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SSDs Are Not Created Equal

MPG regularly receives emails of “what about SSD Brand X”, often because specifications of some new variant impressed, or the price is $10 lower, or whatever. This is not the way any professional or serious user looking for reliable long-term use should select gear. It is why MPG recommends only gear tested and shown to work reliably here at MPG. Top recommendations go to gear that has shown solid service under heavy duty.

Many users presume an SSD is an SSD, assuming that all SSDs are pretty much the same. Which they sort of are, for light duty use and where performance over time doesn’t matter much.

But brands vary in media life management and more over provisioning. For example, a 250GB SSD has 256GB of flash memory, and a 240GB SSD has 256GB of flash memory. Think about that— one SSD has 6GB of spare flash, and another has 16GB of spare flash. And flash memory blocks fail over time. Connect the dots.

All SSDs can fail for various reasons. All one can do is play the odds. And if the ultimate in reliability is needed, enterprise-grade SSDs are the (pricey) ticket, though overkill for most all users.

Shown below is one brand that in a few days of testing showed a drop in media life from 39% to 31%, and had some severe write speed problems also (disktester recondition made a *huge* improvement). Note also that “hours of use” is a modest 191 hours.

Screen shot from SoftRAID 5.

Rapid loss of media life in common-brand SSD

After only 14 hours more steady usage (disktester test-reliability), look what has happened to the media life: it has declined from 31% to 28%, literally overnight.

Rapid loss of media life in common-brand SSD

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