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Flash drive vs hard drive for the system.

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  • arthurnslu2
    I read some where that if you run the harddrive to long it will die, so I decided to switch the system to a flash card, 512mb. But, I read that the flash will
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 6, 2008
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      I read some where that if you run the harddrive to long it will die,
      so I decided to switch the system to a flash card, 512mb. But, I read
      that the flash will also die if it is used to much. So what is better?
      BTW I use unslung os, newest version.
    • docbillnet
      ... There is no permanent storage medium available. All hard drives will fail eventually whether you use them or not. The same is true for flash cards,
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 11, 2008
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        --- In nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com, "arthurnslu2" <arthur92710@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > I read some where that if you run the harddrive to long it will die,
        > so I decided to switch the system to a flash card, 512mb. But, I read
        > that the flash will also die if it is used to much. So what is better?
        > BTW I use unslung os, newest version.
        >

        There is no permanent storage medium available. All hard drives will
        fail eventually whether you use them or not. The same is true for
        flash cards, optical medium, and even printouts. The best long term
        strategy is to keep backups, and occasionally copy the data so you
        know when one of your copies has gone bad. Professionals recommend
        using both RAID and backups for this purpose. Of course that means
        at any given time you have four copies of the same file, but that is
        the safest way to go.

        Bill
      • Stanley P. Miller
        ... If you follow the tuneup steps for using a flash drive writes will be minimized, they are what hurts the lifetime of a flash drive. If you get spindown
        Message 3 of 4 , Oct 12, 2008
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          --- In nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com, "arthurnslu2" <arthur92710@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > I read some where that if you run the harddrive to long it will die,
          > so I decided to switch the system to a flash card, 512mb. But, I read
          > that the flash will also die if it is used to much. So what is better?
          > BTW I use unslung os, newest version.
          >

          If you follow the tuneup steps for using a flash drive writes will be
          minimized, they are what hurts the lifetime of a flash drive.

          If you get spindown running on your hard drives and fiddle things so
          they aren't spun up unless you are actively using them they will last
          a lot longer.

          I use flash for the boot and it works quite well, I couldn't get my
          drives to spin down (cheap enclosures) so I use another method, I
          unmount them and turn off the power to the unused drives. That leaves
          me with only one disk running on one slug most of the time so my music
          collection and some scratch disk space is always available. My second
          slug that is just providing services doesn't have a disk, just flash.
        • ralph.finch
          ... Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) for hard drives is a traditional and probably useless measure of drive reliability (http://tinyurl.com/53x6of). From my
          Message 4 of 4 , Oct 16, 2008
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            --- In nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com, "arthurnslu2" <arthur92710@...>
            wrote:

            > I read some where that if you run the harddrive to long it will die,
            > so I decided to switch the system to a flash card, 512mb. But, I read
            > that the flash will also die if it is used to much. So what is better?
            > BTW I use unslung os, newest version.


            Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) for hard drives is a traditional and
            probably useless measure of drive reliability
            (http://tinyurl.com/53x6of). From my experience HDs may be expected to
            fail after 3-7 years of being on mostly 24x7, that is, not being
            turned on/off a few times a day. You might buy an enterprise-quality
            HD (e.g. http://tinyurl.com/3nlu26) for more reliability.

            Flash drives do have a limited write life. A wikipedia article
            (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_memory) says flash USB drives
            "have built-in controllers to perform wear-levelling" which will help.
            Googling turns up the usual ambiguous contradictions, 100K write
            cycles are often cited without attribution. I'll speculate that a USB
            flash drive that works with Vista ReadyBoost to supplement the PC's
            RAM might be designed to support lots of write/erase cycles.

            OK, I haven't come up with any hard numbers. Maybe we can simply say
            HDs might last longer than flash memory. How are you expecting to use
            your Slug? If you need lots of storage (more than say 8-16 GB) then a
            HD is probably your only option and makes the decision easy. I am
            going to use my Slug mainly as a proxy server and maybe to serve a few
            files (photos, etc) for a limited audience (family). So I'm going to
            use a 4GB flash drive and see how it works. Other advice posted about
            making backups is always good.
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