All SSDs will eventually fail because the NAND flash cells can only sustain a limited amount of program and erase cycles. Look for the terabyte written (TBW) figure from the vendor, this will indicate how many TBs of data the drive can sustain in total. Ultimately, that entirely depends on the SSD model and how you use it. Following this article to know more information about how long does an SSD last.
How Long Does an SSD Last?
Solid State Drive is still relatively new to the market, so manufacturers are still trying to figure out how long they will last. Currently, vendors use three different factors to estimate SSD lifespan: the age of the solid state drive, the total number of terabytes written over time (TBW), and the drive write per day (DWPD). Depending on which metric you use, the answer to the question “How long do SSDs last?” will vary.
Flash Memory Technology
The Flash Cells that store data electronically onto an SSD device have a clearly defined life span, in contrast to traditional magnetic storage devices. After a limited number of write-erase cycles, this becomes critical, since the flash memory of an SSD age with every write process. Manufacturers usually state 1,000 to 100,000 write-and-erase operations.
The wide range in the lifetime of an SSD is due to different storage technologies:
- Single-level cell SSDs (SLC) have a particularly long life, although they can only store 1 bit per memory cell. They can withstand up to 100,000 write cycles per cell and are particularly fast, durable, and fail-safe.
- Multi-level cell SSDs (MLC) have a higher storage density and can store 2 bits per flash cell. They are more cost-effective than the SLC type but can only tolerate up to 10,000 write cycles per cell.
- Triple-level cell SSDs (TLC) can hold 3 information bits per memory cell. However, at the same time, life expectancy can drop to 3,000 memory cycles per cell.
- Quad-level cell SSDs (QLC) accommodate 4 information bits per cell. Reduced costs, more storage capacity, and higher storage density are also associated with a shorter service life with this type of device. Manufacturers usually only guarantee 1,000 write or erase cycles per cell.
Although SSD life spans can vary greatly, all types of SSDs have a high enough life expectancy for moderate use (with some limitations, including for QLC SSDs).
Total Number of Terabytes Written (TBW Value)
In the IT industry, a TBW figure is typically used to express the lifespan of an SSD device. Total Bytes Written, or TBW is an acronym representing the maximum number of bytes that may be stored on a solid state drive. Manufacturers of SSDs frequently claim a 256 TBW service life (guaranteed write volume) today.
For instance, 80 TBW can be completed in about 10 years with typical PC usage. The hard drive would have a predicted life
of about 32 years under the usage scenario of “moderate, eight-hour, weekly use as an office PC” (word processing, internet browsing, email checking, occasionally streaming, a few larger downloads, as well as smaller backup and copying actions, but not a high continuous load).
It has also been discovered that manufacturers typically rate an SSD life lifetime quite conservatively during long-term tests, which consistently write onto SSDs using unique algorithms. Even cheaper SSDs frequently go beyond the write limit set by the manufacturer.
The numbers demonstrate that an SSD’s service life under typical operation conditions is scarcely a limiting issue. After almost ten years of use, the HD Sentinel monitoring program still rates an example SSD from Intel as fully intact (performance value: 100%, overall condition: 98%). Failure would be less likely than a technical issue with the integrated electronic control system (controller) or an exchange owing to insufficient storage.
However, if you constantly record large image backups on an SSD, it can fill up relatively quickly. For example, if you back up 200 GB on a 220 GB disk, it can get tight after a few years. In order to ensure greater continuous use, many SSDs come with a DWPD value. This stands for “DWPD” and is usually specified by the manufacturer.
For example, Kingston’s DC400 DW SSD model has a DWPD value of 0.30 (480 GB storage capacity). This value is calculated using a formula that includes the TBW value. TBW stands for “Total Bytes Written” and is determined by Kingston using a standardized calculation method based on JEDEC workload.
TBW of the SSD * 1000/365 days * Number of years * Storage capacity
In this specific example for calculating a DWPD value, the guarantee period of 5 years flows into the “number of years” (meaning the life span of an SSD that is guaranteed by the manufacturer):
257 * 1000/365 * 5 * 480
If you multiply an SSD’s DWPD value of 0.30 by its storage capacity of 480 GB, you’ll get 144 GB. If you write a maximum of 144 GB to the SSD every day, it will likely reach the guaranteed life. You can also use a different number of years that corresponds to your requirements for an SSD in terms of service life and resilience, instead of the guarantee period.
HDD vs SSD Lifespan.
You might be wondering about the lifespan of SSDs vs HDDs. How long do hard drives last? To answer this question, it’s important to know about the lifespan of HDDs. In theory, hard drives can read and write data an infinite number of times without failing. However, in practice, the moving components of a hard drive will wear out over time, eventually causing failure.
On average, commercial hard drives have a rated lifespan of 3-5 years. However, many hard drives last much longer (and others suffer head crashes or other catastrophic failures after a few months of use). SSDs don’t rely on a mechanical process to store data, but they can be electronically damaged. As we’ve discussed, they also have a limited lifespan – the more you use an SSD, the less dependable it becomes.
Depending on the user’s behavior, an SSD may be more reliable than a hard drive, but the opposite is also true. If you constantly access your storage media, a hard drive might offer a slight improvement in long-term reliability. Of course, there are dozens of other factors that could affect a storage media’s lifespan.
Notice: There are always drawbacks to storage devices – your data is never truly “safe” if it only exists on one physical device. So make sure to regularly back up all your important files, no matter what type of storage you’re using.
How to Increase SSD Life?
The SDD can last longer than the defined lifespan set by vendors. In addition, you can also take some methods to increase its service life. Here are 3 measures you can take to reduce wear on SSDs.
When we delete a file, the operating system doesn’t actually delete the data. It just marks the address where the data is stored as “empty.” However, the hard drive doesn’t know that the data is no longer valid unless the system tells it to write new data at that address. This can cause problems with garbage collection (GC) on SSDs, because some invalid data may be treated as valid data, which would shorten the SSD’s lifespan.
The TRIM command is used to tell the SSD controller which pages are no longer valid so that they can be freed up when the SSD starts its garbage collection process.
Here is the tutorial on how to enable TRIM.
Step 1 – Determine whether your computer has enabled TRIM.
- Enter “cmd” in the Windows search box.
- Right-click on the Command Prompt icon and choose Run as administrator.
- Enter the following command: fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify.
Notice: If the message “DisableDeleteNotify = 0” appears, it means that your computer has enabled TRIM. If you get the message “DisableDeleteNotify = 1“, it means that your computer hasn’t enabled TRIM.
Step 2 – Enable TRIM if your computer hasn’t opened it. Please enter the following command: fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 0.
Disable SSD Defragmentation
Disk defragmentation is used to rearrange files that are fragmented and messy. This can improve the overall performance and speed of the computer. However, this method is only applied to HDDs. For SSDs, disk defragmentation is unnecessary because an SSD doesn’t require seeking time.
What’s more, this kind of data moving without any benefit can greatly damage the SSD life. Therefore, you should disable it (it is usually used in Windows versions before Windows 8).
Here is the tutorial on how to disable disk defragmentation.
Step 1 – Click the Start button and enter “disk defrag” in the search box. Then, click Disk Defragmenter to run it.
Step 2 – Disable disk defragmentation.
- Click Configure schedule…
- Uncheck Run on a schedule and click OK to save changes.
Disable Prefetch and Superfetch
The Prefetch and Superfetch features will preload the application pages that users may use into memory-free space, thus avoiding system-calling pages from the hard disk as much as possible. The two technologies allow the application to turn on at the fastest speed and will make the computer not be slow to respond after idling for a long time. However, they are also unnecessary for SSDs.
Here is the tutorial on how to disable Prefetch.
Step 1: Press the “Windows + R” keys simultaneously and enter “regedit” in the Run box to open Registry Editor.
Step 2: Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Control > SessionManager > Memory Management > PrefetchParameters.
Step 3: Highlight PrefetchParameters and double-click EnablePrefetcher to change its value to 0. Then, click OK to save changes.
As for disabling Superfetch, you can refer to the following tutorial.
Step 1: Press “Windows + R” keys and then type “services.msc” to open Services window.
Step 2: Scroll down to right-click Superfetch and select Stop to disable it.
How to Deal with SSD Failure
Although you have taken care of your SSD, the SSD will still fail sooner or later. Before the SSD fails radically, the following situations may occur: the SSD writes slowly; write errors occur frequently, or the SSD becomes read-only.
If these symptoms appear, you should back up the data on the SSD. As for the backup software, you can choose MiniTool Partition Wizard. It can help you copy all the data from the SSD to another hard disk.
What are the benefits of SSDs?
The main benefit of electronic chips for storage is that they are much faster than HDD with a spindle inside. That is due to the fact that a normal HDD consists of many mechanical parts and rotating discs. Also, the re-positioning of the read/write head takes much more time than just pushing data through electronic interfaces. Additionally, SSDs have a very short access time, which makes them perfect for being used in environments where real time access and transfer is a necessity.
What are the disadvantages of SSDs?
The downside of SSDs with the NAND Flash based chips is that they have a limited life span by default. While normal HDDs can – in theory – last forever (in reality about 10 years max.), an SSD lifespan has a built-in “time of death.” To keep it simple: An electric effect results in the fact that data can only be written on a storage cell inside the chips between approximately 3,000 and 100,000 times during its lifetime.
After that, the cells “forget” new data. Because of this fact – and to prevent certain cells from getting used all the time while others aren’t – manufacturers use wear-leveling algorithms to distribute data evenly over all cells by the controller. As with HDDs the user can check the current SSD status by using the S.M.A.R.T. analysis tool, which shows the remaining life of an SSD.
The lifespan of SSDs and HDDs will vary depending on how you use them. While HDDs may offer more storage space than most SSD models, they are more fragile because of their moving parts and are susceptible to damage. On the other hand, each P/E cycle degrades the SSDs, meaning there is a definite point when the SSD will no longer work.
If you are looking for new storage solutions, make sure you are equipped with the information you need to make the right decision. For more information on SSD drives and how to use them effectively, head to our blog for articles on the topic.