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 Post subject: Use SSD as main drive?
PostPosted: December 10th, 2018, 20:36 
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Joined: December 10th, 2018, 20:20
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I'm getting a new desktop PC and I'm thinking about getting an SSD for it to make things faster.

I am not familiar with the current news on these drives, but my impression is that they have become more reliable over the past few years since they now seem to routinely come with warranties at least as long as HDDs.

Years ago, I recall that people were buying these drives just to use them as boot drives and using an HDD to do the main storage duty. I guess the reason was that the SSDs were so relatively expensive and buying one of a larger capacity was not affordable even if it was available. But I also had the impression that the failure rate was higher on the SSDs and that they wore out faster, so part of the reason they were not used as the main drive is to keep the operating time on them down.

Flash forward to today (Bad pun I admit!).

I am considering buying maybe a 250GB SSD and using it as the main drive for both the OS and programs and also for my user data. I don't need anything bigger than that.

But my concern is reliability and longevity since I don't know much about that or how much it has or has not improved.

Can I expect the same kind of life out of a new SSD that I would get with an HDD given the same amount of use?

Can new SSDs handle heavy use without getting worn out?

Or is it still advisable to only use an SSD as a boot disk and use an HDD for the heavy work?

I would love to only use an SSD since the prices are so reasonable now and its so fast. But don't want it to burn out in a year or even two or three. The HDD I am using right now in my laptop has been humming away for more than 5 years and no problems. Can I expect that kind of life from an SSD in everyday use?

Would appreciate any info about this from those with experience in using SSDs this way.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Use SSD as main drive?
PostPosted: December 10th, 2018, 22:27 
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Joined: December 8th, 2010, 11:37
Posts: 631
Location: Ottawa, Canada
This study mentions that
Quote:
We observe that replacement rates for SSDs are significantly lower than for HDDs. Work by Schroeder et al. [20] and Google [21] shows that annual replacement rates for HDDs typically exceed 1%, with 2%–4% common and up to 13% observed on some systems. These numbers are consistent with the most recent publicly available data on HDDs, reported by Backblaze [17] based on observations on their own data centers (see Fig. 4). In comparison, annual replacement rates for SSDs are significantly lower, as we have seen in Section III-A (typically around 1%, with the worst model at 2.5%).
Nevertheless, until recently, data recovery from SSDs was a lot more tenuous because of Trim and SandForce controllers. The most-current HDDs, however, defy recovery by most data recovery labs because of their use of Helium and firmware encryption. Rather than tossing a coin to decide your poison, the imperative is to make regular back-ups no matter which you choose. Personally, I favour SSDs for the OS and programs and HDDs for data.

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 Post subject: Re: Use SSD as main drive?
PostPosted: December 11th, 2018, 3:38 
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Joined: November 29th, 2006, 10:08
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LarrySabo wrote:
This study mentions that
Quote:
We observe that replacement rates for SSDs are significantly lower than for HDDs. Work by Schroeder et al. [20] and Google
[21] shows that annual replacement rates for HDDs typically exceed 1%, with 2%–4% common and up to 13% observed on some systems. These numbers are consistent with the most recent publicly available data on HDDs, reported by Backblaze [17] based on observations on their own data centers (see Fig. 4). In comparison, annual replacement rates for SSDs are significantly lower, as we have seen in Section III-A (typically around 1%, with the worst model at 2.5%).
Nevertheless, until recently, data recovery from SSDs was a lot more tenuous because of Trim and SandForce controllers. The most-current HDDs, however, defy recovery by most data recovery labs because of their use of Helium and firmware encryption. Rather than tossing a coin to decide your poison, the imperative is to make regular back-ups no matter which you choose. Personally, I favour SSDs for the OS and programs and HDDs for data.


I agree, we too have SSD boot drives and “real” drives for data storage.

Admittedly, we may be biased due to the huge amounts of data we handle.

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 Post subject: Re: Use SSD as main drive?
PostPosted: December 11th, 2018, 11:58 
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pcimage wrote:
I agree, we too have SSD boot drives and “real” drives for data storage.
Admittedly, we may be biased due to the huge amounts of data we handle.

+1

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 Post subject: Re: Use SSD as main drive?
PostPosted: December 12th, 2018, 0:36 
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Joined: December 10th, 2018, 20:20
Posts: 4
Location: America
Thank you to all for your replies.

What are the advantages of using an SSD as a boot/program drive but having a second drive for data if you don't need any more space for both than what you have on the SSD?

I can see if you store say a TB or two of data that you need to have online at all times, since large SSDs are expensive, but other than that I'm still not clear on the advantages of this setup.

I have several large HDDs and the new desktop PC I just bought has plenty of room to mount a couple of them in addition to an SSD, but I don't see any need for it since I will only use the HDDs for backup and archive, I really don't need them for day to day online storage purposes.

The only reason I can think of not to just use the SSD for both system and data is if it might wear it out too quickly. I'm still not clear if that is a legitimate concern versus an HDD.


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 Post subject: Re: Use SSD as main drive?
PostPosted: December 12th, 2018, 10:06 
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Joined: December 8th, 2010, 11:37
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@Ryan, if you don't need more space than the SSD provides, and you make regular or continuous back-ups, the only reasons I can think of are recoverability in the even of a drive failure and cost per GB stored. Data recovery from failed SSD drives is usually more expensive than from HHDs, and sometimes (often?) not possible at all. There are fewer labs capable of SSD recoveries than there are of HDD recoveries. With all but the very latest crop of HDDs, data recovery from HDDs is cheaper and more accessible/available.

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 Post subject: Re: Use SSD as main drive?
PostPosted: December 12th, 2018, 22:01 
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Joined: December 10th, 2018, 20:20
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Location: America
Thank you for the solid answer LarrySabo. It all makes sense and good points all. I use a file backup program to regularly backup my critical data files to a USB stick (it's only a few GB including 30 days of versions) and periodically image the entire drive (excluding the data that is backed up by file) to be able to restore the system in case of drive failure. All the critical user data is backed up safely on the USB stick as needed, so only the OS + installed programs are at risk. And once a week images of that should be enough in this case.

I may install an HDD second drive in the tower just to offload data to for archiving purposes, but I can do that externally so it really isn't a necessity.

I think a 250GB SSD drive is the only drive I need to use at least for now.

Thanks to everyone for the great help! Some real experts here and much appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Use SSD as main drive?
PostPosted: December 13th, 2018, 10:00 
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Joined: December 8th, 2010, 11:37
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Ryan wrote:
... I use a file backup program to regularly backup my critical data files to a USB stick (it's only a few GB including 30 days of versions) and periodically image the entire drive (excluding the data that is backed up by file) to be able to restore the system in case of drive failure. All the critical user data is backed up safely on the USB stick as needed, so only the OS + installed programs are at risk.

So if the USB stick (aka USB flash drive) fails, you have no back-up? Flash drives are notoriously unreliable and unless physically damaged, require chip-off recovery. At the very least, I would alternate between 2 USB flash drives and would also back up critical files to an online storage service or keep the alternate copy in another location. There are many free online storage services that offer 2GB of storage, e.g., Dropbox or Google Drive. I wouldn't recommend MS's OneDrive as an option, based on my experience.

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 Post subject: Re: Use SSD as main drive?
PostPosted: December 13th, 2018, 12:00 
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Joined: December 10th, 2018, 20:20
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Location: America
LarrySabo wrote:
Flash drives are notoriously unreliable and unless physically damaged, require chip-off recovery.


You are certainly right on that one. Each backup runs a verification to make sure it can be read, I replace the USB stick periodically and I back up the USB stick to other media periodically so that I have at least a "recent" copy of all data on 3 separate media at all times (the original drive, the USB stick and the recent backup of the USB drive). For me I think this is sufficient. Having lost 2 drives to failure in the past few years, this system saved me both times.


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