Do USB jumpdrives die?
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Thread: Do USB jumpdrives die?

  1. #1
    Hoopy Frood
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    Do USB jumpdrives die?

    Ok, this is a rather strange question that I was hoping some of you could answer (from personal experience or from what you've heard/read.) I got a USB key drive for Christmas and absolutely love it, but over the years I've heard (very rarely) that USB Key drives die after a while? Is this true or just a myth? If it's true, is there an average lifespan? I honestly don't know which way to go on this one. Any help would be appreciated!

    - Xierox
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  2. #2
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    Yes, I am afraid that they do, as do all solid state components such as RAM for example. Because they have no moving parts, and are external, they are less likely to wear out, get zapped or suffer from heat damage.

    I guess that how long will depend on the quality of the product and the amount it is used. Try looking on the manufacturers' sites to get an idea. I don't think they have any issues like Zip drives (click of death)............I certainly haven't heard any mention.

  3. #3
    Blast From the Past
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    my mmc is rated for something like 10 milion reads and writes....
    i dont think you have to worrie about it dieing any time soon...unless you like to pulg it into your power socket
    work it harder, make it better, do it faster, makes us stronger

  4. #4
    Hoopy Frood
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    Hmm, correct me if I'm wrong, but don't they make MP3 players out of Flash memory? So this stuff probably lasts a fairly decent amount of time, right? So I guess I'm paranoid if I'm thinking it'll die in six months or anything. Thanks for the info!

    Xierox
    "Personality is only ripe when a man has made the truth his own."

    -- Søren Kierkegaard

  5. #5
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    As I understand it, it has to do with the transistors in flash memory. They are basically data storage and portability devices.

    They can be read for an almost indefinite period, but the figures I have seen quoted are 15,000 times for writing. Now that is not too bad if you think that you are unlikely to be WRITING to the same transistor more than 10 times per day, 5 times per week, which works out at a life expectancy of 5-6 years. That is about the average for a HDD as well.

    On the other hand, if you used one to run an operating system from, you would kill it in less than 6 months They are just not designed for that sort of use.

    Your MP3 player is mostly used to read data, as I would expect people to only write music they liked to them? so flash memory is suitable for them.

    I would not use them for archiving as their data retention expectancy is far lower (maybe 1/10th) than that of archival CDs.

    Speaking of which, you really should back up your data somewhere else in any case, as the pen drive can be easily lost or damaged.

    I think you are as safe with them as other forms of media.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Nihil,

    It's really interesting that you mention 5-6 years, because I got a new one and it died within 3 months of light use. It may be an anomaly, but that kinda stuff happens too... No computer can read it or write to it, which I find strange. Just died one day...... I think it was a cheapo brand, I can't remember (company bought me one, nuff said).

    Anyway, the point is, they should last as long as Nihil says, but it may also depend on how you take care of them, what kind of conditions you store them in, etc etc etc, and it just may die one day without warning (like CDs, Hard Drives, DVDs, floppies....). Like Nihil says:

    you are as safe with them as other forms of media.
    just my $0.02
    Alright Brain, you don\'t like me, and I don\'t like you. But let\'s just do this, and I can get back to killing you with beer.
    -- Homer S.

  7. #7
    Senior Member MadBeaver's Avatar
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    I found this on the web when I was looking at getting a Jumpdrive.


    "Unlike DRAM, flash memory chips have a limited lifespan. Further, different flash chips have a different number of write cycles before errors start to occur. Flash chips with 300,000 write cycles are common, and currently the best flash chips are rated at 1,000,000 write cycles per block (with 8,000 blocks per chip). Now, just because a flash chip has a given write cycle rating, it doesn't mean that the chip will self-destruct as soon as that threshold is reached. It means that a flash chip with a 1 million Erase/Write endurance threshold limit will have only 0.02 percent of the sample population turn into a bad block when the write threshold is reached for that block. The better flash SSD manufacturers have two ways to increase the longevity of the drives: First, a "balancing" algorithm is used. This monitors how many times each disk block has been written. This will greatly extend the life of the drive. The better manufacturers have "wear-leveling" algorithms that balance the data intelligently, avoiding both exacerbating the wearing of the blocks and "thrashing" of the disk: When a given block has been written above a certain percentage threshold, the SSD will (in the background, avoiding performance decreases) swap the data in that block with the data in a block that has exhibited a "read-only-like" characteristic. Second, should bad blocks occur, they are mapped out as they would be on a rotating disk. With usage patterns of writing gigabytes per day, each flash-based SSD should last hundreds of years, depending on capacity. If it has a DRAM cache, it'll last even longer. "

    Source

    Hope this helps
    Mad Beaver

  8. #8
    In And Above Man Black Cluster's Avatar
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    I guess most flash memories have a limited lifespan to 100000 write cycles, after reaching this phase, the storage space goes corroded. You will notice the decreased space, I have a 128 MB flash disc, and after one year of usage now, it is 115 MB only . This is what I do experience meanwhile.

    This might not be identical to all users, but it also depends on the usage and many other criteria.

    Cheers
    \"The only truly secure system is one that is powered off, cast in a block of concrete and sealed in a lead-lined room with armed guards - and even then I have my doubts\".....Spaf
    Everytime I learn a new thing, I discover how ignorant I am.- ... Black Cluster

  9. #9
    Banned
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    what does actualy break down in those things? do they run out of electrons?

  10. #10
    Regal Making Handler
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    The thing is. If you invent some wonder gizmo. Then sell it to every one in the world, yes, you will make a fortune. However, unless you are able to keep inventing, "wonder gizmos" you will eventualy go out of bussiness.

    The easy way to avoid this is to make your gizmo's life finite, that way you will get customers coming back for a replacement.

    Nothing lasts for ever, that is just a fact of life and good bussiness.
    What happens if a big asteroid hits the Earth? Judging from realistic simulations involving a sledge hammer and a common laboratory frog, we can assume it will be pretty bad. - Dave Barry

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