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Did I buy the wrong SSD? (25nm vs 34nm NAND)

post #1 of 32
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After about 6 months of great restraint on my part, I finally caved and ordered a SSD. I wanted to get my order in quickly to avoid the inevitable price increases due to the situation in Japan and I think in my excitement I made a less-than-ideal choice.

The drive I bought is a Corsair Force 115GB. This model uses 25nm NAND chips as opposed to the more common 34nm chips. I made a false assumption that the process shrink meant improvements but after doing more research (after I ordered, of course) it seems that the 25nm NAND actually has a marginally shorter lifespan. It seems that this is a bit irrelevant as the chips themselves will lose charge after about 10 years at which point any drive would be long-gone and forgotten.

Also, performance seems to vary somewhat from 34nm NAND to 25nm. While most sites show that the 25nm Force models outperform the 34nm Force drives by just a hair, other reviews suggest that the 25nm models will take a 3-4% performance hit compared to the 34nm models. Again, this is somewhat irrelevant as I am coming from mechanical storage so the performance increase will be huge anyway and even if the 25nm chips are a hair slower, it won't be noticeable in real-life usage.

Am I just being silly or should I be thinking about a different drive?
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post #2 of 32
I think you're just splitting hairs. The Corsair Force is a good Sandforce drive, complete with that 50,000 IOPS spec.
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post #3 of 32
Just be glad you didn't order a Vertex 2 25nm drive. Performance drops nearly in half for the 25nm version, and so does the lifespan.

I'm not familiar enough with the CF drives, but if you only see a performance drop of 1-2%, you're lucky. CF must be doing something right, or OCZ, must be doing something horribly wrong if OCZ can't get the same kind of performance out of the 25nm NAND than CF.

The only advantage of 25nm is that it can potentially lead to lower prices in the future, since a company can get more NAND out of the same amount of silicone on 25nm vs 34nm. Lots of disadvantages to 25nm though. Since 34nm and 25nm are pretty much the same price, I'd try to get a 34nm drive whenever possible. Since you've already purchased one though, and the performance numbers aren't that much different, may as well just keep it.
post #4 of 32
Personally, I wouldn't care....
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post #5 of 32
Your being silly
It's Sandforce equipped

I think we will see a price increase in a lot of our favorite brands do to the disaster
in Japan, Any good mobo or v-card has solid Japanese caps
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post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the confirmation gentlemen.

I am being silly.
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post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by slickwilly View Post
Your being silly
It's Sandforce equipped

I think we will see a price increase in a lot of our favorite brands do to the disaster
in Japan, Any good mobo or v-card has solid Japanese caps
The Vertex 2 is Sandforce equipped as well, and look what happened there with the switch from 34nm to 25nm. There's something different that Corsair did if they are not getting the same performance drops as the V2 did upon switching from 34nm to 25nm.
post #8 of 32
I'm not sure if you understand the lifespan situation. The problem isn't the length of time the cells will be writable, but rather the number of write cycles per cell, which is decreased from 5,000 in 34nm NAND to 3,000 in 25nm. That's not insignificant IMHO. Of course, some will say that even these drives will be replaced before you wear them out, but keeping writes to a reasonable minimum will be more important than ever.
post #9 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Techgage
The average person will write somewhere between 2-5GB a day as a rough estimate. Most often it is less, but let us almost double that to 9GB a day. Assuming we buy a 90GB Corsair Force drive, it would take 10 days to fill the drive with data. Once filled, that means we have used 1 erase cycle to clear the drive and start anew. Keep in mind intelligent wear leveling will ensure all writes get evenly distributed across a drive over its lifespan. Ten days multiplied by 3,000 write-erase cycles equates into roughly 82 years before we would exhaust every last cell's write-erase cycle. NAND flash will actually lose its charge after 10 years of age by comparison.

Admittedly things aren't that simple thanks to how NAND memory is structured. To write something it occurs at the 4KB or 8KB size, what we call a page (instead of a sector on a HDD). But in order for us to erase the data in a single page, the drive must erase an entire block of pages that one page resides on. SSD's can write to individual pages, but only erase at the block level. All SSDs do this regularly during operation all without notice by the user. This effect is known as write amplification. For the best drives this number should be as close to 1 as possible, but let's assume 10 as a worst case scenario.

Instead of:

9GB / 90GB = 10 days. 10 * 3,000 cycles is 30,000 days, or 82 years

We get:

(9GB*10) = 90GB written a day. 90/90GB = 1 cycle a day. 1*3,000 cycles is 8.2 years.

Or take our first number and divide by 10, although we imagine realizing the controller itself could write 90GB of data a day (at the NAND/controller level) and still have the drive easily outlast its warranty period should help the idea sink in a bit.
Interesting figures... Full article here (there is a page dedicated to the 25nm vs 34nm NAND discussion).

Basically worst-case scenario the drive will hit it's cycle limit in just over 8 years. I don't have a single piece of hardware in my possession that I have owned for that long.
Edited by MCBrown.CA - 3/17/11 at 11:48am
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post #10 of 32
The 25nm Sandforce drives will last as long as the 34nm drives because the Sandforce controller will throttle writes more to compensate for fewer write cycles. The 25 nm drives are about 30% slower and go into "throttled" state faster.

I just got my 2 34nm Vertex2's back from RMA after replacing 2 25nm parts. The 2 25nm drives with my 3 34nm Vertex LE's got 1500 AS SSD Benchmark score. The 34nm Vertex 2's with 3 LE's in RAID 0 get almost 1800 AS SSD Benchmark.
Edited by sgilmore62 - 3/17/11 at 2:54pm
    
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