Lifespan: Up to 6 petabytes of Writes

Seagate is calling the Pulsar a 5 year drive. If you are absolutely dying to know how many writes you can do to the drive, there is a way of finding out.

Remember the sustained write figures from earlier? Seagate guarantees that you’ll be able to run at those sustained write rates for a period of 5 years before the drive dies.

I’ve done the math below:

Drive Sustained 4KB Random Write IOPS KB Written per Second # of Seconds in 5 Years (1825 days) Total Writes in 5 Years
200GB 10,500 42000 157,680,000 seconds 6167 TB
100GB 5300 21200 3113 TB
50GB 2600 10400 1527 TB

 

At 1527TB (or 1.49 petabytes) of random 4KB writes in a 5 year period, the 50GB Pulsar has a worse lifespan than Intel’s X25-E (the 64GB drive is specced at 2 petabytes of lifetime random writes).

The 200GB drive however can allegedly withstand over 6100TB (6 petabytes) of random writes before it goes to SSD heaven.

With no standardized method of testing or verifying any of these claims, we can’t do much more than take Seagate’s word for it. Given Seagate’s reputation in the industry, I’d expect that its word is worth it.

Final Words

There’s little more to say about Pulsar than what I’ve already mentioned. Seagate is finally getting in the game and, at least on paper, Pulsar appears to be in the class of Intel’s X25-E.

If Seagate can deliver on its promises, this should be good. Currently the enterprise SSD market is occupied by Intel, Samsung and a bunch of other contenders with unproven track records. Using Indilinx drives in a server environment is very tempting, but also potentially dangerous. There isn’t sufficient data out there today to say how long their drives will last under constant random writes. I tend to believe Seagate when they commit to Pulsar being a 5 year drive capable of over 6PB of random writes.

Pricing is another major unknown, but I’d expect the drives to be no cheaper than Intel’s X25-E: at least $11 per GB.

Even more exciting is the promise of consumer level SSDs from Seagate, possibly as early as 2010. Western Digital is next, whom I expect to join the race in 2010 as well. Once all of the major HDD players are in the race, we’ll see some real competition in both the high end and mainstream client SSD markets.

Seagate Goes Light on the Details
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  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - link

    I just found out there is a utility that dramatically improves the performance of low end flash devices. It is called Flashfire. I have it running on an atom netbook with WinXP running on a 4GB compactflash card. (!) And you would not believe how well this thing performs! You'd have to see it to believe it. I am hoping you guys will review this utility and benchmark how well it improves the performance of JMicron controlled SSDs, and other low end solutions.

    I am looking for the absolute lowest possible price solid state storage solution for running a minimal XP installation. After seeing how well my 4GB CF solution works, I am convinced that it can be had for less than $20. But I dont want to waste my own money on a bunch of questionable CF cards and IDE/CF adapters that may or may not be bootable, etc.
    Reply
  • nofumble62 - Saturday, December 12, 2009 - link

    Seagate don't have fab and never make flash. Does it mean they must buy a NAND flash house eventually? Reply
  • skroh - Friday, December 11, 2009 - link

    I could be misinterpreting, but I don't think there's any secret sauce in the way the life expectancy increases with drive size. If you notice, it's a perfectly linear relationship. 50 GB = 1.5 petabytes of data written, 200 GB = 6 petabytes. Four times the capacity equals four times the data that can be written. Same amount of writes, just more locations that those writes can be spread across, and therefore more total data.

    The article seemed to take the stance that the larger drives were "better" somehow in this regard, and I don't think that's true. You don't get more life out of them unless you write the same amount of data to the 200 that you would have to the 50 (or 100).
    Reply
  • leexgx - Sunday, December 13, 2009 - link

    sure somewhere it was constantly Writing data, Bigger SSDs norm do last longer then smaller SSDs due to more Blocks that can be erased and be reused that is know to happen and does happen (time it takes to Write data would be 5 years guessing there due to not reading it to check it)

    i have now, at no point does it say more then 5 years from the 50 gb to the 200gb drive what you posted is correct more data can be Written in the same time with the 200gb drive (Write speed goes up with the bigger the drive so 6 petabytes can be Writen to the 200gb in the same time that it takes to Write 1.5 petabytes to the 50gb one)
    Reply
  • leexgx - Sunday, December 13, 2009 - link

    sure somewhere it was constantly Writing data, Bigger SSDs norm do last longer then smaller SSDs due to more Blocks that can be erased and be reused that is know to happen and does happen (time it takes to Write data would be 5 years guessing there due to not reading it to check it)

    i have now, at no point does it say more then 5 years from the 50 gb to the 200gb drive what you posted is correct more data can be Written in the same time with the 200gb drive (Write speed goes up with the bigger the drive so 6 petabytes can be Writen to the 200gb in the same time that it takes to Write 1.5 petabytes to the 50gb one)
    Reply
  • leexgx - Sunday, December 13, 2009 - link

    so it take 5 years to fail 50gb drive as it would the 200gb drive at constant Write Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Thursday, December 10, 2009 - link

    Anand,

    Why do you keep saying SSDs outperform by an order of magnitude when none of your numbers indicate this??

    System Boot: 48s vs 70s
    CS4 launch: 4.5s vs 5s
    Pinnacle launch: 12.3s vs 13.3s
    WoW load: 4.85s vs 12.5s
    "Fresh Test": 6.6s vs 31s
    Power: 3W vs 7W

    Everything is between 1.1-4.7x and the average is 2.2x. This is nowhere near 10x.
    Reply
  • leexgx - Sunday, December 13, 2009 - link

    if you never used an SSD before your you do not understand the it, when going from HDD to SSD or back

    i could not see my self using an HDD for my system dive {OS,programs and games}, in todays SSD standards i have an Slow SSD , corsair S128 its read and writs is 90MB/s and 80MB/s, yes samsung F1 or F3 Hdds are faster then mine in data Rate speeds but its the instant access times or high random access speeds (or high IOPS) no HDD can match it, that makes sdds open most things right away
    Reply
  • LTG - Saturday, December 12, 2009 - link

    >>Why do you keep saying SSDs outperform by an order
    >>of magnitude?

    Maybe because the single most important spec on any drive, random access time, IS an order of magnitude better for SSDs.

    Or I did I miss where he said, "it's 10x better for any benchmark I ever mention on AnandTech"?

    You are commenting from one viewpoint, he is commenting from another.

    If you were a mechanical hard drive yourself you'd have no legal case for defamation here.
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Monday, December 14, 2009 - link

    "it's 10x better for any benchmark I ever mention on AnandTech"? That's a ridiculous attempt at a point; not a single benchmark broke 4.7x.

    Your argument using access time is also flawed. When someone says "This system outperforms this other system", that's talking about real world performance, not some specific internal parameter.
    Reply

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