Destruction of SD card?

I read somewhere (forgotten where) yesterday that the SD card in a
RPi malfunctions because log files (which nobody reads anyway)
wear out the write count on the card and so one has to keep
a stock of SD cards to hands with the OS already on.
How true is this?
Reply to
Areligious Republican
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Am 23.10.2019 um 14:51 schrieb Areligious Republican:
Yep, and Tesla has the same problem ...
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Reply to
DeepCore
I've had my Pi 3B+ with a fairly bog-standard Sandisk card running for about 18 months. In addition to normal OS usage, there's also data being written every few seconds. That's worked fine. I only had one failure to boot, after a graceful shutdown, when something became corrupted. I reformatted the card and CHKDSKed it (as FAT32) and no faults were found. Having copied NOOBS onto it and installed Raspbian again and set everything up again, the card is still in use. However every month or so I shut the Pi down, and take a new disc image in case I need to restore the Pi to its initial state (ie factory build of Raspbian with all my later mods and installations of packages). I've never (yet!) had to rely on one of those safety disk images, but at least I'd be up and running a bit quicker than if I had to reinstall from scratch.
I *could* have used the SD card for writing large video files from the PVR software that I use, but I decided to write those to a USB spinning disk rather than to SD, partly to reduce the large number of writes and partly because I didn't want to fill up 32 GB very quickly.
Over the past few months there have been a lot of non-graceful shutdowns due to power glitches (crap mains supply to the village) and the Pi has always been up and running again within a couple of minutes. If things don't improve, I may need to get a UPS to drive the Pi and router, to cover 2-second outages which are just long enough to make everything reboot. I think only once has there been a longer break than a couple of seconds, and that was about 10 minutes: long enough for me to start feeling my way through an unfamiliar house (we'd only moved in a couple of weeks earlier) in the pitch black to the bedroom where I knew there was a torch.
Reply to
NY
You will never wear out a uSD card from writing to it. From the SanDisk SD Card Product Manual.
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Knute Johnson
Reply to
Knute Johnson
an SD
capacity)
year.
That's not heavy use... I had a Pi with camera that took a 1920x1080 still every thirty seconds and added a text overlay and created thumbnails. Every 6 hours it made a timelapse video of the previous 24 hours of stills. 8 GB SD card could just about hold 3 days of stills and the time lapse. Card became un-writeable after about 6 weeks. Tried moving the image store to a USB stick, that died in a similar amount of time.
practical
Which is probably correct with their definition of heavy use...
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Cheers 
Dave.
Reply to
Dave Liquorice
Op 23-10-2019 om 14:51 schreef Areligious Republican:
There was a bug in debian 7 or 6 that resulted in continue writings to the log files in 2014/2015 , it is nearly 2020 now and debian is already at version 10 and that bug resolved.
Greatings Tycho
Reply to
tycho
Careful. That document dates from 2004, when single-bit-per-cell devices were all that was available. The most recent cards are 4-bit-per-cell and with cell sizes much smaller to increase the capacity per chip. I believe that around 1000 writes per cell is all that can be expected nowadays.
However like many others, I have never had an SD card fail. I have one which has been in constant use for about 4 years as a Pi system disk.
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Dave
Reply to
Dave
A 32GB card written to 1000 times is 32TB. Write 1 million bytes per second to the card, 24/7/365 is 31.536 trillion bytes. So at a million bytes per second the card will last a year. At only a thousand bytes per second the card will last a thousand years. Unless you are doing something really strange you aren't going to write to it that much.
But I had a thought, I'm going to get a new card and set up a Pi on a UPS and write to it as fast as I can till it dies. It won't really tell us much but it could be interesting anyway.
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Knute Johnson
Reply to
Knute Johnson
Report the results. This kind of thing we need and have done for past 20 plus years ...
Shock to the system ... like Billy Idol said :)
Reply to
Bud Spencer
On Wed, 23 Oct 2019 16:05:53 -0500, Knute Johnson declaimed the following:
That presumes you are writing to all parts of the card. It also doesn't account for the effects of using a journaling filesystem.
Take a card where only part is available for updating files, and in which the journal updates too, and the number of writes increases rapidly.
Also, the way SD cards work is NOT simple byte counting -- opening a file to add just one byte requires the card to allocate and erase a complete allocation unit, then copy the file to the new unit, write the new data, and put the old unit into the free list for erasure. The erase sets all bits to "1" -- writing can only convert a "1" bit to a "0" bit.
Streaming a 32GB file to a blank card, erasing it, and streaming another 32GB is light usage. Instead, try creating 320 million 100KB files, then start randomly deleting 8 million of them, then create 8 million more files, repeat, randomly deleting files before creating new ones. Each of these delete/creates will hit the journal first, before the file itself is modified.
journal filesystem deleting file X free file space used by X deletion committed (flag journal entry that this action has completed)
That's three write operations minimum just to delete one file. Creation is more complex.
On some cards, the allocation unit could be measured in multiple megabytes. Cheaper cards, optimized for FAT (a non-journaling) filesystem may only have the ability to "hold open" two allocation units -- one of which is like the FAT itself. Anything that jumps from one file to another could result in closing the other allocation unit and opening another -- and as mentioned, if the opening is to add data, the cards need to obtain a spare unit, erase it, and copy unaffected sectors to the new unit before writing the modification. An open unit can continue to have modifications written to the "erased" portion, but once the unit is close the "knowledge" of what is used vs what is writable is lost and the next time modifications are made to the unit requires a new allocate/erase/copy cycle. Better cards can sustain maybe 4 to 6 open units -- so multiple files can be open in different units without triggering allocate/erase cycles.
Class 10 cards are rated for single file streaming to freshly formatted/erased media (eg: video). Class 2/4/6 were rated for multiple small files and fragmentation (eg: photos with some deleted in camera). Hence, cheaper class 10 cards with 2 allocation units may perform poorly relative to a class 4 card with 6 allocation units when used for computer filesystems.
Checking my archives gave me
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which is now a dead link.
Still alive, but not as detailed as the above used to be...
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""" Restrictions on open segments
One major difference between the various manufacturers is how many segments they can write to at any given time. Starting to write a segment requires another physical segment, or two in case of a data logging algorithm, to be reserved, and requires some RAM on the embedded microcontroller to maintain the segment. Writing [SSD thrashing] to a new segment will cause garbage collection on a previously open segment. That can lead to thrashing as the drive must repeatedly switch open segments; see the animation behind the diagram to the right for a visualization of how that works.
On many of the better drives, five or more segments can be open simultaneously, which is good enough for most use cases, but some brands can only have one or two segments open at a time, which causes them to constantly go through garbage collection when used with most of the common filesystems other than FAT32. """
Only tangentially related:
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And
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implies that every file access can trigger changes on an allocation block level if the filesystem/OS is maintaining the time of last access for each file.
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	Wulfraed                 Dennis Lee Bieber         AF6VN 
	wlfraed@ix.netcom.com    http://wlfraed.microdiversity.freeddns.org/
Reply to
Dennis Lee Bieber
Knute,
Writes to CD cards are not done per byte, but per block (its not EEPROM, but Flash).
If such a block is just a half a KByte (a single sectors worth) and assuming random access writes (a single byte per block) your "thousand years" drops back to just two ...
Regards, Rudy Wieser
Reply to
R.Wieser
Hence wear levelling etc.
Flash NVRAM is really pretty shit technology.
But it is the best we have
From Wiki
...flash memory has a finite number of program ? erase cycles (typically written as P/E cycles). Most commercially available flash products are guaranteed to withstand around 100,000 P/E cycles before the wear begins to deteriorate the integrity of the storage.[57] Micron Technology and Sun Microsystems announced an SLC NAND flash memory chip rated for 1,000,000 P/E cycles on 17 December 2008.[58]
The guaranteed cycle count may apply only to block zero (as is the case with TSOP NAND devices), or to all blocks (as in NOR). This effect is mitigated in some chip firmware or file system drivers by counting the writes and dynamically remapping blocks in order to spread write operations between sectors; this technique is called wear leveling. Another approach is to perform write verification and remapping to spare sectors in case of write failure, a technique called bad block management (BBM). For portable consumer devices, these wear out management techniques typically extend the life of the flash memory beyond the life of the device itself, and some data loss may be acceptable in these applications. For high-reliability data storage, however, it is not advisable to use flash memory that would have to go through a large number of programming cycles. This limitation is meaningless for 'read-only' applications such as thin clients and routers, which are programmed only once or at most a few times during their lifetimes..."
From the above SSDS that always have wear levelling are now better than SD cards that do not, but some SD cards now DO.
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Climate Change: Socialism wearing a lab coat.
Reply to
The Natural Philosopher
Years ago they used to advocate to disable logging entirely for SSDs to prolong SSD life.
systemctl stop systemd-journald.service systemctl mask systemd-journald.service
SSDs have gotten better and probably this is not necessary anymore.
Other tweaks are mounting / with the noatime option (default in Raspbian) and using tmpfs as much as you can.
Raspbian default of /tmp not being in tmpfs is not good for wear&tear. Putting this in /etc/fstab should correct it.
tmpfs /tmp tmpfs nodev,nosuid,size=50% 0 0
Compiling or broser profiles is something you may want to do in tmpfs, for performance and SD life.
HOME=$(mktemp -d) firefox
Also Raspbian's default of swap file in the SD card is not a good idea. I'd disable it or put the swapfile somewhere outside the SD card, like an external spinning HD.
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Reply to
Javier
I'm going to start a new thread, SDCardKiller. I've got a program up and running and would like to get some feedback on it.
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Knute Johnson
Reply to
Knute Johnson
[?]
To prolong SD card life I've tried to put /var, /tmp and /home on a USB 2 stick, but this became too slow or good desktop use.
It seems that the /home partition causes a lot of lag when put on USB 2. The /tmp partition on USB 2 also causes some lag. It did not seem to matter if /var was mounted on the SD card or on the USB 2 stick.
Your 'tmpfs' setting (for speed), with only /var (to prolong SD card life) on the USB 2 stick, seems like it might be a good choice.
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Raspberry Pi 4B, 4 GB.
Reply to
Jos Boersema
Or try: systemctl enable /usr/share/systemd/tmp.mount
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Chris Elvidge, England
Reply to
Chris Elvidge
A good USB 3.1 stick is much faster than a SD card, even via the USB 2 of Pi's (prior to 4). I recommend putting the whole of the root partition on it, not just certain directories, leaving just boot on the SD card. It will be much quicker and the SD card will last indefinitely.
This is what I use
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The cost has come down quite a bit recently, and they come in silver or black.
---druck
Reply to
druck
Thanks for the tip, the large one seems to be the fastest.
I tried putting an Iomega zip drive with USB 3 on the Pi as the root file system, but unfortunately I didn't get it to work. It hangs on boot "... waiting for root device PARTUUID=....". I used the Raspbian desktop tool for copying the SD card to put whatever I had on the SD card unto the zip drive. I had to redo the UUID with uuidgen and tune2fs, because it seemed to be the same UUID had been copied although i checked for new UUIDs. I guess I just messed up something ...
This Iomega zip drive seems to take a bit of power. When I plugged it in the X-server crashed, which seems strange so maybe it was some kind of power dip. Plugging it in while the Pi is not on gives no problems.
Reply to
Jos Boersema
Really?
Reply to
Roger Bell_West
A Zip drive, from some sort of 1990's timewarp perhaps?
It will be far too slow to use as storage for Raspberry Pi, it's maybe 1000s times slower than the worse SD card you might find in a cheap Christmas cracker. You wont be able to boot from it, as the kernel wont wait a couple of microfortnights for it to eventually start dribbling data.
I would not plug it directly in to a Raspberry Pi, the motor in it is like something out of a washing machine of the same era!
---druck
Reply to
druck

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