Warning: Your SSD will slow down like a 3.5-inch floppy

Did you know that solid state drives could suffer from fragmentation and slowdowns? SSDs are basically huge chunks of ultrafast flash memory designed for massive data storage. There are no moving parts but as you read and write to the disks, the quality and speed degrades over time.

Because they’re fairly new, not much is known about how they will react to prolonged use. While SSD OEMs tout the speed and convenience, there is little proof that that speed will remain constant.

The good news is that after an initial dip in performance, SSDs tend to level off, according to Eden Kim, chairman of the Solid State Storage Initative’s Consumer SSD Market Development Task Force. Even if they do drop in performance over time — undercutting a manufacturer’s claims — consumer flash drives are still vastly faster than traditional hard drives, because they can perform two to five times the input/ouput operations (I/Os) per second of a hard drive, he said.

Is it a big deal? Probably not. A second or two here or there won’t kill your Quake session. However, for heavy duty servers SSDs might be a bit of a risk.