Solid State Disk Hype?

I opened up InformationWeeek today and saw this article:  Solid State Disks, Demystified.  So, the current benefits of SSD technology may be exaggerated.

  • Faster boots:  Read time bias and slimmed-down OS have helped exaggerate these results.
  • Battery life:  Other devices are still consuming the same amount of power, which is not insignificant in the power usage.  My counterpoints:
    • Max battery life power management settings would actually make for a usable computer without the need to stop the hard drive as a primary power saver.
    • Optical drives are not an option on many notebooks with SSDs (MacBook Air, sub-notebooks), so the example of watching a movie on DVD draining battery would not be a possibility on those notebooks.

I see some misses on this article:

  • What about heat generation/dissipation?  Would SSDs make less of a contribution to system heating, allowing for less fan usage or no fan at all?  (Thus saving power)
  • What abou mean time between failure (MTBF)…  A commenter on the article remarked on this.  The experimental MTBF indicates significantly longer lifetimes, but may have been in a read-heavy environment.  Indeed, write endurance may be a concern, but at 100k-300k write cycles that would still mean 20+ years before failure.  Of course, then there was this SSD failure debacle.  I’ve had a compact flash card in a camera fail on me within a month, and there isn’t a chance for recovery before failure.
  • Shock resistance 1500G/0.5 ms vs 300G/2.0 ms and 160G/1.0 ms.
  • Much wider operating temperature range (-25’C to 85’C).

One response to “Solid State Disk Hype?”

  1. Interesting things to consider. I think anyone with a camera knows about the failure rates of flash memory. I’ve owned about 20 flash cards in the last 10 years, about half of them failed within the first 2 years, 3 are less than two years old, and 7 of them are ancient and working like a charm. So, it seems that the lemon rate is a bigger factor than the write cycles; Once you make it past the lemon stage they go on and on and on…

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