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SSDs die often (the other reason you might want to avoid the ChromeBook)

After I posted on the Chromebook today I went back and dug up a post I had saved from a blog I follow.

I’m sure you know that the Chromebook has a SSD (basically a flash drive) instead of the usual hard disk. But did you know that SSDs have a short lifespan/high failure rate?

Jeff Atwood over at Coding Horror has been into SSDs for a couple years now, and he recently posted about this. His friend had bought 8 SSDs in the past 2 years and they all died. Here’s how long they lasted:

  • Super Talent 32 GB SSD, failed after 137 days
  • OCZ Vertex 1 250 GB SSD, failed after 512 days
  • G.Skill 64 GB SSD, failed after 251 days
  • G.Skill 64 GB SSD, failed after 276 days
  • Crucial 64 GB SSD, failed after 350 days
  • OCZ Agility 60 GB SSD, failed after 72 days
  • Intel X25-M 80 GB SSD, failed after 15 days
  • Intel X25-M 80 GB SSD, failed after 206 days

That’s an average lifespan of 227 days. Not months, days.

And when the SSD on your Chromebook dies you’re going to have to wait for Google to replace it. They don’t do customer service well.

But on the upside, the Chromebook could bepopular. That would mean that the vast number of replacement requests will force Google to automate the replacement service and contract it out. Turn-around could be as short as a few  days.

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Sherri May 11, 2011 um 6:40 pm

While that is some impressive anecdotal evidence, how widespread is that experience? Are Macbook Air’s failing at that kind of rate? They have SSD’s. I’ve had a Sony laptop with an SSD for 15 months with no hiccup, and it’s incredible. Every program just starts up, instantly.

Of course, I back up regularly and religiously. Hard disk failures happen, no matter the technology.

zyzzyx May 11, 2011 um 7:40 pm

I have a Samsung 256 GB SSD I’ve been using since April 2010 on an HP laptop. I’m using as a dual-booting drive and have had no problems.

Michael May 11, 2011 um 8:05 pm

|They don’t do customer service well.

That’s for sure. I don’t think I’ve ever had a useful exchange with their customer service, even when I was paying for it (Google Apps for Business and Adwords).

But as long as they’re quick to ship out replacement units, failure rate of the components shouldn’t matter much. Since Chrome OS is all about keeping data in the cloud, there really shouldn’t be a lot on those SSDs besides the OS and some offline cache.

Janice in GA May 11, 2011 um 11:33 pm

Drat it, I sure hope you didn’t just jinx my 3.5-year old Asus 901. It’s got two SSDs. Granted, they’re small (one 4gb and one 8gb), but still…

Nate Hoffelder May 12, 2011 um 12:03 am

I don’t think i did, no.

Of course, with my luck…

zeo May 13, 2011 um 11:46 pm

Don’t worry, I’ve got two 901’s myself and have dealt with a lot of support topics on the Eee User Forum for other SSD models and SSD upgrades.

SSD failure of this sort is most likely due to something being wrong with the system they are being installed in. Like I once had a desktop case that kept on frying motherboards on me because of a design flaw with an external USB port.

SSD’s are physically more durable than hard drives but they can still be damaged by electrical shocks, corrupted by power interruptions, etc.

Basically the same things that can damage all Flash memory devices.

SSD’s can also suffer from manufacturing defects but it would be extreme coincidence for that many failures to happen to the same person with multiple different brand drives.

But it’s safe to say most SSD’s will last you far longer than 227 days… Plus you can always replace them with newer drives.

Chris Meadows May 12, 2011 um 1:17 am

If you subscribe to their monthly plan, if your SSD dies they’ll replace it. Of course, backing up is up to you–but with only a 16 gig SSD, it’s not as if it will be hard to find the space to do that on your desktop HD.

walfischbucht May 12, 2011 um 4:12 am

Yea, those SSD’s. This was widely discussed when Asus came up with the eeepc and though there seems to be something to it according to the concept of ssd I haven’t seen that old asus eeepc 704 of mine having any problems yet …

Artisan October 25, 2012 um 2:29 am

This is total BS. Every single smart phone on the market uses an SSD and there’s nowhere near the failure rate supposedly "proven" in this article.

Nate Hoffelder October 25, 2012 um 7:49 am


Andrew November 12, 2012 um 11:56 pm

B.S. You my friend are an Idiot!

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