Anonymous asked in Computers & InternetHardwareDesktops · 2 months ago

I read somewhere that a hard drive / memory / computer storage thing could "fail" after a certain number of writes. Is this true?

So if my hard drive has 500gb capacity and I keep inserting almost 500gb worth of data into it and keep reformatting for x number of times, will the hard drive fail?


To the people saying SSD is good, could you respond to @JazSinc's answer which contradicts that belief. They are saying their SSD lasts for up to 10 years. Is that correct?

5 Answers

  • 2 months ago

    Yes, a SSD has a limited number of Read/Write cycles, and a Hard Drive can and will experience mechanical failure.

    However with most SSD's on the market, it would take years of heavy use to wear the drive out. If you're concerned about reliability with an SSD, then get a SSD with TLC (Triple level Cells) and avoid the newer/cheaper QLC (Quad Level Cells) drives. 

    Back in 2012 I bought a Samsung 830 SSD and it was in a PC that was used heavily. I retired the drive 5 years later and I barely scratched the surface with the read/write cycles. You'd have to spend a few years transferring very large files, back and forth on the drive in order to put a significant dent in a good SSD.

  • 2 months ago

    That's not true of hard drives.  A hard drive will fail eventually, of course, because it's a mechanical thing.  Parts wear.  But hey, you can refill it as much as you like until it does fail.

    SSDs (Solid state drives) are another story.  Each "block" can be written to only a limited number of times.  I pulled out my calculator and found that mine should last me about ten years under ordinary use, and within that time frame I should probably think about upgrading anyway.  I'm not running format-and-rewrite stress tests, though.

  • 2 months ago

    Yes, hard drives fail. Depending on the exact cause, they can get slow and erratic before they fail completely, or they can just suddenly stop working at all.

    The lifetime of any one drive is not predictable, figures are based on statistical chance of failure.

    Typically they are somewhere around a million hours "mean time between failures" and about 0.5% of drives failing per year.

    Plus occasionally there are batches with inherent design faults, that all fail within a year or two; eg:

    I've had three drive failures I can think of, in the last 20 years - but I also have some in RAID arrays that have been running 24/7 for over ten years, and others saved for archiving data that are 15 years old or more.

    The basic rule with computer data is "Always keep backups" - preferably two copies, in case something fails while you are updating one and it gets corrupted...

  • 2 months ago

    same  holds  true  for  any  digitally  recorded  media … nothing  is  permanent.

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  • 2 months ago

    Yes.  All drives will fail eventually.  MTBF is a rating of how likely they are to fail by a certain time (mean time between failures).  Of course some fail much sooner.  Certain sections of a disk can fail randomly, though, and it doesn't mean that it messes up the data. Sometimes it does, sometimes the data can be moved to a part that is working (Reallocated Sectors Count).

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