The life span of an SSD – how long does it last and what can be done to take care?

Myths entwine around the life span of an SSD drive. Do SSDs stop to work quicker than HDD storage?

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars | 15 (4.67)
Loading...
| Katharina Krug | 9 Replies
Tags: , , , , ,

In fact, the starting times of SSD drives weren’t easy: The first SSD storages suffered from firmware problems and decreases of power. However, the development of SSD technology hasn’t stagnated since then. Some years have passed and new chips and procedures have immensely improved the technology.

How long does an SSD last?

Someone who aks this question in relevant internet forums, mostly gets a variety of most diverse opinions. If you deal with the expected life span of an SSD, you first have to have a look at the variable storage types of SSD drives. Three SSD storages are available: Single Level Cell (SLC), Multi Level Cell (MLC) and Triple Level Cell (TLC). These names already adumbrate the difference. The storage type MLC saves two bits per storage cell, the TLC type three bits per cell and the SLC type only one bit. SLC flash storages haven’t become accepted yet because of their horrendous prices.

For the storage types and their life span applies the following: The more data per cell is saved, the higher the wear level is. That means, at first the life span of storage types possibly can be linked to the write cycles. Storage cells of type MLC last about 3,000 write cycles. In the first moment, that necessarily doesn’t sound much. However, in comparison to conventional HDDs, the mechanics of SSD don’t degrade when only reading data. This means, by only reading data, an SSD will not wear out, which brings us to the conclusion that it depends on the write and delete processes.

With “Wear Leveling” SSDs have made a big step towards more robustness. SSDs of the new generations apportion data on the whole storage. By this, all storage cells are treated with care as good as possible. Meanwhile, some SSDs have a so-called SLC mode. We are already familiar with the term from the storage types as explained above. Per storage cell, only one bit is written on an SLC SSD. When an MLC or TLC drive runs in SLC mode, it virtually emulates an SLC storage and writes only one bit per cell at the beginning. Once the storage space isn’t sufficient anymore, the drive switches to working in the normal storage procedure mode.

Let’s undergo an endurance test with modern SSDs, which means constantly writing on these flash storages at highest speed by using special tools. By now, SSDs achieve outstanding results in such tests. Only after years there are storage cell drop outs. However, even for these inoperable cells flash storages have a successful solution. Current SSDs have reserve capacities. These storage spaces aren’t available to the user, but are used to repair damaged cells, so to speak. The defect cells are replaced with brand-new reserve cells; this procedure is called “Bad-Block-Management”. Thus, SSD storage cells in normal operation last a lifetime.

Can I calculate the life span of an SSD drive?

The more storage cells an SSD owns, the longer it will work. By having a huge storage capacity the storage cells can be treated with care for much longer because they aren’t rewritten that often. The life span of a modern SSD can be calculated with the help of a formula:

General formula for life span

Let’s take the Samsung 850 PRO  as an example. The 850 PRO is an MLC SSD with 3,000 write cycles. The capacity of the drive differs depending on the model, ranging from 512GB to 2TB. The SSD factor specifies the rate of the real amount of data to the actual data written. For the calculation, one chooses a high value of 5. In addition, the amount of data that is written on the drive per year is estimated. If an estimation is difficult, then we recommend to choose a value between 1,500 and 2,000GB.

The life span of a Samsung 850 PRO with 1TB then results in:

usage of formula

This SSD will probably last incredible 343 years. This isn’t a guarantee, but a good forecast. The warranty for the named SSD is ten years. Also, TLC drives don’t have to hide. The 1TB model of the Samsung 850 EVO series, which is equipped with the low-priced TLC storage type, can expect a life span of 114 years.

If your SSD is already in usage for a while, then you can calculate the anticipated remaining life time with the help of special tools. The tool SSDlife calculates the working time so far, the amount of data already written and gives a rating regarding the life span.

Can I do something to optimize the life span of my SSD?

Not every hard drive tool can automatically handle SSDs. There are some tools especially for SSDs, which definitely take care of your storage. However, operating system services, the ones you know from conventional hard drives like for example the defragmentation, aren’t suitable for SSDs. A defragmentation even proves to be harmful for an SSD because of its unnecessary write and delete processes. Overall, the sorting of data through defragmentation isn’t useful for an SSD: SSDs access all storage regions simultaneously. We recommend to you the following optimization software for your SSD:

Samsung Magician Software – the tool exclusively for Samsung SSDs

In CompuRAM’s online shop, you will find the latest SSDs by Samsung. For best maintenance Samsung recommends the in-house software “Samsung Magician Software”. With this tool not only the speed of your SSD can be increased, but also the life span of your Samsung SSD can be analysed and improved. The tool informs you about the state of the drive and offers various benchmark, optimisation and delete functions. With these optimisation possibilities, operating system services can be tuned for maximum performance and reliability of your SSD.

Samsung Magician Software

Particularly interesting is the Magician feature “Over Provisioning”. With this function, it is possible to maximise the life span of your SSD. During this procedure, a certain storage area is not made available to the user. This area is only for the SSD controller. It uses the storage to efficiently swap and administer temporary data. By doing so, Over Provisioning also supports the introduced procedures Wear Leveling and Bad-Block-Management. Primarily SSDs with small capacity benefit from Over Provisioning because in so doing space for the optimisation functions is guaranteed. Owners of a big Samsung SSD mostly have enough space for administration functions from the start.

In this video we show you, how to use the tools in practice:

Alternatively, you can use the free analysis software “GSmart Control”, which is compatible for all SSD manufacturer. With this tool ,you virtually check the blood values of your SSD. If your SSD gets through the “Basic Health Test” will be shown to you directly in the program. In the details of the analysis, you will find all reading errors and problems concerning your SSD. Recommendable is also the gratis tool SSD Fresh. The software offers a line of tuning features to treat your SSD drive even more gentle and thus, to ensure a long life span.

Conclusion:

Modern SSDs not only go strong by their speed, meanwhile they also satisfy in the matter of life span. With newest techniques, like Wear Leveling and Bad-Block-Management, the SSDs are treated with lots of care. With the proper optimisation tools, you can look after your SSDs, so that you can enjoy the flash storage for a very long time.



9 thoughts on “The life span of an SSD – how long does it last and what can be done to take care?

  1. jie

    The problem is, in the real world, the OS (Windows) or some other malicious/stupid APP (programs) will write constantly to the SSD, for example, making memory SWAPs or recoding secretly your browsing info to the cookies, to temporary files, or even downloading something without let you know. Can somebody make an estimation of how many such data written per year on the SSD ?

    Reply
  2. Mark V

    Your write up sound convincing, yet there are numerous actual tests that show drive failures extrapolating to a maximum of two to three times the manufacturer’s warranty; these results are still good, but where are you getting your formula?

    Your life expectancy estimates seem to make no real-world sense?

    Reply
  3. L M

    is it 343 years until all the cells in the SSD is dead, or until 50% are dead or until a single cell is dead?

    Reply
  4. Tom Watts

    My question is; Does all of this apply to Linux Ubuntu OS? in other words will the Samsung software (tool) run with Ubuntu?

    Reply
    1. Bauer Thomas

      The Samsung software only runs on MS-Windows systems.
      many regards
      Your CompuRAM-Team

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *