Have I halved my Micro SD card's lifespan?

Foebane72

Well-known Member
I have an MP3 player with Rockbox and micro SDHC card slot, and a micro SDHC card with all my MP3s on it.

A day or so ago, I found out I could play Commodore 64 music files on the player, so I thought I'd copy the entire library of music (40,000 files) onto the card. It took ages.

Well, playback turned out to be poorer than expected compared to PC software, so I've decided to manually delete the C64 folder rather than format the card, so away I went. Again, it took ages.

I don't exactly know how Windows manages mass copying or deletion of files from an SD card, but I heard a while ago that the flash memory on such a card is limited to something like 100,000 write cycles.

By copying and then deleting 40,000 files (80,000 in total), does that mean I've severely worn down the flash memory of the SD card, and thus its useable lifespan?
 

Foebane72

Well-known Member
no, its surely 100,000 writes to each byte of the card. so copying on the 40,000 files will count as one, not 40,000. That's how I think it works anyway.

But deleting the files would mean changes to the FAT32 table, and that's only kept in one place in the memory of the flash card - so is that 40,000 alterations to the FAT for each file, or one alteration to the FAT for all 40,000?

Do you even know what I mean? I know it's quite technical.
 

DVD-Man

Distinguished Member
copy them again and delete them then you will have your answer.
 

Foebane72

Well-known Member
edit - SSD hardrives would be pretty useless if the way you are concerned about was the way they worked.

This is one of the main things that puts me off SSD harddrives - that and read/write speed. I find it hard to believe that flash memory can be in any way better for this purpose.

Flash memory's main advantage is that it's compact, has huge capacities and that there are no moving parts.
 

Noggin1980

Distinguished Member
But deleting the files would mean changes to the FAT32 table, and that's only kept in one place in the memory of the flash card - so is that 40,000 alterations to the FAT for each file, or one alteration to the FAT for all 40,000?

Do you even know what I mean? I know it's quite technical.

I don't know the answer to your question however, my SSD has 200,000 files on it, it's my belief that windows writes to many of those files very often (windows directory alone has 111,000). I don't know anyone whose ssd's have reached a write limit so there is no way you use half the lifespan of your memory card in one go just from 40k writes.

Edit- SSD's rock
 

Noggin1980

Distinguished Member
This is one of the main things that puts me off SSD harddrives - that and read/write speed. I find it hard to believe that flash memory can be in any way better for this purpose.

Flash memory's main advantage is that it's compact, has huge capacities and that there are no moving parts.

SSD's destroy mechanical hard drives speed wise and they are quieter, use less power, the downsides are cost and capacity.

This should put your mind at rest

SSD also has a limited life span due to the limited number of write cycles. However, today's current MLC SSD's have an Mean time between failures (MTBF) of 2,000,000 hours, which simply put means that your SSD will typically last for 228 years! They technically have a limited amount of writes they can perform too, but they are able to sustain about 40 years of constant, non-stop, writing before they would start failing. Hopefully that puts the myth that SSD's will not last very long to rest, unless you need to have your SSD last you for over 228 years...
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
This is one of the main things that puts me off SSD harddrives - that and read/write speed. I

I use SSDs for the OS and programs - the startup time of the system is the blink of an eye, and the same for apps.

They do have write limits, but these are for the indivudal data storage elements, not the disk as a whole. I believe if one goes past the end of its life it is shut down and the rest of the disk can still be used (at reduced capacity).

SSD FTW!
 

Foebane72

Well-known Member
Thank you all.

Well, I'll see how it goes over the next few months. If all is well, this thread will probably be forgotten.
 

Berties

Banned
You've used two writes up? So hardly close to 100,000. Although I guess in a file server which is constantly writing and re-writing data, SSD is not a good option. Compared to millions and millions of writes possible on a normal HD.

Actually I think one write, once to write the data, but deleting the files just wipes the MFT not the actual sectors.
 
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Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
You've used two writes up? So hardly close to 100,000. Although I guess in a file server which is constantly writing and re-writing data, SSD is not a good option. Compared to millions and millions of writes possible on a normal HD.

Actually I think one write, once to write the data, but deleting the files just wipes the MFT not the actual sectors.

Which would be why there are enterprise drives with an endurance of up to 80PB or a MTBF of several million hours.

yep - just saying some people think that ssds are limited lifespan, but that this is based on the early models and is not true now (for practical purposes)

They do have a limited lifespan just not as limited a many believed it to be. As far as I know, many of the original sets of SSDs are still going strongly.
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
They do have a limited lifespan just not as limited a many believed it to be. As far as I know, many of the original sets of SSDs are still going strongly.

Well it depends entirely on the write-rate - so if you install and OS and some apps, then use it, it would last indefinitely. However if you put a database on it and ran a lot of transactions through it, day after day, it could start to flake out after a while.

I think the early ones had a 'recommended' limit equivalent to writing 1GB to the drive every day for a handful of years - something like that. That is fine for their most common usage as an application drive - I don't know how many get a large data churn - would be interesting to see how they got on.
 

Chox1988

Distinguished Member
Put one of the earlier ones into a laptop a couple of years ago and it died quite rapidly- within a year and a half, that said the laptop was on 24/7 nearly always writing to and from the disk
 

Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
Well it depends entirely on the write-rate - so if you install and OS and some apps, then use it, it would last indefinitely. However if you put a database on it and ran a lot of transactions through it, day after day, it could start to flake out after a while.

I think the early ones had a 'recommended' limit equivalent to writing 1GB to the drive every day for a handful of years - something like that. That is fine for their most common usage as an application drive - I don't know how many get a large data churn - would be interesting to see how they got on.

Oh, yeah, of course it will but what I meant was that the majority were still going strong from what would most likely be classed as conventional (casual) usage rather than having a sudden number failing after a set period.

Apparently, our new database at work is capable of storing Exabytes of data - would need some serious HDDs behind that to use it to capacity. Even at a massive MTBF you would still statistically get plenty of failed hardware :)

You would from anything really though, let's be fair. It's quite likely with that sort of data that you'd want it quickly and so combined with the lower heat output and power consumption of SSDs it's probably worthwhile.
 

Deadringers

Distinguished Member
Which would be why there are enterprise drives with an endurance of up to 80PB or a MTBF of several million hours.



They do have a limited lifespan just not as limited a many believed it to be. As far as I know, many of the original sets of SSDs are still going strongly.

Well it depends entirely on the write-rate - so if you install and OS and some apps, then use it, it would last indefinitely. However if you put a database on it and ran a lot of transactions through it, day after day, it could start to flake out after a while.

I think the early ones had a 'recommended' limit equivalent to writing 1GB to the drive every day for a handful of years - something like that. That is fine for their most common usage as an application drive - I don't know how many get a large data churn - would be interesting to see how they got on.

Put one of the earlier ones into a laptop a couple of years ago and it died quite rapidly- within a year and a half, that said the laptop was on 24/7 nearly always writing to and from the disk


I have 2 pretty "early" ones from September 2009.

They are Samsung ones with 128gb each and still going strongly!

never had any errors with them and despite them not being as quick as modern day SSDs I am still among the first to load up maps in games and my windows boot time is pretty bloody quick!

SSDs are brilliant for storage of OS apps and Games. I personally keep all my music, videos and download folders (for Firefox etc) on "old fashioned" hard drives.

SSD FTW!
 

Foebane72

Well-known Member
Thanks once again.

My housemate is keen for new PC gear and he has a couple of SSD drives already - don't know what capacities or how well they work for him, mind. Might chat to him about that one day.

Isn't it true that at the moment, SSDs are cheaper than traditional hard disks? I chose to look at data backup and considered an external HDD, but was put off by the new high prices caused by the Thailand floods. Guess it was the wrong time, so I'll have to wait until prices come down.
 

Berties

Banned
Probably only because normal hard drives have quadrupled in price. Been considering a couple of OCZ Agility 3 60GB SSD's
 

Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
not even close to being true if you are talking about price per GB. ssd's probably still close to 20times the price per GB.

It's about 6p per GB for a mechanical hardrive vs about a pound per GB for an SSD. Was probably about 3p per GB before the floods.
This.
 

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