Is there a cheap SSD which won't suffer sudden death syndrome?
August 30, 2014 9:42 AM   Subscribe

How do you shop for cheap 2.5 SATA SSD hard drives? I have had them fail suddenly and catastrophically within months. Right now you can get cheap (< $75) 120gb drives branded Sandisk, Kingston, and Mushkin. Is there any difference in terms of failure rates? Is there a particular controller to watch out for? Any other tips?
posted by to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
1) My recommendation is to always plan for a drive (HDD or SSD) to fail at some point in the future and plan accordingly. That said, within several months multiple times feels like maybe there's something else going on? I had an enclosure which I later dubbed "the drive killer" as it made drives fail repeatedly until I figured out it was the enclosure (bad power supply?) and not the drives themselves. Just something to consider.

2) My personal favorite for SSDs right now is the Samsung 840 Evo. The Crucial MX100 is also well reviewed. If you want to go down the review rabbit hole.
posted by bluecore at 10:10 AM on August 30, 2014 [6 favorites]

I think you get what you pay for. If you buy cheap, you get crap. If you want quality, you'll have to pay more.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:10 AM on August 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

I have also not yet had an 840 Evo die.
posted by flabdablet at 11:19 AM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Warning::Hearsay>>I've seen numerous reports that SSDs just don't last as long as hard drives. Hard drives (mostly) last for years, but SSDs don't. I think the key thing is to buy one much larger than you need, so the SSD has room to disable worn out sectors and still function.
Maybe use the SSD for things you need to be fast like operating system or games, and HDD for other programs and storage.
posted by H21 at 11:22 AM on August 30, 2014

I found this article somewhat interesting, depending on what your reliability concerns are.
posted by adipocere at 11:27 AM on August 30, 2014

My usual method for picking one is to go to storage tab, filter the type (ssd), then connection (eg: sata3 or 6), and finally minimum size I need (eg: 100mb). Then I sort the resulting list by "rating" descending and buy the first one in my desired price range with an acceptable rating (eg: lots of ratings and between 4-5 stars). It's probably not a perfect system, but I've bought a lot of drives over the last couple of years and have yet to have an SSD fail.
posted by Poldo at 2:07 PM on August 30, 2014

I'd report that adipocere's article reflects my experience, in that Intel SSDs have been consistently reliable.
posted by Mr. Six at 2:56 PM on August 30, 2014

At $DAY_JOB, we put about three dozen Samsuns SSD 840 *PRO*s into service at the start of the year (staggered from about december to february). Last I knew, none of them had failed. Note that this is the "PRO" version; the "EVO" which others have praised above is slightly newer and uses different memory chips (TLC rather than MLC) so my experience doesn't directly speak to the reliability of the EVO version.
posted by jepler at 4:40 PM on August 30, 2014

If you're really having that sort of reliability troubles you're either using them REALLY hard or are buying junk. :( I'd stick with Samsung's MLC-using (not TLC-using) line. Read: 840 Pro, not Evo. There are currently two 830 Pros and one 840 Pro in this household; there will be a fourth next week. It's the only model I'll touch for home use at the moment given the mixed experiences we had with other brands (the exception being the old OCZ Vertex line, which turned out to be plenty reliable, but who knows what they're doing post-bankruptcy and -sale).
posted by introp at 9:05 PM on August 30, 2014

From a slightly different angle, I made the call to experiment with SSD's in some of our ESXi nodes back in 2010-2011. Since the datastores needed to be redundant RAID1 anyways, failure of a single unit wasn't a big deal and at the time the cost-per-GB was just barely becoming justifiable for the "cheapies." So we were pairing the cheapest stuff (like OCZ Vertex 120GB's) with other inexpensive options - I seem to recall Kingston as one - and were basically shopping for the best deals especially on Black Friday/Cyber Monday, etc.

Virtual machine storage can be kind of stressy and part of the goal was that building VM's on slow hard drive based storage is a tax on productivity; if you can create your virtual machines faster, then it is worth at least some annoyance in the form of SSD failures, since it is basically the RAID controller's problem anyways. But thinking back, while we've had a number of units issue predictive failures, we've only seen actual failures on maybe three units total, which is rather remarkable.

The smart money is on the Samsung Pro's and Intel offerings these days for drives least likely to do strange things and most likely to survive under heavy loads.
posted by jgreco at 3:05 AM on August 31, 2014

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