point I am repeating advice, but solid-state-drives are for one purpose and one purpose only: operating systems.

No matter how you slice it this is how it goes.  You have one partition for Windows XP, one partition for Windows 7, one partition for raw data, and one partition for installers and programs.

 

The operating systems should be on solid-state drives if available, and partitions if not.  Either way, keep these things separate.  Never mix operating-system partitions with anything else or you are just asking for trouble.

 

 

L. Spiro


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#15 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 24034

Posted 09 January 2013 - 05:43 AM

The operating systems should be on solid-state drives if available, and partitions if not.  Either way, keep these things separate.  Never mix operating-system partitions with anything else or you are just asking for trouble.

I did have the OS and data partitions separate, but that doesn't help when the entire drive dies unsure.png

 

p.s. compiling on MSVC is often I/O bound, so keeping your code projects on your SSD can give a very nice performance boost to your C++ compilation times.



#16 irreversible   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1095

Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:02 AM

L. Spiro - their use is a bit wider than that. For instance I have 500 GB of audio samples on SSD-s and there would literally be no other way to stream them anywhere near efficiently enough for actual use. Similarly, any serious video editing setup either requires an array of HHD-s or an SSD solution.



#17 Olof Hedman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2217

Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:16 AM

What is the horror of having your data and os on the same disk and partition?

Diskfailure? So what?
You don't have any vital data on only your personal computer do you?

That, if anything, is madness.

backup-backup-backup.
Then version control, and then some backup on the version control.

If so I have to use my laptop as a shield protecting myself from a crazy hobo with a shotgun, I shouldn't lose more then a couple of hours of work...
If it happens at the office, I'll lose like 30minutes of work, including the restore-time.

BTW, I really love how much quicker the checkouts are now, with SSD.

Also, keeping the web cache there speeds up my browsing.

If it breaks, who cares, then I'll buy a new one.
It's not really like its a noticable cost in the big picture...

Edited by Olof Hedman, 09 January 2013 - 07:22 AM.


#18 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4068

Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:20 AM

The real problem with a SSD breaking is not that it's breaking, though. Nor that your data is gone. Someone who doesn't do backups deserves to lose his data, there's really not much more to say to it than that.

The real problem is the exact same one as with a harddisk: You cannot get replacement.

While you can of course (and will) get a new disk from the manufacturer within your warranty term (5 years in the case of Vertex4 drives), you need to hand in your broken device in exchange. Which includes all data on it. Seeing how this may include data that you do not want give to any random person just that easily, it means that you effectively have no warranty.

I'm not even saying that some guy at Intel, Crucial, or OCZ might want to sniff on your data (though quite possibly, why not?). But chances are that the manufacturer will for example replace the broken controller and give your harddisk to the next customer as a replacement for another broken disk (assuming it is within some reasonable limit of write cycles). They'd probably format it (but can you be sure?), but what does that really mean on a device that reallocates sectors as a standard procedure.

SSDs usually have 128-bit AES encryption nowadays, but that is good for nothing security-wise, because they key is hardcoded. It's merely a method of randomizing data to make a wear-levelling more effective, and a deliberately misleading marketing beacon. Someone else plugging a cable to your (repaired) disk can read all your data just fine. Including your phone contacts, your emails, and your browser passwords.

Edited by samoth, 09 January 2013 - 09:22 AM.


#19 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 9732

Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:18 AM


The operating systems should be on solid-state drives if available, and partitions if not.  Either way, keep these things separate.  Never mix operating-system partitions with anything else or you are just asking for trouble.

I did have the OS and data partitions separate, but that doesn't help when the entire drive dies unsure.png


I recently have had such failures as well (as mentioned on my site), but if my mantra is followed (keep only the operating system on the SSD) then when that happens you only need to replace the SSD that failed and reinstall whatever software you needed along the way (to fix the registry). Entire drive failure would mean the loss of an OS of which you should have a legitimate backup copy and nothing more.


L. Spiro

Edited by L. Spiro, 09 January 2013 - 10:19 AM.

It is amazing how often people try to be unique, and yet they are always trying to make others be like them. - L. Spiro 2011
I spent most of my life learning the courage it takes to go out and get what I want. Now that I have it, I am not sure exactly what it is that I want. - L. Spiro 2013
I went to my local Subway once to find some guy yelling at the staff. When someone finally came to take my order and asked, “May I help you?”, I replied, “Yeah, I’ll have one asshole to go.”
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