What is a good TBW for SSD?

SSD endurance refers to how much data can be written to an SSD before it fails. It is commonly measured in terabytes written (TBW) which indicates the total amount of data that can be written to the SSD over its lifetime under warranty.

SSD endurance is important because SSDs have a limited lifespan unlike traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). The NAND flash memory cells that SSDs use can only withstand a finite number of write/erase cycles before beginning to fail. Therefore, SSD endurance gives you an estimate of how long the SSD should reasonably last before replacement is required.

There are several factors that affect SSD endurance including the quality of NAND flash, SSD controller, over-provisioning, and write amplification. Higher quality components generally lead to better endurance ratings. Over-provisioning improves endurance by avoiding excessive writes to any one block of NAND. Write amplification should be minimized to reduce unnecessary writes.

In summary, SSD endurance ratings like TBW provide an approximate guide for the usable lifespan of the SSD. However, many factors impact real-world endurance so it is best used directionally.

How SSDs Wear Out

SSDs wear out over time through repeated program/erase cycles. Each memory cell in an SSD can only handle a limited number of program/erase cycles before it becomes unreliable. This limit is typically around 3,000-10,000 cycles for MLC and TLC NAND flash.

Several factors contribute to SSD wear:

  • Program/erase cycles – Each time data is written to a cell, it must be erased first. This gradually wears down the cell’s endurance.

  • Write amplification – Due to the way SSDs handle writes, the actual number of program/erase cycles is multiplied, leading to faster wear. This write amplification is 5-20x for typical workloads.

  • Garbage collection – The SSD controller periodically performs garbage collection to reclaim unused space and compact data. This involves copying data and erasing cells, which consumes program/erase cycles.

  • Wear leveling – To distribute writes evenly, SSDs dynamically remap logical blocks to different physical locations. This increases endurance but also requires moving data around, using up program/erase cycles.

All of these processes are necessary for an SSD to operate efficiently, but they result in substantially more program/erase cycles than the actual host writes. This accelerated wear reduces the lifespan of the SSD.

What is Terabytes Written (TBW)

TBW stands for Terabytes Written, and it refers to the total amount of data that can be written to an SSD before it is likely to fail or lose significant performance. SSD manufacturers use TBW ratings to indicate the endurance or expected lifespan of a solid state drive.

The TBW rating is calculated by the manufacturer based on extensive component testing. It estimates how much data can be written to every block or cell on the SSD over its lifetime before those cells start to wear out and become unreliable. A higher TBW generally indicates an SSD is built with higher quality NAND flash memory and controller components, allowing it to withstand more writes before failure.

TBW ratings can vary greatly between different SSD models and form factors. Lower-capacity basic SSDs may be rated for 100-300 TBW, while high-performance NVMe SSDs can exceed 1500+ TBW. Even within the same product line, higher capacity models often have higher TBW ratings because the writes can be distributed across more NAND cells. The workload type, like read/write mix, can also impact endurance.

Typical TBW Ratings

SSD TBW ratings can vary greatly depending on the type and quality of the drive. Consumer-grade SSDs generally have lower endurance ratings ranging from 50-600 TBW, while enterprise-grade drives boast ratings in the thousands or even millions of TBW (1). Older generations of SSDs had much lower endurance, often less than 100 TBW, but technological advancements have greatly improved lifespan over the years (2).

For example, a typical 240GB SSD may be rated for 70 TBW, meaning it can handle writing 70TB of data over its lifetime before wearing out. Higher capacity consumer SSDs around 500GB may be rated for 150-300 TBW. On the enterprise side, an 800GB data center SSD could be rated for 1,700 TBW or higher (3).

In general, higher endurance SSDs utilize more advanced NAND flash memory and controller technologies to extend the drive’s lifespan. They also often have higher levels of overprovisioning, reserving more spare area for wear leveling and bad block management (1). As SSD technology matures, TBW ratings are steadily improving across all market segments.


(1) https://www.enterprisestorageforum.com/hardware/ssd-lifespan-how-long-will-your-ssd-work/

(2) https://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/comments/a5w6r1/how_much_gb_per_day_is_your_ssd_writing/

(3) https://www.androidauthority.com/what-is-ssd-tbw-rating-meaning-3355987/

Factors Affecting TBW

There are several key factors that affect an SSD’s TBW rating and overall endurance:

Drive Capacity

SSDs with higher capacities generally have higher TBW ratings. This is because the writes are spread across more NAND flash memory cells, reducing wear on each individual cell (Western Digital). A 1TB SSD will typically last longer than a 512GB model.


The type of NAND flash used impacts endurance. For example, TLC NAND is less durable than MLC NAND, while SLC NAND offers the highest endurance. However, TLC NAND has become more reliable over generations. Overall, newer NAND flash technologies last longer (ATP).


SSDs with higher over-provisioning ratios, meaning more spare area set aside for replacing worn-out cells, tend to have better endurance. Over-provisioning allows for more sophisticated wear leveling algorithms (Western Digital).


Heavy write workloads that repeatedly overwrite the same cells will wear out an SSD faster. Light read-centric workloads have minimal impact on endurance (SalvageData). The specific use case makes a big difference.

Estimating Your SSD’s Lifespan

The lifespan of an SSD is largely determined by its terabytes written (TBW) rating. This specifies how much data can be written to the drive before performance starts to deteriorate. To estimate how long an SSD will last based on its TBW rating, you need to know two things:

1. The drive’s TBW rating
2. The average amount of data written to the drive per day

For example, let’s say you have a 1TB SSD with a TBW rating of 600. This means the drive is warrantied to handle 600TB of writes before wear-out. If you write 10GB per day on average, you can calculate lifespan as:

SSD Lifespan = TBW rating / Daily writes
= 600TB / 10GB

= 60,000 days
= 164 years

So in this example, the 600 TBW rating equals an estimated lifespan of 164 years with 10GB daily writes. Most consumer SSDs last 3-5 years under normal use. Heavy workloads with huge writes per day will wear out a drive faster.1

There are online SSD lifespan calculators that estimate remaining life based on TBW rating and daily usage. But these are rough guidelines, as actual lifespan depends on write amplification, workload, and other factors.2 Still, the TBW rating provides a useful starting point for gauging SSD endurance.

Improving SSD Endurance

There are several ways to help improve the lifespan and endurance of your SSD drive:


Over-provisioning refers to leaving a portion of the SSD’s storage capacity unallocated. This allows the drive to spread out writes across more NAND flash cells, reducing wear. Most SSDs have some built-in over-provisioning, but you can increase it yourself through disk utility tools. According to CNET, over-provisioning by just 7% can double the lifespan of an SSD.

Limiting writes

The more you write data to your SSD, the faster it will wear out. Limiting unnecessary file writes can help preserve endurance. For example, disable features like search indexing or defragging that result in excessive writes. Also move temporary files like browser caches and downloads folders to a separate regular hard drive.

Firmware updates

Installing firmware updates from your SSD manufacturer can optimize performance and introduce new wear leveling algorithms to increase endurance. Firmware updates may also enable new SSD health monitoring capabilities.

Disk health monitoring

Tools like SSDLife can track important SSD health indicators like total data written, wear level, and remaining endurance. Monitoring this data can help you identify issues early and know when an SSD is reaching the end of its usable life.

When to Replace an SSD

There are several signs that indicate it may be time to replace an SSD due to wear or potential failure:

One sign is a significant drop in performance, including slower boot times, file transfers, and program launches. This happens as more cells wear out and the drive has to work harder to write data. According to one Reddit user, if performance drops substantially, it’s best to replace the drive soon to avoid potential data loss.

Another indication is an increase in bad sectors. Tools like CrystalDiskInfo can check for reallocated sectors, pending sectors, and uncorrectable errors – all signs that regions of the SSD are failing. As bad sectors spread, the risk of failure rises.

Excessively high wear levels, such as over 80%, suggest the drive is nearing its end of life, though some experts say an SSD can safely operate until wear drops to the single digits. Wear level can be checked with tools like Samsung Magician.

Lastly, if the drive stops working entirely, with errors or the inability to boot, it must be replaced. At this point, data may only be recoverable via professional recovery services.

While SSDs can often exceed their rated lifespan, keeping an eye on performance, bad sectors, and wear levels can indicate when replacement should be considered. Backing up important data is also essential in case of sudden failure.

Comparing Endurance of SSDs

When looking at SSD endurance, terabytes written (TBW) is the most common specification provided by manufacturers. However, TBW doesn’t tell the whole story. Other important endurance factors to consider include:

Drive writes per day (DWPD) – This metric estimates how many full drive writes per day an SSD can withstand during its warranty period. A higher DWPD rating indicates better endurance.1

P/E cycles – The number of program/erase cycles an SSD’s NAND flash memory can endure before failure. More cycles generally means better endurance.

Warranty length – A longer warranty period suggests the manufacturer has more confidence in the SSD’s endurance. Consumer SSDs often have 3-5 year warranties while data center drives may have 5 year or longer warranties.

When choosing the most durable SSD for your needs, consider factors like workload intensity, capacity, and warranty length. For write-intensive uses like video editing or database applications, choose an SSD with higher endurance ratings. Consumer PCIe 4.0 and NVMe SSDs in the 1-2TB range often provide a good balance of capacity, performance, and endurance for most users.

The Future of SSD Endurance

While current SSDs already offer excellent endurance, lifespan is likely to continue improving with emerging technologies. One of the most promising advancements is 3D NAND flash memory. Unlike previous planar NAND, 3D NAND stacks memory cells vertically in layers. This allows for greater density and data storage capacity in a smaller footprint (CNET).

Higher density directly translates to improved endurance. With more memory cells in the same space, each cell can be accessed less frequently during writes. This reduces overall wear and extends lifespan. Early tests show 3D NAND lasting over 2x longer than planar NAND before wear-out (Pits Data Recovery).

Manufacturers are also using higher quality materials like Silicon Carbide (SiC) instead of the traditional silicon. SiC withstands heat better and reduces electrical leakage, boosting endurance and reliability. Controller algorithms are becoming more advanced as well, dynamically distributing writes across the SSD to prevent uneven wear of cells.

These technologies point to SSD lifespans reaching new heights over the next decade. Continued innovation will likely push average TBW ratings beyond 2,000 in the coming years, making SSDs even more durable and long-lasting storage solutions.