M1 Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear

I think a lot of people can’t interpret those numbers they saw.
I hope Apple can use this publicity to add some health monitoring to macOS for the disks.

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Much of it is likely because their selling them with to low amount of RAM. The Arm Mac is no magic it needs no less ram than other computers, image takes same amount in ram no matter what thee CPU is, integer is same amount of bytes, etc. Only way to accomplish lower need for RAM is fast SSD and swapping more out on the SSD = More wear and tear.

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That could be very bad news for Apple. With everything integrated into a single chip, some simple issues can cause a nightmare. Was that the right way ? Future will tell.

The excessive swapping is a software issue, compounded by decisions that the company has taken to improve profits.

There are several things that I think the company can do to help alleviate this.

  1. Reduce the 5x markup on Apple’s RAM prices, so more people can afford the 16GB version.
  2. Stop shipping flaky OS updates once a year, spend more time bug fixing and optimizing the OS (I know that’s boring).
  3. Refactor the OS and Safari to reduce memory and/or disk usage.
  4. Strip out the colossal amount of Apple helper apps, that are constantly vying for CPU and memory, especially when 90% of them do NOT need to be running 24/7.
  5. Stop waking the machine from sleep every few hours to phone home, for the various helpers and services.
  6. Revert back to user replaceable drives, so whole machine doesn’t have to be tossed when the SSD is worn out.

What I expect will happen is this.

  1. Problem affects a small number of customers (like the Butterfly keyboards).
  2. A couple of quick fixes, that will make the problem seem less evident (like when they removed the estimated time remaining from the battery menuitem).
  3. It will be forgotten about in the next 6 months.
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A few years? How is that different from what’s been happening for the past decade? Terrible keyboard, terrible batteries, and now SSD problems. It’s fairly obvious from Apple’s iPhone marketing, that they want to sell you a new phone every two years. It looks like they’re doing the same with the computers. I definitely won’t be buying another MacBook Pro. I’ll probably look at getting some kind of desktop Mac when my current MBP dies. As for portable computing, I’m a happy convert to Ubuntu on a PC laptop.

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It is a very interesting debate to have here. There are pros and cons for each direction.

When the components are integrated, it offers the following benefits.

  1. Speed.
  2. Reduced cost.
  3. Reduced enclosure space requirement.

When the components are socketed.

  1. Machine can be upgraded as user sees fit.
  2. Easier to replace failing components.
  3. On complete failure, working components can be salvaged and reused.

I LOVE speed and acceleration, but I feel we should be putting more attention on the environment.

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Well, with my M1 MBP I’m glad I maxed out the RAM and storage. Hopefully, with all that room, wear-leveling will save me.

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It WOULD and COULD be an interesting debate if all the trolling and Apple bashing would stop and people would try to share relevant information (did anyone read the AppleInsider article? On modern SSDs you can write a whole SSD worth of data each day for 10 years before it wears out, plus the apps used to read the Smart data are not exactly reliable) - but I just do’t see that happening.

So it is nice that you are one of the few voices of reason, but those are few and far between …

Btw: anyone remember FireFox doing excessive writing to the SSD?

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Lol… I’ve never been called that before. Especially as I do feel this situation is exaggerated by a certain company’s “business” choices.

There is without a doubt that SSDs are FAR more resilient than spinning drives, yet they do still have a lifespan and one day, your SSD will be dead as a door-nail, pushing up the daisies and so on.

Lest not we forget that this isn’t the first issue that Apple has experienced with their non-repairable laptops, which I believe is a factor compounding concern.

When the SSD dies, that entire logic board / bottom half of the laptop is trash. My last keyboard replacement had the marked cost of $70 (USD) less than a brand new MacBook Air.

I completely agree that fixing things like RAM, SSD, etc on the motherboard is undesirable. Even more so since I got my classic Mac Pro 5,1 - fantastic machine (and I look forward to the Mac Pro Mini).

I got my father a Mac Pro 5,1 too, upgraded to a 3,47 GHz HexaCore Xeon, 64 GB of RAM, 2 TB SSD, 4 TB HD. He hated it. The button to switch it on was difficult for him to reach, especially as my mother kept pushing it behind his computer desk (“It’s in the way when I mop the floor!”).

In the end I got my father an iMac again (integrated monitor and SSD) and everyone was happy.

As for SSD reliability - I had it twice that a 2 TB SSD (Samsung I think) could no longer be recognized and appeared dead as a door nail. There was a reset procedure that was working just fine - didn’t loose any data as far as I can tell.

Are you sure it’s a Samsung ? They are pretty good and warranty is 5 years, pretty good for consumer grade drive.

Talking of unrecognized drives, there is an old issue with external drives in the Finder that has been there for a while. Suddenly Finder can’t reliably display the contents of these drives. That drives me nuts. For example you have a drive dedicated to TimeMachine, you check once in a while that backups are done and realize that for the last few days they are missing . . . but that’s not true. You have to go to a different directory and get back to TimeMachine directory and sometimes it works. When it don’t you need to unmount the drive, remount it - needing to unplug it and plug it back. Then voilà the files are there. When, just when will Apple wil repair the Finder :rage:.

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This issue was also reported with 16 GB M1 models.

Here is a German article on the topic that I read a couple of days ago:

https://www.golem.de/news/mac-mini-und-macbook-air-nein-die-ssds-von-m1-macs-gehen-nicht-schneller-kaputt-2102-154459.html

However, there is a problem: The read and write values measured by the community are mostly provided by third-party applications that read out the smart values of the SSD and summarize them in statistics.

The approach is not wrong, but the read values seem to be inconsistent. Such software obviously outputs wrong values regarding the operating hours. A community member has been using his Mac Mini daily in his home office since the end of November. Nevertheless, only 95 operating hours are displayed.
Wrong Smart values for the Apple M1?

In another example, Smart values are posted where 256 power cycles come up for 191 operating hours. That would mean that the Mac Mini was turned on and off more than once an hour on average in this case. That is not impossible, but hardly likely in a practical scenario.

My conclusion is potentially one of the following.

  1. There is a new CEO who cares about the products.
  2. Apple decides it needs to make good on the accumulated technical debt of the last 8 or so years.

Pretty sure. They are actually not that good on Macs - their software is atrocious or non-existent (no Magician software for Macs so I considered putting it into my PC to test it with the Samsung software), but then I found the reset procedure on some other site.

And as for their firmware … I have a 1 TB m.2 NVME 970 Evo Plus SSD here that was supposed to go into my MacBook Air last year as I was running out of space, but the Mac doesn’t recognise it even though it was sold as Mac compatible. Turns out it’s Firmware needs updating before it is being recognised - I was told to put it into a PC to update it :man_facepalming: but my PC doesn’t have an m.2 slot (it’s from 2012).

I know that I should be able to write the updater ISO to a USB stick and start from there to do the update - but it still tells me it can’t find an SSD to update, so now I’m looking for a cheap PCI-E NVME card for my Mac Pro and/or my PC.

In my opinion Samsung is a pretty crappy company (and that the most temperature sensitive parts are at the hottest place in their TVs is probably not a coincidence).

On the other hand: never a problem with Crucial SSDs (have a 750 GB MX300 and a 2 TB MX500 in my Mac Pro - the Samsung 2 TB one I sold with my father’s Mac Pro).

Btw just started DriveDX - the 750 GB MX300 allegedly has run for 506 hours but has been turned on 3,696 times - considering I had it since Dec 2016 (early Xmas present for myself) and it is running pretty much every day for 8-14 hours I wouldn’t trust those Smart values either (though the power on resets could be true if it counts waking up from sleep too).

Once? What about the same cells 100 times on each day? Don’t let your love for a brand blind you. There’s no “error in software calculating statistics”, the info presented comes direct from the hardware, the SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) and the hardware informs you their estimations based on the real values and current technology IN there. So the lifespan of one SSD brand can differ from another one. The SSD will inform you.
My position? Wait and see Apple vs experts checking the facts that they will bring us later.
Again, don’t make assumptions using your machine as benchmark, we are talking about a problem found isolated on the new M1 hardware.

Ever heard of “wear leveling”? Maybe read up a bit on how SSDs actually work?

And my own SSD might not be in an M1 Mac, but the Smart data read out is still wrong. That is not an assumption, that is a fact.

Maybe a bit less hype and trolling would be advisable.

Yes, I know. I have more than 30 years in IT tech, including hardware tech. I even authored some disk drivers in the past for proprietary OSs. So, I believe I have enough knowledge to suspect that something wrong may be going on.

If you have some weird behavior from the software, like this being accused, that keeps writing all the time the SSD, like memory swaps, we may have multiple free blocks writings until they are exhausted and “wrap arounds” with “start overs” will occur and same blocks, used before, will suffer new writes, on the same day, and such fast wearing will occur.