OK, so while browsing for tips on how to get an achievement, I read a thread that said the always online “ironman mode” of EU4, necessary to earn achievements could be bad for SSD, because it is constantly overwriting a single ~40 megabyte save file which syncs with the Steam cloud when the player quits the game. This is bad because SSD have a lifespan based on the amount of material saved on it, and this amount of file saving could shorten its lifespan significantly.
So, I am a bit concerned. Does this undoubtedly not technically worded concern sound reasonable to anyone? Because I could make sure the save file is on my storage HD instead.
I am using a Crucial m4 SSD with about 250 gigs on it.
Moreover, most modern SSDs (last 2-3 years at least) and OSes (W7, OSX 10.whateverthefuck, etc.) enable various forms of drive protection to do things like write-leveling (e.g., write to each portion of the drive once before re-writing any portion of it, to the best of the drive’s ability) that enormously extend the lifespan of the drive.
Or, if things from previous generations of SSDs hold true, you’re way more likely to lose the drive to a dead controller or massive corruption caused by bad power loss-handling than from writing a critical number of sectors “to death.”
I had a terrible scare during the recent Southeastern US Snowpocalypse. Lost power for ~4 hours, but it was prefaced by a couple of minutes of violent blinking during which I struggled to dig through cables and unplug the PC. When everything came back on in the early morning and I tried to start the PC, it didn’t see my SSD. Rebooted. Still didn’t see it. Unplugged everything and re-plugged in the SSD’s power and data cables. Still nothing. Switched power cables with another SATA device. Nothing.
I stepped away in panic for about an hour, during which time mystical fairy gremlins corrected whatever the problem was, for on the next boot attempt, my mobo again saw the SSD.
. . . I haven’t shut down since, and I’m terrified to since I can’t afford a new boot drive :-/
I think SSD writing is done in multiple stages, which ensure an “even” spread of writes to unused and modified space:
first, mark old content as ready for removal;
next, write new content to unused space (if available);
finally, erase marked for removal data (garbage collection) during down time - this is TRIM; previously, this was only done when the block was needed for a rewrite later on, which caused write speed degradation.
So the single 40MB file writes are spread over all available content, which on a 256GB drive is equal to 256 binary GB (space om memory chips) minus 256 decimal GB (advertised on the box), which comes out to 16GB or something, plus the available capacity in Windows. Not a problem.
Alternatively, take a look at the SSD endurance test at TechReport: they’ve rewritten entire drives more than 2000 times now, and all participating drives are fully functional. So, even if the 40MB were always overwriting itself, which it isn’t, it wouldn’t be a problem.