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News Flash Destroyer tests flash write cycles

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by CardJoe, 28 May 2010.

  1. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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  2. mi1ez

    mi1ez Active Member

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    good for websites (such as yourselves)
    bad for the over-interested enthusiast (like us)
     
  3. V3ctor

    V3ctor Tech addict...

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    yes... good... *Mr. Burns voice*
     
  4. phantombudgie

    phantombudgie New Member

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    I am perfectly capable of damaging computer equipment on my own, without getting help and pointers from others!
     
  5. rickysio

    rickysio N900 | HJE900

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    It seems that the only reason this would exist is for people to mind numbingly stare at the everincreasing number displayed on the screen.
     
  6. Zurechial

    Zurechial Elitist

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    Something like this allows us to get real-world numbers for a statistic like an EEPROM chip's lifetime instead of just taking for-granted what the manufacturers tell us.

    We've all seen the disparity between the marketing claims of performance, airflow, noise etc for fans, and their real-world performance in testing.
    How many other devices do we buy, taking for granted what the manufacturers tell us about them without ever having the tools or know-how to test their claims?

    It's a risky line of thinking, leading to tinfoil hats and wild theories, but it's still nice to see something like this out there. :)
     
  7. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

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    Surely you could do the same thing for SSDs in software? You wouldn't need any additional circuitry - just plug the SSD into a PC and let the software do its thing?

    Still, either way, it's not something your average user would need - I couldn't afford to throw away a couple of hundred quid just to see how long my SSD might last...;) It's more suited to test and review sites like bit - although I'm not sure how a manufacturer would like you testing review samples to destruction?
     
  8. HourBeforeDawn

    HourBeforeDawn a.k.a KazeModz

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    this could be nice for real reviewers who have the readers truly in mind and go the distance in showing their readers what you really get.
     
  9. RedFlames

    RedFlames ...is not a Belgian football team

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    except it's be hard to produce accurate numbers as each drive would be different... one drive may last twice the manufacturer's quoted number of read/writes, another may keel over after only half the quoted number... it's like overclocking your mileage may vary, just because one chip will hit 4GHz doesn't mean they all will...
     
  10. whiskers

    whiskers New Member

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    This. It's just a neat gadget that lets nerds like us waste our spare time on disproving manufacturer's "perfect conditions" specs. Yeah, that 30-mile radio will only work for 30 miles between two tall mountains on a sunny day. And your 54-mbps 802.11g connection can never get 54mbps.
     
  11. Fizzban

    Fizzban Man of Many Typos

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    I guess it's nice to know just how long you can expect a SSD to last. But the only real use for it is enthusiast websites and magazines. Not many of us can afford to burn out hardware just to see how long its life cycle would be.

    Reminds me of the Tom's Hardware videos years ago, where they would take the heatsinks off of CPU's to see if they shut down or fried. Great for lab tests to inform but not for the general consumer to use.
     
  12. Elledan

    Elledan New Member

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    Yes, you can do this :) The device in question is meant to test the individual Flash ICs, without a controller chip and such getting in the way.

    I have done the math on testing Flash-based SSDs in a configuration like you suggested, and it came down to that for old-school 10k cycles MLC drives with 4k writes it'd take less than a few days to kill a drive. With current ~3k cycles MLC drives it's got to be even worse :)
     
  13. HourBeforeDawn

    HourBeforeDawn a.k.a KazeModz

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    true you probably would need at least 3 drives to run such a test.
     
  14. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

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    Yes, but what's the point of testing individual ICs in isolation? :p
     
  15. Elledan

    Elledan New Member

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    To verify the claims on the manufacturer's datasheet for the IC?

    See for example: http://nvsl.ucsd.edu/ftest.html

    In the published article they test Flash ICs from 5 different manufacturers. The error rate with MLC is a lot higher than with SLC, data corruption between adjoining cells is significant with MLC, less so with SLC. MLC also has random latency spikes while reading whereas SLC doesn't have this.

    It's all stuff you often won't find in those datasheets.
     
  16. docodine

    docodine killed a guy once

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    Did something similar (unintentionally) on a TI-83 calculator.. I wrote a 'benchmarking' program which just filled in every variable with random huge numbers and then erased them, and the point was to see how fast it could do it like 10,000 times or something. I messed up the program and it just ran endlessly, and the calculator died heroically in about ten minutes.

    Called TI and the technician was the first person to tell me about the lifespan of memory chips :-\

    Sorry about the offtopicness, just reminded me of one of the stupid things I did in middle school...
     
  17. Elledan

    Elledan New Member

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    It can't have been SRAM/DRAM, then. Sounds more like you wrote to the storage (EEPROM or such), which does have a very limited lifespan in comparison to the RAM.
     
  18. enciem

    enciem New Member

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    You'd need at least 75 drives for a statistically relevant sample. But enough of that, how about ordering some drives from scan and then returning them afterwards. I love destroying stuff.
     
  19. thewelshbrummie

    thewelshbrummie Member

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    This makes sense for my current employer - I work for a TV repair company we're seeing more problems with EEPROM chips in TVs losing data or corrupting - this would really help us out as we're resetting/replacing a fair number of them
     
  20. rickysio

    rickysio N900 | HJE900

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    Destroying EEPROM? >.>

    Of course, you could test EEPROM's from manufacturers to see who has the highest average survival time, but that'd take quite a while...
     
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