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Best current SLC SSD?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm looking at the possibility of using an SLC SSD in my server. The MLC drive I tried only lasted about 2 months before 60% of the life was up, so I need something that will last longer. Just wondering what the best SLC drive out there is. Well, best for a reasonable amount of money. I'm thinking $200-$400, and need at least 16GB of space (would prefer 32GB).

Will also need to pick up a copy of Server 2008 R2, so I have TRIM available.
post #2 of 9
Jeez, what drive were you using?
I've pumped a couple TB through the C300 in about 4.5 months and SSDlife predicts it still has about 10 years left..
Waiting on X399
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Waiting on X399
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Running a minecraft server on it. The map files are stored in hundreds of thousands of 4KB files. They're talking about changing the storage format, but until they do, each change of one of those 4KB files is a write of 512KB on the drive. It adds up fast... written 11TB to the drive in 2 months, and the life is somewhere around 16TB.
post #4 of 9
To answer your question directly, Intel's X25-E 32GB SLC SSD has a great reputation and can be had for about $375.

Having said that, enterprise-class SSDs are moving over to MLC-based flash due to improved wear leveling algorithms and the use of over-provisioning to increase the TB-written life of the devices.

Even an SLC-based SSD can get into endurance trouble if it is small, is nearly filled, and has a significant percentage of static data. This is true because SLC NAND cells can endure only about 20 times that of MLC NAND, and the above situation can lead to extreme write amplification.

There are some things you can do to extend the life of an MLC drive...

1) Over-provision by at least 50%. Doing so will increase the total TB write endurance by a factor of 5-6. In the case of an Intel X25-M 160GB, this means that write endurance will increase from about 30TB to something north of 150TB. However, the percentage of static to dynamic data has an impact on these numbers.

2) If a large percentage (>60%) of the files on the SSD are static (effectively read-only), then consider a small MLC drive (with maybe 15% over-provisioning) for the static files and a separate MLC SSD with 50% over-provisioning for dynamic files. This will maximize the TB endurance for the dynamic data drive. The reason is that static data locks-up blocks and impairs wear-leveling. It is true that wear-leveling algorithms will also move the static data around to help wear leveling, but it requires idle time to do so. Wear-leveling is of minimal concern on the static-data drive since only writes contribute to wear. The dynamic-only drive will be able to make full use of its wear-leveling algorithm.

3) Make sure the OS has TRIM enabled and DO NOT USE A RAID. Otherwise, write amplification will occur and kill your drive sooner than later. Note that this idiom is less important on low-load drives, since there is idle time for BGC to work.

My recommendation...

I would purchase an Intel X25-M 120GB for about $230 and partition only 32GB. Leave the rest unpartitioned. Base on your usage, you will get at least 3 years out of it. Just make sure you have TRIM enabled!
post #5 of 9
I found this really cool RAM drive. It is the ANS-9010 from ACARD products. I know nothing of its reliability, but the specs and price are amazing. Street pricing is about $250.

AA74662a.jpg

It has two SATA connections and is seen as a two SATA drives to the OS (no drivers required). It is optimized to be used as a RAID 0, but can also be used as a single drive. It supports up to 32GB of SDRAM, and has a built-in battery so it can dump the RAM-disk contents to a CF card should power be lost.

The SDRAM and compact flash have to be bought separately.

With this, write-endurance is not an issue! Not to mention blazing IO.

I found a review of it here.
post #6 of 9
I have to wonder how much space do you use up for the actual server? Wouldn't like the above a ramdisk provide similar results with longer and cheaper lifespan? I would imagine buying 16GB of ram would be cheaper then a $200 or so SSD every month. Even SLC would get killed fast with those kinda writes.
    
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
RW, lots of information in your post. I guess I don't understand how or why it would help to get a slightly larger SSD. I've written 13TB to the SSD, and considering that the vast majority was likely 4KB files, that 13TB turns into 1664TB. Technically, the drive's limit is about 600TB (10000 read/write cycles). It says I have used 7021 cycles thus far, so through a combination of those 4KB files and other files that are on the drive, it's 70% dead now. I don't really see that changing much with a bigger drive, except proportionally to the amount of extra drivespace that is available (not the 6x you are stating). Can you explain more about why a drive with overhead would last so much longer?

That's another problem - I have Server 2008, not R2, so I do not have TRIM available. And R2 is quite expensive...

I do already have a ramdrive, but it is not quite big enough for both servers. I am running one server off of a virtual ramdisk from 12GB of the 24GB of ram on the server. I considered the ACARD product, but considering it is no longer in production, makes me a bit nervous to spend that much money on it. That, and it uses DDR2, which is EXPENSIVE. Overall, I'd be spending a lot more money on getting a 12GB ramdisk out of that thing (which might not be enough space in the future anyway), vs spending it on an SLC SSD.

Twist, an SLC drive would last 10-20x as long as an MLC drive. That'd be 2-3 years in my case, which is plenty of time to make it worth it.
post #8 of 9
Sarge,

First, you are correct, for equally sized drives an SLC drive would last 10 to 20 times as long as an MLC drive. However, using any SSD near capacity without TRIM in a heavy-load environment (which you may be doing) will send it to an early grave.

I started working on a post to address your (very good) questions. I'm learning more myself as I write it. It's kind of lengthy and complicated, so I need more time. If you can wait, I plan to post it by sometime tomorrow night. In a previous post I talked in generalities about using over-provisioning to extend the life of SSDs. My next post will get into the numbers and mechanics behind determining endurance and how (specifically) TRIM and over-provisioning are incredibly important to the life of a drive used in a demanding application such as yours.

If you read this before I post tomorrow, could you provide me with the amount of data you are storing on your drive? How much you plan to store? And, if you know, what approximate percentage of the data is static (rarely changing)?

Thanks!
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Ok, I'm interested in hearing more behind what you have to say. I tried a 60GB OCZ Vertex, filled up to 45GB with OS and gameserver files. The OS and programs is about 1/3 of the total, so the gameserver files are the other 30GB.

I'd need a better definition of "static" files. Most of the files would be static if you looked at static as being an hourly counter, but maybe on a daily or weekly scale, not so much. Some files change quite often, at least every 30 minutes.

To draw a line though, I'll say that any file that is changed once every 24 or more hours is static. If this is the case, probably 3-4GB of the files are non-static. Just a rough estimation though.

A safe total storage amount would be 60GB - I can't see going over that amount in the near future.
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