that first article is not good because with economy based on failures, replacements, backups and trading up for newer stuff, they will manufacture them to be "CHEAPER", but then fail more often so they can keep profits rolling in. :)
The test itself is, as they put it themselves, "informal" and therefore not scientific. On the other hand, given where the SSD technology started, it is very promising.
The comment about reliability going down as SSDs are made cheaper might have a small kernel of truth, but not much more. I can't think of anything electronic that isn't amazingly reliable. I've actually never thrown out a computer (which is why I have so many), and they all still work. I still only have one big LCD flatscreen TV because my old CRT TVs, some of which were purchased at the end of the CRT era and were the cheapest buys at Costco, are all working just fine and I can't bring myself to put them in a landfill.
The really good news about the story is that it should let all these big data farms switch over to SSDs. The energy used by SSDs is about 1/3 of a traditional drive. Therefore, the energy savings should be astronomical as this switch gets made. If you've seen the stats on Google and other huge data centers, this energy savings will be significant for all of us.
Electrolytic capacitors.As someone who has re-capped several dozen switchmode power supplies, there is some truth to that. However, as you probably know, the BIG problem with electrolytics was a period of several years in the mid 1990s when most companies were buying capacitors from a supplier who was using a substance that turned out to break down over time.
I did recently change out the caps on my 1960 Wollensak tape recorder, but only because I was doing other things in order to track down a small hum that had developed. So, electrolytic capacitors are definitely capable of lasting a long time. Also, it matters how they are used. The switchmode power supply designs stress them far more than the simple smoothing function that they used to do in the older analog power supply designs. And, for those with really old power amplifiers that used electrolytic capacitors to decouple the output so the bias voltage didn't get run through the speakers, I don't think I've ever seen those fail.
So you should be. Opening up most modern electronics is pretty daunting, much of it was never designed to be repaired. The cheap and even some of the expensive PC power supplies being a case in point. Repairing the big LCD HDTVs demands an awful lot of bench space.
I would add batteries to the list of unreliable electronic things. I purchased a cheap ($10) time clock from DX.com and it was DOA. Problem was pretty obvious, the battery that lets it keep the time when there's a mains failure had fully discharged and would no longer even take a charge. I bought two new ones off eBay for $3 inc postage. Still a very cheap time clock :)
Speaking of which, Bob, my beloved XF300 internal system battery has gone futz on me. Trouble is that the camera needs to be opened up and have a new one SOLDERED in place! - yeah . . don't think I'll be doing that any time soon.
Actually I have a 1970's era Marantz power amp that I am working on and I came home one day to a horrid noise going through the speakers on my system. One of the two Coke can sized capacitors had failed. I am in the process of repairing ($30 each and you have to replace pair...). I have also done the repairs to the bad power supplies from the 90's problem.
Interesting note, the problem with the electrolyte solution was that the manufacturer had done some nefarious trade secret stealing and ended up stealing a bad solution that would boil at certain operating conditions that would blow the pressure relief on the capacitors. You really should make sure you steal the right stuff if your going to do that sort of thing, Big Book of Duh..... I guess it serves them right. :) Replacing the split top capacitors with good Japanese brand does wonders.
I would add batteries to the list of unreliable electronic things.Another yes and no. Years ago I bought a huge package of no-name AA primary cells, and most of them died within months of being put into use, even in applications where they should have lasted for years. After a few years in the fridge (where I store them to extend life), the rest were dead.
However, in keeping with the above comment about Japanese capacitors, the same is true of Japanese batteries.
Here's the best example:
I bought my first CD player in 1984. It was made by Sony. I still use it occasionally in a small room that I use as a "library." Normally I just put the CD in and press the button, but the other day I thought I'd use the remote. It worked, but it wouldn't operate the unit beyond a few feet. I pulled out the batteries and tested them, and they were slightly under 1 volt. But -- and this is the kicker -- they were the original batteries from 1984!! Thirty years old, and still (sort of) working. (... and not leaking ...)
Also, I don't know if we've talked about battery brands, but for rechargeable AA and AAA, the Eneloop brand is head and shoulders above anything else. Nothing else even comes close. They were originally designed and manufactured by Sanyo, but now built by Panasonic, both Japanese companies. Not only are they LSD batteries (low self-discharge), but the quality is amazing. I still haven't had one fail (although I now use a very "exotic" charger which helps). I don't use anything else.
So bad batteries can be a problem, but good ones can be remarkably good.
Whenever this is a lot of money to be made someone will figure out a way to create the product that will make people voluntarily hand over their money.
The SSD is a great example. At first they were tremendously expensive. In an effort to bring prices down manufacturers started shrinking the process. But unlike processors, shrinking the process size brought a huge drawback, decreased endurance. Whereas a 40nm cell can easily do 6000 writes, a 20nm cell only does 2000 or so. So next manufacturers started using TLC (triple level cells) to store 3 bits per cell (8 voltage levels) instead of 4 with MLC (multi level cell, 2 bits storage). Problem here is overlapping voltage levels created more endurance problems. We're only talking about a handful of electrons in a 20nm cell.
So now we have Samsung coming out with 3D NAND, increasing the process size back to 40nm to increase endurance but stacking the NAND cells vertically to increase capacity per wafer. Even in TLC form the endurance is very high.
As for 1000 year SSD's, yeah look at a SLC a(single level cell) enterprise drive rated at over 100,000 write endurance!
"[I]And, for those with really old power amplifiers that used electrolytic capacitors to decouple the output so the bias voltage didn't get run through the speakers, I don't think I've ever seen those fail.[/I]"
I have. Unfortunately, it was my amplifier. The power amplifier circuit board caught on fire and took out the bass speaker that was attached to it when the full B+ supply voltage appeared across the speaker through a shorted output coupling capacitor.
I bought the amplifier in 1969 and it failed about 1973. That amplifier was built before NPN-PNP complimentary pairs of output transistors were common. I think this one had two stacked PNP transistors which made bias flakey. When I rebuilt it, I used complimentary pairs and "better" coupling capacitors. My daughter still has the amplifier, though I haven't seen or heard it for quite some time.
[I]Sorry for getting my geek on[/I].
On topic: If SSDs are the right price and performance, I don't care if they only last 1000 days. In fact, every day that I get older the longevity requirement of my devices goes down considerably.
Had two Adata SSDs made by Intel. Bought them four years ago. One is still going, the other gave out a month before the three year warranty expired. Adata replaced it with an SP600. It started to give me errors in less than a year so I bought a Sandisk Ultra II that gave disc errors right after I cloned it. Newegg replaced it and the same thing happened. Apparently they don't like the AMD SB950 and SB850 SATA controllers. I got a refund on the replacement.
Finally ended up with a . That one seems to work well. Hope it lasts. Never had these problems with the dozens of Western Digital hard drives I have purchased over the years.
"Maximum PC" magazine said recently that they have been using the same SSD's for years with thousands of benchmark tests on whatever PC they are thrashing and they see no life limits yet. I think the quote was, "...if there's a finite life to SSD's, we haven't found it yet, and we thrash them daily".
John Meyer said: [I]'They were originally designed and manufactured by Sanyo, but now built by Panasonic, both Japanese companies.'[/I]
The original batteries were called Sanyo Reds, characterised by their red coloured sleeving on each cell. They were highly prized for the ability to sustain very high discharge currents, and also for the fact that you could obtain them from Sanyo in matched cell capacity sets for demanding use. The later use of intelligent chargers mitigated the need for cell matching to a large degree, but they were an excellent product. I built many hundreds of them into BP90 battery packs for the television industry and I cannot recall a single failure in use.
One afternoon i got a panicked call from a couple in my church. They were planning on having a "music dinner" that evening for some Very Important Guests, and playing a selection of their favorite classical music was just as important a part of the menu as the main course. However, they had turned on their 40 year old stereo to pick out the songs and instead of getting music, they heard a soft hissing sound and the room filled with white smoke! I drove over there, opened up the receiver, and saw a bank of 8 caps two of which had puckered holes in the end. I noted the value and rating on them, headed to RadioShack and fortunately they had 8 of them on the shelf. About 10 minutes worth of soldering iron work had them all replaced and lovely music filling the room again.
They were amazed i had i figured out what was wrong so fast. I laughed and said "i knew what the problem was as soon as you mentioned 'white smoke' during the phone call." If i could have had them open the unit and find the labels on the caps i would have picked up the parts on my way over.
Now, about that 50 year old Roberts 1040 i inherited from my dad ... even if i replace the tubes, i'll still have to do the capacitors. Some of them look like they were made and wrapped by hand, in oiled paper. Some of the larger ones have two solder terminals AND a screw terminal. I'm baffled as to whether that screw is an electrical connection or merely a mechanical mounting mechanism.
The original batteries were called Sanyo Reds, characterised by their red coloured sleeving on each cell. They were highly prized for the ability to sustain very high discharge currents, ...I wonder if those were actually the forerunner of the Eneloop. I say this because Eneloops are NiMH, and unlike NiCad, NiMH are NOT capable of sustaining high discharge currents. I found this out the hard way when I spent $$$ to rebuild the battery pack for a Sunpak portable halogen video light. I thought that the higher mAh capacity of the NiMH would give me double the run time.
Well, after running for a minute or two, the light suddenly started to dim. The reason? The NiMH chemistry just can't produce enough current. After a few attempts to make it work, I also managed to fry the batteries. I then did a little more research about NiMH, and that's when I found out that NiCad can deliver a LOT more current. NiMH are the wrong batteries to use for high-current applications.
As a result, you'll find only NiCad batteries in power tools and in really bright lights, although both are starting to show up with Li-On (I just bought a "6,000 Lumen" flashlight that uses 16850 Li-On batteries).
Li-On batteries can actually deliver an unbelievable amount of current. In case you haven't seen these products, you can jump start your car with a Li-On battery that fits in your pocket!
Yes, I should have mentioned the Sanyo Reds were NiCads, NiMH were not around at the time. One of the unusual places they were used was in high power electric model boats of the period.
In ENG use, no-one took much notice of whether a set of batteries were charged or not, they simply came back from a days work and threw all of them on the charger. And therein lay the problem, packs were developing memory effect and losing capacity. Sony had an early form of 'intelligent' charger at the time, but it was analogue in its operation, and while it would correctly charge the packs under normal conditions, the charger was not really reliable under adverse weather conditions, particularly high humidity.
Seeing a potential market, I developed probably the first digital processor controlled charger that eliminated the problem with humidity and that improved things quite a lot for ENG crews.
With regard to Lithium Ion batteries, probably the most unusual application is the main battery in the Chevy Volt, one huge LI pack.