Can in SSD fail in 2 years?

Solid state drives, or SSDs, have become increasingly popular in computers over the past decade, largely replacing traditional hard disk drives. SSDs offer much faster read/write speeds, lower latency, and in many cases greater reliability than hard drives. However, there are still misconceptions about how long SSDs can last before failing. Some people believe SSDs only have a lifespan of 1-2 years before performance degrades or they stop working entirely. In this article, we’ll examine whether SSDs can realistically fail within a 2 year period.

What is an SSD?

An SSD, or solid state drive, is a storage device that uses flash memory to store data persistently. Whereas hard disk drives store data on physical spinning magnetic platters, SSDs store data in tiny transistors called flash memory cells. Because there are no moving mechanical parts, SSDs can operate silently and have much faster read/write speeds than HDDs. Other advantages of SSDs include lower latency, higher reliability, and resistance to physical shocks/vibration. SSD technology was introduced in the 1970s, but only became affordable and widely adopted in consumer devices in the late 2000s. Today, SSDs are standard in most laptops and are increasingly found in desktop PCs and servers.

Flash Memory Cells

The core component of an SSD is flash memory, which retains data in the absence of power. Flash memory cells are grouped into pages, which are then organized into blocks. To write data, entire blocks must be erased before pages can be rewritten. This process is faster than magnetic HDDs but still slower than volatile RAM. Reading data is very fast, as individual pages can be accessed instantly. The limited number of erasure cycles per memory cell determines the drive’s usable lifespan.


SSDs include a controller, which manages communications between the flash memory and host computer. The controller packages writes into full page chunks, remaps bad cells, monitors wear leveling, and handles error checking/correction. The controller firmware also handles other tasks like garbage collection of stale pages and wear level optimization. More advanced controllers can employ machine learning to optimize drive performance.

Do SSDs Suddenly Fail After 2 Years?

So do SSDs just stop working or “die” after being used for 2 years? The short answer is no, that is largely a myth about the abrupt failure of SSDs. Like most electronics, there are no hard thresholds where SSDs instantly fail upon hitting a certain age. However, there are several factors that can impact long term SSD reliability:

Write Endurance

All flash memory cells have a limited lifespan, defined by the number of erase/program cycles they can handle before wearing out. Most consumer SSDs today use triple-level cell (TLC) or quad-level cell (QLC) flash rated for a few thousand program-erase (P/E) cycles. With advanced wear leveling algorithms, SSD controllers can distribute writes across all cells to maximize even wear. This results in drive lifespans of at least 5 years for average consumer workloads. Heavy write workloads may wear out cells faster.

Read Disturb Errors

While flash cells degrade over many program-erase cycles, they can also wear out from excessive READ operations. Electrical currents during reads can progressively damage cell transistors over time, introducing errors. However, error-correcting code (ECC) in SSD controllers rectifies most read disturb errors. Only very old drives are likely to see uncorrectable read errors.

Early SSD Generations

Early generation SSDs (pre-2009) do have higher chances of wearing out or failing after 2 years of use. This was due to less refined controllers, lack of wear leveling algorithms, use of lower endurance single-level cell (SLC) flash, and other reliability gaps that have since been engineered out of SSD technology. Modern SSDs have vastly improved over early implementations.

SSD Failure Rates in Real-World Usage

Large studies of SSDs in enterprise environments provide real-world insights into annualized failure rates for SSDs. While specific percentages vary between manufacturers and drive models, some overall trends emerge:

Google Data

Age Annual Failure Rate
First year 1.6%
2nd year 1.5%
3rd year 1.4%

According to a 2007 study of over 100,000 SSDs used by Google, the annual failure rate decreases slightly after the first year. After 3 years it was still under 1.5%, showing most SSDs exceeded that age.

Facebook Data

Facebook shared research in 2020 showing enterprise SSDs in its data centers had an annual failure rate of around 1.2%. This was over 4x lower than HDD failure rates.

Microsoft Data

Microsoft reported very low annual failure rates of around 0.5% for SSDs in one study. However, these were high-end enterprise SSDs in servers and not consumer models.

Backblaze Data

Backblaze analyzed SSD failure rates across over 75,000 drive-years of usage. Enterprise SSDs had only 0.5% annualized failure rate, while consumer SSDs saw about 1.5% failures per year.

Factors that Impact SSD Reliability

While SSDs generally have an annual failure rate of 1-2%, there are several factors that can increase the likelihood of earlier SSD failure:

Heavy Write Workloads

Drives constantly having data rewritten or erased will experience more wear on flash cells. This write amplification effect accelerates the onset of read/write errors. Using the SSD for primary storage/boot in high write scenarios like video editing is not optimal.

Insufficient Over-provisioning

Having extra spare capacity helps avoids over-filling cells to their max P/E cycles. Consumer SSDs with little over-provisioning will wear out quicker in heavy write environments.

High Operating Temperatures

Heat accelerates the breakdown of flash cells and other components. Ensure the SSD has a heat sink and airflow in computers/servers to keep its temperature controlled.

Poor Power Supply

Unstable power delivery to SSDs introduces errors. Use a high quality power supply with correct voltage levels and low ripple to maximize reliability.

Low Endurance NAND Flash

Lower graded TLC/QLC flash has fewer P/E cycles so wears out quicker than higher endurance enterprise drive flash. Opt for MLC flash for longer SSD lifespan.

Older Controller

Outdated controllers may lack newer error correction capabilities and wear leveling algorithms. Choose an SSD with a current generation controller.

SSD Failure Mode Comparison

SSDs do not simply stop working once they hit a certain age. More commonly, declining performance and increasing errors signal approaching end of life:

Failure Mode Description
Read errors Uncorrectable bit errors arise during reads as cells wear out
Write errors Unable to successfully program bits to worn out cells
Bad blocks Dead cells or pages that cannot retain data
Lost blocks Cause by failed erases making block inaccessible
Degraded performance Increased latency and lower speeds as more errors occur

These modes don’t appear overnight but slowly emerge over time. The SSD controller attempts to mitigate them with error correction and remapping. But eventually the number of bad cells exceeds reserve capacity leading to failure.

SSD Lifespan Estimates

So when can total SSD failure be expected? Looking at a variety of manufacturer lifespan estimates provides a rough idea:


Most consumer Intel SSDs are rated for 100 GB of writes per day for 5 years. This equals around 180 TBW (terabytes written).


Samsung SSDs have write endurance ratings from 100 TBW on lower-cost models up to 1,200 TBW for higher-end drives.

Western Digital

WD estimates their Blue SATA SSDs can write up to 400 TB before wearing out. Some models specify 225 TBW endurance.


The Seagate Barracuda SSD has a 360 TBW rating over its 5 year warranty period. Higher performance models are rated for up to 750 TBW.


Crucial MX500 consumer SSDs have endurance between 100-700 TBW depending on capacity. Severe use SSD models are rated for up to 1200 TBW.

Actual SSD Lifespans

The above manufacturer estimates are based on drive tolerances and test conditions. But analyzing large samples of consumer SSDs in real world use shows longer average usable lifespans:

Backblaze Study

Backblaze found consumer-grade SSDs lasted an average of over 6 years in their cloud storage servers before failure. Lightly used SSDs were operational for up to 10 years.

Reddit Reports

Users on tech forums like Reddit have reported running many SSDs for 7-12 years in real-world desktop/laptop use before noticing issues. However, very heavy usage may shorten these timeframes.

IT Administrator Surveys

According to polled groups of IT professionals, the majority of SSDs last beyond 5 years in business computers. Enterprise drives rated for higher endurance often exceed 10 years before replacement.

Extending SSD Lifespan

To maximize the usable service life of an SSD, consider these tips:

Monitor Wear Level

Use the SSD maker’s storage tools to periodically check the percentage of remaining flash endurance. This gives early warning before the drive wears out.

Reduce Writes

Configure OS/apps to reduce the number of writes, which amplify wear. Examples: disable hibernation, delete restore points, limit file indexing, reduce log size.

Cool SSD Temperature

Add SSD heatsink and ensure case airflow to keep drive under 70°C to prevent overheating damage.

Upgrade Firmware

Install firmware updates for the SSD to gain improvements in wear leveling, error handling, and performance.

Replace Early

For mission critical data, replace SSDs after ~5 years before probability of failure spikes.

Back Up Data

Always maintain backups of important data as a precaution against SSD or any other storage failure.


In summary, it is very unlikely for a modern SSD to abruptly fail in only 1-2 years as many people fear. Real-world surveys show the vast majority operate reliably for 5+ years, with average replacement closer to 7-10 years in typical consumer use cases. Heavy workloads that amplify writes can accelerate wear and reduce expected SSD lifespan. However, taking steps to monitor SSD health metrics and optimize operating conditions will maximize the usable service life of an SSD.