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Re: Flash drive vs hard drive for the system.

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  • 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 1 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 2 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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