SSDs are becoming increasingly popular for storage and believe it or not, there are things you can do that can cause your SSD to fail prematurely. This article will discuss five things that can “kill” your SSD early and that you should avoid to help ensure your SSD stays in top condition.
The SSD went from being a rarity that was only available to a lucky few to becoming a mainstream consumer product that, as of today, is present in hundreds of millions of personal computers. It is true that it has not yet managed to completely displace the HDD, and that this is not going to happen in the short or medium term, but its popularity is indisputable, and its advantages over traditional hard disks are so marked that the former make less and less sense.
Buying SSD will allow us to enjoy numerous advantages that are not present in an HDD. One of the most important is undoubtedly the performance, and is that this type of units can achieve read and write speeds that far exceed traditional hard drives. As an example, a PCIe Gen4 x4 SSD can reach speeds of up to 7,000 MB/s in sequential read and write.whereas a conventional high-performance HDD typically does not exceed 200 MB/s in both cases.
Speed is one of the most important advantages offered by SSDs over hard drives, but it is not the only one. This type of storage solutions lacks mechanical parts and does not use platters or heads, these are replaced by the controller and the NAND Flash memory chips, which means that have minimal latency, which reduces access times, and they have a greater resistance to vibrations and shocks.since they have no moving parts.
With the passage of time this type of storage units have also been improving their main weaknesses, among which we can highlight the useful life and the cost per gigabyte. The improvement has been so great that we can find today SSDs with a capacity of 1 TB for less than 60 euros and with a 5-year warranty.
However, this does not mean that they are perfect. They still have some important particularities that we must take into account in the daily use of this type of drives if we want to maximize their life and avoid disappointments, and in this article I want to share with you five important keys to avoid because they can make your SSD “die” sooner than expected.
Things that can shorten the life of your SSD
1.-Delete and install heavy games and applications frequently.
Any SSD drive is designed to withstand without problems a given number of read and write cycles. When we perform this type of cycles there is a wear on the NAND Flash memory, in fact there is the possibility of minor failures that the unit will be able to correct in a relatively simple way to continue working without us noticing anything unusual, something that a few years ago, at the earliest stage of this type of units, could lead directly to a critical failure of the unit.
The number of read and write cycles an SSD can tolerate before we are at risk of critical failure can vary greatly depending on the individual drive, and the capacity of the drive. This is expressed in terabytes “before failure.”and, logically, higher capacity drives typically have a higher endurance to erase and write cycles, because they have more storage capacity. It would make no sense for a 1TB SSD to have an endurance of 400TB and a 4TB drive to have an endurance of only 100TB.
If we are constantly deleting and installing games and heavy applications we will greatly shorten the lifespan of our SSD. I give you a concrete example, the 1TB Kioxia Exceria G2 has an endurance to erase and write cycles of 400TB. This means that we would have to fill and empty it 400 times. for it to be at serious risk of failure, provided there are no other problems that could affect its service life. This is a very high figure which, of course, translates into a long service life.
Well, we perform an average erase and write cycles of. 200 GB per day we will be writing 6,000 GB per month, which equates to 73 TB per year. At that rate we will have exceeded the maximum endurance value in just over five years, and it is very likely that we will be encountering significant degradations in performance and occasional failures that will worsen with the passage of time, and with the accumulation of erase and write cycles. It may seem a lot, but think that just by installing two heavy games we could already exceed 200 GB.
2.-Continuously using applications to measure performance.
The explanation is directly related to what I told you in point one. To perform performance tests of storage drives the applications perform a series of read, copy and write cycles, and then clean up the used space to leave no trace. As you might have guessed, this means that a series of write and erase cycles are performed.and therefore the lifetime of the storage unit is reduced.
I can confirm to you that I have experienced this problem first hand, and that. because of the degradation that occurs, I have severely limited the use of this type of application.I have limited the use of this type of applications on test bench storage units, and also on the ones I use on my personal computers. One of the applications that has the greatest impact in this regard is, precisely, one of the most popular and reliable, CrystalDiskMark, although you should not fall into the sensationalism that appeared a few months ago. It is a safe and totally recommendable application, as long as it is used wisely.
By this I mean. nothing will happen because you download it and use it once.. Nor will it have a serious impact on the lifespan of your SSD drives if you run it occasionally to measure the performance and thus check that everything is OK. All this is normal and you can do it without any problem, but What you should avoid is making the mistake of using it frequently.because in this case you would be making an abnormal use of the application and it will reduce the lifetime of your SSD significantly.
I have named CrystalDiskMark because it is one of the most popular applications and also the one that has generated the most controversy, but this applies to all storage drive performance measurement applications because. in the end they resort to write and read cycles. Without them they would not be able to make performance measurements, as is logical.
3.-High operating temperatures
Heat is the great enemy of any electronic component, and SSDs are no exception. This type of storage units use NAND Flash memory chips which, as you might have guessed, are made of silicon, and are very sensitive to heat. The same is true for the memory controller, which is made of silicon, which can reach very high operating temperatures when performing intensive read or write tasks.
Typically these types of storage units come with blades that act as systems of passive coolingThe SSD is usually equipped with small metal blocks that increase the dissipation surface area and maintain much lower operating temperatures in high-performance models. This will result in superior performance, and will keep the SSD at optimal values to maximize its lifespan.
Conversely, if SSD temperatures soar above normal this will result in what is known as. thermal throttlingand the unit will reduce its performance to prevent damage. If this is not sufficient, it may result in severe degradation affecting the controller and memory chips, and this shortens their lifetime or ends up killing the SSD outright.
Temperature problems in an SSD do occur, in general, when the cooling system is not adequateThis is why motherboards with passive heatsink blocks for PCIe M.2 SSDs are so important, or if the heat build-up in the chassis is too high. and it is transferred to the passive dissipation elements. These depend on good chassis airflow, and chassis temperature.
Power supply problems and power outages.
SSDs use memory chips and a controller, as previously mentioned, and. are very sensitive to power supply they receive from the motherboard. Since this type of drives started to reach the general consumer market between 2012 and 2013 studies started to come out that confirmed, in a very clear way, that this fragility they have to power supply problems, including spikes, sags and surges.
I know you are wondering what you can do to avoid this problem, since in the end it is something that you do not control, and that depends not only on your electricity supplier, but also on everything around you, on chance and possible natural phenomena. In this case the ideal is to have a UPSan uninterruptible power supply system that allows you to avoid the consequences of a voltage drop, as well as spikes and surges in the electrical network.
Thanks to a UPS you will have nothing to worry about if the power goes out, as long as it has a battery powerful enough to keep your equipment powered. for at least a few minutes. That will give you enough time to close applications and save your work, and to shut down your computer safely. Never underestimate the importance of a UPS, this from someone who saw a power outage take out his PC.
UPSs play a very important role as a preventive tool, but have a limited lifetime. Over time their batteries degrade, and there comes a point where they no longer work, so it is necessary to change them in specific periods that, depending on the manufacturer, can be between two and three years (in most cases). Don’t forget this, because if you have a UPS in use for more than three years it is very likely that its battery is already dead, and it will not be able to keep your equipment on if the power goes out.
5.-Problematic applications and processes that make improper use of the SSD.
This last point acts a bit as a “catch-all”, but it is very important and makes a lot of sense, because there are applications that can end up misusing the SSD with all that implies. On more than one occasion I have come across people who have asked me why their laptop is slow and after taking a look at it I have seen that an application Was driving the percentage of storage drive usage to 100%.
The impact of these types of applications on SSD drive life. can be large for two reasons. The first is that taking the disk to cope with a maximum workload for a long time causes stress on it that is not normal and drives up the operating temperatures, and the second is that such a load may involve performing erase and write cycles of data, with all that that entails.
For the SSD to work properly, and to prevent such problems from occurring, the ideal is to. keep the operating system and drivers up to datebut always limit yourself to the final versions (avoid betas and any unfinished versions that may contain bugs). It is also advisable to avoid applications of dubious originand those that are not guaranteed to be compatible with our equipment and with our operating system.
If we experience this problem, we have to press the Windows key and write “Task Manager”. We go to the processes tab and close the process, or processes, that are driving the SSD to 100% usage. This will also allow us to identify the applications responsible, and we should proceed to uninstall them.