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Re: Spare SSD anybody?

From: Alexander Kobel
Subject: Re: Spare SSD anybody?
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2016 12:01:25 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:38.0) Gecko/20100101 Icedove/38.5.0

On 2016-06-01 11:07, David Kastrup wrote:
David Kastrup <address@hidden> writes:


my current development SSD, graciously donated by James, currently has
the following readings:

Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
   5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   099   099   ---    Pre-fail  Always       
-       13
   9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   094   094   ---    Old_age   Always       
-       25748

Ok, I might have been panicking because of all the lines with "Pre-fail"
and "Old_age" but they only indicate the _category_ of the respective
settings.  Sorry for that.

I'm still trying to figure out the readings as such though.  The
"documentation" including online is not much help.

Hi David,

recently I was afraid about my SSD for the same reason, so I asked our institute's IT service staff who cares for some dozens (hundreds?) of laptops and desktops with SSDs.

They say that even power users of hibernation with high rate of data turnover didn't manage to damage their SSDs lately; the horror stories for the first generations of SSDs seem not to apply anymore. You still have to take a bit of care (try to have some empty space, and run fstrim once in a while), but other than that you should be fine. As you experienced, the SMART information is rather unhelpful unless you have additional context by the manufacturer; more often than not, the only semi-reliable source are the manufacturer's own toolkits (which, unfortunately, are hardly available on Linux).

However, there have been a few reports in the past about shaky power supply for the disks, probably when laptop batteries grow older. Some SSDs cope with that without problems, others are very sensitive to voltage differences (?) and suddenly become unstable. Signs of this behavior are ATA warning messages concerning the "ATA interface" in dmesg output, such as those:
Quote: "There have been too many cases of drives thrown out or returned by an RMA process, when the problem was just a bad cable!" - which exactly matches the experience of our IT. If drives barf out for those reason, they have always been able to copy the contents with an external adapter - annoying, but not dangerous.

That being said: which form factor/connector do you need? I can ask if I can grab something. Many parts from few-year old machines are sorted out regularly here. Not sure about hard disks, though - there might be regulations for data protection that prevent them from giving out old drives.


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