Friday, December 18, 2009

Wore Out My Flash Drive

In order to make my work portable between my laptop, desktop, and any other machines I might happen to be using, I put all of my work and a lot of the applications I needed on a 32GB USB thumb drive. After 11 months of use, the drive started acting weird. Basically, the partitions/filesystem completely disappeared, and the drive was reported as being 26GB.

I had the providence of having backed up everything that morning, so I only really lost about an hour of work. After replacing the flash drive (it was an OCZ ATV drive) with a 32GB Patriot XT drive that I bought at MicroCenter in the Denver Tech Center, I downloaded a utility OCZ uses for diagnosing and updating the firmware on their drives. Yup, the tests showed lots of bad blocks. Also interesting was that they used MLC (multi-level cell) flash on the drive (MLC is usually only good for about 10k rewrites, while SLC is good for 100k-1million+ rewrites).

I'm actually really impressed with the build quality of my old OCZ drive. That thing suffered *a lot* of abuse, and what took it down in the end was flash wearout, not any sort of mechanical breakage.

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