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"Why I Will Never Buy a Hard Drive Again"



 
 
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  #22  
Old August 9th 18, 10:21 PM posted to alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt
Flasherly[_2_]
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Default "Why I Will Never Buy a Hard Drive Again"

On Thu, 9 Aug 2018 19:59:49 -0500, Rene Lamontagne
wrote:


Every time it went pear shaped you had to take the cover off and tamp
all the chips back down, I'M glad I never owned one, it was a real disaster.


Standard operations, I'd assume. My first past over an XT MB's ISA
extension with AST Rampage, earls EMS standards, (with a MegaByte or
two), was solely for swapping programs through a 384K physical window
about 640K conventions: They were all same-same, or socket-chipped
RAM: no differently for an Intel 386SX motherboard, then, which was
populated by 8 banks of 9 chips to each, with each memory chip being a
requirement of the buyer to install by hand-insertion.

Chip maintenance, therefore, could be quite the extensible operation
when a computer program "crashed". Altogether ignoring a power outage
state, the first indicative is BIOS post faults in accounting memory
population.

Never to fear, though. I don't recall much in the way of established
forums for an Internet, indeed if such existed;- 1200BAUD, though,
might get you into a couple so-called transatlantic forms, mostly for
Britain, as an English speaking capacity. Hardware or its experts
might as easily be deferred to the Bulletin Board Operators, to our
present age and status popularly assessed wiz-kid hackers, sometimes,
even for an odd industrial advocate representative of brandname
engineering.

In any event, I had, perhaps still do, (stuffed away somewhere), a
relic bag of mystical properties containing extra memory chips for
performing the rites of a dead-machine revival. How I got good at it,
and if ever I actually was, apart from never being shorted long from
an actual memory population, that time is too distant to correctly
recall. Chip failure faults, however, then and as now, if ever
anything but surface mounts might occur, (I've an amp or two with
them, seated EPROM and such), is a regular condition from an
inspection and maintenance standpoint. (Cursory and expected, prior
to an impromptu techbench and going after Chinese(TM) cold-solder
joints, or, Zeus forbid, an actual condition requiring synching an
O-Scope waveform or Digital Logic Probes.)
  #24  
Old August 9th 18, 11:14 PM posted to alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt
Flasherly[_2_]
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Default "Why I Will Never Buy a Hard Drive Again"

On Thu, 9 Aug 2018 12:42:22 -0400, Michael Black
wrote:

But I've never had a hard drive problem. That goes back to 1993, when I
go tmy first hard drive.

I've moved on to different hard drives, but that's because of a different
computer or wanting more space. But none have failed, not even the ones
that had been used when I got them.

I'm sure that when I get around to turning on that computer from 2003,
which was used at the time, the hard drive will be fine. Though I
splurged on a new hard drive, a 160g, about 2006. But it stayed on most
of the time till I moved to a different computer in 2012.

Hard drives became reliable at some point, and so cheap.

And I'm yet to be convinced that an SSD is appreciably faster than a
mechanical hard drive. Though it helps that I leave the computer on, so
any "slowness" of booting is an iregular thing.

Michael


A SSD you have to work a little with for the appreciation factor, but
there is no need to be convinced about it, any more than a rooster can
stop itself from crowing when it senses the sun rising. Think copying
files, which are magnitudes, a minimum of two, three, and more, faster
than platters. Think of the pain in other than a relative
significance, say to time, not to be ignored when extensively
reworking large files as part of programming routine reserved for SSD
working areas.

HDDs were never reliable. They're prone to be more or less reliable
due to periods and episodes relating to manufacture reputation and
regard. Axiomatically that would equate into dog vernacular and every
one has its day.

It's like me saying I don't have car accidents. The insurance guys
love me when I say that. Their stock reply: 'Well then, aren't you
just an accident waiting to happen'. . . Or assessing a lawyer for
virtue;- they've all worked at the DA Office for a stint as a
prosecuting attorney, the good ones before setting up a private
defense council.

Sometimes the earth isn't flat and sometimes you just got to roll with
it.
  #25  
Old August 9th 18, 11:42 PM posted to alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
Roger Blake[_2_]
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Default "Why I Will Never Buy a Hard Drive Again"

On 2018-08-09, Ant wrote:
Still expensive to me.


The current SSD sweet spot for price seems to be 500GB size. Larger than
that and price goes up quickly.

My main desktop system has 500GB SSD and several TB of mechanical
storage. I also have several laptops upgraded to smallish SSDs.

Yeah, I will wait again.


7200 RPM mechanical drives aren't too bad, and there are hybrid drives
available that get a boost from some onboard flash storage. A lot of
new PCs come with dog-slow 5400 RPM drives though and those are real
frustrating to work with.

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  #27  
Old August 10th 18, 01:22 AM posted to alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
Ant
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Default "Why I Will Never Buy a Hard Drive Again"

In comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage Roger Blake wrote:
On 2018-08-09, Ant wrote:
Still expensive to me.


The current SSD sweet spot for price seems to be 500GB size. Larger than
that and price goes up quickly.


My main desktop system has 500GB SSD and several TB of mechanical
storage. I also have several laptops upgraded to smallish SSDs.


I easily used up a 115 GB and 256 GB SSDs. 512 GB is went down to 190
GB.
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  #28  
Old August 10th 18, 01:59 AM posted to alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt
Rene Lamontagne
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Posts: 114
Default "Why I Will Never Buy a Hard Drive Again"

On 08/09/2018 11:26 AM, Paul wrote:
Rene Lamontagne wrote:


Do anyone here remember the Apple III walkout era?

Rene


Socketed chips ? Ouch.

https://www.hardwaresecrets.com/inside-the-apple-iii/3/

Some fun for the owner I guess. I hope
the cover comes off the unit easily :-)

** Paul


Every time it went pear shaped you had to take the cover off and tamp
all the chips back down, I'M glad I never owned one, it was a real disaster.

Rene

  #29  
Old August 10th 18, 04:32 AM posted to alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt
mike
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Default "Why I Will Never Buy a Hard Drive Again"

On 8/9/2018 4:28 AM, Paul wrote:
Bill wrote:
mike wrote:

How's the reliability?
I'm still reading that they fail catastrophically without warning.


I've heard that the reliability of SSDs far exceeds that of the
mechanical hard drives (for, in fact, an obvious reason--no moving
parts). The "trim" software for my Intel SSD even provides an
indication of the drive's reliability (I'm not sure how well that
works). I do regular backups too.


You're the perfect customer for an SSD.

You're mixing up reliability and wear life.


I beg to differ. When the drive QUITS WORKING, that's end of life.
Doesn't matter what caused it.
If the drive says, "hey, I'm wearing out, replace me," that's OK.
When the drive says, "Hey, I'm read only," that's survivable.
When the drive just bricks and becomes unreadable without warning,
that's UNACCEPTABLE, by any measure. The excuse, "you didn't check
the smart data...your fault" is UNACCEPTABLE.

Stuff happens and there ain't much you can do about it.
DESIGNED IN hard failure is unacceptable.

It is not at all easy to determine what to expect on any version
drive from any vendor. It's all proprietary and secret.
I get all my stuff at garage sales, so I don't get a lot of choice.

I spent the last day messing with a SSD in win10.
I learned a few things.

Don't put a 2.5" SSD into a box that makes it a 3.5" form factor
and plug that into a hot-swap drive bay.
The operative word is "HOT". I won't do that again.

It's a 256GB Kingston ssdNOW200V. It was made right at the point
where SSD's went from crap to not-quite-as-crappy. Most of the available
info on that drive relates to the Version 3, or doesn't say
which version it applies to. That's why I didn't install it back in the
day.

I backed up my spinner and restored it to the SSD.
Macrium recognized it as a SSD, and I expected it to be aligned.
Nope! The Kingston Utility says it's not aligned.
I fired up my trusty Hirens and ran the partition utility
align function.
It has always worked in the past, but on this one, it says it
can't align the partition because it's already aligned.

I screwed around with it for hours and never got a bootable
aligned partition. Gave up and reformatted/installed win10 1803.
It runs now and all the utilities agree that partitions are aligned.
I'm just too lazy to
reinstall everything for what I perceive to be marginal improvement.

There's gotta be an easier way to migrate. Maybe it's better with
a newer drive.

The install was faster than on a spinner.
Boot is noticeably faster.
I might convince myself that operation was slightly faster,
but not enough to spend any real money on a SSD.

The SSD in the laptop did improve boot time enough to convince
me to leave it in there.


Reliability consists of two components. Say a solder joint
on the PCB fails. It causes the device to stop delivering
the intended function. That's part of the reliability
number. Let's pretend for the sake of argument, it's
an MTBF of 2 million hours. In some cases, just the
tiny power converter inside, making VCore for some chip,
might dominate the reliability calc (you can't make
a power converter better than about 10 million hours
or 100 FITS).

OK, well, what rate do bugs show up in the SSD firmware ?
We don't know. We do know, that early SSDs "bricked"
due to firmware. In some cases, the drive even "bricked"
during a firmware update (but of course the owner backed
up the data, making the situation not quite the same).
In a system at work, our reliability expert (a guy with
a PhD in the subject), warned that some large products
we were selling, it was quite possible the software
was dropping the system reliability by a factor of 10.

Now the MTBF is down to 200,000 hours. You will find
Seagate and WDC unwilling to factor this in. While our
reliability expert argued for this, only field data
could indicate how sucky our software was.

*******

Wear life is different. Both hard drives and SSDs wear.
In the case of the SSD, the mechanism is known and
predictable. If you know the temperature when the
writes were done, you know the temperature of the
media over long-term life, you can make a reasonably
accurate prediction of wear. (High temperatures
anneal defects, but high temperatures might also
shorten retention time.)

Hard drives are different. The manufacturer won't admit
to wear. The manufacturer won't prepare large quantities
of drives, and simulate life conditions, and provide
curves related to wear. But, third party studies have
noted wear characteristics in the failure population
curves. Instead of a traditional bathtub curve, drive
failures have another shape in the graph. There are
tremendous differences between various model numbers
for this (things that might be noted by Newegg reviewers
if a model is for sale for long enough).

*******

Now, let's summarize:

What do you have to know as an SSD owner.

1) Consider the history of the technology. You're doing
basically what my PhD guy at work was doing, consulting
a "field return data" log and noting brickage, brickage
caused by bad firmware. For early SSD drives, you
wouldn't touch them with a barge pole. Especially
the ones with "predictable brickage", where the
device fails after being powered for exactly
30 days. Owners who didn't hear about the 30 day
brickage, might not have known (in time) that there
was a firmware update for it, to be applied in advance.
If it bricked and you had no backup (because it was
"reliable"), well, "fool you once". Now you're learning.

2) Consider the wear life. The drives are taking fewer
and fewer write cycles per flash location, as the
technology "advances". The storage cells are getting
"mushy". SLC, MLC, TLC, QLC. SLC is great stuff. Maybe
100,000 write cycles and 10 year retention. QLC might
be 1,000 write cycles and ?? year retention. A Samsung
TLC was showing signs of being "mushy", by requiring
significant error correction inside (to the point it
was slowing the read rate). Roughly 10% of the storage
capacity on the drive, is reserved for ECC code storage,
protecting the data from errors. That is a very high ratio,
much highe than hard drives in the past. It's quite possible
every sector has at least one error in it, corrected
by the CPU inside before you get it. And now, they're just
starting to ship QLC.

3) Consider the end of life policy. Not all the drive
brands have the same policy. Some return an error
on each write at end of life (as a cheap way of warning
you), causing the SSD to enter "read-only state". That
is a reasonable policy, helping to warn and cover people
who refuse to make backups. Windows won't run on a read only
device, so you'll be smothered in error dialogs. That
will get your attention, and make you back up the drive.

But Intel just "bricks" the drive, when the *computed*
wear value is exceeded. With an Intel brand SSD, you
had better be monitoring the "life remaining percentage"
*very very carefully* . That's why the promotion in that
Toms article above is particularly egregious. The dude is
promoting an Intel QLC SSD (yuck!) which has a total-brickage
end-of-life policy (double yuck!). What could go wrong ?
If you're not paying attention, Beuler, you suddenly
lose access to your data. Did you have backups ? No ?
"Fool you twice".

So, yeah, SSDs have no moving parts, and hay, they're
"reliable". A stupid MIL spec calc prepared by the
marketing department (not by engineers), says so.

The firmware could have bugs. Not quantified in a
MIL spec calc. They could have include field data in the
MIL spec calc, but they'd be nuts to do so. No one is
there to slap their fingers for failing to do this.
The history of SSDs would mean dropping the MIL spec calc by a
factor of ten. No marketing guy is going to allow that.
But if your Sherman Tank is booted off an SSD, you
can be damn sure two PhDs got into a spat about what
the real reliability is. Between big companies doing
business, the MTBF is "negotiated". The customer
would say "hay, idiot, include firmware reliability
in your calc".

The wear life is tangible. There's an indicator in
SMART. What is the brickage policy of your brand ?
Pay attention!

Is an SSD the same as a hard drive ?

No, it is not.

HTH,
Paul


  #30  
Old August 10th 18, 04:56 AM posted to alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt
Paul[_26_]
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Default "Why I Will Never Buy a Hard Drive Again"

mike wrote:
On 8/9/2018 4:28 AM, Paul wrote:
Bill wrote:
mike wrote:

How's the reliability?
I'm still reading that they fail catastrophically without warning.

I've heard that the reliability of SSDs far exceeds that of the
mechanical hard drives (for, in fact, an obvious reason--no moving
parts). The "trim" software for my Intel SSD even provides an
indication of the drive's reliability (I'm not sure how well that
works). I do regular backups too.


You're the perfect customer for an SSD.

You're mixing up reliability and wear life.


I beg to differ. When the drive QUITS WORKING, that's end of life.
Doesn't matter what caused it.


We have to be careful to separate the component parts though.

Some aspects of the electronics you use, can never be
all that good. They could never last "forever". The
best power converter they could make at work, was
around 10 million hours MTBF. The guys who did that,
were pretty product of their tiny gadget.

The bathtub shaped curve, assumes failures are random,
and are a function of the "quality" or the "architecture"
of the item.

Having an actual wearout behavior, that is not
a random phenomenon. That's predictable.

Say I start writing my brand new M.2 motherboard SSD at
2.5GB/sec. And I do that all day long, day after day.
These devices don't have enough wear life, to make it
all the way to the end of the warranty period while
doing that. If you do that to the drive, grind it into
the ground, all the retailer has to do, is check the
wear life and point out to the customer "you wore it out,
it didn't fail as such". You would be denied warranty
relief at retail level or at factory level.

The warranty covers the "random stuff". The stuff
that went into the MTBF calculation. Everyone knows
that like toilet paper, the number of write cycles
is limited. If a customer burns them up, they won't
be providing a shiny new drive for the customer
to burn up a third, fourth, or fifth time.

If it's determined a customer abused a product,
then there's no warranty. Maybe your credit card
provides more extensive product insurance, but
the normal retail relationship mainly covers
product defects. And wear is not a defect.
It's an expected parameter a customer
can control, by not doing too many writes
per day...

If I buy a gallon of paint at Home Depot,
apply it to the walls, when the can is empty
I can't run to the store and go "Defect! Defect!
This can is empty. I blame the hole on top."
The warranty might cover a failure of the
chemical composition (maybe the drying
accelerator agent is missing and the paint
never dries for you). But simply using up
the quantity of materials in the can, doesn't
entitle you to a "infinite refill". I can't
paint the Brooklyn Bridge with one can of
paint.

Paul
 




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