• The hard drive is dead; long live solid-state storage

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    #2456837

    SILICON By Brian Livingston The death of hard disk drives may be greatly exaggerated — after all, HDD manufacturers sold more than 250 million units w
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    • #2456849

      When desktops can hold 16+ SSDs at 14TB each for around A$40 per TB without impacting performance of other parts of the system (ie. by chewing up all available PCIe lanes), I’ll switch exclusively to SSDs. Until then, HDDs are not going anywhere for me.

      Right now, the cost per TB for a PCIe3 SSD is about A$175. In 2018 it was A$600 per TB.

      For a PCIe4 drive it’s around A$280 per TB

      I get that the read/write speeds are enormously higher on SSDs, but it’s not about speed. It’s about capacity for all the PCs here. There are 10 PCs and all of them have at least a 10TB HDD. The server has 16 x 14TB drives (Had to use external USB 4 bay enclosures on USB 3.2 ports to support that number of drives).

       

      • #2456875

        I partially disagree with “It’s all about capacity”. My personal use case has been a mix of both. My boot drive should be an SSD; I am not in the business of waiting forever for my computer to start up. My laptops should all be using SSDs because they are simply more durable when I need to travel with them. If I’m actively working on something, like a video project, I want all of those files on an SSD, so working with them is faster.

        If I need to store a lot of files that aren’t going to be accessed too often, I move them onto a hard drive. In that case, speed isn’t too much of an issue, and it becomes more (not all) about capacity. Hard drives are used more for longer term storage, or when I need lots of storage when speed is not too much of a concern.

        Many large server farms use both SSDs and HDDs. SSDs are used for data that’s being accessed a lot recently, like “trending” stuff on social media. HDDs are used for data that’s being accessed a lot less frequently, to cut down on costs. So for the foreseeable future, SSDs and HDDs coexist with each other. And I wouldn’t be surprised if HDDs never actually go away; if their capacities keep getting bigger and their cost keeps getting cheaper, and so long as they can keep a step ahead of SSDs in that department, then they’ll always see a purpose.

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        • #2457018

          I do have a 1 TB SSD in my Mac and an one 4TB HD for backups using the software that comes with the Mac, called “Time Machine.”

          As to HDDs: I have had three computers before the Mac, all running some version of Windows, in average 7.5 years each, and never had a single problem with their HDDs. Whether I’ll have the same result with the SSD in my Mac, time will tell.

          At present, the Mac is five years old and will probably have to be replaced in another two, at age 7+ for a series of reasons that have nothing to do on how it is running at the time: the progressive switch of Apple to RISC Mx CPUs from Intel’s CISC ones (as in this Mac) and the corresponding expected run of software support by application developers and, separately, of the OS by Apple’s long-standing time limit before EOL.

          By the way: “TRIM” is implemented by default in Macs with internal SSDs.

          In my case:

          APPLE SSD SM1024G:

          Capacity: 1 TB (1,000,555,581,440 bytes)
          Model: APPLE SSD SM1024G
          Revision: BXZ13A0Q
          Serial Number: S2ZNNY0J302013
          Native Command Queuing: Yes
          Queue Depth: 32
          Removable Media: No
          Detachable Drive: No
          BSD Name: disk0
          Medium Type: Solid State
          TRIM Support: Yes
          Partition Map Type: GPT (GUID Partition Table)
          S.M.A.R.T. status: Verified

          Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

    • #2456876

      I would never recommend using Cloud Storage as backup for important data. The disadvantages include not having access to an Internet Connection when restoration is needed, not being able to rapidly restore large volumes of data, and risks associated with keeping your data on someone else’s server.

      Individuals are not that different from businesses. Businesses keep backup hard drives with archived data on site as well as at remote locations from where they can be retrieved if local backups are destroyed or corrupted. Individuals can do something similar, and should be doing this. The need for reliable long-term local archival data storage will keep HDDs going for years if not decades to come.

      SSD maintenance should include Trim, but this is usually automatically invoked by the drive itself and/or the OS. The one exception is if you run an OS from an external SSD (SATA to USB connection), as I do with Linux. There I had to manually set up and run “fstrim” from one Linux distro. (The process can then be made into a scheduled task.) And set up the UASP translation for Windows and Linux.

      I would argue that SSDs do NOT give warnings in their diagnostics when they are about to fail. There are still many reports of sudden SSD failures of “Good” drives. This can happen at any time, but the likelihood increases dramatically at about the five-year mark, whether the drive is being written to or not. It only needs to be attached to a running device.

      -- rc primak

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    • #2456895

      the likelihood increases dramatically at about the five-year mark

      As it does for HDDs and all other components. It’s one reason we backup.

      cheers, Paul

    • #2456906

      I have 6 SSD drives in my daily driver.  3 M.2 NVMe 250GB SSD’s and 3 SATA 1TB SSD’s, with 21 partitions scattered across them.  It isn’t necessarily all about capacity for home use, it’s more about filling the needs of the individual.

      I also have ten or eleven unconnected HDD’s of 1TB to 4TB capacity.  These I use for archival storage of complete drive images and selective partition images.  My daily driver contains ~1,899.89GB written and ~1,568.71GB free.  I have ample capacity for my personal needs.

      My DIY NAS has a 120GB mSATA SSD for the OS and 4 4TB HDD’s in a RAID 10 array.  The array has ~3.42TB written and ~3.84TB free.  The OS drive has ~57.3GB written and ~52.5GB free.  I have ample capacity for my NAS, as well.  My NAS has two main functions for me, as a file server (movies and such) and as a transfer point for my offline storage via the drive dock in the top of the case.

      I chose the redundancy of RAID 10 over the capacity of other array types.  For home use, the bottleneck of my NAS is my Gigabit network, not the speed of the array.  It can serve the same movie file to three different devices without pause or flicker.  For offline storage, the bottleneck is the SATA connection speed of the drive dock, but that doesn’t interfere with anything else and is not an issue.

      Using SSD’s in a RAID array for my purposes would be ridiculous and a total waste of the SSD’s speed, since any bottleneck would be in the network, not the array.  Nor do I have any need for a speedier network, because the Gigabit speed serves all my needs quite well.

      Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
      We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do. We don't all have to do the same things.

    • #2456909

      Brian, Excellent graphic showing the consolidation of the hard drive industry!  We’ve both lived through all of it, and the names of the one-time manufacturers now come back to haunt me.

      At Comdex in Vegas in the ’90’s, I spoke to a brand-new Seagate employee, a throw-in in the trade of the SCSI business from Magnetic Peripherals Inc (MPI) to Seagate.  MPI was the joint venture of CDC and Honeywell in the disk drive business.  At this late date, I am unable to find reliable information about the year of the sale of MPI to Seagate.

      I am 1000% on your side advocating the use of SSDs whenever possible.  People always talk about the speed of SSDs, but their reliability is unparalleled in the world of storage.

       

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    • #2456914

      My current computers are all HDD; my experience has been HDD degrade slowly giving plenty of time for change to another drive. the next computer drives will be SSD when the HDD fail.

      For backups, I use external HDD; when one fails move on.

      Carpe Diem {with backup and coffee}
      offline▸ Win10Pro 2004.19041.572 x64 i3-3220 RAM8GB HDD Firefox83.0b3 WindowsDefender WuMgr
      offline▸ Acer AspireOne Atom N270 RAM2GB HDD GuineaPig
      online▸ Win11Pro 21H2.22000.795 x64 i5-9400 RAM16GB HDD Firefox104.0b6 MicrosoftDefender WuMgr
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    • #2456907

      The sensationalist headline contradicts the article.

    • #2456958

      You say “never defragment an SSD”. How about optimizing one? Is deframenting the same as optimizing when it applies to SSDs?

      I ask because my laptop, which has an SSD, came from the manufacturer already set up to optimize monthly. So, I am wondering if I should turn this off?

      • #2456964

        Yes, Optimizing is a better word for SSD’s and it should include Trim.

        We're getting Sticker Shock everywhere now, not just car dealers.

        • #2456987

          Yes, Optimizing is a better word for SSD’s and it should include Trim.

          I am not sure what the “yes” is a “yes” to. So, are you saying “Yes, never optimize an SSD”??

          SSD’s are self-identifying to the OS, and Windows knows to use TRIM on an SSD rather than to defrag it.

          From the explanation of trim here, do I understand that optimizing (and consequently trimming) on an SSD still involves moving data around? And so it’s not a good idea to optimize and trim, because you would be “needlessly us[ing] up some of your SSD’s finite number of write cycles”? Or do I read here that it’s OK to optimize (and consequently trim) because it doesn’t increase the count on # of write cycles?

      • #2456969

        You say “never defragment an SSD”. How about optimizing one? Is deframenting the same as optimizing when it applies to SSDs?

        SSD’s are self-identifying to the OS, and Windows knows to use TRIM on an SSD rather than to defrag it.  Optimizing is using TRIM and active garbage collection.  “What is SSD Trim?”  From the link:

        “Flash memory, which is what SSDs are made of, cannot overwrite existing data the way a hard disk drive can. Instead, solid state drives need to erase the now invalid data. The problem is that a larger unit of the memory, a block, must be erased before a smaller unit, a page, can be written. For example, if there are four pages with data in an otherwise empty block and three pages of data are deleted, the remaining page of data must be written to a new block, then all four pages in the old block can be deleted, freeing them up to be rewritten in the future.

        If the drive were to not go through this process of moving valid information so that invalid information can be deleted, and instead, just keep writing new information to new pages, eventually it would fill up with data, some of it no longer valid. To prevent this, Active Garbage collection goes through the disk and moves each page of valid data to a page in another block so the block with invalid data, which has been identified with Trim, can be cleaned out.”

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do. We don't all have to do the same things.

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    • #2457063

      I ask because my laptop, which has an SSD, came from the manufacturer already set up to optimize monthly. So, I am wondering if I should turn this off?

      No, do not turn it off.

      Windows does defrag your SSD, but it’s to keep the number of file fragments below the maximum number, not to increase performance. Hanselman – Does Windows defragment your SSD?

      Leave Windows to manage your SSD and all will be well.

      cheers, Paul

      • #2457204

        Windows does defrag your SSD, but it’s to keep the number of file fragments below the maximum number, not to increase performance. Hanselman – Does Windows defragment your SSD?

        I read the seven-year-old article in the link. From the article:

        “When he says volume snapshots or “volsnap” he means the Volume Shadow Copy system in Windows. This is used and enabled by Windows System Restore when it takes a snapshot of your system and saves it so you can rollback to a previous system state. I used this just yesterday when I install a bad driver. A bit of advanced info here – Defrag will only run on your SSD if volsnap is turned on, and volsnap is turned on by System Restore as one needs the other. You could turn off System Restore if you want, but that turns off a pretty important safety net for Windows.”

        I find some technical issues there. I’ve always disabled System Restore and Volume Shadow Copy (I prefer drive imaging), and yet my SSD’s still get optimized weekly.

        Also, by nature of their architecture, SSD’s are always “fragmented” because of the page/block storage. Pages can be written to but only blocks can be erased. That’s where garbage collection, TRIM and wear leveling come into play.

        Leave Windows to manage your SSD and all will be well.

        Yep.

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do. We don't all have to do the same things.

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    • #2457163

      I have a PC with an SSD boot drive that kept crashing (but only when I wasn’t using it) and then would not reboot without some intervention by me. I checked the SSD with a few SSD health tools and they all said it was healthy. After some troubleshooting I determined that the SSD was causing the crashes so I bought a new SSD and last week cloned the old one to it, and now my PC is running just fine. So I guess I’d say to take the health tool results with a grain of salt.

      I have another PC that I’ve maxed out with 6GB of RAM. A few years ago I swapped out my HDD for an SSD to improve performance. I was just thinking that maybe I should re-purpose  a 128GB SSD from a work computer that is being retired and put it in my PC just to house pagefile.sys, thus reducing reads and writes on my main SSD.

      Anyone see a downside to doing that?

      • #2457191

        I was just thinking that maybe I should re-purpose a 128GB SSD from a work computer that is being retired and put it in my PC just to house pagefile.sys, thus reducing reads and writes on my main SSD. Anyone see a downside to doing that?

        In my experience there is no downside.  My pagefile has always been a fixed size on a separate drive in a dedicated partition formatted FAT32.

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do. We don't all have to do the same things.

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      • #2457196

        There is no downside to leaving the page file on the SSD if you have space. The SSD will happily survive for years even if you do swap lots.

        cheers, Paul

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        • #2457208

          I’ve had an OCZ Solid III SSD for circa 10 years with the pagefile in use (albeit reduced and set to custom size) using Win7 Pro and 8Gb DDR3 Ram, and used daily, it’s still going strong.
          So I would agree with Paul-T, and just set it, forget it and create backups.
          Don’t worry too much about wear leveling (unless you are writing.re-writing high Gigabytes to Terabytes per day.)

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    • #2457336

      I’ve always disabled Volume Shadow Copy

      VSS is also used by backup apps to make backups – like System Restore does. If you disable the service (it is normally set to manual) your backup software will have to use an alternative method to make the backup.

      I prefer to leave the VSS service enabled and leave Windows to do its thing.

      cheers, Paul

      • #2457343

        Paul is so very right, and what this “Microsoft doing it’s thing” means exactly still is a mystery. Collecting data…. and what else?.
        This also taught me, a long time ago, that keeping a recent SystemDrive Image at hand saves a lot of time, for when this “windows-thing” cannot repair the OS what so ever.

        * Is this a fact: "foreignpolicy.com/2022/04/25/the-real-threat-to-social-media-is-europe", Really? * get out of the poisonous Metaverse *
      • #2457366

        VSS is also used by backup apps to make backups – like System Restore does.

        Image for Windows, the only imaging software suite I have ever used and recommended, can use VSS, but doesn’t have to use VSS.  It can use its own PHYLock™, “an add-on software component for Win NT/2K/XP/2003/x64/Vista/7/8/10 that enables Images for Windows to maintain a consistent backup of an unlocked partition or volume.”  I’ve never used or needed System Restore or VSS, don’t need those services running, and I always make sure to disable both after a Windows upgrade and/or Feature Update.

        I prefer to leave the VSS service enabled and leave Windows to do its thing.

        We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do. We don’t all have to do the same things.  I’ve spent the last 20+ years figuring out whether or not I truly needed Windows to do its own thing (turns out that I don’t), and whether or not some of the things that Windows does are really necessary (turns out they aren’t).

        Unleash Windows has been around and kept updated by me for close to twenty years, and outlines how to step outside Windows box for a more efficient, responsive and reliable way to use the operating system platform upon which I install the software that I want to use.  Email feedback from my web site has shown me that a few hundred other folks use all or parts of those techniques to do the same things.

        Task Scheduler runs Image for Windows behind the scenes without any intervention from me.  Should I manage to pooch my 100GB OS partition (which I do quite often, tinkerin’), Image for Windows (which I have incorporated into the Windows Recovery partition) can restore it in just under three minutes without hiccups.  I don’t need VSS or System Restore.

        The easiest way to optimize CPU utilization is to feed it data as quickly as possible.  Reading data into RAM from three or more drives simultaneously does that.  Reading data into RAM from one single drive does not.

        Of course there are a few hundred million folks who use Windows as-is out of the box without issue or complaint (despite what is hinted at here at AskWoody from time to time), and that’s just fine.  Folks come here when they are having issues.  Members here offer advice based on their own knowledge and experience.

        This also taught me, a long time ago, that keeping a recent SystemDrive Image at hand saves a lot of time, for when this “windows-thing” cannot repair the OS what so ever.

        Windows isn’t always able to “do its thing”.  Use your favorite search engine for “what to do when system restore doesn’t work” and notice the number of hits that turn up.  Image for Windows has never, ever failed to restore a drive image for me, and my oldest drive image is never more than one week old.  I don’t need VSS or System Restore.  YMMV

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do. We don't all have to do the same things.

    • #2457633

      I have both an external HDD and an SSD for image backups using the app Terracopy.

      What I have discovered is that e Terracopy app backs up and verifies files correctly to the external HDD but when the same exact files are copied to SSD’s (Samsung and Crucial) in an Inateck enclosure, the verify step fails with various codes stating that the copied file(s) cannot be found or accessed.

      Terracopy support is poor.  Has anyone seen anything similar copying to an SSD in an external enclosure?

      • #2457642

        Has anyone seen anything similar copying to an SSD in an external enclosure?

        Image for Windows doesn’t have that problem.

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do. We don't all have to do the same things.

      • #2457649

        Can you verify an image separately from backup?
        Can you mount an image from SSD and restore a file or three?

        cheers, Paul

        • #2458372

          Below is screenshot of failure codes from the Terracopy copy operation.  Attempts to access those files fails.

          Tried again using a standard Explorer copy operation.  That worked w/o problems and I was able to manually verify the files.

          Therefore, I believe I have proven that Terracopy does not work correctly when an enclosure is involved.  Based on this and other tests, I would avoid using Terracopy (at least whne the target was an SSD in a portable enclosure.

          Does anyone have an enclosed SSD to try and copy some files to?

          Terracopy-fail-2022-07-03

        • #2458376

          I have an external SSD. What did you want to test?

          cheers, Paul

        • #2458379

          Copy some multi-GB files to the SSD with verify checked on using Terracopy 3.9.

          If it works, then what enclosure are you using?

        • #2458408

          Using the zip version and running Teracopy.exe.

          Copied 17GB, 282 files, verified OK in 2:08.
          Security attributes not copied.

          W10 21H2.
          I use a generic USB3 to 2.5 SATA adapter connected to a Samsung 850 EVO.

          cheers, Paul

           

    • #2458518

      Using the zip version and running Teracopy.exe.

      Copied 17GB, 282 files, verified OK in 2:08.
      Security attributes not copied.

      W10 21H2.
      I use a generic USB3 to 2.5 SATA adapter connected to a Samsung 850 EVO.

      cheers, Paul

       

      So the SSD wasn’t actually IN a sealed enclosure?

      • #2458577

        It is a USB3 to SATA connector, no housing or separate cable.
        Have you tried a different cable?

        cheers, Paul

        • #2458588

          I am trying to test the enclosure.  As mentioned previously, the copy operation works via Explorer but fails copying to an SSD in the enclosure via Teracopy.

          What passes for Teracopy support hasn’t responded to my open query in over 3 weeks.  The true quality of a product/service is how support acts/reacts when problems crop up.  Based on my negative experience, I would not recommend Teracopy.  I certainly would not pay them anything.

        • #2458620

          It looks likely to be an enclosure issue as it seems fine until you try to push the data rate via TC.

          Do you have another PC you can test it on?

          cheers, Paul

        • #2464706

          I picked up an eSATA cable and was able to successfully do the the Teracopy directly.

          So the problem is the enclosure, which again is Inateck.  I will reach out to them next to see if they can explain why their simple hardware doesn’t work now.  I am certain that it worked in the past because I have been using that enclosure for years and never saw this problem.

          But now that I think on this, the enclosure problems started happening when I installed the latest versions of Teracopy.  Possibly the new versions changed something?

    • #2458708

      I agree with Paul T.
      A coupla’ years ago I was comparing specs on external enclosures. One thing that I tripped across is that there is a certain command that is not universally supported by externals. That is, the command is not transmitted ‘through the enclosure electronics’ to the enclosed drive. The command is speed-related as I recall. (I just did a quick search for what that command is, but can’t at the moment locate it.)
      Speculation here: your device doesn’t propagate that command; Explorer doesn’t utilize that command; but Teracopy does, in the interest of efficiency and speed. Is there perhaps some Option within Teracopy that allows one to disable “advanced support” or to degrade the top speed?

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