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SSD's Can Lose Data Within a Week of No Power

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    SSD's Can Lose Data Within a Week of No Power

    It's more affordable than ever to build a new PC with a solid state drive as the primary storage device, and as capacities increase, some people are using SSDs for storage chores, too. That's fine and dandy if your SSD is receiving a constant or near-constant stream of power, but should you take an SSD out of your PC and set it aside, you risk losing data, the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) warns.

    KoreLogic Security took notice of a presentation by Alvin Cox on JEDEC's website titled "JEDEC SSD Specifications Explained" (PDF), and in the presentation is information on data retention when SSDs are powered off. For consumer/client SSDS, the power-off retention period standard is one year, while enterprise SSDs have a power retention period of just three months. These can (and do) vary wildly depending on a number of different factors, including temperature.

    One of the more interesting slides is No. 27. It shows the relationship of temperature to data retention and how even just a 5C change can cut the data retention period in half. Here's a look:
    • Client SSD stored at 25C: 105 weeks
    • Client SSD stored at 30C: 52 weeks
    • Client SSD stored at 35C: 26 weeks
    • Client SSD stored at 40C: 14 weeks
    Notice that storing a client SSD at 25C (77F) results in a data retention period of just over 2 years, but if the temperature rises 5C to 30C (86F), the data retention period is halved to 1 year.
    Read more at Maximum PC

    While the "1 week" situation is an extreme you'd probably never reach (it would have to be near a fire), I found this very disturbing. It definitely cancels out any chance of me ever using a SSD as an external storage device.
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    So why does it take a third party to reveal this information? Shouldn't the manufacturer be telling us this?

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    I wouldn't bet on them knowing. Up until this test, nobody knew.
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