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Flash is not that reliable

Fails slightly more often than hard drives

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Flash fails more than disk. Mac Observer cites a French website showing hard disk drive failure rates (1.94 per cent) were slightly better than solid state drive failure rates (2.05 per cent).

Hardware.fr obtained its component failure rate statistics from an unidentified retailer's repairs and returns database. The hard disk drive and solid state drive (SSD) failure rates were extracted from this data and overall failure rates calculated.

The source data showed the supplier, capacity and model of disk drive, but only the supplier of the SSDs, not their capacity. Also the type of failure was not revealed; some disk drives may have been repairable.

When higher capacity disk drive failure rates were compared to the SSD rates, the findings reversed: HDDs failed more often than the flash drives. We have graphed 2TB disk drive failure rates against those of the SSDs and, with one exception, the SSDs failed less often.

HDD_SSD_Failure_rates_with_2TB_HDD

SSD failure rates compared to 2TB HDDs

The picture is less clear-cut at the 1TB disk drive level. If we had graphed the 1TB disk drive failure rates these would have shown seven disk drive products failing less often than the worst SSD, the OCZ, with a 2.93 per cent failure rate.

This is just one retailer in just one country, so, although it shows that generally SSDs fail more often than disk drives – except with higher capacity drives – and that Intel's SSD failure rate is markedly lower than its competitors, the data should be taken as indicative and not gospel. ®

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