Life span of USB flash drive?

Discussion in 'Application Software' started by Mariana, Jul 11, 2009.

  1. Mariana

    Mariana MDL Novice

    Jun 29, 2009
    With the proliferation of USB flash drives and with increasing tendency to fit flash memory the computers instead of traditional hard drive, is there any reliable data about the life span of these devises and how it is measured?
    For example, is it measured by number of save/erase cycles
    or by number of on/of cycles?
    Or by number of hours the devise is used?

    Are they reliable and sufficiently durable?
    For example some computer users keep them permanently plugged in and use them as an extra external drive, which is very convenient.

    Any truly objective information about these questions?

  2. Aradria

    Aradria MDL Novice

    Apr 23, 2009
    They're mostly limited by number of write cycles, so they're fine for "general data storage". The actual lifespan can vary, best to search the manufacturers website for information..
  3. Mariana

    Mariana MDL Novice

    Jun 29, 2009
    No. it won't work!

    The least reliable source of honest info are manufacturers - they are not interested in objectivity but in sales and self promotion!:)
    Any better information, anyone?

  4. petrossa

    petrossa MDL Novice

    Jan 3, 2009
    Still your stuck with the manufacturer's datasheets.
    The number of parameters which determine a flash drive's longevity are to numerous.

    Number of write cycles is the foremost indicator.

    Obviously the material grade used. One imagines military grade will last longer then consumer grade.

    Leaving it on, less startup peak surge, more heat accumulation;
    On/off the inverse.

    External conditions, where is the drive placed.

    One thing is for sure, don't replace all your storage with flashdrives if you want to be as sure as possible to be able to read it in the longer term.

    In a notebook and such it doesn't matter, their usage pattern doesn't assume the need for long lasting storage. They also usually break down before the drive does.
  5. vistadude

    vistadude MDL Member

    Oct 7, 2008
    Under optimal conditions (desktop with good cooling), hard disks last longer and are faster. However, for portable storage, flash drives are definately more reliable than floppy's and cd's, and probably most external hard drives (at least the ones i've seen usually lack cooling).

    Still there are quite a few annoyances with flash drives. Often there are random windows errors related to usb storage, or in my computer teachers often find their detected drive suddenly disappear. :D