SQLAuthority News – Sudden Death of SSD on my Laptop – A Warning for SSD Users

The solid state drive on my personal laptop just died.

Here’s the story. I have a DELL XPS laptop which is now 2.5 years old. The laptop had demonstrated no issues. About 6 months ago, I decided to upgrade the hard drive to solid state drive. There was a lot of hype in the market for SSD and it seemed that everybody is praising it. After thinking about it, I­­ finally chose to upgrade my personal laptop by purchasing SSD it with Rs. 15,000 (~USD 320). The SSD that I bought contains 120 GB and supports TRIM as well.

For six months, the SSD worked marvelously. It did what it was supposed to do. It was doing everything in a super fast rate that was why I felt extremely pleased. I always shut down my machine as turning on the computer with SSD took less than 10 seconds for me. I was very glad because the power consumption was reduced and my computer’s noise became smaller as well. I used stabilizer and UPS in my home, at the place where I plugin my laptop and systems.

One fine morning, I tried to use the machine. To my surprise, it did not boot up and constantly showed me, “HDD does not exist”. I did all the tricks I know and have read in the book to make sure that HDD comes back. I even put it in another machine; it did not work there, too. Finally I dug my old box and found my original HDD of Dell machine. As soon as I put it back, it worked out very well.

So my SSD is now dead for less than 6 months now. I actually spent my whole day to re-install my computer on regular hard drives.

I have lost my complete interest in the SSD because all my life I have never lost any hard drive but this. I still have hard drives that are more than 10 years old, but despite their age they are working fine unlike this one which had been in use for only 6 months. Until now, I do not understand why my SSD died so quickly. I tried to contact the original manufacturer for replacement; unfortunately I got no reply from them. I think I lost my money, some data and my trust in SSD.

Because this was a personal laptop I had not configured any RAID on it. It is totally possible that this is a single incident and an accident, but again, it has happened to me. I would like to share this experience with all who are planning to use SSD in their production environment. I am not going to believe that SSD are ready for production till I have a personally good experience with them.

Just a word of advice: Be careful when you use SSD.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)

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29 thoughts on “SQLAuthority News – Sudden Death of SSD on my Laptop – A Warning for SSD Users

  1. This is more of a remote case, I guess. I have been using a SSD at home for more than 18 months now. It all depends on what you are using it for. SSD have relatively short life because of the technology used and they wear faster. So, I make sure I don’t put very heavy workload on the SSD. I just use it for booting in the present system I have. You need to have adequate RAM to make sure you don’t burden the SSD by doing too many writes to SSD.

    I have been a happy customer for a long time now :)

  2. I have been using a Cosair SSD for more than a year, with quite heavy use and no problems, also on a Dell XPS laptop.

    Can you tell us what manufacturer and model SSD you were using? How full did you typically have the drive? What was your average daily usage? What operating system and version were you using?

    Thanks and sorry for the troubles you went through. Unfortunately this can happen with SSD or HDD. With such a massive increase in performance, I believe SSD is worth the risk – and make sure I have regular backups.

  3. Thanks Pinal for the post ….

    I am planning to take porches SSD now need to thing on it.

    But i fount dome happy custome of SSD so bit cofusion

    :-(

  4. This sounds like a pretty random issue. You are very lucky to have never had a hard drive fail on you before. I have easily had 3 out of 10 hard drives fail on me. Most not so quickly as 6 months, but a bad hard drive will go bad sooner or later.

    I hope you hear back from the manufacturer. If it’s a big name I cannot imagine them screwing you over like that.

  5. Hi Pinal,

    Thanks for sharing it , I came running to read your post today after you tweeted that you will be posting it. It is very hard to lose data , as it is SSD are new to market we ill be having these issue till somemore time. Sad thing is that you didnt get a replacement .Which company SSD was it ?

  6. Really very sad to hear abt SSD fail. That’s the worst thing can happen if one has not taken the backups. Couple of months back my 1.5 yr old HD failed . This was my first experience of HD fail at Home. But I got ample time to back up as Windows 7 and BIOS (SMART) warned me that HD is going to fail.

    I’m using Netbook running on SSD since more than 1.5 yrs., till now no prob.
    Yeah these SSDs are relatively new tech and are supposed to have limited read/write cycles (MTBF of ~1,5mil hrs) and newer SSDs are on par with SATA drives.

    Can you please chk this article-
    What Happens When Your SSD Fails?
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2614/5

    As u said it just failed suddenly without warning, so can it be something else? Enable SMART in BIOS if its there.

    Also please post the make/model of your SSD.

  7. The thing about SSD having a short lifespan, Ravikanth, is not true. With normal usage, an SSD will have a much longer lifespan than your normal HDD. With constant use 24/7, it will take around 5 years before its needed to be changed. This cus every cell in the SSD can be written x times over before its getting “unusable”. with Normal use it will take you 20-30 years…

    I have used SSD on my 3 computers now over 1 year, no problems at all. Ive actually never heard about anyone of my friends having problems either, and most of them are happy SSD users.

    There is actually quite bigger chance of your normal HDD going down in your laptop than a SSD. First off normal HDD dont like it if u f.ex lose your laptop even 10 to 20 cm down. This can make the HDD say “bb, and good night”.

    Only tip i would give ppl with normal HDD, get a SSD, its MUCH faster, and much more robust than your standard HDD.

  8. To be honest I am a little suprised and disapointed by your post, particularly the somewhat scare-mongering title which certainly caught my attention.

    I have been using a Sony Viao Z with 256GB SSD for the past year and the ttitle of your article and burning hard drive image got me to waste time reading the article looking for some substance.

    Surely the only point worth mentioning is to always backup your data!

    Without a backup you can get totally screwed regardless of SSD or standard HDD in a non raid environment.

    I am suprised to learn that you have never had a hard drive failure. From manufacturing fault, misuse, accident and age, I have experienced several and therefore totally expect to experience another at some point. Hardware is pretty fickle like this. It has no loyalty and all devices have a published MTBF figure.

    Sure SSD is a newish technology and probably no more reliable than any other form of memory but it does have several major advantages over spinning disks. Seek time, transfer time, heat ad noise are obvious but in a laptop surely the shock resistence is very important.

    I accept that SSD is not infalible and may or may not prove itself to be any more reliable than HDD in the long term but the emotive title of your article and imagery of a brning (non-SSD) drive is akin to something I expect from a tabloid news article.

    I would also like to point out that your blog on all things SQL is without a doubt the best resource on the web for finding sql tips and something that I recommend to every software developer and DBA / DB developer I come accross (and thats quite a few). It’s in my top ten favourite sites and I appreciate your knowledge and sharing.

    Regards

    Dave

  9. I had same issue with our company laptop.
    It suddenly died. Adter that we just changed all our SSD back to original.

  10. Pinal,
    I guess the take away from this article is regularly backup you hard disk and don’t take any chances. Sometimes when things are working well we tend to get carried away.
    Thanks for the sharing the insight.

  11. Pinal, a vendor has to give you a year’s coverage minimum on expensive hardware. It has to be returnable if it fails. I have been using SSD on my personal lab workstation and also on two critical servers at work, for two years now. Super performance gains and no issues. I have a two year guarantee on my laptop, 5 years on my servers. It must have been a defective piece, and they have to replace it for you free of cost. Hardware failures and risks if any have to be backed up by some degree of proven risk, not just a personal accident, please do take care not to dissuade people who want to try – unless you know for sure that it is a problem. Thanks.

  12. Maybe Pinal and I are just incredibly lucky people, but in 30 years, I have never had a disk drive fail on me either.

    It’ll probably happen some time, though… Hmmm… Better backup right now while I’m thinking about it. 8^)

    –Brad

  13. Any hard drive failure, SSD or not, can happen at any time. Your next SSD drive might last 5-10 years before it fails. Your next HDD could last 6 months or even less.

    Either way – SSD will run faster with less power consumption. Hopefully the increase in speed and reduction in power bills will offset the difference in price. If not – then still with the technology that offers you the most uptime. When my drive went I lost a week. That’s easily the cost of either a SSD or a HDD.

  14. I was just thinking about getting myself a SSD! Anyway, the plans have now been put off indefinitely. My experience is also that regular HDDs are reliable and that old is, truly gold!

    Have a wonderful day!

  15. This is why I have been apprehensive about moving to SSD. Not only is it a relatively new technology (at least as primary storage) but when they do fail you don’t get the warning signs.

    If you regular HD starts to go, you might hear a click or get some other the warning signs that you should run a backup or make an image. With SSD’s they just DIE no warning just dead. You really have to RAID or do regular backups/images with them.

    I actually use two PCI express SSD’s for a client as home for tempdb on some high load SQL servers. Software RAID-1 but ar 15,000 IOPS you don’t notice lol.

  16. Atleast you lost 120GB SSD, but I lost 500GB HDD, which I bought new. I lost the whole 400GB Data. Then I got replacement, but the datas are gone.

  17. Have just come across this discussion and would welcome any comment on the following experience with SSD. I bought a desk-top PC from Computer Planet in February, with twin OCZ Vertax SATA-II 120MB SSD’s in RAID mirror configuration. Very nice and fast to use but in May (ie after 3 months) it failed to reboot after powering down. All data and software lost on both SSD’s which were both completely dead and irrecoverable. Planet first said “just bad luck” but when I pointed out the chance of both SSD’s failing without warning at precisely the same time is not credible, they said it must have been the PSU (itself protected with a UPS). How can this happen?

  18. Found this while googling ssd sudden deaths, as I just experienced the same thing. 6 months too, eerily enough, under normal college student usage. Lucikly I had just done a backup so that wasn’t so bad. I have got a replacement ssd but i’m a lot more wary of it now. Have a scorpio black 500gb ready just in case.

  19. It happened to me in 5 days of use. And happened to my neighbour also after 5 days of use. In both cases the system could not recognize any HDD.

    I insisted to get a replacement and because of the 5 days only I got one. Now I am doing very regular backups…

  20. Following up my report on June 13, Computer Planet replaced the twin OCZ Vertax SATA-II 120MB SSD’s in RAID mirror configuration. I had no further problem until a week ago when instead of booting up in seconds, it was taking minutes, with the message RAID 2 degraded. Whatever the theory might be that they should be more relable than HDD’s, the fact is that three out of the four SSD drives I have used this year have failed within a few months of use. On a wider point, it’s not backup data recovery which is the hassle, it’s all the software which has to be re-installed and registered. SSD’s are delightfully fast, but that advantage is completely outweighed by their unreliability.

  21. I used computer since intel 386DX , I used some HDD so good and some HDD was bad after a few months or more than 1 year of use . First my SSD is ata 2.5 Transcend ( run good , fast boot ) . Second SSD ( OCZ vertex 2 ) upgraded for ( Fujitsu Lifebook ) Boot WinXP and run ok but it cant wake up after system stanby ,after that windows error , I must re setup windows and it still error after system standby .3th SSD ( Crucial M4) run very good in Fujitsu Lifebook ,I very happy . 4th SSD ( another Crucial M4) upgrade my PC ( AMD phenom II ) it was die after 3th times ghost not sucess , I am very sad .5th SSD(Kingston V+100 ) run ok in my laptop and PC ( but i not happy) . Finally ,I use Trancend SSD in my CF-R4 panasonic , Crucial M4 in my Fujitsu , WD Velocraptor on Desktop (PC) ,Kingstons V+100 is spare SSD . OCZ return to suply ( I did not buy )

  22. I am still not convinced about SSD drives. Had two different SSD drives fail in a HP Elitebook 8440p. One failed a couple days after the 1yr warranty, the replacement drive failed 42 days after installation.
    Both failures were sudden and complete. Tried using drive recovery services and they could not restore any data.

  23. I think the following link is interesting not only because it shows how fast SSD’s are and because it mentions that you should mirror them for redundancy but because it also shows how people are starting to accept SSD’s in production environments (after thorough testing).

    A friend of mine is also running SSD’s on a very prominent and well known web site for finding holiday deals with much success. I think he’s only using it for tempdb though.

    http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/SSD+Disks/69693/

  24. I’ve just lost all my data on my SSD disk. And this is not the first time. I’ve lost other three SSD drives. I’m disapointed and I’ll never use a new SSD disk in my life. Let’s back to HDD Drives.

  25. Pingback: SQL SERVER – Weekly Series – Memory Lane – #025 | SQL Server Journey with SQL Authority

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