Solid-State Drive (SSD) Reliability Problems?

Over the last month or two I’ve heard from a number of people who have had Solid-State Drives (SSD) fail. The first couple of times I heard this I thought it was odd. After the fifth time (all from different people) I began to worry about a potential trend. All of these were in computer systems, being used as primary storage (what most of us use hard drives for).

What I don’t know is who made all of these drives. It’s entirely possible (although seems unlikely) that they were all made by the same vendor, who is having some serious problems.

This is completely unscientific, but I’ve heard this enough times to make note of it.

34 Comments

  1. SSD memory has a limit of 100,000 write cycles, so the story is that they should last for a LONG time. Unfortunately, flash drives haven’t been real-world tested as thoroughly as normal hard drives.

    Of course, if you drop your SSD drive laptop from a height of five feet WHILE it’s processing, you’re much more likely to retrieve your data than a normal hard drive.

    So, if you are a power user, choose a hard drive. If you’re clumsy, then go with SSD.

  2. These stories I’m hearing are for systems that are well under a year old, which was another factor that amazed me. I really want SSDs to be a real world option, anything to make laptops generate less heat.

  3. Turn off system restore and page filing and the drives will last a lot longer. If you have a good amount of RAM page filing can be turned off. There is no need to defragment an SSD. Doing so will wear it down. SLC type SSDs will last about ten times longer than MLC. I am currently using an MLC 64gb g.skill SSD. There isn’t a huge difference in speed but applications and files are more responsive. This is because the seek time is less than a millisecond according to HD Tune. Read speed is in the hundreds of megabytes. An SSD will save you time. The drive I am using will last about 5 years according to g.skill with normal use. My HHD lasted less that 6 months. I will find out how long this SSD will last. It has a 2 year warranty. But above all, speed and responsiveness matter most to me that is why I chose to buy an SSD for my laptop. This SSD has been working for 3 days so far.

  4. Most of the systems that I heard about failing weren’t Windows systems. For mass storage devices I don’t think most people would consider speed and responsiveness as their top priority. Those are important, but being generally reliable for storing data is probably the single most important aspect.

  5. Yeah, if data is important to you then you should consider getting a reliable HHD. If you have money then get the SLC version of the solid state drives. But then again, SSDs haven’t been used for very long with operating systems. This is somewhat new technology in terms of the market but it has been out since about 2000. Its just beginning to heat up. I would wait about a year or two to see if people are experiencing any major problems. I know that these drives are not good for servers but for simple use they are not bad. I know that people come in from search engines to this article to research SSD reliability. Because of that, I will let you and your viewers know when my SSD MLC fails. I started using it on Feb 3, 2009.

  6. Interesting discussion so far. However, I am still nowhere in my decision to go or no go with SSD.

    Considering a Dell Latitude XT2, and need the drive to last at least 3 years (typical time before I change the laptop).

    I wish there were more comments in this article which could help me out :)

    Thanks for posting this

  7. I just had a Crucial 256GB SSD (CT256M225) just die after 15 days of use. For $600 you’d think you’d see more reliability. My Windows XP system as frozen, powered my laptop down, when it booted backup up the drive as not recognized.

    I put the SSD into the 2.5″ USB 2.0 enclosure and I could not see my data and could not reformat it via Disk Management. This is my first hard drive crash ever in over 14 years as a laptop user.

    Thankful for Mozy.com online backup and a clone of my original drive.

  8. I had 2 250GB solid state drive’s in a row fail. The first time before I could even complete logging in the first time. The second drive lasted around an hour and the died. I’m rather surprised that the quality control / is so bad that they would be failing that frequently. The specific drives were OCZ SATA II 2.5″ solid state drive.

  9. I have a Corsair X256 and I paid dearly for it. I died in less than 24Hrs. I upgraded from a 120GB HDD (so I made a drive copy of the whole 120GB). After a few hours of usage it just died. First it froze in Windows Vista, then when I restarted my Lenovo T60p gave me a 2100 Error: Initialization failure. The SSD didn’t even work externally. Now I requested a RMA from Corsair and waiting for an answer. I use the laptop for development, if this is the case with SSD’s I lost faith in them.

  10. Sorry, “I” didn’t die, “IT” died. (eventhough it almost cause my heart to stop)

  11. I am looking at 2 dead 128gb ssd’s this morning. Both are under 2 months old.

    Let me tell you, this is not a pleasant experience .

  12. Richard Justice

    Tue 12 Jan 2010 at 4:10 pm

    It is data suicide to rely on any SSDs other than Intel’s.

  13. I think that like early hard drives, over time their general reliability will improve.

    That’s what I’m hoping for at least :-)

  14. The military has been using SSD’s in their tanks for a long time, and they are very reliable. Of course, they paid a lot more for them than these new commercial ones. Vendors like STEC that have been around for 20-30 years make very reliable SSD’s, but again, are more expensive. I wouldn’t trust any of the newcomer SSD’s with my important data. Not yet, anyway.

  15. Solid-state storage has been around for awhile, but I was specifically referring to the current high capacity consumer models we’ve seen over the last few years.

  16. I didn’t even get passed loading windows in a new build with a 60g OCZ Sata II 2.5 Solid Drive. It renamed itself as JM Loader 001 at 4g!

  17. I have 4 OCZ Vertex 30GB SSD’s. 1 failed causing it to be recognized differently in the BIOS, rendering it useless. I can’t believe what it read-in the beginning it was something like OCZ345633345676544444? with 2 hearts and a vertical bar between the 2 SSD’s that were RAID 0 and changed to something like Generic ROM 64GB. There was an intermittent glitch in it all along, causing it to crash the OS repeatedly.
    I now have 2 Intel SSD’- so far so good.

  18. I have found that the OCZ Vertex SSD’s did not nearly double (if at all) as compared to the Intel SSD. The 2 Intels and OCZ’s are 30 GB. The Intel budget mainstream SSD works better in a RAID than the OCZ Vertex by abut 50-85%.

  19. I had the same problem after a power loss.

    Fortunately, I fixed the problem with a firmware update/reinstallation.

    In my case a Transcend TS32GSSD25S-M.

    I downloaded the firmware from Transcend Download Center http://www.transcendusa.com/Support/DLCenter/

    Made a bootable msdos usb drive and followed the instructions.

    My was disk recovered and as new.

    Hope it helps.

  20. I bought a 128GB SSD from Crucial in July 2009 @ (£230.00). After 6 months my PC running XP Pro failed without warning, the data on the drive was unrecovereable and Windows had to be completely reinstalled. In September this year, 6 months on the drive failed completely. I’ve returned the drive to Crucial and they have said they will only replace the drive and not refund my money, but now I don’t have any confidence in SSD’s.
    At the moment I’ve reverted back to an old IDE drive that’s working great and I’ll stick to it for the time being.
    Looks like I’ve lost a lot of money!!

    I wouldn’t recommend SSD’s at the minute.

  21. Got an OCZ Onyx series SATA II 2,5″ 32 GB SSD that disappeared from the bootable media list in my computer. Every time this happens I have been able to reenter the drive to the bootable list and have then able to boot up the computer again. There are no way to induce the malfunction and the period when ‘it’ works covers a few minutes to about ten days. The way it fails also wary – sometimes no error is found, but after a restart the computer boots up normally.
    The usual error is loss of the SSD from the list of bootable media in BIOS – restore that and it boots up normally.
    Once it disappeared totally from the lists found in the boot section, but it was found in the device section with 1,1 TB capacity! After restoring the device to the list of bootable devices the computer worked fine again – but only for a while!

    Do anybody have a cure for the forgetfullness the BIOS seem to have for SSD’s?

    It looks like somebody need to adress this problem or SSD’s are bound to get a very bad reputation!

  22. I would like to see you revisit this issue, since SSDs are becoming even more common. I opted for a mechanical HDD in my new system but that was mainly because the smallest SSD cost more than even the largest HDD.

    I’ve never used a full-size SSD, but I have had a USB flash-based thumb drive fail. What happened, is the device itself started throwing write-protect errors (as opposed to the kernel filesystem module). It took me most of a year to kill that thumb drive using it as the main filesystem on an Ubuntu setup (I wanted to run Ubuntu on my mom’s laptop, but did not want to disturb the copy of Windows that was on it). In the meantime, though, I had a lot of data corruption, and was careful not to store important data on the same drive as the system.

  23. I’ve been experimenting for about a year or more and have found that Intel SSD’s are reliable and almost double in throughput when in a RAID0 with 2-40Gb Intel Value SSD’s. I measured 370Mb/sec Read and Access times of 10uS using SiSoft Sandra as the benchmark. Amazing! Single hard drives average about 100Mb/sec Read with 14mS access times and with 2@ RAID0: about 160Mb/sec. This means that Read/Write speed is about double and access times are 140 times faster. Boot times are easily cut in half, applications launch instantly, and this is without any measureable deterioration or fragmentation.
    The secret to optimization of SSD’s is disabling write-back cache and enabling disk data cache. If in RAID0, use 64k striping. This may also increase stability, since enabling the write-back cache causes more disk checks as a result of corrupted files and numerous errors at random. I’ve tried every combination and found conflicting recommendations about how to set them
    Defragmenting is useless since they only get about 2-5% fragmented and all it does is put more wear on them.
    So far I’m impressed with the results.

  24. Bought an Intel SSD510 and installed it at the beginning of April 2011. I choose Intel because I read that they were the best SSD on the market. I only keep the OS and programs on it for fast execution and I keep the data on 5 other HDD for a total of 6Tbytes. Got four WD Caviar black, two 1Tb and one 2 Tb and also two 1 Tb seagate.

    On June 28th the INTEL SSD510 120Gbyte drive diseapear and I got a blue screen. Restart the PC, the SSD could not be found. Turn the PC off and back, the drive was found and boot-up. I ran a test from the Intel toolbox and it failed the read test. PC would hang, then giving blue screen, didn’t boot. Start the power down and up process to get it back. This happened again and again. I Called Intel and they provide me a RMA number to change the drive. Hopefully the new one will last longer. I hate restart from scratch. If this happened again I will put aside the SSD and leave it all on HDD. Got WD drive working on another PC for 4 years without any single problem. I really tought SSD were the best….. not for me

  25. I have a selfmade pc, with only the best compoonents in it.
    First I had 2 SSD Vertex 2 of 100 Gb. in it. One for the operating system and some programs, and the second for applications and data.
    After some weeks I got blue screens,.. my first SSD drive failed, couldn’t even see it in the bios. So I went to the shop where I bought it , and got e brand new one. Some weeks the new drive failed. Went to the shop, where they wanted to test it. After some days I went back, and they did not find any problem, so I reinstalled it, and it worked. After some weaks my second SSD drive failed. I tried everything, but the Bios did not see the drive. Went to the shop, where I got a brand new SSD drive, and a newer version. I decide to buy an extra SSD drive of 60 Gb. for the operating system. So I reinstalled Windows on the 60 Gb. drive, the second SSD drive, I use for applications, and the third drive i use for data. I have installed a fourth drive, a conventional drive of 500Gb. for my back-up’s.
    It lasted for about 4 month’s, and now I am having blue screens again. Sometimes when I reatart the pc. my first drive with W7 on it, is not shown in the list of drive’s, so the bios does not see it again. Sometime’s i do not have a problem. I am beginning to lose my trust in SSD drives. I do everithing by the book, no defrag, no swap, I have 6Gb. of very fast Corsair memory, no Windows system recovery, no indexing, TRIM on, SSD tweaker installed, in the Bios the SSD drives in AHCI mode, I have the newest MSI big bang motherboard.
    Now I am waiting for my OS drive to die again, until than, I am brainbraking if I still want to go further with SSD.

  26. I had a little bad luck with OCZ myself. They even slowed down some.
    My INTEL SSD’s have been working fantastic for almost a year now, without any performance degradation. I use RAID 0 and have excellent luck and performance gains thus far.

  27. My OCZ Vertex sata2 100gb Ltd Edition failed. It could not be found in the bios boot drives. Running Windows 7 Ult 64bit OS from it. I see a few of you people having problems with OCZ? I can only have it replaced if I send in the old one. Problem is that my drive has personal data, bank details etc. How can I trust them wih that. So I’m stuck with my expensive, broken SSD

  28. Sounds like you’re waking up and smelling the coffee. Full marks for persevering though, after your first few failures you’d have thought you might realise something wasn’t quite right with OCZ drives.

    Google OCZ BSOD and you’ll see how a whole wealth of folk having problems with these flawed, bugged and expensive drives.

  29. I had to replace 2 INTEL SSD 120GB with my old 640 GB HDD because both of them failed after 2 hours of operation each. My laptop OS is Windows 7. I do not trust SSD anymore.

  30. I got my OCZ Vertex Plus 60GB – my test was simple:

    1) I took the OCZ SSD and my trusted Crucial M4 SSD
    2) I installed the same OS on both (same system, same everything)
    3) I tried various scenarios such as pressing reset button when system idle, pulling the power chord out, filling up ram and causing a kernel panic, etc.
    4) My Crucial was just fine in all tests, the OCZ Vertex showed severe filesystem corruption, large directories simply missing, etc in all tests – including the system freeze test!

    I am sending my OCZ back on Monday.

  31. I went SSD two months ago. I have a 180 G Cosair. It is working great so far. I’m a gamer and have only loaded games to date. Wow, what a difference. Bit afraid to load critical data. Switching back to my Segate for email, etc. Its so fast I really want to switch everything over but will continue to test for a while.

  32. I have had a 60 GB SSD in my Windows 7 machine for four months and have had to perform numerous system restores and two full reinstalls of Windows 7 Ultimate. Last night in the middle of an HP printer update, the machine froze up. Upon reboot, or should I say attempted reboot, it seems that I it no longer can find the boot manager. I am at the point where I am suspecting the SSD, and am looking to go back to HDD.

  33. I put an OCZ 128gb SSD in my desktop as the primary drive and it ran fine for 3 months. However, in the last month I have had numerous system crashes and drive scans continually turn up bad sectors. In 20- years of computing I have never lost data due to a crash until now. After this experience, and all that I have read in the last 24hrs, methinks SSD’s are not yet ready for prime time…or at least not ready enough for me I am returning this POS and going back to a tried and true HDD.

  34. 120GB kingston hyperx died after 6 months of very light use … like 10 hours of use weekly . started with bsod but I did not suspect ssd . and after one bsod bios did not detect the drive anymore . how can they sell such a sh1t? ??

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