Author Topic: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?  (Read 11799 times)

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Offline InfravioletTopic starter

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Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« on: August 22, 2023, 07:46:09 pm »
I'm in the market for buying an SSD to replace an aging HDD. I've had enough of the mechanical limitations and vulnerability of HDDs. So I'm looking to buy an SSD (due to what it is going to replace: SATA, 2.5 inch, 1TB or close, must be able to use as boot drive for Linux OS on a UEFI system with secureboot and fastboot disabled), and yet the online reviews imply I'm in for nothing but a world of pain with just about every brand. For each brand I've looked at I'm shocked how many buyers report "this died in 3 months light usage", or, "medium usage, never more than quarter full, but at 2 years age SMART health rapidly declined and I'm getting file corruption". So rather than rely on anecdotes from single buyers alone I've tried to look upspecific bugs and models, the results are horifying, every brand seems to be producing utter junk.

Samsung, major scandals with the 870 EVO (big thread at https://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/samsung-870-evo-beware-certain-batches-prone-to-failure.291504/ )related to any with firmware which is not SVT02B6Q. Firmware will corrupt data and can brick the drive entirely. Samsung has also had trouble with 980 Pro and 990 series SSDs, suddenly turning read-only and absolutely racing through their write cycles life with only small amounts of data written. The older 840 line of SSDs suffered a bug where cells lost chage and data that wasn't read or written often enough would vanish, and such a firmware update was needed to make the drive automatically perform rolling rewrites across itself, which increased the wear somewhat and shotened the overall lifespan accordingly as, to prevent bits getting corrupted every bit had to be rewritten every few days.

WD and SanDisk, today the same company for SSD production. Currently being sued for having produced external SSDs under both brand names which suddenly bricked and wiped the data on them. Also a scandal with critical firmware updates being needed for the SA510 line of WD branded internal drives.

Crucial's MX500 line has been found to have defective firmware in some batches which are not using M3CR046 firmware, the issue appeared to be related to the controller writing in such a way as to cause excessive wear. And updating this apparently requires use of a Windows tool which even then can only perform a firmware update whilst the drive is being written, and Windows won't write to ext4 partitions as you'd have on a Linux system drive. It appears they also had a situation in recent years where they suddenly pulled some firmware update they were offering, for no explained reason. And there's speculation that some more recent driveshave moved to greater numbers of cell layers in their storage, for lower cost and lower endurance.

Kingston, particularly the A400 line, I've seen reports of very bad quality NAND memory chips bing used inside the drives, takes very few write cycles before dying. There were various forum threads where people opened them up and looked at chip markings on drives of different ages, less reliable drives after a certain date range suddenly had differently marked chips of what were assumed different brands. The A2000 also suffered from a bug related to an energy-saving standby mode. An error code "SATAFIRM S11" was often involved in troubles which some of Kingston's SSDs had.

Seagate, couldn't find criticism of any of their SATA SSDs as they don't seem to make SATA SSDs any more and seem to only do types with more modern connectors which aren't applicable to my situation.

An awful lot of sellers of cheap USB sticks, now seem to have SSD brnads, but one assmes they are either rebadged ones from the main manufactuers, as these companies do with USB sticks, or are made with very cheap internal parts.

All these failures seem to have been within the last 3 years, as if all the manufacturers are embracing shoddy production standards together.

When buying there is no way to know which firmware a drive is shipping with until you unbox, plug in and check with the likes of gsmartcontrol. On the outside drives which are very different internally have the same name and model number.

Furthermore all the manufacturers seem to be moving to QLC quad layer storage, which I understand is a lot more vulnerable to corruption than the original single layer SSD technology as each cell holds more bits and needs to stay at a more precise analogue level to be read out without corruption. All so they can save a bit of physical space in the drive, and make some cost savings which don't get reflected in the sale price. From what I can tell they're chasing bleeding edge technology changes for minor cost savings (fraction of percent of sale price) and making very unreliable devices because of it.

For all the brands it seems that detecting if the firmware is a bad version, and applying a firmware fix, is virtually impossible on non-dual-boot linux machines, as all the manufacturers produce junk Windows only software for SSD monitoring and don't make downloadable update files available online to be retrieved without said Windows software being a middle-man. I saw one brand, can't remember which, also offered a bootable iso for firmware updating, but this apparently was built on such an old DOS or UNIX core that when it booted it could only support PS2 type keyboards and not USB ones or the inbuilt ones on laptops, so the iso was unusable for virtually all modern PCs.

Are good SSDs, the main focus being more about long term reliability and not having to worry about PC being moved while running than speed performance,  just not manufatured any more?
Thanks
 
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Offline kripton2035

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2023, 08:04:37 pm »
just for the records, I've installed 3 to 10 ssd's each week of work for more than 10 years now.
at most I would say 5 of all of them came back for defect ... and usually in the first month of usage.
just buy one of some reputable brand (I was selling samsung mainly), use the 3 to 5 years warranty if any bad luck,
AND MAKE AUTOMATIC REGULAR BACKUPS that is the key...
one of the first ssd I sold was a 500GB for ... EUR 1850 !!!! today these are less than EUR 50, and have far better specs.
 

Offline Benta

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2023, 08:37:05 pm »
I have five laptops where I installed Crucial MX500 250G and 500G SSDs. All been running daily the last three years without a single issue.
Maybe I'm just lucky.
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2023, 08:38:17 pm »
Despite the Samsung hiccups - which were all fixed relatively quickly AFAIK - I have 4 Samsung SSDs (2 NVMe, 2 SSD) and had had absolutely zero issues with them.
The most recent one I have is a 980 Pro NVMe, the first firmware version had a problem but the one I bought had the second version which works fine.
As a general rule, not buying a product that just got released and waiting for a few months until initial problems are fixed is a good idea.
In my experience, Samsung has always fixed their issues rather promptly and as far as performance and reliability goes, this is still my go-to brand for SSDs.
 

Offline DavidAlfa

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2023, 09:09:37 pm »
My 500GB EVO 850 did well since 2018 until a month ago, zero issues.
I checked the SMART and had like 20K running hours :-DD (Edit : Why the hell did I write 400K? LOL)
I recently switched to a 2TB nvme SN850X just because it was time to upgrade.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2023, 02:52:36 pm by DavidAlfa »
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Offline John B

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2023, 09:19:39 pm »
I'm using a Samsung 860, 2x 870s and a 970 and haven't had any issues. The latter ones are pretty new and it's hard to give solid feedback on them, but the disk reporting feature shows no errors or unusual readings. The 860 is maybe 2 years old and likewise hasn't caused any issues.

I have wanted to try some other brands, but I usually pick up the samsung drives when theyre on special. Last time I was going to pick up a western digital blue one, but it had a ton of feedback showing lots of failures.  Anecdotal of course so take it for what it's worth.
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2023, 09:28:47 pm »
just for the records, I've installed 3 to 10 ssd's each week of work for more than 10 years now.
at most I would say 5 of all of them came back for defect ... and usually in the first month of usage.
just buy one of some reputable brand (I was selling samsung mainly), use the 3 to 5 years warranty if any bad luck,
AND MAKE AUTOMATIC REGULAR BACKUPS that is the key...
one of the first ssd I sold was a 500GB for ... EUR 1850 !!!! today these are less than EUR 50, and have far better specs.

Yeah, get whatever drive is decent spec for your purpose with RAM (Teamgroup MP34 1TB 5yr warranty is $50), I wouldn't pay the samsung premium but you can if you want. Then back it up to a HDD.
End of discussion.
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Offline tom66

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2023, 11:02:40 am »
I've got a 5 year old Crucial MX500 (500GB, purchased for ~£120) still working fine as a main boot drive until very recently when it was replaced with an M.2 Samsung SSD.  Still in use as an aux drive.   I also have a BX500 (cheaper brother of the MX500, bad for peak write rate but great for reads) and a very old 120GB SSD from I think Patriot (?) but it's still alive.

The M.2 Samsung SSD (Evo 970) cost around £100 but has a 2TB capacity.  It claims a warranty of 1200TBW and 5 years, I'm pretty sure I'll exceed the years count before the TBW.

All drives are susceptible to failure.  Ensure you have a backup process in place, I use Backblaze myself for a few bucks a month but others are available.

I would never use a Kingston product.  They don't make their own flash and so have very variable quality.  I've had RAM and external USB drives from them fail.  And they're rarely any cheaper than the OEMs that do make flash.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2023, 11:07:22 am by tom66 »
 

Offline TERRA Operative

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2023, 11:36:10 am »
I work for a multinational CDN provider, here our team oversees literally thousands of servers across multiple data centers and like 5 times that in SSD's

I haven't seen any specific brands standing out over others for failures.
We run the disks until they simply wear out, or they just randomly die as things sometimes do. The 'bathtub curve' is real, but skewed much towards the end-of-life end.

We use Samsung, Micron, and Intel SSD's mainly (WD, Samsung, HGST, and Toshiba for HDD's but they are phasing out for SSD's in all new machines).

For my personal laptops, I use Samsung nvme drives and was using a Samsung 500Gb SATA disk which was replaced with a Micron 1Tb disk simply because free upgrade. (Hooray for decomissioned servers sent to scrap!)

I like Samsung 'just because' and I've never had one die, but if you are really worried about failures, getting an enterprise rated drive from one of the brands I mentioned would be a good idea, if your budget allows.

Where does all this test equipment keep coming from?!?

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Offline BradC

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2023, 11:38:18 am »
I've got ~15 Samsung SATA SSDs starting with the 830. I did skip the 840 though. Unfortunately I recommend it to my brother and he lost a crapload of data to the 840 EVO.

I also have Intel SSDs, A couple of WD Green (slow as a wet week in winter but only used for bootloader), a Kingston or two, 2TB Silicon Power (big but _slooooow_) and a 2TB MX500 , and a few NVME of various makes (Samsung included).

My fav's would be the 980 Pro, older 970 Evo Plus and SK Hynix P31. The only one I regret buying is a Crucial P2 which was reviewed as a TLC then a bait and switch with QLC.

The only duds I've had were a PATA Kingspec back in 2008 and two OCZ Vertex Plus that died after ~10 years of 24/7 use.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. RAID for availability and Backups on top of that.

I never buy at release time and let them settle in a year or so before making a move. That way it's almost certain the clangers have been worked out of the firmware.
 

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2023, 12:19:18 pm »
Probably the worst has to be Sandforce back in the day, very high failure rate due to firmware bugs. It in fact made me question if SSDs were overcomplicated and should have been implemented as a dumb array of Flash, with wear leveling and bad block management done at the kernel level as some embedded systems do.
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Offline wraper

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2023, 12:26:02 pm »
Almost any non DRAM-less from not some obscure Chinese company is quite decent. Of course you should avoid QLC NAND but they are not that bad either. Most of the problems you mentioned did not happen recently either. Firmware bugs that brick the drive are not nearly as common as in the past. And modern drives usually fail gracefully becoming stuck in read only mode. Rather than bricking themselves despite hardware being OK.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2023, 12:31:03 pm by wraper »
 

Offline Veteran68

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2023, 03:01:50 pm »
I have many Samsung and Crucial SSDs (both 2.5" and M.2) and have never had a single issue out of any of them. I also have several cheaper "off brands" like Silicon Power that have served me well. The last SSD I can remember failing on me in any way was a 80GB refurbed Corsair model about 10 years ago.

Remember that when legitimate defects happen, they often do not cause issues anywhere near proportional to the amount of media hype they receive.
 
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Offline DimitriP

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2023, 04:50:03 pm »
"some batches" !!!
Some Ford engines pop out the spark plugs.
Some GM engines  have the head screws loosen and separate the cylinder head ( Helloooo Northstar engine!!)
Some Porsche crashes are fatal

At some point you gotta pick something!

Given a choice I prefer WD, Micron or Samsung. I'll use SanDisk on  "non-critical stuff"

And once installed ALWAYS check transfer speeds when doing 4K size transfers!!!
Sometimes the performance is abysmally bad compared to a mechanical drive.


 
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Offline amyk

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2023, 02:27:47 am »
Micron apparently started making SLC SSDs again: https://www.anandtech.com/show/18863/micron-updates-data-center-nvme-ssd-lineup-6500-ion-tlc-and-xtr-slc/2

True 100K endurance at a decent price.
 

Online IanB

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2023, 02:53:13 am »
I had the chance to compare a Samsung SATA SSD as an upgrade in an old machine, relative to NVMe/PCIe SSDs in new machines.

The short summary is that a SATA SSD is a bit faster then a SATA HDD as an upgrade, but there is absolutely no comparison with a modern machine that has an NVMe Gen 4 SSD as original equipment.

If you want to upgrade an old machine, I'd recommend to install a smaller capacity and inexpensive SATA SSD to boot the OS and install apps, but keep your files and data on a second high capacity HDD. If your SSD happens to fail, just reinstall the OS and apps and continue. I don't think you will see any speed boost from keeping your data on an SSD compared to an HDD.

However, upgrading old machines is not cost effective. The most effective approach is to retire the old machine and get new hardware with the latest CPU generation, fastest memory and fastest storage. You might find it goes 5-10x faster than the older machine. I didn't believe it until I experienced it.
 

Online bdunham7

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2023, 03:11:27 am »
For everyday cruising, a SATA SSD is HUGE improvement over a mechanical HDD.  For more demanding work and large transfers, yes NVME is better, but I'm working on my old 12-year old backup laptop right now and it is not slow at all.  A PC with the OS and programs on an HDD would be excruciating.

As far as SSDs go, it's Samsung for me.  Granted, the 840s were a problem and I never buy the latest and greatest so I don't have bleeding-edge problems.  I'm the slow second mouse that gets the cheese, I guess.  The 12-year old laptop I just mentioned was upgraded 10+ years ago with a Samsung 830 that currently has 64k hours and 54TB written with no hint of trouble.  Samsung is the only company that hasn't lost a single byte of my data, ever--and that includes numerous 2TB 2.5" SpinPoint HDDs.
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Online IanB

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2023, 03:36:05 am »
Yes, a 12-year old laptop was my experience. It was a very expensive, workstation class machine, and with maxed out memory and an SSD it was much faster than with the original HDD. However, putting it side-by-side with a 2023 laptop shows the difference. One minute tasks take 5-10 seconds, and 10 second tasks take a second or two. All data paths between disk, CPU and memory are so much faster. A faster disk can only do so much for a slower motherboard and memory architecture.
 

Offline Dacian

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2023, 04:16:57 am »
I have a 480GB Mushkin MKNSSDCR480GB that has about 50khours of usage (got it used on eBay and I used it for many years every day) still good.
Since I needed to update the OS I now use an INTEL SSDSC2BF240A4H again purchased used on eBay some years ago :) and this one is only 5khours so perfect health.
The SMART data on the Mushkin say 2 reallocate sectors but I think that was the case sine I got it many years ago.
I use Linux with no Swap partition or file and so there is almost no data written to disk.
I only do software and electronic design plus typical office work (email,web,office apps) so there is no stress. As backup I still use an old 1.5TB HDD 3.5" that is only powered few times per year when I need to save something and a 32GB SLC SSD.
Long therm storage data a HDD will be superior to SSD but for mostly read SSD is superior in all aspects.
 

Offline DimitriP

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2023, 04:36:08 am »
Quote
However, upgrading old machines is not cost effective. The most effective approach is to retire the old machine and get new hardware with the latest CPU generation, fastest memory and fastest storage. You might find it goes 5-10x faster than the older machine. I didn't believe it until I experienced it.

"old machines" come in two flavors.
There are "old machines" that are fast (except when W10 starts thrasing the HDD in which case an SSD takes care of that problem)
and there are "old machines" that were not "speed deamons" to start with. They should have been returned/retired a long time ago !!

Example: an  i7-4790K running W10 with an SSD still flies.  Will it benchmark as good as a newer/faster CPU?. No, but it still flies!
for about $100 you can clone the HDD to and SSD and be back in business by the time you wake up after th e copying is done. AND you have a complete copy of all "your stuff" on the old/slow/constantly busy HDD.
Since you don't have to shell out a lot more than $100 to
a) buy a new machine and then
b) start reinstalling everything, that might just pass the cost-effective test.
Now if you have a machine with only "a few" applications installed,  maybe the re-installation is not as big of a deal...but the around $100 price tag may be :)

 

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Offline TERRA Operative

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2023, 05:33:07 am »
I have found in every instance bar none that an SSD upgrade is one of the most cost effective upgrades you can do to an old machine that has a SATA port, assuming you have at least a passable amount of RAM.
If not, upgrade both RAM and SSD, and it makes for a good experience.

An SSD and a few Gb of RAM is cheaper than a new PC..
Where does all this test equipment keep coming from?!?

https://www.youtube.com/NearFarMedia/
 
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Offline hans

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2023, 11:39:10 am »
just for the records, I've installed 3 to 10 ssd's each week of work for more than 10 years now.
at most I would say 5 of all of them came back for defect ... and usually in the first month of usage.
just buy one of some reputable brand (I was selling samsung mainly), use the 3 to 5 years warranty if any bad luck,
AND MAKE AUTOMATIC REGULAR BACKUPS that is the key...
one of the first ssd I sold was a 500GB for ... EUR 1850 !!!! today these are less than EUR 50, and have far better specs.

I don't install so many per week, but other than that same experiences.
I got an OCZ Vertex 120GB when they were still 300+ euro. Best purchase ever.
Its still running, despite its atrocious reputation. It was running server duty for 2yrs until the firmware could take no more, and it would crash on heavy I/O first, then after some weeks of uptime.. then after just a few hours. I replaced it with a M.2 SSD and thats been rock solid as well. I moved the OCZ drive to my HTPC and it still runs mostly fine. No lock ups or uptime issues. Some boots into Ubuntu are slow for some reason, but when I restart the machine that issue is gone. The machine still feels response, despite the drive being slower than any harddrive of that era when it becomes to write speeds with randomized data (50-60MB/s on a half filed drive is about what you can expect). That drive is almost 14 years old now. All HDDs I had since then have been retired.

I've since then mostly bought Samsung drives. I've received a Samsung 830 as defective, but it failed on day 1, similar to a WD HDD also shipping with bad sectors. RMA'ed it, got it replaced in 2 days, and its been running rock solid.

I've had good experiences with Samsung and Crucial since then. Variety of 1TB and 2TB drives in my system, including 980Pro, no issues to report.
I'm even considering swapping some 4TB WD Red's in my NAS soon with SSDs if prices just drop a little further. The electricity costs on those kind of drives makes it worthwhile to make the jump. It would also give my NAS a big pool for VMs, docker containers and other live-work data.

I think despite SSDs having no moving parts, their overall failure rate is still on-par with regular HDD's. And we bought them for years without thinking about it. It looks like most SSD issues are related to firmware though, in contrast to HDDs which had more mechanical failure modes.
 Backups are always crucial. I'm typing this on a Macbook Pro with a soldered in SSD, which is a big shame on Apple, but I like the machine and OSX, and backuping data should be part of any good computer hygiene anyway.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 11:44:38 am by hans »
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2023, 11:47:29 am »
The short summary is that a SATA SSD is a bit faster then a SATA HDD as an upgrade, but there is absolutely no comparison with a modern machine that has an NVMe Gen 4 SSD as original equipment.
That depends on what you are running. Try Linux with a SATA3 HDD drive, then move the same system to a SATA3 SSD. Things speed up, but its not a game changer. Try it with Windows 10, and its night and day. It feels like MS have gone completely in on the low seek time of an SSD, with Windows 10 and given up trying to mitigate the performance issues of accessing numerous small files. With Windows 7 you still had decent performance from an HDD system.

NVMe is in a different class, but that's not an option for trying to keep an old machine relevant.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #23 on: August 24, 2023, 11:57:35 am »
SD cards are garbage. They fail in huge numbers. Used as a system disk, the lack of effective write spreading means they will rapidly fail as a swap space. Apart from the swap space wear type of issue, when I see an SD card have problems its not a bad block. The whole thing suddenly dies.

USB memory sticks are weak. They give a lot less trouble than SD cards, but they fail a lot more often than I'd like. Failures are like SD cards. The usually just die. If you get a bad block failure its usually in an application like swap space.

SATA SSD have served me very well. I have mostly used Crucial MX500s, and the prior Crucial models, and various Samsungs. This could be luck, but I've yet to have an issue with one, despite the scary tales of bugs.

Of course, all modern SSDs have storage lifetime issues when not powered up. Putting storage in a drawer to keep data safe for the long term still requires an HDD..... or the regular application of power for a considerable period, to refresh the data.
 

Offline Veteran68

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Re: Does anyone make good SSDs any more?
« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2023, 12:41:39 pm »
Don't forget that even old machines can benefit from M.2/NVMe if they have an available PCIe slot (x4, not sure that x1 bw would be enough). Obviously not talking about laptops here, but most all desktops except the tiny PCs would have expansion slots. You can buy a PCIe card with single or dual (maybe more) M.2 slots on them. I did so for an older desktop that had only one onboard M.2 when I wanted to add another.
 
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