I have a new laptop. It will soon have three Samsung 840 Pro drives so in a few years I will be able to give you real data.
I have been using quite a few of these SSD's othewise in three different desktop computers and running many PPBM benchmarks on them and have not seen any problems as of yet. Typically when I benchmark I run the complete benchmark on a clean drive and then delete the complete ~38 GB folder each time.
Very small statistical sample, so I do not know what my experience is worth.
I can't find it right now (didn't bookmark it) but I am "sure" that I once read that an SSD had some kind of "too many writes" factor that caused the drive to become slower over time
Now, reading http://ppbm7.com/index.php/tweakers-page/84-disk-setup/95-disk-setup I see that the recommendation is to have the Windows page/swap file AND all Adobe cache files on SSD... and these are very much "write many times" files
Conclusion: SSD 128+ GB as boot disk C: for OS & programs and page-file
speed advantage of SSD's over HDD's is most noteworthy with the Media cache & Media cache database. These files are frequently accessed, are small and there are many, so reducing latency and seek times and increasing transfer rates pays off by putting these on a SSD, rather than on a HDD
I will "presume" this means that current generation SSD's do not have the same problem due to advancing technology... is that true?
If yes, that might make me think about an SSD for my project and cache drive, with 1T platter drives for video source and output drives (no raid... not needed for my home video projects using my Canon SX510 camera)
Added... found Harm's article from Sep 2011 http://forums.adobe.com/thread/902915?tstart=0 where he talks about Write degradation with a June 2012 comment in message #3 in http://forums.adobe.com/message/4492104 where Harm still talks about write degradation
Since the Tweak page above was written Sep 2013 it would seem that a later generation SSD drive does not have the problem... true?
I guess Harm still follows the forum. He made a comment on Tweakers Page - Disk Setup
John T. Smith made a remark on the Adobe forum, quoting a post I made in September 2011 and a reply from June 2012 where I was talking about write degradation of SSD's, which could seriously reduce write performance over time. While that was true at that moment, newer generations show much less write degradation today. SandForce controllers still have it to some degree, but much less than in the past and Samsung and Marvell controllers have really made big steps forward to solve this issue to a large degree in combination with good working trim functions. Even when using a modern SSD for frequent R/W activities like media cache and previews, the write degradation is pretty small.
Thanks... I will update my "someday" list of new computer components accordingly
128Gig Samsung 840 Pro for boot/software and Windows page file
256Gig Samsung 840 Pro for project/cache and misc files
2 x 1T platter drives for video source and output files
Your questions are very valid, however the answers my require more than a quick forum post to comprehensively answer them all. I'll just try to recap some of the highlights.
First of all, the title of your post seems to be wanting to compare how long a SSD will last vs. a rotating drive. In summary, they are two very different animals and wear out in very different ways. Traditional drives have bearings, platters, and heads that wear physically that also employ electronic components that can fail over time.
SSDs on the other have limits that are related to how much data can be written to that device before the memory cells themselves are worn out. Manufacturers rarely publish what these limits are, however with Seagate's SSD models they actually record the data written to the SSD over the life of the device (like the odometer in our vehicles) and the warranty is limited on time (3 or 5 years) as well as use ("max amount of data written to device" ranging all the way from 36.5 TB for their smallest 120GB consumer SSD model to 1080 TB for their 400GB pro series over provisioned SSD). The Samsung 840 Pro 128GB model would probably have similar longevity to the 120GB Seagate model, or on the order of 40TB of writes. That is actually a lot when you realize that is equivalent to filling the entire drive around 300 times.
Some other SSD performance items to think about:
- Garbage collection - this is one of the most important aspects of SSD performance for video editors but also seems to be one that is discussed the least. It is true that when a SSD fills, if garbage collection is NOT run, the write speed will deteriorate. If garbage collection is done well, partially filled memory blocks are refreshed so that writes can occur at max. speed again. Garbage collection for most SSDs is done when the drive is powered up, but is not busy with active reads or writes.
- Samsung 840 Pro utility - Samsung also provides a pretty cool tool that works for single drives attached to single controllers (doesn't work with SAS or RAID cards unfortunately). You can run this tool to force a complete refresh of all memory cells on the drive that do not already have data. Think of it as the SSD equivalent of defragmenting rotating drives; they are doing VERY different things, however both are similar in that they bring the drive speeds back to pre-clogged levels by running a utility. I love 840 Pro drives and I'm not sure if any other manufacturer has a similar utility that works as well.
Finally, I must mention over provisioning. Here is a good definition for over provisioning complements of storagesearch.com, "it is a technique used in the design of some flash SSDs. By providing extra memory capacity (which the user can't access) the SSD controller can more easily create pre-erased blocks - ready to be used in the virtual pool". You can buy SSDs that are optimized for write speed and longevity (over provisioned) and at the other extreme, you can buy SSDs that are the cheapest cost for a given size. So, for video work, which cares a lot about write speed, the more expensive models are generally the best fit.