choosing SSD with long lifespan


May 6, 2020
Currently building my new PC for FEA, and looking for an SSD around $200 with the best lifespan performance.
My workload can easily write between 40-140GB/hour to the disk, and read 10x that, while running 10-12 hours a day on average. It is not a requirement to be a high capacity drive, as the resulting files are at most 10GB in size, but my understanding is that TBW improves with capacity.
Did consider 970 evo plus, and 970 pro, you get the same TBW with a 500gb 970 plus with a 1TB 970 evo plus, so it is a no brainer.
Also looked at Sabrent Rocket, they promise more TBW than the 1TB 970 pro, for the price of a 970 evo plus, but it looks too good to be true. Does anyone have experience with those?

Any other ssd that comes to mind? Optane maybe?
Supposedly Optane doesn't wear out, so that might be your best choice. It's not inexpensive though. Reads do not affect the lifetime of flash SSDs, so its only the writes you're looking at.

You might consider something from the enterprise side of life. I'm currently selling some older 400GB Toshiba SAS SSDs that have a rated life of 10 DWPD, which would give them 7300 TBW rated lifetime endurance. Obviously these are slightly more complicated to operate since you'll need a SAS compatible HBA or RAID card, but those aren't super expensive either.
With that workload I'd go with a datacenter drive from Intel. Intel S4610 endurance of 3.0 PBW sata or P3600 rated at 6.5 PBW.
ebay link

edit. At your max usage you might get 10-11 years out of the P3600 and 5-6 years on the S3610. If I recall correctly, a several years old article on Techreport said Intel SSDs stop at their rated usage. They won't let themselves run until components die.
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Intel SSDs stop at their rated usage
I hadn't heard this, but I know that Samsungs do not, at least their consumer drives. I read an article where they tested actual endurance on a 256 GB Samsung 840 Pro (and a bunch of other SSDs) and the 840 Pro lasted over 9PB of writes before it gave up; many many times its rated lifetime. Obviously you can't *guarantee* that performance, but it's a nice thought.
How often are you ok with swapping out drives? What's the cost of downtime and value of the data? If you're writing 1.7 terabytes per day a 1 TB 970 pro would be past it's warrantied 1200 TBW number in less than two years.
Couple points.
  1. TBW is only for warrantied writes. It doesn't mean anything for actual endurance. This talking about consumer/retail drives.
  2. Datacenter/enterprise drives will have much higher DWPD because they're over-provisioned more and don't rely on SLC caching.
  3. Optane does survive far more writes than NAND as it's a completely different type of memory technology and writes in-place.
  4. Intel consumer drives do not stop when they hit TBW. That was only briefly the case.
The best consumer/retail drive is anything MLC-based, like the 970 Pro. If you have to drop down to TLC you want something with static SLC - the WD SN750, for example, or the 970 EVO Plus. As others suggested you might want to look beyond consumer/retail, though.

As for wear: reading can cause wear (e.g. read disturb) but writes are far more impactful. Given your specifications above you would have ~1TB of writes a day which would require a 1TB drive with a DWPD of 1 or more, which is definitely in datacenter/enterprise territory. However it's likely even consumer/retail drives would survive many PB of writes - the TBW/DWPD values are only for warranty. So, yes, if you intend to possibly get the drive replaced within five years one of the E12-based drives (which usually have high TBW and a 5-year warranty) is doable, but keep in mind that does not mean those drives have higher raw endurance. In most cases a SN750 would outwrite an E12 drive.
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reading can cause wear (e.g. read disturb)
Read disturb errors are preemptively detectable and able to be mitigated against by SSD controllers by relocating and then erasing the affected NAND cells. Additionally, the quantity of times a cell would need to be read to prompt a read disturb error can be 100k+. These combine to make read disturb in modern drives a non-factor and the 'wear' is temporary, not permanent like write damage.
if your doing 140GB an hour for 10 hours really the samsung Pro SSDs seem the most ideal drives as they are MLC based, the 850/900 Pro and higher you can burn up 4PB+ of writes and it won't care and will still be fast and norm error free

everything else is TLC unless says otherwise, can be less reliable
If you have to drop down to TLC you want something with static SLC - the WD SN750, for example, or the 970 EVO Plus.

are static slc's designed to handle hundreds of TBW?

also, i read 860 EVO had 22gb SLC cache, but my own test shows different.
is this dynamic slc?

Static SLC has very high endurance because it remains SLC for the lifetime of the drive. Dynamic SLC less so because it's logically addressed based on wear and has conversion to/from TLC and in fact can increase wear in some cases as it potentially has an additive effect. This isn't the case with static because it can defer writes cleanly. It's more complicated than that because you're devoting some spare TLC for static SLC so therefore less over-provisioning, which is one reason enterprise/datacenter drives have no SLC. But static is definitely superior to dynamic, I have some documents that cover this material on my sub if you want specifics. Be aware that static SLC does not hold up as well as native SLC though, they are not equivalent. When talking tons of writes you'll be hitting TLC anyway, the problem is with dynamic SLC you have that additive effect plus can overwhelm the drive forcing it to wait for SLC to fold (much lower performance).

To do a proper SLC cache test in HD Tune under Benchmark in Options you need to have it set to Full Test, maximum Accurate, and a Block size of 128KB. It's possible also to see it in File Benchmark with the proper settings.

The 860 EVO has a hybrid cache, part static and part dynamic. At 500GB this should be 4GB of static and 18GB of dynamic for a total of 22GB. If the test isn't done properly it will show a much larger cache because you're giving it sufficient idle time to flush/fold in the background. If you're wondering at the direct-to-TLC speeds: the 860 EVO's MJX controller is 8-channel so you need 32 dies (4 per channel) for full interleaving. 32 * 32GiB/die = 1TiB of flash or the 1TB SKU.
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...looking for an SSD around $200 with the best lifespan performance.
My workload can easily write between 40-140GB/hour to the disk, and read 10x that, while running 10-12 hours a day on average. It is not a requirement to be a high capacity drive, as the resulting files are at most 10GB in size...
So $200ish, average 1TB/day, capacity no issue. At 140GB/hour, speed needs to beat 40MBps, so any reasonable SSD's fine there.

See Intel S3710s on Ebay. Even if 50% used (unlikely!), they have tons of writes left. The $100ish 400GB model is rated for 8PB written, so ~23 years at 1TB/day. For $200, you can mirror or keep a cold spare. For $150, you could get an 800GB with 16PB rating.
Thank you all for the replies, I have learned a lot from them. As I usually come into contact with consumer technology, the world of business oriented drives are mostly out of my expertise. The Intel SSD-s a couple of you recommended got me hooked, but in the end I have to consider the usage. The post was a bit misleading, in that the load is not equally distributed in time. It comes in short bursts with low q-depths. I don't think a sata drives could handle 1,4TB/hour reads, especially because they are not sequential, as the data is scattered in the cache file, and it is just the average, not the peak.

Thank you for pointing out that TBW is only for warranty, and not the actual lifespan of the drive.

All in all, I think I will go with a 60 GB optane 800p. I can only hope I don't need a bigger one.
you could get the Samsung 970 PRO 512GB (MLC) for close to the price of the small 60GB 800p (optane)

if you was looking at new
As the resulting files are 10gb or so, why not an optane memory drive (16-32gig)? last I saw they were practically giving them away.