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ATTENTION SSD OWNERS: How to prolong drive life.

8103 Views 24 Replies Latest reply: Sep 30, 2011 12:52 PM by goatonfire RSS
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Mac Medic ( Level 6 Level 6 (17,290 points)
Currently Being Moderated
May 14, 2011 6:22 PM

One disadvantage of an SSD hard drive, is the number of times you can 'write' data to blocks on the drive, before the drive is wore our. On a mechanical drive, you can reformat it by writing 'zeros' to it and virtually making the drive 'like new' again. You can't do this with an SSD drive. In fact, I was told by OCZ support that writing zeros to an SSD drive can actually damage the drive, and was advised to never do that. With that in mind, I have a tip you can use to prolong the 'write' life of your SSD drive. 


It's usual for the OS X filesystem to record the ‘last access’ time of every file. This means that every time a file is read, a write is made on the filesystem to record this action. This isn't necessary and can wear a SSD drive out prematurely from thousands of these unnecessary writes to the drive. Download this file and follow my instructions in the ReadMe to turn this action off. Note: this will not affect the "Date Modified" recorded action.    







17" 2.2GHz i7 Quad-Core MacBook Pro  8G RAM  750G HD + OCZ Vertex 3 SSD Boot HD 
  • ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,305 points)

    Good advice there Dave,


    Not to hijack the thread, I would like to let people know that because of SSD limited writes, securely erasing confidential and private information isn't being accomplished despite what occurs in software for the reasons Dave is outlining above.


    I point you to this article:


  • ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,305 points)

    Mac Medic ( wrote:


    Best advice concerning security on a HD, is never put any information on it that you wouldn't want anyone to see.


    Darn, I so liked goatsexx too.

  • SP Forsythe Level 5 Level 5 (5,200 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 15, 2011 5:16 PM (in response to ds store)

    What I find fascinating about this thread is the lack of dissension.


    Whenever I have made a post, on any forum, that brings up the potential for SSD longevity being finite, due to the nature of write cycle degradation, the desent of SSD "fanboys" usually overwhelms the discussion wherein the original point is rendered as seemingly ludicrous.


    Tell me, what do you see as a practical limitation of the use of an SSD without any precautions such as outlined here. I mean, SSD fanboys will often contend that there is no worry about SSD degradation due to write cycles, since "the drive will still likely outlive the owner", and "probably fail for other reasons first".


    I own a MBA 11 with an Apple SSD. Would mine benefit from the OP's suggestion, or is it otherwise protected by some other means that Apple has built in? I ask this, since this thread is in the MBP forum, and am interested to know whether it applies to MBA's as well.



    p.s. So it it not misunderstood... I tend to favor the point of view of the OP. I think that there is enough evidence to support the contention that SSD life is not practically infinite, and we should explore means to preserve the finite number of writes available.

  • SP Forsythe Level 5 Level 5 (5,200 points)

    Since Lion will be out in a few months at most, what's the harm in waiting until it(TRIM) arrives to enable it?


    I mean, once TRIM is enabled, I won't have any reason to have regretted waiting, will I?

  • 27mando Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    It seems that the main drawback here would be that in performing Spotlight searches, if you're looking through massive numbers of files, you have no way of telling which was "Last Opened" -- is that correct? Put another way -- that's the information that is potentially useful that's being written on the file as "last access," and that is what you would no longer be getting if you install Mac Medic's plist that correct?

  • Poikkeus Level 4 Level 4 (2,775 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 29, 2011 10:26 AM (in response to 27mando)

    I don't (yet) have an SSD drive on my MBP, but this discussion has motivated me to search elsewhere for my SSD fix. In particular, the OWC Mercury SSDs don't seem to suffer the same challenges as Apple SSDs. They're not cheap - but they're fast and easy to use.

  • 27mando Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Makes sense. I use it because I'm woefully unorganized, so I'll do a search for someone's name and the only way I have to find the document out of the hundreds that come up is to check and see which I opened most recently. But it might be worth it for me to work on organizing my digital life a little more if it means getting better performance/longer life from my drive...

  • ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,305 points)

    17" 2.2GHz i7 Quad-Core MacBook Pro  8G RAM  750G HD + OCZ Vertex 3 SSD Boot HD 



    Seems your speed demon computer is missing something there Dave...




    or are you waiting for the 32GB pkg like me 

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