How to Estimate the Remaining Lifespan of Your SSD

CG Director Author Alex Glawionby Alex Glawion   /  Published 

Our storage needs are surging like never before. Whether you’re just using your PC for gaming or you own a small business, chances are high that your data keeps growing, year after year.

An IDC report suggests we’ll see the total data size across the globe grow 61% by 2025.

Annual Size of the Global Datasphere

Source: IDC

While the price of HDDs continues to drop, most have begun investing in SSDs for their storage needs.

The two biggest differences between the two are speed and durability. SSDs are superior in both those areas. Cost / TB is the only area where HDDs currently have a leg up these days.

SSDs’ durability is superior because they have no moving parts. In other words, they are not likely to be damaged by physical shocks or mechanical wear, which cannot be said for HDDs. They have spinning disks, read/write arms, and other moving parts that aren’t shock-resistant.

What Affects the lifespan of an SSD?

The fact SSDs are more resistant to physical shocks doesn’t make them perfect, though. The main culprit behind SSD failures revolves around a finite number of read/write cycles.

Flash memory can only withstand a finite number of read/write cycles. It will degrade over time and fail eventually, though certain things tend to drastically shorten its lifespan.

Here’s what can influence the lifespan of your SSD:

Operating Temperature

First: Operating temperature. The safe maximum recommended temperature limit for both hard drives and solid-state drives is around 70 Celsius.

An M.2 SSD Might Need A Heatsink If

Source: Samsung

If their temperature exceeds 70C for a prolonged period of time, you’re risking premature drive failure.

However, such high temperatures are extremely rare for SSDs. In most cases, their temperature will fluctuate between 25 to 45C. A bit higher than that if you’re transferring a lot of data back and forth, packing or stacking them tightly in closed storage configs, or just generally neglecting adequate ventilation and cooling.

But, if your SSD temperatures are constantly above 50°C, it may be cause for concern. In such a case, do check your computer’s airflow.

Memory Type and Read/Write Cycles

Your SSD interface (NVMe, SATA) and form factor ( 2.5”, M.2, mSATA, U.2) don’t influence longevity all that much. Longevity depends on things like TBW (total bytes written) and MTBF (mena-time-between-failure), both of which I’ll discuss a bit later.

But, there are differences regarding different types of NAND flash memory, and their respective read/write cycles.

NAND Flash can only endure a limited number of write cycles. These processes cause damage to the oxide layer, which traps electrons in the cell.

Cheap NAND flash storage devices from no-name brands can have poor chips, which wear out incredibly quickly. Quality chips that come in high-end SLC SSDs last much longer without any signs of performance reduction or degradation.

Here’s a quick comparison between SLC, MLC, TLC, and QLC, as well as their standard and 3D NAND variations:

NAND Type2D NAND Endurance (cycles)3D NAND Endurance (cycles)
Single-level cell (SLC)50,000 to 100,000Not Available
Multi-level cell (MLC)Standard: 3,000

Enterprise MLC: 10,000
30,000 to 35,000
Triple-level cell (TLC)300 to 1,0001,500 to 3,000
Quadruple-level cell (QLC)Not available150 to 1,000

In short, the higher the number of bits per NAND flash memory cell, the lower the cost per GB is. However, with it, both the longevity and reliability of the device’s storage cells are severely reduced as well.

Power Fluctuations

Sudden power surges or outages can easily damage SSDs. Because you can’t directly prevent power outages, your best bet is to keep tabs on scheduled power network maintenance or invest in an uninterruptable power supply.

The latter acts like a short-term battery, giving you ample time to properly shut down your PC after a power loss. This doesn’t just help increase the longevity of your storage devices but can greatly reduce the risk of data loss during such events.

What is the Average Lifespan of an SSD?

Let’s talk average lifespan of your typical SSDs and how they compare to HDDs:

Average Lifespan of SSDs vs. HDDs

One of the key differences between SSDs and HDDs is their average lifespan. For HDDs, the average lifespan is 3 to 5 years due to their many moving parts that tend to degrade over time.

Hard Disk Drive vs Solid State Drive - How do they work

SSDs store data on memory cells without the necessity of any mechanically moving parts. They are entirely solid (hence the name) and highly resistant to physical shocks, which is why they have a much longer life expectancy.

For SSDs, the lifespan averages between 5 to 10 years.

Of course, these numbers depend on a wide variety of factors like the type of SSD, type of memory, and amount of use.

And because there are too many variables to make an educated guess of what you may be working with, here’s how you can check this yourself:

How to Check & Estimate the Remaining Lifespan of your SSD

Checking SSD Lifespan with CrystalDiskInfo

Checking the health status of your SSDs is easy with a program like CrystalDiskInfo.

These programs read out and list your drives’ S.M.A.R.T. (self-monitoring, analysis, and reporting technology) attributes and give you a closer look at where exactly your SSD is in its lifecycle.


Here’s which SMART values are most crucial to estimating your SSDs health:

  • Health status
    • If it’s anything other than good, you should start thinking about doing a backup and buying a new drive.
  • Current temperature
    • The drive’s current operating temperature. CrystalDiskInfo also allows you to set alarms should your drives exceed a certain temp.
  • Total host reads/writes
    • This tells you the total read and write cycles processed by the drive so far.
  • Power on count and hours
    • POC tells you how many times your drive was powered up. POH tells you the total count of hours in power-on state.

TBW and MTBF Hours

First of all, let’s address the abbreviations:

  • TBW – total bytes written or terabytes written
  • MTBF – mean time between failures

You can think of TBW as endurance, and it’s often stated on the product’s spec sheet or the packaging. This number tells you how much data the drive will most likely be able to read and write over its lifetime. It’s an educated guess by the SSD manufacturer based on experiments and long-term tests of their products.

TBW depends on memory/cell types and SSD types.

MTBF, on the other hand, is a rough estimate of how much time it will take for the given drive to fail. Mean time between failures typically ranges from 100,000 hours to 1 million+ hours.

It’s calculated by dividing the hours a drive spent in power-on state by the number of times it failed. When looking at new SSDs to buy, examining the MTBF is crucial for understanding its life expectancy and quality.

But, don’t let these terms and numbers scare you. First of all, these are just estimates. Plus, even if you’re an enthusiast, you’ll be hard-pressed to fill up your drive’s TBW before its warranty ends.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Your SSDs?

If you have a lot of sensitive data on an SSD and you want to keep it up and running for as long as possible, here’s what you can do to extend its lifespan:

Avoid Filling it Completely

Completely filling your SSD won’t just shorten its lifespan but may also cause slowdowns and stability issues.

A rule of thumb is to leave at least 25% to 30% of your SSD storage space empty. This is to ensure a technology called “wear leveling” can do its thing.

Wear Leveling

Source: SmartM

Because some types of SSDs also use free storage space as a cache, a full drive can severely decrease performance.

Avoid Power Outages

Power outages aren’t something you can control. Sure, you can keep your tabs on scheduled maintenance hours and keep your PC turned off., but you can never be 100% sure you’ll avoid every power outage.

A simple solution for this is to get yourself an Uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Its sole purpose is to keep your computer running for a short time after suffering power loss.

This will give you enough time to save any work you’ve done and shut it done like you normally would.

Avoid high temperatures

Avoid temperatures above 50° Celsius for a prolonged period of time, also if the SSD is not actively being used. Even though most modern SSDs can handle up to 70°C, the higher the temperature, the shorter the memory’s lifespan.

SSDs tend to heat up when reading and writing data. But, if they’re idle and their temperature doesn’t drop, you should look closely and see what’s wrong.

The best way to keep them nice and cool is to ensure proper airflow and make sure there’s no malware running in the background.

Over To You

We’re all done with our guide on estimating the remaining lifespan of SSDs. What are your thoughts on the subject?

Have you checked the health status of your solid-state drives? Are they healthy or will you be forced to create an update soon, just in case? Leave a comment below or on our forum and let me know if you have any other questions.

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Alex Glawion

Hi, I’m Alex, a Freelance 3D Generalist, Motion Designer and Compositor.

I’ve built a multitude of Computers, Workstations and Renderfarms and love to optimize them as much as possible.

Feel free to comment and ask for suggestions on your PC-Build or 3D-related Problem, I’ll do my best to help out!


Also check out our Forum for feedback from our Expert Community.

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