Poor man’s SSD: Test results

Well, for the past 17 days, for 24 hours a day, I’ve been running dban on a compact flash card, in hopes of finding it’s weak point, making it crack, and watching it go boom.

And I have nothing to report. No failures, no issues, no faults. Nothing caught fire, sizzled down to a puddle of plastic or even stopped responding to orders. It ran as instructed, then ended with a smile, asking for more.

How disappointing. :|

The drive size is still reported the same, there are no bad blocks, and I had no consistency or validation errors. Data rates ranged from 5775Kbps to 11900Kbps, depending on when and where it was writing or reading.


What can I say? Sound as a pound.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it won’t go screwy the next time I turn it on. Component failure is just an ugly reality that there’s no circumventing, really.

The CF card I have in my main Pentium machine has been in use for months now without a hiccup, but certainly suffered less stress than the second. And I have no guarantee it will work tomorrow.

I have had two or three hard drive crashes in as many years, and some of those drives were only a year or two old. And I have some that date back to 1997, which are still working — slowly and noisily, yes, but working.

I think what I’m trying to say is, if there is a limit, I didn’t bump up against it. After 400-plus hours of constant reading and writing, reading and writing, I didn’t see a failure.

Personally, I can comfortably put that into the day-to-day use category without worrying about it degrading or crashing or shrinking or spitting out errors. I would suggest that the myth is just a myth.

If something happens to it from this point on, I can only ascribe that to the same bad luck that killed the other drives. I won’t blame it on the medium if it does.

It’ll just be fate. :)

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13 Responses to “Poor man’s SSD: Test results”

  1. 1 bpalone 2010/09/18 at 10:52 AM

    Glad to hear that it went without a hitch.

    I have been wondering, how a SDHC card would hold up with an adapter to the CF card. They are more plentiful in the run of the mill shops, such as Walmart or Office Max. Any thoughts, would be appreciated.

    I might have to spend a few bucks and try it.

    Anyway, again, I’m glad your experiment turned out as it did. Makes me breath a little easier when I get the point of needing an IDE replacement.

  2. 2 bryan 2010/09/18 at 2:18 PM

    Well, you’ve gotten another convert. Should the HDD ever go out on this netbook, I know what I’ll be doing. (though I suspect that I’ll need a CF-to-SATA connector, but those don’t look too much more expensive)

  3. 3 Calvin 2010/09/18 at 8:05 PM

    You’ve inspired me, I’m gonna do this to an old PC I have.

  4. 4 ajlec2000 2010/09/19 at 12:02 AM

    You are a pioneer.

    From what I’ve read there can be quite a quality variance among flash media manufacturers. If memory serves me right (pardon the pun{s?}) San-disk and Toshiba have high quality standards whereas PNY and Kingston purchase their’s from a variety of manufacturers resulting in variance in their quality. I’ve had PNY’s fail right out of the package. Yet a PNY that was my first ever flash still works fine.

  5. 5 aa 2010/09/19 at 5:25 PM

    Did it take 16 days to complete?!

  6. 6 steve 2010/09/19 at 6:01 PM

    Great stuff :)
    Must get me a CF card soon to have a totally solid-state webserver from 1998 ;)

  7. 7 Luca 2010/09/26 at 11:17 PM

    I’m glad to hear this :) If you want to go even crazier you might want to try this, it holds three CF cards!


  8. 9 canthus13 2011/01/01 at 7:43 AM

    Here’s some REAL retro hardware updated with CF….


  1. 1 Three steps to instant cool « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/09/22 at 8:58 AM
  2. 2 Some audio success « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/11/14 at 5:16 PM
  3. 3 Poor man’s SSD: No news is no news « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2011/03/05 at 8:32 AM
  4. 4 Poor man’s SSD: Confusion and disappointment « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2011/04/29 at 3:53 PM

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Some recent desktops

May 6, 2011
Musca 0.9.24 on Crux Linux
150Mhz Pentium 96Mb 8Gb CF

May 14, 2011
IceWM 1.2.37 and Arch Linux
L2300 core duo 3Gb 320Gb

Some recent games

Apr. 21, 2011
Oolite on Xubuntu 11.04
L2300 core duo 3Gb 320Gb

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