SATA NAND SSD vs NVMe M.2 — Which one has a higher lifespan?

  • #1
Wrichik Basu
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2,122
2,699
A friend of mine is setting up a gaming PC. His platform (MSI Mag X670E Tomahawk WiFi) supports four M.2 drives. The OS will definitely be on an M.2, of 2 TB capacity. He is also getting a few high-capacity HDDs (Seagate Barracuda, works on SATA3) to store stuff that isn't used much, like documents, music and unused games. For the games he will play frequently, we wanted to store them on an SSD to reduce lag as much as possible. We were thinking about whether an M.2 will be better or an SSD, in the long run. Say, for around 9–10 years.

HDDs have been documented to have lifespans of nearly a decade (our home PC's HDD survived for 15 years). What about SSDs? Without any moving parts, SSDs are supposed to have a higher lifespan than HDDs. Samsung Evo 800 series SATA SSDs and Crucial P3 Plus Gen 4 M.2 — both come with a manufacturer warranty of five years. But in reality, how long do they last?

There are a few reasons why an M.2 would be a better choice — NVMe is faster than SATA, and the price is cheaper too (one can get a 2 TB M.2 for the price of an 1 TB NAND SSD). However, I have read online that M.2's degrade faster than NAND SATA SSDs. I have also read the opposite somewhere else. Consequently, I can't come to a well-informed decision.

What do you suggest?
 
Computer science news on Phys.org
  • #2
Don't trust the specs of these media devices as your media may deviate from the estimated norm or some electrical disturbance may wreak havoc on them.

The recent solar flares are a good example for keeping multiple copies of your stuff. The cosmic ray incident where only a single bit changed caused some havoc too. EMP events could be a thing in a more unstable world.

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20221011-how-space-weather-causes-computer-errors

https://spacemath.gsfc.nasa.gov/weekly/3Page15.pdf

https://superuser.com/questions/1014071/how-to-protect-my-digital-data-from-solar-flares

Always keep backups of your important stuff on multiple media platforms:

- CD, DVD, BLU-RAY
- digital mag tape
- HDD
- SSD, USB sticks
- readable printed hardcopy
- email, cloud-based storage
- multiple trusted physical locations

Keep media in a safe non-magnetic (HDD, tape) shaded, emp-protected, dry environment.

Notice I didn't mention diskettes: 5.25 or 3.5 as the technology boat has sailed on to finer seas.

Lastly, to be honest, I have yet to follow my own advice and while I have stuff backed up its usually to HDD drives, some USB sticks, the cloud and CD/DVDs but not fully and not stored in a completely safe environment like a bank vault (even those are suspect -- stories of people finding their vault was emptied by the bank in error or because they failed to pay the annual charges)
 
  • Like
Likes Vanadium 50
  • #3
Wrichik Basu said:
What do you suggest?
If the motherboard can properly handle it and it won't be touched later on then I would go with the M2.
With backups, of course.
But that's just for purely practical reasons.

IMHO these are just too fresh out to have a realistic view on the lifecycle.

I have a hunch that many electrical and mechanical troubles can be avoided with M2 (I've seen my share of damaged SSDs and many of them died to cables and power supplies), but that's just a hunch.
Frequent replacements will just kill an M2 (and/or its host connector) even faster, though. That's also just a hunch.
 
  • #4
jedishrfu said:
Don't trust the specs of these media devices as your media may deviate from the estimated norm or some electrical disturbance may wreak havoc on them.
Rive said:
With backups, of course.
Backups will be there, of course. The drive won't be used for long-term storage. I was kind-of interested in knowing which will last longer when gaming for a long time.
jedishrfu said:
- CD, DVD, BLU-RAY
CD and DVDs are not the best option to backup data nowadays. I learnt it the hard way. We used to save our travel photos on DVDs. There are 39 of them in total. Recently, when I wanted to view some discs, I found that they were giving bad sector errors. Had to use programs that could literally read each sector separately and then compile as much data as possible. Saved all of them except two. And fortunately, those two had backups elsewhere.
 
  • #5
CDs and DVDs are good when you store them well and keep them away from sunlight, moisture and dust. They are not affected by EM activity like an HDD.

BAsically you need a mix of backup schemes so that one event doesn't get your critical data.
 
  • #6
(1) I agree that it is difficult to predict how long a new device will last. By the time you collect a decade's worth of data, there's a better part available.

(2) Even if you could predict, that doesn't mean yours won't last much, much longer or much, much shorter.

(3) A SSD is supposedly "fragile" because it can only be written ~10,000 times. Try doing that to an HDD! Unless you actively try to do this. Most HDD's are rared for ~200 TB/year. If you have a 10 TB drive, it takes 500 years to do this.

(4) I have never had an SSD fail from wear. All have failed because the controller failed, bricking the drive. Which one has the better controller? Only time will tell.
 
  • #7
On another issue, you should look at your PCIe configuration. If your M2 steals PCIe lanes from your graphics card, the disk may be faster but the games may be slower.
 
  • #8
Vanadium 50 said:
(1) I agree that it is difficult to predict how long a new device will last. By the time you collect a decade's worth of data, there's a better part available.
This.

If you are the kind of person that spends USD300 on a MoBo then you are not the kind of person that has 10 year old technology for your main drive.
 
  • Like
Likes Vanadium 50
  • #9
Vanadium 50 said:
On another issue, you should look at your PCIe configuration. If your M2 steals PCIe lanes from your graphics card, the disk may be faster but the games may be slower.
I have already checked that, I won't be using the conflicting lane.
 
  • #10
Wrichik Basu said:
CD and DVDs are not the best option to backup data nowadays. I learnt it the hard way. We used to save our travel photos on DVDs. There are 39 of them in total. Recently, when I wanted to view some discs, I found that they were giving bad sector errors. Had to use programs that could literally read each sector separately and then compile as much data as possible. Saved all of them except two. And fortunately, those two had backups elsewhere.
There are CDs and DVDs for long term backup that will reliably last a century if stored reasonably. See Verbatim archival grade gold DVD-R. They are on the expensive side, but, IMO, not crazy extravagant.
 
  • #11
FactChecker said:
There are CDs and DVDs for long term backup that will reliably last a century if stored reasonably. See Verbatim archival grade gold DVD-R. They are on the expensive side, but, IMO, not crazy extravagant.
Good luck finding a drive to read them after a century!
The drives you have will have died from degradation of the plastics and lubricants used, and the technology will be ancient and "No Longer Supported", much less the interface to whatever a computer looks like by then.

(reference: 8" floppy disk or 14", 5 Megabyte hard disk with removable platter or audio cassette data recorder or 8-track audio tape player or 78rpm audio records)
 
  • Like
Likes FactChecker
  • #12
Tom.G said:
Good luck finding a drive to read them after a century!
Well, I have already experienced some weird issues with old CDs and new blubray thingies... CDs are good with the old (ugh... 20+ years old Plextor) drives (quite a task to get a system up for them), while 1-2 year 'old' drives already struggling with reading the discs...

It's just me but after some losses I just got a NAS with RAID.
And a big disc in the NAS as (weekly) backup.
And an external big disc (monthly) backup too.

Yeah, I'm a bit paranoid o0) It was a big luck to have our old digital stuff back once. Don't want to try a second time.
 
Last edited:
  • #13
A discussion on backup and archiving really deserves its own thread.
 
  • #14
Tom.G said:
Good luck finding a drive to read them after a century!
The drives you have will have died from degradation of the plastics and lubricants used, and the technology will be ancient and "No Longer Supported", much less the interface to whatever a computer looks like by then.

(reference: 8" floppy disk or 14", 5 Megabyte hard disk with removable platter or audio cassette data recorder or 8-track audio tape player or 78rpm audio records)
Good point. But the OP ran into trouble long before that with the normal DVDs. For important information, data can be retrieved long after the general public no longer has the required equipment. Even very old records can be scanned with lasers and played.
As a practical matter, I would recommend that cherished memories be digitally copied occasionally to modern forms long before that becomes an issue.
 
  • Like
Likes Wrichik Basu and Tom.G

Similar threads

  • Computing and Technology
Replies
30
Views
3K
Back
Top