Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th Sep 2012 19:36 UTC
Apple I bought a brand new iMac on Tuesday. I'm pretty sure this will come as a surprise to some, so I figured I might as well offer some background information about this choice - maybe it'll help other people who are also pondering what to buy as their next computer.
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Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

UltraZelda64,

"First, I'm not sure I can believe that "10 years" figure;"

I've read that manufacturers are targeting 3 years of heavy use. Anything less than that they consider unacceptable. Anything more they consider as an opportunity to increase the tradeoff from reliability to capacity. However all these reliability figures are based on "typical" writing patterns as they're handled by the wear-leveling controller. If you are going to regularly re-write the entire flash, then the wear-leveling algorithm becomes irrelevant and your back to the NAND chip's underlying program/erase lifespan (spec'd around 3-5K).

So, whether flash is acceptable depends upon the application. If you are a photographer, you can fill up your flash card a few thousand times before going over the manufacturer's specs. This is acceptable to most consumers.

Storing swap could be ok, but only if you don't expect applications to leak into swap very often. If an application enters a period of vicious swapping such that the entire swap area is being rewritten continuously (and assuming the swap space is a large fraction of the SSD capacity), then you're looking at depleting the NAND chip's lifespan very quickly.

Flash is much better suited in scenarios where reading is much more frequent than writing, which is usually the case for operating system files. Just be aware of processes that continuosly write to flash.

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