Solid state drives (SSDs) appear to be as unreliable as traditional hard disks. In fact, they're marginally less reliable: Taken as an average across models, 2.05 percent of SSDs got returned as non-functioning, compared to 1.94 percent of hard disks.
That's according to French hardware review and optimization site Hardware.fr, in its report into hardware reliability.
[ Are your storage requirements out of control? Then start by eliminating data redundancy. InfoWorld contributor Keith Schultz lays it all out in our Deep Dive Report on Data Deduplication. ]
Given free access to an unnamed online retailer's sales and returns database, it was able to measure the failure rates of hardware sold between October 2009 and April 2010. The data was sampled in October just passed, giving a maximum potential usage period of 12 months.
This time around, hard disks appear to have slipped a little in reliability compared to the previous survey six months ago, when the failure rate was 1.63 percent. In other words, the difference might have been even greater. (This is the first month for which Hardware.fr has statistics on SSDs.)
Solid state disks rely on flash memory chips and contain no moving or magnetic parts, unlike with traditional hard disks. Therefore it's always been assumed they should be much more reliable in the short to mid-term, although all flash memory has a finite life span that's shorter than that of hard disk counterparts.
Of the five traditional hard disks manufacturers included in the survey--Maxtor, Western Digital, Seagate, Samsung, and Hitachi--only one had a higher failure rate than that of the worst-performing solid state disk brand--SSDs from OCZ saw 2.93 percent failure returns, against Hitachi's 3.39 percent.
Intel's SSDs came out best, with just 0.59 percent failure rates.
When it comes to RAM, it perhaps comes as no surprise that high-performance modules see the highest returns. These rely on state-of-the-art components that are then pushed to the very limit of what they're capable of. However, the failure rates for the worst offenders are massive, with more than one in 10 modules proving faulty.
In the top spots for individual memory product returns are a staggering 15.08 percent failure rate for the Corsair, and a better but still worrying 11.28 percent rate for the OCZ module.
Taken as brand averages, Corsair fares better. OCZ is by far the worst with 6.76 percent failure rate, followed by second-place G.Skill, with 2.73 percent. Corsair comes out third taken as a whole, with just 1.41 percent of its modules failing.
Elsewhere there are fewer surprises. Motherboards and graphics cards from virtually every manufacturer seem to average a failure rate of up to 3 percent, while power supplies offer a little more variation, with rates up to 3.3 percent. If you're looking for an ultrareliable power supply purchase, the Thermaltake EVO Blue 550W had zero returns, according to the survey.