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Solid State Drives (SSDs How Do Solid-State Drives Work? [MakeUseOf Explains] How Do Solid-State Drives Work? [MakeUseOf Explains] Over the past few decades, there has been a considerable amount of work in the field of computer hardware. While computer technology is constantly improving and evolving, rarely do we experience moments where we simply... Read More ) offer durability, speed and low power consumption, compared to “mechanical” hard drives. But if not properly configured, you can destroy your drive. Dead SSDs just require a bit of laziness.

SSDs can absorb a limited number of “writes” (information transferred) – a small amount of wear and tear occurs with each bit of data written to an SSD. The more writes, the more destabilized the drive. Ignore myths about SSD fragility, though. Tech Report found that most modern SSDs offer an absurd amount of durability – drives could absorb over a petabyte of writes before dying.

Even so, users should avoid certain configuration options – such as hibernation and hybrid-sleep. Many SSD warranties cover either “total writes” or 2-5 years — whichever happens first. Furthermore, upgrading the SSD’s firmware (its internal software) is highly recommended.

ocz ssd

Mean Time Between Failures, Warranty & SSDs Explained

Many don’t know that SSDs, unlike regular hard drives, can sustain a limited number of writes before breaking. So SSDs die a little every time a document, video or other file transfers onto it. Many manufacturers void the warranty after three-years or double-digit terabytes of writes. This comes out to about 15-20 gigabytes of writes per day – a huge amount of data being transferred.

Manufacturers use a reliability estimate known as “Mean Time Between Failures” (MTBF). While not a hardcore indicator of a drive’s longevity, the figure gives an approximate estimate for when failure might occur. The MTBF oftentimes exceeds the warranty period by a substantial amount of time.

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Approximately three kinds of flash memory (or NAND) are used in modern solid state drives. Each offers varying degrees of longevity.

  • Triple-Cell NAND (TLC): TLC memory – manufactured primarily by Samsung, offers the lowest write durability out of all Solid State Drives.
  • Multi-Cell NAND (MLC): MLC memory offers a mid-ground between TLC and SLC.
  • Single-Cell NAND (SLC): SLC memory offers the highest amount of durability, but the outrageous cost limits it to enterprise-class products.
  • Other Kinds of memory: Samsung recently released a variation on TLC tech: V-NAND cells, which – to date – offer the largest technological improvement in flash memory. These provide 50% lower power consumption and up to 10-times the endurance.

For consumers, MLC NAND drives — in theory — last the longest. However, Samsung’s TLC drives tend to last as long — if not longer — than many MLC drives from other manufacturers. Note though, that TLC drives will experience a performance drop-off as its internal NAND cells fail.

nand flash structure

Hibernate, Hybrid-Sleep & Lots Of RAM

Whenever the Windows operating system goes to “sleep”, it writes the contents of its RAM to a massive file (hiberfil.sys) and then shuts off power to RAM, conserving energy. Windows does this because RAM requires a continuous power supply, otherwise it loses its data. That’s where the problem originates.

On systems with 8 or more gigabytes of RAM, the constant writing to the hibernate file may prove dangerous. The hibernate file’s size equals (in Windows Vista) the amount of system RAM. In Windows 7 and 8, the default size is 75% of system RAM (it uses compression to achieve this). Whenever the system hibernates or enters hybrid-sleep, the operating system writes the same amount to the SSD. On systems with large amounts of RAM, this can equate to a tremendous number of writes. Also keep in mind that laptops disable hibernate and hybrid-sleep by default.

ram

A PC with 32GB of RAM, if hibernated 4 times a day, writes up to 46.7 terabytes per year in hibernate file writes alone. This voids many manufacturer warranties, if they place a cap on “host-writes” (which differs from NAND writes, due to a factor known as “write amplification“).

There’s a number of workarounds, including adding a second drive Using a Small SSD & a Regular Hard Drive: How To Organize Your Files Using a Small SSD & a Regular Hard Drive: How To Organize Your Files I recently reviewed a Samsung 830 512GB solid state drive that now serves as the primary drive for my computer. Before it, however, I was using a 60GB solid state drive. Why? For the same... Read More and moving the page file to it. The easiest method: Disable hibernate and hybrid-sleep in Windows 7 and 8. Additionally, you may want to free up drive space by deleting the hibernate file. Note, though, that deleting the hibernate file also disables hibernate and hybrid-sleep.

Turn off Hibernate & Hybrid-Sleep

Keep in mind that disabling hibernate/hybrid-sleep will also switch off Fast Startup How To Make Windows 8 Boot Even Faster! How To Make Windows 8 Boot Even Faster! Windows 8 may have plenty of issues, but a slow boot time ain't one. Windows 8 boots fast! Yet, there is room for improvement. We show you how to measure and optimize your Windows boot... Read More . To turn it off, simply navigate to Change power-saving settings. I use Windows Search to locate the correct menu.

advanced power plan

On your current power plan Save Energy & Extend Your Battery Life With Custom Windows Power Plans Save Energy & Extend Your Battery Life With Custom Windows Power Plans Read More , select Change settings.

2014-10-18_14h30_30
Choose “Change advanced power settings“.

2014-10-18_14h30_40

Go to Advanced Settings. Scroll down to Sleep, expand the option by clicking on the “+” icon and change Hibernate after to “Never”. Then switch off Hybrid-Sleep.

advanced settings

Now your system will no longer write to its hibernate file.

You can also install a patch from Microsoft.

On the Downside: Disabling the Windows hibernate feature can cause slower start-up times.

Delete Hibernate File

Readers should note that turning off hibernate won’t remove the massive hibernate file (hiberfil.sys), which equals the amount of system RAM. On smaller drives, you may wish to remove this file, as it will serve no further purpose with hibernate disabled.

Deleting the hibernate file requires working from the command line (15 CMD lines 15 CMD Commands Every Windows User Should Know 15 CMD Commands Every Windows User Should Know The command prompt is an antiquated tool from an era of text-based input. But some commands remain useful and Windows 8 even added new features. Find out which ones. Read More you should learn). It also requires administrative rights. To delete the file in Windows, simply open an elevated command prompt A Beginners Guide To The Windows Command Line A Beginners Guide To The Windows Command Line Read More . I use the following method:

Type “CMD” (without quotation marks) into the Windows search bar.

Right-click on “command” and launch with administrative rights, from the context window.

command line

Type the following into the command prompt:

powercfg –h off

This erases the hiberfil.sys file – in my case, this step freed up 16GB of RAM. Most users’ hibernate file is actually only 75% (which is the default) of system memory. I’m not sure why my file equaled the entire amount of system memory.

typing in powercfg command line

On the Downside: Deleting your hibernate file will remove the option to re-enable hibernate. You can turn hibernate back on with the following command in an elevated command prompt:

powercfg -h on

Alternative: Cut Your Hibernate File In Half

There’s an alternative to deleting the hiberfil.sys file or turning off hibernate and hybrid sleep. Users can use an elevated command prompt to cut their hibernate file by 50%, or less. First, temporarily disengage the hibernate file through the following command:

powercfg /h off

Then reboot. The command to cut hiberfil.sys in half is as follows:

powercfg /h /size 50

This will cut the hibernate file in half. For systems with 4-6GB of RAM, which rely on hibernate, this significantly reduces wear and tear on the SSD.

Upgrade the Firmware

Manufacturers push out firmware updates to SSDs, which require a manual install. An exception to this rule is Samsung’s Magician software and Intel’s Toolbox, which offer automatic firmware updates.

samsung logo

A sure sign that you own a poor quality SSD: There’s no method of updating the drive’s firmware. All the higher quality drives offer at least some method of updating the firmware. The best will offer so-called “toolkits”, which can manually activate TRIM (what’s TRIM? Why TRIM is Important to Solid State Hard Drives? [Technology Explained] Why TRIM is Important to Solid State Hard Drives? [Technology Explained] Read More ) or adjust the settings of your drive for better reliability.

  • Samsung Magician: The Magician software offers the largest number of tweaks. Samsung includes profiles, which allow users to – with a few mouse-clicks – optimize their drives for different kinds of usage. For example, users favoring reliability over performance can automatically disable hibernate. It’s not available outside of Windows.
  • Intel SSD Toolbox: Intel’s Toolbox can perform a few manual optimizations, as well as upgrade the drive’s firmware.
  • OCZ Toolbox: OCZ’s Toolbox– a distant third to Samsung’s Magician software – offers basic firmware updates, manual TRIM and a method for securely erasing the drive. It works in Linux and Macintosh. OCZ also offers a bootable disk.

On the Downside: Some manufacturers warn that upgrading the firmware can cause data-loss. Failed firmware updates can even destroy the drive itself.

Change Size or Location of the Page File

Page files (or swap file) function as auxiliaries to RAM. Whenever the computer uses more RAM than is available, the operating system begins reading and writing to virtual memory, stored on a hard drive. If you use an SSD, this results in greater write wear. Some systems include a second, mechanical hard drive. These users can move their page file, so that their SSD receives fewer writes.

I won’t get into changing the size, or disabling, of your page file (leaving the defaults is normally the best option). But the setting is located under Advanced system settings.

Here’s the instructions for moving your page file onto another disk:

On the Downside: I don’t recommend changing the location of your page file. Mechanical hard drives read and write slower than SSDs — which can translate into slower system performance when your computer requires access to the page file.

Also, systems with large amounts of RAM don’t require usage of the page file very often. So it won’t prevent all that many writes to the SSD.

SSDs Are Equally Reliable As HDDs

If reliability concerns prevent you from adopting SSD technology, don’t worry. Just disable your system’s hibernate functionality. While lacking the ability to hibernate a computer may cause slower start-up times, it will improve SSDs reliability.

How do you use your SSD and how long do you expect it to last?

Image credits: Solid state drive Via Shutterstock, Sleeping bear Via Shutterstock, SSD by D-Kuru / Wikimedia Commons, RAM via Wikimedia Commons

  1. John
    September 20, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Hibernation should only be turned off when it's used to shut down the computer on a regular basis. Some computer however are never hibernated manually, but only during a power loss in combination with a UPS that sends the computer into hibernation after a few minutes. Those computers are just fine to have hibernation activated, since they seldom have to hibernate.

    • Kannon Yamada
      September 20, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      Thanks for the comment John!

      I need to update this article. The latest Samsung 850 EVO drives use 3D NAND, which is extremely robust and comes with a flat 5-year warranty. Although a few TLC drives still use an either/or warranty policy, where the warranty is either 3-5 years OR a set (and small) number of writes, it's worth mentioning that writes are no longer killing warranties the way they used to.

  2. Paul Olaru
    June 10, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    About the pagefile thing: Don't touch pagefile settings. Always have a pagefile that is large enough. On Linux, same applies to swap partitions and files (partition is recommended).

    If you have under 4GB RAM, make the pagefile the same size. If you have under 2GB, make it 4GB-RAM as size [to prevent having it too low]. Or leave automatic settings.

    If you have over 4GB RAM and under 16GB, leave it at the maximum between 75% of RAM and 4GB. Round up.

    If you have 16-64GB RAM, do 50% (but at least 12GB). If you have over 64, then 32GB shall suffice.

    (these recommendations work for Windows and on Linux assume hibernation is not needed; in the case of Linux you would leave it at RAM+25% if above 4GB or 2*RAM if below; the same 4GB-RAM restriction still applies, but you have to add the amount of RAM to also make room for the hibernate image)

    • Kannon Yamada
      June 10, 2016 at 5:39 pm

      Thanks for sharing Paul!

  3. Todd
    March 12, 2016 at 3:45 am

    With all due respect, this article is a pile of fud. While, yes, hibernating 4 times a day is excessive, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with with hybernating a computer when it is appropriate. There are times when it is preferable to any alternative. In particular, at work I enforce hibernation on laptops when they close their lids. Too many of my users like to simply close the lids and pack their laptops into bags without shutting down. An extra 11.7 TB of data written per year (figuring an average of once per day) is a small price to pay to avoid heat death.

    My experience with SSD's in general is that their reliability has no relation to the warranty. I have seen some fail without warning at a young age, and, as you pointed out, the Tech Report's tests showed their test samples withstanding a ludicrous volume of writes. What I have seen is that too often, when SSD's fail it is sudden and spectacular with no way to recover data. Also, very few SSD's are constructed to withstand sudden power failures, like what happens when you have to force a power-off if your OS freezes up.

    So, it is better worth a person's time preparing for an random failure by regularly backing up their data than to worry about wearing out their SSD's warranty a year or two too soon.

    • Kannon Yamada
      March 12, 2016 at 9:56 am

      Thanks for the comment,Todd! You make a good point and I should rewrite the article so it's less FUD-y and more informational.

      The article is about warranty issues, although TLC NAND on some of the smaller production processes are also susceptible to write endurance concerns. I should make it clear that MLC and 3D NAND do not suffer from this issue and they are tank-like in endurance. However, in recent years, I've heard that the write endurance on the smaller production process TLC NAND is low enough that hibernation might cause some problems. Regarding, sleep-heat-death, my experiences with hibernate has been poor. Laptops don't always hibernate properly and sometimes cook anyway. Why not use the S3 sleep state? It's more reliable IMO.

      Getting back to SSD failure rate, they have around 1-2% year failure rates, IIRC (according to Google's study, published last month). But interestingly, sometimes entire NAND packages fail and the drive continues chugging on. SSD technology really smokes HDD.

  4. Daniel Boles
    September 29, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    This is factually incorrect:

    "Whenever the Windows operating system goes to “sleep”, it writes the contents of its RAM to a massive file (hiberfil.sys) and then shuts off power to RAM, conserving energy."

    No, sleep is a low-power state but one that keeps RAM powered and maintains its contents. Hibernate is the one that cuts power and dumps RAM to disk. The key is in the name: hiberfil.sys.

    Please consider correcting your article to avoid misleading people about something that has been a very basic feature of computing for decades.

    • Kannon Yamada
      September 29, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      That's why it's written in quotation marks. I should have used the word "hibernate".

  5. Storage Guy
    March 4, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    Concerning warranties, this article makes a valid point. However, the wear and tear on SSD's, and flash, in general, is not anything people should be this worried about. Regular backups will protect your data. If your SSD looses all its extra capacity due to wear, another drive can be acquired for a reasonable price nowadays.

    Companies like PURE STORAGE and IBM/TEXAS MEMORY use the same flash chip technology (MLC, or sometimes eMLC) found in consumer grade SSDs, and these are enterprise arrays. I implement them regularly and the concerns here about wear are overstated, for sure. PURE STORAGE currently offers a 5 year wear guarantee on their storage arrays. This is a system designed for highly transactional MSSQL servers, VDI PVDs and the like. I am sure any personal computer that's greater than 5 years old has not written anywhere near the amount of data these systems have. Further, a 5 year old PC is likely on the verge of retirement anyway.

    The benefit of hibernation is definitely reduced with SSD, as most computers boot really fast with SSD. If tweaking settings on your PC is fun for you, and the slightly longer boot time is no big deal to you, go ahead and do this. The instructions here will show you how to save some wear on your SSD, but there's no urgent need to do it. Your drive will not fail so soon that you have to replace it before the rest of the machine is in need of replacement.

    Also BE SURE TO BACKUP! your data is always at risk, regardless of the drive type. Keep your backups separate from your PC, as well. Digital family photos are impossible to replace. A CLOUD BACKUP is a great option, like CrashPlan.

  6. han
    January 21, 2015 at 2:28 am

    Just to share. I have 16GB RAM, and tried to disable page file, but from time to time the PC will crash or freeze. Reducing page file is also not recommended, it will give the same result. It's unlike hibernation. pagefile must not be touched, and taking up 100% ~ 150% of installed physical memory is normal.
    I saw lots of folks saying it's ok to recude or remove page files, but as my experience tells on tests on multiple PCs, I think it's not safe to touch pagefile at all.

    • Kannon Y
      January 21, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      Hey Han, thanks for the comment. And thank you for bringing this important subject up.

      I tried to be very clear about this issue: Users should not remove their page file. I have read all manner of guides which suggest that removing the page file is good for SSDs. Modern SSDs can absorb a lot of writes and the page file accounts for very little of those writes. Even with tons of RAM, users should never erase the page file, unless they have a very good reason. But the hibernate file is a no-brainer.

      Disabling hibernate on a desktop results in higher power consumption and loss of data following a power outage -- but it allows users to preserve their warranty much longer than if the hibernate file is retained.

  7. DDearborn
    December 24, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Hmmm

    A fascinating article that illuminates the biggest weaknesses of SSD's; In order to get an extensive warranty you have to pay 6 times the cost of comparable conventional drive. Further you have to shut of several key windows features to protect against burn out, which in turn slows the SSD drive considerably. A PC with 32GB of RAM, if hibernated 4 times a day, writes up to 46.7 terabytes per year in hibernate file writes alone. This voids many manufacturer warranties, if they place a cap on “host-writes” (which differs from NAND writes, due to a factor known as “write amplification“). " "Keep in mind that disabling hibernate/hybrid-sleep will also switch off Fast Startup"

    If for example you are operating a CAD workstation working with large assemblies of say 100MB+ and they are automatically saved to the drive every 2 minutes; you are constantly swapping large sub assemblies in and out, different textures applied constantly and this model is shared simultaneously with an engineer, and also an Architect, just how long would one of these drives last? In point of fact you would be required to write to a back up drive on a regular basis. So why not just use a conventional RAID 5 array to begin with, given that SSD's cannot be safely operated in arrays? My point is that I just don't see the advantage here. to SSD's

    • Kannon Y
      December 24, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      Thank you for the kind words. Also thank you for illustrating the issue with SSD warranties: They are easily voided by design. The Tech Report found that the average consumer SSD can absorb somewhere between 1-2 petabyes of writes, before expiring. SSD compression seems to be the biggest factor in drive longevity (but compression technically reduces writes). The fact that manufacturers limit many of their drives to tens of terabytes suggests something is suspicious.

      To my knowledge, RAID 0 on Windows 8 with Intel-only chipsets is the only array that includes TRIM support. On other arrays, they do not properly TRIM and thus rely on internal garbage collection for optimization (which increases write amplification). However, that said, the petabyte limit on SSDs suggests we do not need to worry about writes, even on workstations. But because the warranties place caps on writes, this means paying extra for a 5-10 year warranty is probably not a good idea.

      For example, both SanDisk and Samsung offer 10-year warranties on their Pro-level drives, with a substantial price markup. However, these include fine-print which void the warranty after 150 TB of writes. In a workstation environment, these might last a couple years before writes void the warranty.

  8. dragonmouth
    December 21, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    OCZ Toolbox supports only 6 or 7 Linux distros. I use Debian-based Mepis, antiX, siduction or MX, none of which are supported. It may be a question with a self-evident answer but I'll ask anyway. Does that mean that I do need to update my SSD firmware? If I still have to update, how do I go about it? OCZ site has almost nothing in way of Linux instructions.

    • Kannon Y
      December 21, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      Hey DM! The last time I updated an OCZ drive, there was an OS-independent boot disk which allowed users to upgrade firmware. But it was destructive, meaning it required that the user to make a backup.

      There's instructions on how to install the Toolkit as a bootable disk available online.

      http://ocz.com/consumer/download/guides/OCZ_SSD_PC_Bootable_Toolbox_Guide.pdf

      Unfortunately, OCZ is the most Linux friendly out of all the SSD vendors out there (to my knowledge) and they require that users jump through quite a few hoops. There's nothing as simple as Samsung's Magician or Intel's Toolbox.

      There's more info, too:

      http://ocz.com/consumer/download/firmware

      http://oczforum.com/

  9. Steve
    November 21, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    What about Turn off Hard Disk?

  10. Ron
    November 13, 2014 at 4:01 am

    Using Hibernation is a huge time saver. What do you suggest to use. I have to wait for everything to start up from my computer? it seems my computer uses the hard drive more from a cold start from a hibernation startup meaning I see my hard drive light more active from a cold start.

    • Tina
      November 14, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Ron, I think you answered your own question: You are using a hard drive. This article is about solid state drives. :)

      Hard drives present a speed limiting step. They're the slowest part in a series of parts required to boot up your computer. On the bright side, hibernation doesn't hurt hard drives. If it does the job, keep using it.

      Once you get a solid state drive though, which will be much faster than your old hard drive, remember to turn hibernation off since it can damage your SSD.

  11. Thomas Westheimer
    November 2, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    In fact I had disabled hibernate as per your directions though I have always disabled hibernate in the power setting for years! Just never trusted the restart :-) With the SSD I never do optimization and this morning is showed 24 bad sectors that were mapped. No virus problems. I am using Win 7
    thanks

    • Kannon Y
      November 2, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      Bad sectors on an SSD usually occur after a lot of use. 24 is almost nothing, but considering that I've managed lots of systems with SSDs that have never had a single bad sector is troubling. I wonder if perhaps the drive or the drive's firmware is defective.

      Do you know if Asus issued any kind of firmware updates? Or perhaps the drive manufacturer -- probably SanDisk -- has issued something?

  12. Thomas Westheimer
    November 1, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Great article. Lately when I start in the morning and I always shutdown, my drive is "dirty" and it wants to run a check disk. Is this a "warning shot" for my ASUS Zenbook SSD drive?

    • Kannon Y
      November 2, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      Thanks Thomas!

      You can check whether or not hibernate is enabled by going to advanced power settings -> edit your current settings -> change advanced power settings. In this menu expand the "sleep" option and it will show whether or not you have hibernate enabled.

      Laptops should not have hibernate enabled by default.

      It's strange that your SSD is getting regular disk check errors. Usually a "dirty" drive means that the SSD's "empty" space is actually filled with data that hasn't been cleared by the SSD's controller or through TRIM. Have you had any virus issues lately?

      Have you tried running Windows 8's manual drive optimization yet? W8 includes native SSD drive support, so instead of defragging (which you should never do on an SSD), it will manually TRIM the drive, which cleans up dirty drives. You can also schedule regular SSD cleanings, which helps maintain performance. Hope that helps!

  13. Thibault
    October 31, 2014 at 8:48 am

    For OS X the RAM hibernation file is at /private/var/vm/sleepimage.
    You can easily remove it with rm in Terminal.

    Better is to remove, create a zero-bytefile and changes permissions so it isn't rewritable. This way the sleepimg wont clog up your SSD and reduce wear:
    sudo rm /Private/var/vm/sleepimage
    sudo touch /Private/var/vm/sleepimage
    sudo chflags uchg /Private/var/vm/sleepimage

  14. ieatapps
    October 27, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    So, is it possible to save data in a usb using a third-party program instead of a ssd when the machine sleeps?

    • Kannon Y
      October 27, 2014 at 11:46 pm

      I'm not sure. It sounds as if you're talking about a disk-caching utility. I would suggest just disabling hibernate instead.

  15. Ed
    October 26, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    I assume sleep mode on a Chromebook works the same. Is there any way to disable sleep mode on a Chromebook?

    • Kannon Y
      October 27, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      That's a good question Ed!

      I'm not sure how sleep works on a Chromebook. I strongly doubt that Chromebooks use hibernate or anything aside from the standard sleep settings available to the Linux kernel as mobile computing always includes a backup battery, in the event of a power outage.

      The original purpose of hibernate was to limit data loss caused by a power outage to idle computers and to speed up boot times on mechanical drives.

    • ed
      October 28, 2014 at 7:40 pm

      Good point, Kannon.

      Sleep mode just reduces or cuts power to non-essential hardware while maintaining power to RAM so no data is lost, if I'm not mistaken, and doesn't really write any file to disk.

      Hibernation writes to disk and shuts down all power after the write cycle is complete.

      Glad you helped me remember the difference!!!
      Now I just need to find out if sleep mode can be disabled on a chromebook, but that is a different topic :)

      As usual, thanks for your articles.

  16. Doc
    October 26, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Thank you so much for spreading FUD about SSDs. Modern SSDs spread writes around the flash memory on the drive, using "wear-leveling" to keep the highest usable capacity for the longest lifespan. Sending your PC into sleep mode (which is what Windows 8 automatically does for a normal "shutdown" to speed reloading of the operating system) does one write to the hibernation file of approximately the same capacity as your system RAM, and copies that back to RAM on resume. Compared to the petabytes of writes for a drive's rated lifetime, suspending once or twice per day is *nothing*, and most SSDs outlive their warranties by at least two or three years.
    On top of that, most PCs (both Windows and Linux) use a swapfile to increase the amount of available memory, swapping out unused RAM to free more for use; even PCs with 8GB or more make *some* use of a swapfile, although it's not essential. Even Windows 8, which is aware of SSDs and uses "TRIM" instead of disk defragmentation, allows a swapfile and hibernation file to exist on a SSD.

    • Kannon Y
      October 27, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      You are right, of course -- SSDs are more reliable than HDDs. I've managed around 20 systems that had SSDs installed. I've experienced less than a half-dozen catastrophic failures, but ALL of these were related to Sandforce controllers. The later controllers from virtually all vendors were extremely reliable. All failures were due to defective controllers and not MLC flash memory.

      The point of the article was that keeping hibernate going can contribute to a premature voiding of an SSD's warranty. To me, that's a big deal. As mentioned in the article, many manufacturers put a cap on writes that's far too low -- oftentimes in the tens of terabytes. Anyone with a lot of RAM can very quickly void their warranty if they have hibernate enabled.

      I write this article because -- after six months of use -- my 37TB warranty is half-way through its total permitted number of writes (around 17TB written in a RAID 0 array without compression). This suggests that something is wrong with hibernate.

      The fact that one of our hippest readers (you Doc) took umbrage at the article's content is a bad sign. I'll revise the content when time permits. Thank you -- once again -- for your feedback. And I apologize for potentially misleading readers.

  17. jamieg
    October 26, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    What youre saying is ssd sucks. The average consumer will never adhere or even know about the rules to keeping an ssd alive. Ssd can never be used for a server. Ripping a DVD or bluray collection would kill an ssd. Ssd sounds like terrible technology which I have no intention of downgrading to.

    • Doc
      October 26, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      Don't let the poster spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). SSDs are a great upgrade for any PC, and more and more laptops are coming with them standard.

      SSDs are being used more and more on servers, even at the largest web hosting companies, since they use less power, generate less waste heat (no moving parts), and take up less space than even laptop drives.

      Do you have a digital camera, USB thumbdrive, a cell phone, an iPod, a tablet, a Macbook Air, or any other music player or media device? If it's not an ancient model with a tiny (1.2" or 1.8") HDD in it, you have what amounts to an SSD: anything with Flash memory in it is essentially an SSD, except an SSD has a controller chip in it that makes it compatible with a SATA or a PCI Express connection to a laptop or computer, and combines multiple flash chips for speed. (Some USB flash drives are now coming with SSD-type controller chips to allow incredible read and write speeds over USB 3.0)

      Ripping a DVD or blu-ray to an SSD is entirely possible; there would be one write to the SSD for copying the raw data from the disc, and another for writing the compressed version after Handbrake (or whatever conversion software you use), probably 50GB or less of the petabytes of writes an SSD has in its lifetime (1 petabyte = over 1,000,000 GB!)

      Again, don't let the poster put you off SSDs. SSDs are *more* reliable than hard drives, since they have no moving parts, use less power, are faster, and are getting more reliable (spare "cells" on most drives take over for worn-out "cells"), while hard drives are at the end of their evolution and will be phased out. I build computers for myself and for friends, and I've seen dozens of hard drives die, while I've yet to see a flash device wear out from use, despite what Yamada says.

    • dragonmouth
      December 16, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      @jamieg:
      The anecdotal "Average Consumer" cannot be trusted with anything more technologically advanced than a fork and a spoon, let alone a personal computer.

      If you do not understand the article then SSDs are not for you and you should stick to using spinning hard drives. Also quit using your cell phone, mp3 player, tablet and USB drive(s) before you break them beyond repair.

  18. Tanvir
    October 26, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Do this apply to traditional HDDs too? Because I have been hibernating my PC a lot recently to save load up time

    • Ed
      October 26, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      No, this does not apply to a traditional spinning disk. Hibernating works great on traditional disks.

      I would recommend rebooting your system once a week though, since hibernating isn't a fresh start and Windows likes a fresh start every now and again.

    • Tanvir
      October 27, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks Ed!

  19. dragonmouth
    October 26, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Does the same go for using SSDs with Linux?

    • Ed
      October 26, 2014 at 11:38 pm

      Any additional writes to an SSD will cause wear and tear regardless of operating system. So sleeping or hibernating in Linux should be kept to a minimum.

    • Kannon Y
      October 27, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      I think it depends on the distro. I'm using Ubuntu 14.10 MATE and it had hibernate disabled by default. However, the SSD in my Ubuntu HTPC is far past the warranty period, so it wouldn't matter even if I had hibernation turned on.

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