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If I were to die tomorrow... SSD or HDD?

1642 Views 14 Replies Latest reply: Oct 28, 2010 12:31 PM by Johnny MacHappy RSS
Johnny MacHappy Calculating status...
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Oct 27, 2010 2:01 PM
If I were to die tomorrow, and my now 3yr. old son were to look at my MacBook Pro in 20yrs, which drive would be most likely to boot and have my information intact and preserved, a HDD or a SSD?

my appreciation and points to the best educated guess...

thanks
MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • sig Level 8 Level 8 (35,770 points)
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    Oct 27, 2010 2:26 PM (in response to Johnny MacHappy)
    RIP.
     MacBook Pro 2.8 Ghz 15" / 4 Gb Ram, Mac OS X (10.6.4), iPhone 3GS
  • a brody Level 9 Level 9 (62,045 points)
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    Oct 27, 2010 2:42 PM (in response to Johnny MacHappy)
    Both stand an equal chance.
    Both medium under the wrong conditions can die in the next minute.
    A three year old could be instructed to click one button every day to backup, but I highly doubt there is one credit card company that would allow a three year old to make a hard drive or computer purchase. I am sure your three year old is bright, but can they walk into a store to buy a replacement machine if necessary that quickly? Regardless, unless they have another guardian or parent to take care of the eventual needs, or we know what medium will be standard in 20 years, it is highly unlikely we can guess the answer. Look at the trouble finding an 8 track deck causes today?
    Without a crystal ball, we can't say for certain. Stick to a stencil and clay. Cuneiform has the longevity record for all writing!

    Message was edited by: a brody
    An Apple user since 1981, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • Asatoran Level 4 Level 4 (2,535 points)
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    Oct 27, 2010 2:45 PM (in response to Johnny MacHappy)
    Platter HDs could have issues with the grease in their bearings drying out. But I've haven't had that issue with drive's in the last 10+ years, so that doesn't seem like much of an issue anymore. They will still wear out eventually, if used. And probably still will have grease/bearing issues if not used at all.

    If push came to shove, I'd have to say SSD, but I'm not going to put that in writing yet. No one has any real-world data as to the longevity of SSDs, since they're only been in use for a few years.

    If you really need to ensure your data is available for that long, perhaps consider some other form of archival storage. CD/DVD/Blu-Ray has been rated at a conservative 75 years. And possibly 100+ years for the non-user-recordable type disks. (i.e.: movies you buy, not disks that you make.) Or paper, or chisel in stone.

    Consider also that in 20 years, the MBP may not boot due to other pieces of the MBP having failed. (i.e.: Cooling fan, battery.) Being able to recover the data from a 20 year old hard drive is one thing. Expecting a computer to boot after 20 years of inactivity is another. (Given the scenario presented, I assumed no activity for 20 years, stored in an uninsulated attic, etc.) If you were to store the MBP in a safe deposit box, that could change things a little, although IMHO, it's still more academic than realistic.
    MBP 15" Penryn, Mini 2009, iPad 3G, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • a brody Level 9 Level 9 (62,045 points)
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    Oct 27, 2010 3:02 PM (in response to Asatoran)
    CD and DVD are almost the same technology. The wrong media can last only a few months. And since we are talking 3 year olds here, dirt scratching on that media is enough to kill it, or fingernail scratching, or accidental falls. Bluray is barely better. Unless it is kept in a temperature controlled safe, only to be opened later, you have little guaranteevit might be saved. Worse, how do you know it will have a compatible working drive in the future. Our dependence on oil could become so severe, no means of electricity might exist then, let alone computers. If there is one thing that is true, 20 years ago CDs had barely become commonplace. I have some that old which already are unreadable, even though I treated them well, and they are commercial. We'd like to think a permanent medium exists, but sadly there is none.

    Message was edited by: a brody
    An Apple user since 1981, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • Steve Hodson Calculating status...
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    Oct 27, 2010 3:19 PM (in response to Johnny MacHappy)
    I would bank on the solid state medium in a heartbeat...much harder to accidentally damage and far more likely to be functional after a proposed 20 years of inactivity.

    HDDs suffer from being mechanical devices.....I think most modern 2.5" drives park the heads off the platter, so the dread 'stiction' and other mechanical issues are things of the past but a bump or two and your heads/media could be toast.

    ..that said, what is the bit longevity of NAND flash? I dunno.

    Be careful where you store the MacBook and if you are serious....make a backup and store that somewhere else too

    EDIT: might also consider electrical damage or ESD...both devices are susceptible but with a drive inside a laptop...ESD damage is pretty unlikely...as is electrical spike etc. (if it's not plugged in!)
    MacPro 2.66GHz, Mac OS X (10.6.4), 8GB, 300GB Velociraptor, Apple 20" Cinema, ATI 4870HD
  • bistec2 Calculating status...
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    Oct 27, 2010 3:48 PM (in response to Johnny MacHappy)
    You will not die tomorrow. When your son turns 23, he will ask you if you got the answer to your question. By that time you would have!
    MBP 13" mid 2010, Mac OS X (10.6.4), intel X-25M 80GB SSD, 1TB samsung spinpoint 12.5mm
  • Asatoran Level 4 Level 4 (2,535 points)
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    Oct 27, 2010 5:40 PM (in response to a brody)
    ...Our dependence on oil could become so severe, no means of electricity might exist then, let alone computers....


    Then there's nothing to worry about. And isn't the world supposed to end in 2012 anyway? So no point in worrying about saving data for 20 years.
    MBP 15" Penryn, Mini 2009, iPad 3G, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • aprouser Level 2 Level 2 (225 points)
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    Oct 27, 2010 6:04 PM (in response to Johnny MacHappy)
    in 20yrs, which drive would be most likely to boot and have my information intact and preserved, a HDD or a SSD?


    Compared to Hard Disk Drives (HDD), Solid State Drives (SSD) have smaller mortality rates and are more reliable but (http://pritecho.com/2010/10/data-recovery-from-solid-state-drive-ssd-and-hard-di sk-drive-hdd/)

    But given that "Nasa warns solar flares from 'huge space storm' will cause devastation" - to power grid (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/7819201/Nasa-warns-solar-flares-from-hu ge-space-storm-will-cause-devastation.html) maybe a moot point.
    mac pro, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • a brody Level 9 Level 9 (62,045 points)
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    Oct 28, 2010 5:40 AM (in response to Asatoran)
    My point is, the non-zero chance something may happen in the future makes guessing any of these things more than just a good educated guess. And that's no laughing matter.
    An Apple user since 1981, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • Asatoran Level 4 Level 4 (2,535 points)
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    Oct 28, 2010 9:20 AM (in response to a brody)
    a brody wrote:
    ...Without a crystal ball, we can't say for certain. Stick to a stencil and clay. Cuneiform has the longevity record for all writing!


    Asatoran wrote:
    If you really need to ensure your data is available for that long, perhaps...paper, or chisel in stone.


    ...Our dependence on oil could become so severe, no means of electricity might exist then, let alone computers....

    Then there's nothing to worry about. And isn't the world supposed to end in 2012 anyway? So no point in worrying about saving data for 20 years.

    My point is, the non-zero chance something may happen in the future makes guessing any of these things more than just a good educated guess. And that's no laughing matter.


    I find our discussion humorous because you infer that when the OP's son would open his "family time capsule" he might be living in a cave-man world without electricity. So the original question of whether to choose a platter HD or a SSD becomes a moot point. Or more specifically, the answer becomes 'neither'. Thus the humor in _+both of our sarcastic suggestions+_ of using clay, cuneiform, paper and stone.

    Yes, there are people who have to seriously tackle the issue of long term information storage. But this is the "family photo album", not the Library of Congress. Now if the OP actually does work for the Library....
    MBP 15" Penryn, Mini 2009, iPad 3G, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • Michael Black Level 6 Level 6 (17,835 points)
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    Oct 28, 2010 9:54 AM (in response to Johnny MacHappy)
    I'd not be surprised if, both stored in a clean, climate control setting and not used during that time, that either would revive just fine (I have a Twinhead 486sx laptop from the early-1990's who's original ginormous 80MB hard drive still runs and boots Dos 5).

    Either could be damaged by strong magnetic fields, electrical surge, moisture/humidity, heat.

    I'd concur that, all things being equal, an SSD should outlast a conventional hard drive. But, neither is infallible.

    I remember reading about a super computer (US defense system, or maybe a NASA system) using an SSD RAID (it might have been NOAA actually, one of their weather simulators) and reporting drive failure rates right up there with hard drive rates in similar configurations. That was several years ago, but it showed that while the I/O was much imporved with SSD, under really heavy use, they were not noticeably more reliable than conventional drives (or at least, enterprise class 10K+ mrpm hard drives).
    2.53GHz MBPro unibody, iPhone 3GS, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
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    Oct 28, 2010 11:43 AM (in response to Johnny MacHappy)
    In 20 years of disuse, your MBP's battery will have died, swollen, leaked, and ruined the computer, and repair parts will no longer be available. Meanwhile, two or three entirely new data storage technologies will have been developed that we haven't imagined yet. (Remember Zip and Jaz disks, Bernoulli discs, LaserDiscs, magneto-optical cartridge drives? That's what today's SSDs will look like to us in 20 years.) Anyone with half a brain will have taken all the data that matters to him or her and copied it onto new devices and/or media three, four or five times to keep it intact, readable, and portable. Remember when a 20MB external hard drive in its enclosure was roughly the same physcial size as Webster's Collegiate Dictionary? (Yes — remember when people had dictionaries?) Now think about 32GB and 64GB SD Cards, and iPods that hold as much music as 100 feet of vinyl LPs lined up on a shelf. How much space do you think 32TB of data will take up in 20 years, and what sort of devices will hold and read it?

    I don't mean to pooh-pooh the question, because I hope my children, who are now 30 and 27, will be interested in some of the work I've done and saved after I'm gone or past dealing with it. I'm going to try to preserve it for them. But doing so is going to take more thought and effort than putting my MBP into cold storage and crossing my fingers. And the odds are very good that somewhere along the way I'll have to rely on my son's and daughter's own know-how and initiative to keep it up.

    There's also the fact that the way things are going, data may be all they can hope to inherit from me. :o/
    15" '08 UMBP 2.4GHz/4G/250G; TiBook 1GHz/1G/120G; iPhone 3G, iTouch 32G, Mac OS X (10.6.4), scanners, projector, tablet, laser and photo printers, Pentax K-7, Olympus E-10

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