Solid State Drives

If you have technical questions regarding computers, consoles, or the games we play on them, post them in here.
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Scottg
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Postby Scottg » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:34 am

Yes, Intel's is SRT or "Smart Response Technology". It's only possible to use this with *certain* Intel motherboard chipsets. Dataplex's system is available to a wider variety of hardware. Both are about equal in performance overall when comparing similar systems (..i.e. 64 gig Intel SRT cache drive vs. 128 gig Dataplex cache drive from Crucial's "Synapse 128"). Neither Intel SRT or Dataplex's caching solutions support TRIM command pass-through to the SSD. In that respect Dataplex's generous 50% space allocation should make the drive last longer (when compared to Intel SRT).



Multi-Boot:

Standard Boot (traditional OS install):

Good: With this you can use the OS that the game was created for - i.e. 8/7/Visata, or XP, or 2000/98, or 95, etc.. That's the good part.

Bad: There are two bad things about this though as you move to earlier generations of OS's: (potentially) the hardware may result in a game running to fast; (likely) there won't be critical drivers available for OS - drivers like video drivers for your fancy video card, drivers for your cool peripheral (like a game pad or control pad) - think of USB's alone, etc..

Critical point: The real demarcation point in OS's was 32 bit XP for most games. Virtually any game designed to run in 32 bit XP will run in the Vista OS grouping (irrespective of a 32 bit or 64 bit OS) - see "run in Compatibility Mode" by right clicking the game's executable file. Compatibility mode can also work with even older OS's - but not always with the same dependability/consistency. Unfortunately some of the best games ever made (so far) were in the 2000/98 grouping. Despite this though, many of those excellent games have been altered/patched/ported to the higher Windows OS's (previously mentioned). GOG.com has a very nice listing of those older games. Again though, you can always try Compatibility Mode.

IMO because of a source like GOG.com - utilizing an older OS is largely irrelevant on new hardware. The new hardware is plenty fast enough for "heavier" newer OS's. It certainly isn't an improvement with respect to video performance. That pretty much leaves the disk system: and the disk system can be improved with SSD's or even software RAM disks, system process utilities like Process Lasso, and even system designs like one OS for each game. (..that's the likely area where XP 32 bit results in a performance edge over newer OS's.)



Virtual Machine Boot:

VM's are generally only acceptable in a system "Boot" configuration. Again, everything *but* the disk system is normal (i.e. "Bare Metal"). Particularly your Video Card runs normally - even if using multiple Video Cards in SLI or Crossfire.

The EXCEPTION is legacy hardware for legacy games - where the hardware virtualization of the entire system in software like Virtual PC, VM Ware, or Virtual Box, is acceptable - and perhaps even useful to "slow" the game down. This also gives you access to those USB devices you are using. (..IMO this is your last resort for an old game - i.e. can't find patches for it, can't find it on GOG or similar sources, can't run in Compatibility Mode, etc..)

To me Boot VM's are really only attractive because of:

1. Disk Space conservation with respect to a 1 OS to 1 Game design format. (..utilizing "differencing".)

2. Resiliency. Or basically it's easy to back-up - it's just an image file so you can keep multiple copies of it in different mediums/types of drives. Very easy to mount it to the newer Window's Boot Manager from any drive source.

3. Hardware independence (..which is really a subset of Resiliency). A VHD (or VHDX) can be used on any computer that has the appropriate boot manager for that disk "file" type (i.e. newer Windows Boot Managers). This is under a "generalized" system (..as opposed to a "specific" system to that hardware's codes).

You can also achieve a small measure of "hardware independence" with a traditional multi-boot system via a few back-up software applications with the ability to "restore to dissimilar hardware" configurations (i.e. Shadow Protect, Macrum Reflect Pro, EasUS Todo Backup Workstation, etc.). There it's more "A" *OR* "B" for your hardware - specifically as *restoring* the system, not "A" and "B" - or in other words not concurrently allowing you to use either system at any time. Even with these backup programs - it's a more involved process on the "restoration" end.

(Personal Note: I'm working on *2* systems to achieve some measure of fault tolerance, but the second one likely won't be finished until late 2013 or even mid 2014. The important part of the design with respect to hardware independence is that the VHD's will be on SSD's that are on "hot swap" hardware. I can simply pull out a tray with an SSD containing the VHD's and literally plug it into the newer design once it's complete. ..or at least that's my current plan. Should one fail, I have the other system as nearly instant "back-up" - all while maintaining a high bus rate via SATA 3 - as opposed to a currently slow NAS solution. Who knows though, a cheap high speed NAS box with Thunderbolt might be available at some point.)



Extra RAM:

You can in fact use that additional RAM with XP 32 bit - as a software RAM drive. ;) (..the OS couldn't use it though).

At 4 gig for RAM and the OS I don't know what the limit is with respect to real performance and any paging file. You could however use some of the RAM (..say 2 gig) for your paging file (or Window's Virtual Memory).

Do a search on software RAM drives if you are interested.



RAID cards:

Yup, generally avoid - even the SSD caching ones. DEFINITELY avoid it for a boot drive (or your first OS boot). Also, there doesn't seem to be any performance benefit over that of a Cacheing SSD.

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Postby Tricky » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:38 pm

Tests ended in complete failure - I was never able to boot the PC. I'm still trying to figure out what went wrong. So far I've only ruled out under voltage as a problem.
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Postby Scottg » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:37 pm

Tricky wrote:Tests ended in complete failure - I was never able to boot the PC. I'm still trying to figure out what went wrong. So far I've only ruled out under voltage as a problem.


The RAM disk?

Did you get it to the stage where it was seen by Windows as a working/formatted disk?

Ex.:
http://www.radeonmemory.com/software_xtreme.php
http://www.radeonmemory.com/software_downloads.php

The 6 gig version is freeware, and should be enough for many games. (..oops, seems it needs radeon brand to work.. pitty, guess it's 4 gig only then - still enough for most legacy games.)


..or is this an effort to have a the OS trying to boot a portion of itself into a RAM disk?

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Postby Tricky » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:32 am

Scottg wrote:The RAM disk?

Did you get it to the stage where it was seen by Windows as a working/formatted disk?


No, this problem occurred way before Windows had anything to do with the computer. I've scoured the bios config for some sort of hard disk related setting, but haven't found anything as of yet.
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Postby Scottg » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:40 pm

Tricky wrote:No, this problem occurred way before Windows had anything to do with the computer. I've scoured the bios config for some sort of hard disk related setting, but haven't found anything as of yet.


Bummer.

Time for a bios update?

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Postby Tricky » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:42 am

I don't know. It would be a good idea, but I've had some seriously bad experiences with that in the past. I could end up ruining a lot more than just this experiment.
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Postby KendoBento » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:54 am

Scottg wrote:Multi-Boot: Standard Boot (traditional OS install):

Bad: [1] (potentially) the hardware may result in a game running to fast; [2] (likely) there won't be critical drivers available for OS


Never had point 1 problem, actually, it's generally in my case the fact of seeing each individual game's Game Limitations bottle-necking. Though I have heard this statement before, even to extremes. Simply never experienced it. Point 2 is so true, PAINFULLY true... if I had a dollar for every time I experienced this, I could buy Windows 7 and 8 Ultimate 32+64 bits in one go and have money left over for 2 new graphics cards, easily...

Scottg wrote:Critical point: Unfortunately some of the best games ever made (so far) were in the 2000/98 grouping. [...] older games [...] GOG [...] Compatibility Mode.


I've been offline for most of my life, last time I was really online, I remember lots of old DOS games etc had problems in Vista. Of course, I never encountered most of this, as Daggerfall and Arena were more or less my limit of experience there... But I've never heard of of GOG, thanks. And compatibility mode/East Asian Language Support thing (forgot what it's called, applocale or something like that) usually were the first things I checked.

Scottg wrote:IMO because of a source like GOG.com - utilizing an older OS is largely irrelevant on new hardware. [...] Process Lasso, and even system designs like one OS for each game. (..that's the likely area where XP 32 bit results in a performance edge over newer OS's.)


This is news to me. I'll be researching up on this next. Thanks, this is helping catch me up on what I've missed in the past 2-3 years. Except of course the point on new hardware being able to handle modern stuff, of which I'm aware, and again, that older OS on new hardware is irrelevant; I'm doing the later, and am again, PAINFULLY aware. :P

Scottg wrote:Virtual Machine Boot:


Comprehensive! I can see this is really a project you're really working on right now, if not passionate about. Incidentally, the "Thunderbolt" you mention, I recall that that technology was teh one for allowing laptops to run modern graphics cards externally, if I remember correctly? I did some heavy research a few months ago in that area, before building my current machine, exploring GFX options for laptops... is this the same? I have no experience with that I/O.

Scottg wrote:Extra RAM: XP 32 bit


I definitely have been hearing a lot about this. My motherboard even comes with a software utility to do so, or so it claims, on the box. I simply haven't tried it yet, as all I need right now is 3 gigs or so anyway.

Scottg wrote:RAID cards: Yup, generally avoid - even the SSD caching ones. DEFINITELY avoid it for a boot drive (or your first OS boot). Also, there doesn't seem to be any performance benefit over that of a Cacheing SSD.


I wasn't even using the RAID for boot. One drive was a mirror for a little while (stopped after about 3-5 days when I realized this was a prime reason for system slowdown), another for storage, for about a year, until the RAID failed and took the drives with it. My first RAID card I simply gave away because I didn't need it anymore, and never had a problem with it other than minor system slowdown (it was in my gaming/multimedia machine; I've since learned to use separate computers for each, or at least us NAS, if you can manage and afford it; rather, I knew not to initially, but was lazy :P ).

I don't really lurk these forums much right now (though I did heavily in the past), so I'll say Happy New Year/Happy Holidays/etc here.

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Postby Scottg » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:00 pm

Thunderbolt is an Intel bus co-developed with Apple.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_(interface)

http://techreport.com/review/23035/a-quick-look-at-thunderbolt-on-the-pc

It's still pretty rare.

And yes, it could connect to an external video card because the bus is extremely fast: 20 gig up and 20 gig down vs pci-e 3 with 10 up and 10 down. (..I think I've read a teaser on this as well, but I doubt it will be available anytime soon.)

For a disk bus system it's well beyond what disks can manage - even SSD's. In the context of RAM though, RAM should be able to utilize much of Thunderbolt's speed.


As for the VHD's - I'm not there yet. :oops:

Currently I'm looking at "plumbing fixtures" for the 1st PC. (..watercooling that is - not for overclocking, but rather for low noise. Particularly low noise with respect to the video card when under a heavy load by a graphically intensive game.)


Anyway,

Happy New Year! :)

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Postby Scottg » Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:14 pm

Apparently the server market has been "stepping-up its game" over the past few years with SSD solutions..

Here we have a new RAM based cache accelerator (..basically volatile RAM with a small SSD for backup):

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6534/marvell-adds-nvdrive-to-dragonfly-family-of-enterprise-storage-accelerators


This is very similar to a RAID controller with on-board RAM where the RAM is the caching device. Functionally it's like a faster version of an SSD cache drive like Intel's SRT or Dataplex's cache SSD partners. Not nearly as much cache memory with only up to 8 gig though, BUT quite a bit faster (..and presumably a much safer device with respect to data-loss).

Just the 4 gig version has been reported to be around 3,400 US.


What's particularly nice is the graphical chart on that web page showing performance of the various technologies.

System RAM is obviously the fastest, and though contrary to the graphical display - is not nearly as expensive.




Again, just about anyone can build a modern system and spend less than 300 US for system RAM that would provide 32 gig.

4 gig for a 32 bit OS and 6-8 gig for a 64 bit OS would leave you as "little" as 24 gig for a software RAM drive, or even a caching software RAM drive (or both utilizing a portion of that 24 gig):

1. That's at least 3 times the amount of max memory of the above caching card.
2. It's much faster memory (..sys. RAM vs. RAM).
3. It can be dedicated as a "stand-alone" drive for programs as well as for caching.
4. It costs less than one tenth that of the above caching card (..and probably closer to one-twentieth for the 8 gig version).


BTW, though I haven't specifically mentioned it before - these are the software RAM drive applications specifically for CACHING:

http://www.superspeed.com/desktop/supercache.php
http://www.romexsoftware.com/en-us/fancy-cache/index.html

Note that Fancycache is still in BETA testing - free for use for 6 months, but potentially not as stable.
On the other hand Fancycache has write-back to SSD as an option (..if you had only one SSD as "cache" with everything else on standard Hard Disks). It also passes through TRIM commands.

Here is a review of Fancycache:
http://thessdreview.com/our-reviews/romex-fancycache-review-ssd-performance-at-13gbs-and-765000-iops-in-60-seconds-flat/

Another one:
http://www.eboostr.com/feature

New one:
http://www.stec-inc.com/product/ssdcache.php
Enterprise level, with an Enterprise level price: $500 for Windows OS.


I don't believe though that any are suitable for a Boot Drive/Partition - at least not during the boot process. That basically requires it's own little OS on-chip like the cache controller above or Intel's SRT or Dataplex's cache SSD format.

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Postby Scottg » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:45 am

Time for another update:

Here is Wikipedia's page on TRIM for SSD's:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRIM


Even if you new exactly what it was, you probably didn't know for sure if it was actually working or not (..assuming it could be on your particular system). Almost nobody would have until very recently. :oops:


Now though you *might* be able to check to see if TRIM is working or not:

http://thessdreview.com/daily-news/latest-buzz/trimcheck-does-your-ssd-really-have-trim-working/

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Postby Tricky » Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:39 am

I knew about TRIM, but perhaps not as much as was covered in the article. The other week I had a rather interesting chat with a friend about a whole heap of hardware. He has recently made an interesting SSD system that does this-and-that with periodic caching of most frequently used files. He had a lot to say on the subject, but perhaps a bit too much for me to remember in full.

Anyway, thanks for the article. I had no idea checking out if it was enabled was that tricky though. Keep 'em coming. :D
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Postby Scottg » Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:10 pm

Tricky wrote:
Keep 'em coming. :D


:D


I think for my next topic I'll delve further into utilizing a RAM drive for the OS. :)

(I'm still letting the issues "simmer" in my skull..) :oops:

Edit: or not quite yet apparently. :p

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Postby Scottg » Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:49 am

Update:

What's the best SSD for an Operating System to be on?


-as it turns out, there is a *likely* answer, but it depends on your needs and what you are willing to spend.


The OS system tends to make a lot of small "writes", and potentially some larger "writes" as well.. It also depends on factors like save file folders, both basic and "internal". Basic file folders would include your typical "Documents" folder and sub folders which could include game save files (..and can sometimes be rather large). "Internal" folders would reference things like back-ups, recycle bin, etc.. You can move some of these folders; and often it's a good idea to do so. In any event, the key point here is that it "piles-up" a lot of writes when compared to programs that can be easily installed on *other* drives in a system.

SSD's aren't great when it comes to their *NUMBER* of writes within their lifetime. "Reads", no problem.

Now there is a "hierarchy" with respect to different types of memory in SSDs.

SLC (100,000) > eMLC (20,000) > MLC (5,000) > TLC (1,000)

(..those numbers represent an average of the number of writes for each type of SSD memory, the fact is that they will vary, though often manufacturers tend to over-value their "spec.s" in the MLC category.)

MLC represents the common memory in most SSD's - consumer grade SSD's. TLC's are a newer form of consumer grade SSDs.

SLC and eMLC are enterprise grade SSD's, obviously designed to last longer - AT LEAST AT THE MEMORY LEVEL. (..of course all the other hardware that encompass an SSD (including it's power management) factors-in to real longevity, and wear-level in general is substantially effected by internal management of the disk and also TRIM commands.)


With all the writes an OS makes - obviously SLC's have an advantage.

The problem is that SLC's are incredibly scarce and expensive (Newegg has exactly 2 - with very low capacity). Even eMLC's aren't nearly as plentiful as consumer grade MLC's, and again - also very expensive.

Still, I did a web-search with these variables:
SLC SSD
Sata 3
TRIM

-and actually got a return that wasn't priced exorbitantly, while still having enough usable space for both the OS and at least 50 gig for various "save" files AND allowing for added space for garbage collection:

EDIT: MyDigitalSSD 128GB 2.5" SuperSSpeed SATA III (6G) SLC, bettered by the drive on page 3 of this thread, post #49.

for $250 US.

Not cheap, but I think it's probably the best SSD for your OS at the time of this post.

As it turns out - it's also *extremely* fast with the proper Sata 3 interface and associated equipment.

Here is a review:
http://www.rwlabs.com/article.php?id=701


It's probably also the best drive currently available for those caching software programs that utilize SSD (ie. Enhance IO, FancyCache, etc.). And because of it's extended wear, probably the best SSD (at it's price/size) for your folder containing internet cache (..which often undergoes a lot of writes and erases). (..though if you don't want to pull from large cache, a smaller software-based system RAM drive is far more ideal.)



For your programs, or more specifically those programs not undergoing large writes routinely, generally look to other less expensive drives. If you still want speed for your programs then consider one of the better consumer SSD types I've previously mentioned - it can even be a TLC memory type with TRIM as long as you aren't making a lot of writes and erases. (..note: Samsung is the one currently offering TLC SSD's in their revision 4 drives, but despite the low-write capability of the memory itself, it's wear-level is enormous due to its internal management in conjunction with TRIM commands.)

For saved game files, at least if having large file-size (or other heavy write files, particularly backups - including OS backups), look to an excellent wear Enterprise level Hard Drive. One terabyte versions can be found for less than $150 US. For ultimate safety, consider having two of these, the second acting as back-up for the first.

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Postby Scottg » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:56 pm

Update:

SSD's and data retention..

There isn't much out there on this topic, but this was an interesting post on the issue:

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1502663



Basically:

Do NOT have your SSD unplugged from your system (or your system without power) for anymore than month or so (..to be on the safe-side).

Obviously never consider "archiving" to an SSD, or generally using one for back-up.

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Postby Scottg » Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:10 pm

Considering the less than desirable length of data retention in an SSD, and potentially the need for a Hard Disk..

There are *hybrid* drives available:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3734/seagates-momentus-xt-review-finally-a-good-hybrid-hdd

-which is being phased-out for:

http://techreport.com/news/24454/seagate-sshds-cache-writes-in-dual-mode-nand

http://www.seagate.com/internal-hard-drives/laptop-hard-drives/laptop-solid-state-hybrid-drive/



Basically Hard Disk drives that offer some added on-board cache in a manner similar to using a standard hard drive with a caching SSD.

Note however that the *amount* of memory in the newer design is still a fair-bit smaller than what a caching SSD might have. (i.e. 8 gig for the new Hybrid drive vs. up to 64 gig for SSD caching drive.)

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Postby Tricky » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:01 am

Scottg wrote:Update:

SSD's and data retention..

There isn't much out there on this topic, but this was an interesting post on the issue:

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1502663



Basically:

Do NOT have your SSD unplugged from your system (or your system without power) for anymore than month or so (..to be on the safe-side).

Obviously never consider "archiving" to an SSD, or generally using one for back-up.


I have some doubts whether that discussion in particular still holds much grounds. It is 2+ years old and any old SSD drive from 2010 probably doesn't compare to a modern one. Things are still developing very fast in this hardware branch. Moreover, I can't be completely certain, but I swear think I have read somewhere that this issue in particular has recently been fixed or improved on to some degree.

Generally speaking, I think the year 2010 is a bit of a gray area for consumer end SSD's. Prior to that year they all tend to be a bit dodgy, causing of a lot of myths and superstitions surrounding SSD's that still plague a lot of people today. 2011 and older.. you're more and more looking at the right stuff. ;)
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Postby Scottg » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:49 pm

Tricky wrote:I have some doubts whether that discussion in particular still holds much grounds. It is 2+ years old and any old SSD drive from 2010 probably doesn't compare to a modern one. Things are still developing very fast in this hardware branch. Moreover, I can't be completely certain, but I swear think I have read somewhere that this issue in particular has recently been fixed or improved on to some degree.

Generally speaking, I think the year 2010 is a bit of a gray area for consumer end SSD's. Prior to that year they all tend to be a bit dodgy, causing of a lot of myths and superstitions surrounding SSD's that still plague a lot of people today. 2011 and older.. you're more and more looking at the right stuff. ;)




Actually I think it's more correct than write endurance for drives..


Data Retention is largely based on cell size. The larger the cell, the longer the retention without power. (..think of it as a prison for the electron - the thicker the walls on the prison, the tougher it is for the electron to "escape". Larger cells equal "thicker walls".) The number of required voltage states also seems to be an issue (2 for SLC, 4 for MLC, 8 for TLC), with an increasing number of voltage states decreasing data retention. (The * temperature* an SSD is stored at is also an issue - higher heat results in lower data retention.)

From a historical perspective - if anything, cell size is only getting smaller, and the smaller sizes tend to require more voltage states.

Also, unlike write endurance - there isn't anything beyond the use of a long-life battery that could substantially improve the condition (..when not powered) that I've read about. (*Note: I've not seen an integrated battery solution for any standard SSD, though some of the pcie card SSD's might have them for enterprise solutions.) Error correcting schemes rely on power as well, so while some measure of ECC might improve data retention, it would only be a very marginal increase in time.

*Intel's 320 and 720 series DO have batteries, but it's only there for a very short term condition to avoid "lower page corruption" that MLC's have (..and TLC's are even worse in this respect). It's not like a long-life watch battery designed to feed voltage to the SSD to maintain cell integrity.

CAUTION: Many manufacturers often reference "Data Retention" with respect to "write life". This is sometimes a different issue, concerned with the ability to *read* the data once writing fails. (..it's not about a powered-up condition or not.) It's also largely BS. From actual real-world testing it appears that once you reach a write-fail condition for the SSD that it's essentially a brick - with no data to read (be it 3 minutes or 3 months). This is also commonly referred to as a "Hard Fail". I think manufactures "get around" this by referencing write life as a specific generic number, rather than the actual write life of the particular SSD.

However, a lower "write-life" (or one where a specific number of writes and erases has been performed), does decrease the cell integrity and will decrease duration during a non-powered state - but by how much is anyone's guess. (..it's yet *another* condition to look at with data retention.) When a manufacturer mentions the temperature the drive is held at - this is a better indication that this is what they are referring to. (..specifying a certain wear-level for the drive held at a certain temperature, without power.) What they don't seem to provide however - is the state *without* wear, so on the basis of comparison it's somewhat meaningless. (..in other words the wear level for a particular SSD might not have much impact on data retention unless perhaps it's exceedingly close to a "Hard Fail" condition.)

Update:

On this product brief (Section 3.2, page 5, table 2) it's referenced to "average use" or some sort of write-life via "Active Use/Power On":

[url='https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:Kb1_O6F_e-kJ:www.smartstoragesys.com/pdfs/AN002_E-MLC_vs_MLC_NAND_Flash.pdf+&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjInBol3LlIsWpegKGx2e-7iA0yuzhHGEZc6MJ2t0ghWZyOxAJX3e9oL_pUO9YJpEEwhlPGcfP6SLIJ6HbCwDSWnJn-o69HXhozeWmephXFX_HpsGMeDYWpUT7FJtcjTOJkPysr&sig=AHIEtbROkeot45sqSFQdUucgK6Z5BgZRzA']https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:Kb1_O6F_e-kJ:www.smartstoragesys.com/pdfs/AN002_E-MLC_vs_MLC_NAND_Flash.pdf &hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjInBol3LlIsWpegKGx2e-7iA0yuzhHGEZc6MJ2t0ghWZyOxAJX3e9oL_pUO9YJpEEwhlPGcfP6SLIJ6HbCwDSWnJn-o69HXhozeWmephXFX_HpsGMeDYWpUT7FJtcjTOJkPysr&sig=AHIEtbROkeot45sqSFQdUucgK6Z5BgZRzA[/url]


Obviously the consumer or "client" version has higher expected data retention due to much lower use than the enterprise version (..despite the enterprise version's enhanced wear-level), but it is also referenced at a lower temp. (..85 degrees Fahrenheit).

Still - an average max "shelf-time" (un-powered): 1 year for Data Retention - is not that good. (..it's also reasonably similar to the poster's estimates from the Hard Forum, though 2 years after that post on the Hard Forum.)

This is an even uglier look into the future of Data Retention (again, just about a year ago - early 2012):

http://storagemojo.com/2012/02/27/doubling-flash-write-performance-through-retention-relaxation/

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Postby Scottg » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:49 pm

Looking at Data Retention of SSD's suggests something else:


Wear-level and Temperature of the SSD seem to have a direct correlation (..along with Data Retention).

To me this suggests that to improve performance of the SSD (both with write-endurance and data retention):


Mount the SSD in a reasonably cool environment.

In other words make sure that the SSD:

1. Is not near anything hot (like a CPU),
2. Has its NAND Flash cells thermally connected to it's metal casing assuming it is metal and *reasonable to handle both the controller and the Flash cells without sinking heat into the cells (..like with good thermal pads),
3. Has reasonable ventilation around the SSD casing, and/or is actively cooled (..like from a fan), and finally
4. Is not kept in an environment that is particularly warm (which relates to both the interior of the computer case and the room temperature that the case is located in).

"Laser" IR Thermometers can give you a good idea of surface temps for the SSD case, and you can get them for less than $20 US. (..again though, to be effective the flash needs to be thermally connected to the SSD case.)

*Note: I suspect that the cheap metal casings don't really have the mass for distributing all the heat that some of the controller's churn-out. It *might* be a good idea to do a bit of modding by ditching the case that's on the controller side and looking for an appropriate heat-sink to take its place. (..Ex. the Vertex 4 drives from OCZ are apparently quite hot due to the Indilinx Everest 2 controller on the drive - and are begging for a better heat-sink.) CAUTION: On the other hand, always check the warranty - many manufacturers will probably void the warranty for opening-up the case at all.

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Postby Scottg » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:08 pm

Update:

Power Failure and SSD's..

http://www.zdnet.com/how-ssd-power-faults-scramble-your-data-7000011979/

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/13/03/01/224257/how-power-failures-corrupt-flash-ssd-data



I think this strongly recommends a UPS (or battery-based power system - like a laptop), for any SSD. (..so much so that I'm going to amend my first post.)

It also reiterates the general worth of going with newer drives and manufacturers with better track-records.


This might be an interesting "stop-gap" measure for a system where a UPS isn't available, and you can't afford an SSD with a quality supercap power supply (..even there though, supercap's have a modest life of around 3 years):

http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=304

-where only using *1* cable per SSD. (..and hoping of course that the cap's in the cable don't go bad. On the other hand if it *does* go bad it's not like you are ditching the SSD - like an SSD with a supercap that goes bad, though hopefully under warranty. Unfortunately most warranties don't extend to data.)

Also:

Any sort of powered back-plane will probably also give a second of power after the computer's power supply is shut-off, performing the same sort of function as one of those cables with capacitors.

Here is a good one (at least based on spec.s):

http://istarusa.com/istarusa/products.php?model=BPU-126-SA#.UTrSZ5jU98E

$75 at Newegg..

Note that it ALSO has fan cooling integrated into the design - potentially "killing two birds with one stone": the issue of power drop and bad write, and drive life enhancement via active cooling.

You should still have a UPS connected, but if that's not available a small yet decent surge protector along with this hot-swap bay should work reasonably well.

CAUTION: even with a "hot-swap" bay - never hot-swap an SSD.

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Postby Scottg » Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:31 pm

This is interesting:

http://techreport.com/news/24485/plextor-ngff-ssd-promises-700mb-s-throughput


Looks like it requires a specific interface however, which likely means a new motherboard with new "Southbridge" chipset.

Here they talk about 2 different socket options ("2" and "3") - with "3" substantially exceeding the current max capability of any SSD:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6293/ngff-ssds-putting-an-end-to-proprietary-ultrabook-ssd-form-factors