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How Long Does An SSD Last?

SSDs are absolutely incredible. Using an SSD as the boot drive for your Operating System or games is one of the easiest ways to give your PC a huge speed boost. However, I’m sure we’ve all heard how SSDs get slower over time the more you write and rewrite data to them.

How true is this, how much data can SSDs rewrite before they die, and just how long does an SSD last?

How Long Does An SSD Last?

Most SSDs last 20+ years as long as they are not faulty, but the lifespan of an SSD can vary greatly from device to device. SSDs have a “write” limit, but this limit is hundreds of Terabytes, which most users will never even come close to. Most people don’t see their SSDs die before they’re obsolete.

If your SSD lasts past its first year, you’re probably never going to need to replace it for being faulty. More likely, you’ll replace the SSD because there are newer, faster, and larger capacity devices available for cheap on the market.

As mentioned, SSDs do have a limit on use. But this limit is so insanely large, the average user will not need to worry about it. On the other hand, SSDs should be fired up and used every so often. This is because if left unused, the flash cells in the SSD will degrade over time.

So if you leave an SSD in storage, untouched for a decade, there is a good chance data will be lost and not be able to be recovered.

How Often Should You Replace An SSD?

You should replace your SSD whenever you need more storage. You may also consider replacing it every 6-10 years or so when better options are available and affordable. With that being said, you should back up your data periodically just in case, since failures can be very unpredictable.

To be completely honest, while most SSDs are going to last for the long haul, there is always a chance of failure with 2-3 years. This doesn’t mean you need to replace your SSD every 2-3 years, though (even though that’s what manufacturers would love for you to do).

The truth is, replacing your SSD this often wouldn’t really decrease your chance of a failure, since it’s just as unlikely for your SSD to fail within 6 years as it is within 3.

Since failure is so unpredictable and random, it’s always a good idea to back up important data on a 2nd SSD or even HDD. I like HDDs for backup drives, since they keep data much longer, and if something does occur, they’re more likely to retain data.

How To Know When Your SSD Is Going Bad?

Unfortunately, most of the time an SSD won’t show any warning signs before catastrophically failing. The one major warning sign of a failing SSD is that it becomes very slow when writing new data. The SSD can even slow to the point of being unwritable, meaning you can’t put new data on it at all.

Whether your SSD shows any warning signs before failing completely will depend on the brand and your luck. The only common warning sign of an SSD failing is that it becomes unwritable. Meaning whenever you try to add new data to it, the process will be extremely slow or just not work at all.

Many people will never get to experience these warning signs before their SSD fails, though. Instead, their SSD will just stop working. Unfortunately, if something like this happens the data isn’t likely to be recoverable – at least not easily. This is why it’s so important to always keep backups of your data, especially if you keep it on an SSD.

What Causes An SSD To Fail? How To Make An SSD Last Longer?

Most of the time when an SSD fails, it will be due to the controller / processor failing or malfunctioning, which will result in immediate catastrophic failure. Sometimes SSDs will fail due to too many rewrites (rare), or due to not being used enough which will allow the data to “leak” out of their storage.

SSDs can actually handle hundreds of terabytes of writes. This number is extremely high and most users are never going to hit even 20 tb after a decade of use. However, SSDs have a processor in them, which is called the controller. This controller can fail just like any other hardware component (aka randomly), and is the cause of death for most SSDs.

One of the only things you can do to help your SSD last longer is to make sure it is used occasionally. Don’t let it sit in storage for 2-5+ years. This will drastically increase the chance of data loss, since SSDs store data by storing electricity as bytes. If the SSD doesn’t get another surge of electricity to refill itself, then its electricity (aka data) will leak out slowly over time.

How Long Does An SSD Last For Gaming?

An SSD for gaming will last for around 10 years before it will probably need to be replaced. The reason the SSD will need to be replaced is due to games requiring more space to install over time. Gaming does not degrade an SSD faster or factor into SSD failure at all, and can even be good for the SSD.

Hardcore gaming will not make your SSD wear out any faster. However, games require more and more storage space to install every year, so you may eventually find that your SSD just isn’t large enough to install all of the games you want.

As far as your SSD’s health, gaming may actually help your SSD since gaming will keep your SSD in use. SSDs do not do well if left unpowered for years at a time, and there’s no better way to use your SSD than for running fun games!

The only time gaming may negatively impact your SSD is if you are constantly installing and uninstalling huge game files. SSDs have about a 50-150 tb write limit, which is very hard to reach, but may be possible if you install and uninstall a 100 GB game every single day for a few years.

How Long Does An SSD Hold Data For?

Most consumer SSDs can hold data, unpowered, for 1-3 years depending on the brand and how the SSD was made. When powered consistently, an SSD should be able to reliably hold data for 10-20 years. SSDs hold data by storing electricity, which leaks, so they need to have their power refilled occasionally.

Many people do not prefer SSDs for long term storage or archival purposes due to how they store data and the innate leaks that come with the method. Different SSDs have different types of NAND used with their storage, which means they use different amounts of electricity to store data.

In short, the more electricity an SSD uses the store data, the more vulnerable it is to data corruption when electricity leaks out and isn’t replenished.

This is why it’s so important to ensure your SSDs get powered up occasionally even if they’re just for archival purposes. It’s also why you should always refresh and validate your data, as well as keep multiple copies of it.

Which Lasts Longer: SSD Or HDD?

An HDD typically lasts longer than an SSD, but it all depends how the drives are used. HDDs do not leak data and can be stored for decades and still be able to recover their data, while SSDs must be fired up occasionally. However, for typical use, both will last 10+ years in a computer.

Choosing between an SSD and an HDD really comes down to what you need the storage for. If you want to archive data and set it in a box for 20 years, an HDD is your best bet. If you just want a hard drive for your computer that you will use every day, then an SSD will be better because they are much faster.

If you need a hard drive for a laptop, SSDs are also much less vulnerable to impact. An HDD will stop working the instant you drop it in most cases (from experience), while SSDs will be fine from most drops. This is due to the way in which each device reads and writes data.

Can An SSD Last 10 Years?

Modern SSDs can easily last 10 years and beyond without issue. The important thing to remember is to fire up the SSD occasionally in order to refill its electricity and prevent the data from leaking out. How often you need to fire up the SSD depends on its NAND and manufacturer.

How long the SSD lasts will come down to how you use it. Most users are never going to see their SSD fail because they last so long, you’ll replace it long before it’s failing. However, there is a technical write limit to these drives which could be exceeded if hundreds of GB of data are being written to them every single day.

Older SSDs also have a bad problem with data leakage which could come into play if you plan on leaving your SSD in a box for 2 years without plugging it in. This seems to have been fixed in modern SSDs, but it all depends on the manufacturer, and it’s probably a good idea to plug your SSDs in occasionally just to be safe.

SSDs are also just as prone to random failures like any other piece of hardware, so backups are a must, no matter how you use them.

Can An SSD Last 20 Years?

Modern SSDs can last 20 years as long as they are plugged in on occasion in order to prevent any data leaks. The first wave of SSDs to hit the market were prone to losing data within the first couple of years if not plugged in, but modern ones can last a long time due to the new NAND being used in them.

Your SSD will last 20 years in your computer with typical use. If you are using your SSD to archive data and then store it in a box, then it might make it to 20 years if left unpowered, but it depends on the brand of SSD and when / how it was made.

If you plug your SSD in every 6 months or so, then it will definitely be able to hit that 20 year mark as long as you don’t experience an unlucky controller malfunction.

SSDs do have a write limit, but modern SSDs would require you writing data to them as much as a data center would, so most regular people are never going to come close to hitting it. Make sure you are purchasing a modern SSD that was made within the lats year or two, because older SSDs are more prone to data leaks and the write limit.

Can An SSD Last Forever?

There is no way for an SSD to last forever, but it can definitely last over 20 years under ideal conditions. All hard drives fail eventually, but SSDs are a lot less vulnerable to physical impact than HDDs are. However, SSDs need to be powered on occasionally in order to prevent data leaks.

For most users, an SSD is going to outlive its usefulness. By the time the SSD fails, it’s going to be obsolete and should be replaced anyways. Of course, if you want to put some data on your SSD and leave it in storage for a long time, then it’ll be useful for a lot longer.

In this case, the SSD should have power ran through it ever 6 months or so, but some newer SSDs can go “cold” for a couple of years.

SSDs do not last without power because they store their data in little cells with electricity representing each byte of data. This electricity slowly leaks out over time, meaning data is slowly lost. Plugging the SSD in refills its electricity and keeps the data intact.

Longest Lasting SSD (Link to Amazon).

The Samsung 870 EVO is a very good SSD and is sure to last decades without any problems. Samsung has always been known to have very reliable SSDs that typically do not fail catastrophically. This is the best SSD for any purpose and will far outlive its usefulness.

The Samsung SSDs can be pretty expensive, especially for larger capacity drives. However, they are well worth the price for a couple of reasons. First of all, when Samsung SSDs fail, they’re known for slowing down first. This is good because it gives a warning sign, while other SSDs are just going to immediately catastrophically fail without warning.

Secondly, for typical users, these Samsung SSDs will have extremely low degradation over the years. You may experience a 20% slow over a decade of use, which alone makes these SSDs well worth the investment.

👋 Hey There, I'm Eric!

Since 2018, I've been making streams come true.

I like gaming, streaming and watching other people stream. I created this website to help streamers and viewers of streams answer some of the questions they may have regarding live streaming. I am a Twitch affiliate and currently stream on Twitch 3 days a week. I hope you find my content helpful. Feel free to stop by one of my streams to say hi.