As SSD endurance test has confirmed the reliability upgrade that the last generation solid state units have experienced, with two of the models tested surviving after standing a massive writing test of over 2 petabytes, an enormous quantity of data that a real person would take dozens of years to complete.
The multiple advantages of having an SSD (consumption, noise, heat emission or performance) derived from the absence of mobile parts are evident, but a few years back there were doubts of the practical endurance of the units in solid state as the standard use for massive information storage. Based on NAND flash memories, the successful writings erode the individual memory cells, both in capacity and performance.
Most manufacturers offer conservative figures of daily writings of about 40GB, to offer guarantees for the product of about 3 to 5 years. The wear of the memory cells is inherent to this technology, but the data of the guarantee doesn’t allow us to know how much an SSD can really endure. Until now.
The guys of Tech Report got to work, making an SSD endurance test with the objective of literally smashing the units for a whole year and ascertain if the wear of the flash memories is really a problem that shortens the lifespan of this kind of units.
As shown in the top seller models, they chose several SSDs for testing: Corsair Neutron GTX Series, Intel 335 Series, two Kingston Hyper X 3K, and Samsung 840 Series, standard and Pro, The experiment consisted on writing and erasing 10GB of data successively non-stop, including the Windows 7 installation folder, movies and applications.
The results are conclusive, the current SSDs does not have any endurance problems, absorbing more damage than the promised on the official specifications and infinitely more than the average user can do.
The first one to fall was the Kingston hyper X 3K, and it fell after writing 728TB. The second was the Intel 335 on the 750TB and the third was the 840 EVO on the 900TB mark, while the Corsair Neutron said goodbye after the 1.2 PB. On all cases, the units reassigned automatically the damaged sectors. (The SSDs include additional memory cells in case the others fail so it does not loses capacity) and it warns that successive SMART errors are possible once the lifespan nears its end.
Regarding performance, we can see loses as the unit gets older, but they are so small that on normal usage are practically inappreciable for the user and on some SSDs it doesn’t even exist.
The second Kingston Hyper X 3K and the Samsung 840 Pro tested, continued working after overcoming the 2 Petabytes of written data. On that amount of time, they reassigned over 6000 sectors and warned a swarm of SMART errors, but they have not been able to overcome them, and so, the experiment continues.
Besides, the Samsung 840 Pro continues to offer practically the same performance. And we’re not surprised. The Kingston has not yet been tested, but we tested the Samsung with outstanding results.
To place the test’s data into perspective, it is necessary to point out that in real life the user would take over a 100 years to write those 2PB.
Long story short. You can rest assured when buying a last generation SSD, because on normal usage conditions, and without a particular failure, you won’t take it down. We saw it on our last special about reliability of components where despite what you may think, the return rate on units on solid state is the same or lower than that of hard drives.