Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Facts about solid state hard drives

Solid state storage is more durable and power-efficient than conventional hard drives. It can also be faster, and with the price of 'flash' storage continuing to plummet, it is now becoming a 'premium' option on lightweight portable computers.

However, there are those of us who remember reading that flash storage is good for about 100,000 writes and rewrites before it packs up. This is fine when you are using it for storing data, but what happens when it is playing host to a modern operating system with its millions of little men running around juggling bits and bytes?

Well, while the results have the suspicion of bias, Engadget reports that according to Samsung's Michael Yang (who bears the wonderful title 'flash marketing manager'), a flash device rated at 100,000 write cycles can write 100,000 times "to every single (memory) cell within the device," and it won't continuously write to the same cell over and over thanks to a process dubbed 'wear levelling'.

He also stated that "a pattern could be perpetually repeated in which a 64GB SSD is completely filled with data, erased, filled again, then erased again every hour of every day for years, and the user still wouldn't reach the theoretical write limit."

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