Comparison SSD and HDD
In terms of HDD vs SSD lifespan, unlike the traditional hard disc drives that feature an actuator arm with a read/write functionality and an electric motor to move the actuator arm and another one for spinning the disks, SSDs do not feature any moving parts.
How does SSD memory work?By comparison, Solid State Drives don’t use magnetic discs. They utilize flash memory, usually NAND chips to store data. It’s a non-volatile memory that retains data even when the power source is removed. NAND is programmed and erased by applying a voltage to send electrons through an insulator. It’s important to note that SSDs malfunction far less often than HDDs and they maintain their speed throughout their lifetime too.
How long will a SSD hard drive lastAlthough SSDs are far less prone to failure, what about its lifespan? If you’ve upgraded your computer with an SSD, I bet you instantly felt the benefits. Your system is now loading in far less time, all the applications are opening and running a lot faster and there is no hard drive spinning noise. But, what is the longevity of SSD? The downside of SSDs with NAND Flash chips is that they have a limited lifespan by default. Unlike an HDD, which memory (composed by magnetic discs) is virtually everlasting, SSDs have a lifespan and its longevity depends on the read/write cycles. The number of available read/write cycles varies according to the technology used.
SSD failure causesEvery time that a block of data is written to a NAND flash cell, that cell is slightly degraded. After many write operations, a NAND cell will eventually wear out and fail. Data can only be written on a memory cell inside the Nand chips between approximately 3000 and 100000 times during its lifetime. After that, the cell will be worn and won’t store any more data. SSD manufacturers use specific wear-leveling algorithms to ensure data is distributed evenly over all cells by the controller, to prevent the same cells from getting used all the time while others aren’t, extending the lifespan. The more data per cell is stored, the higher the wear level. So, the bigger an SSD is and the more storage cells it has, the longer its lifespan will be.
SSD failure symptomsUnlike HDDs, SSDs don’t have any moving mechanical parts, so there aren’t any audible warnings when something is going wrong. You won’t notice any strange noises as SSDs are virtually muted devices. Although there are some SSD failure signs that could indicate your SSD is reaching the end of its lifespan, such as:
- Error messages involving bad blocks of sectors
- Warnings involving files that could not be read or written to the disk
- Getting constant error messages saying the File System needs repair
- Active applications often freezing up and crashing
- System crashing while the operating system is booting
- Computer running oddly slow, especially while accessing larger files
- Frequent errors while moving data
SSD lifespan calculatorGenerally, most manufacturers provide an SSD endurance rating by giving an estimate TBW (Terabytes Written) – representing the total amount of terabytes data that an SSD can write in its lifetime. That’s all well and good but it’s an estimate. Is there an SSD life expectancy calculator or SSD lifespan tool you can use? Yes, there is. You can calculate the approximate lifespan of a Solid State Drive by installing an SSD lifespan software or using a couple of online resources. These websites let you simulate an estimated lifespan for a given SSD drive: lifespan check and shows the remaining expected life of a disc.
SSD endurance comparisonThe endurance of an SSD depends on some factors. The type of cell it uses, has a direct impact on the number of program/erase cycles before failure. There are key differences between SLC, MLC, eMLC and TLC. You can learn further about these types of memory here.
- SLC: Single-level cell flash memory supports up to 100,000 program/erase cycles.
- MLC: Multi-level cell flash memory supports up to 3,000 program/erase cycles.
- eMLC: Enterprise multi-level cell flash memory supports up to 10,000 program/erase cycles and can reach 35,000 cycles on 3D NAND.
- TLC: Triple-level cells NAND flash memory only supports 300-1000 program/erase cycles and can achieve 1500-3000 program/erase cycles with 3D NAND.