SD Card Life?

Posted on 2006-05-05
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Can some one please estimate the life expectancy of an SD Card?

I'm presumming my SD Card is 100% rewritten once every day and every byte of the data is read 2x every day.

please help..

Thanks in advanced         
Question by:sakuya_su
    LVL 16

    Assisted Solution

    Good question.  My wife works with a photographer.  They shoot exclusively digital using SD and CF.  They have some 256meg CF cards that are still in use daily that are 4 years old.  They rewrite and reformat their SD cards at least every other day, and they work weekends too!  

    And my wife washed my Lexar 1 gig SD card which was in my Jumpdrive Trio which was in my pants pocket.  Then she dried it in the dryer.  This happened a year ago.  I still use that SD card daily and it still works perfectly.  In contrast, my Sandisk USB flash drive only lasted through 2 months of my abuse.

    So, in my humble opinion and extremely abusive use, SD cards are quite durable.

    - Travis=gurutc
    LVL 15

    Assisted Solution

    Since I knew virtually nothing about this topiv before reading the question, I did two goog;e searches on the topic, one for CD card MTBF, the other for flash memory MTBF.   In both searches, the results were the same - 1,000,000 hours MTBF for this type of media.    As a practical matter, that would be several years (10+) that one could expect, assuming the user takes good care of the card (no improper removal or other types of electric disturbances.)
    LVL 87

    Assisted Solution

    This most probably depends on the the quality of the contacts to the reader. The data itself should not be affected by time and neither should rewriting adversly affect the device. Removing it from the reader and putting it back in will reduce the lifetime, and this will also be affected by the metal used. Gold shouldn't oxidise and therefore it shouldn't degrade other material on the other hand can deteriorate. As long as there is no 3rd party influence like electrical discharge etc such a device should last much more than the 10+ years mentioned above, more like 50+ years.
    LVL 14

    Accepted Solution

    flash memory lifespan is usually termed in the number of erases or writes, not hours or 'mtbf'...  estimates range from "just" 10,000 cycles up to 500,000 or 1 million.

    even at the low end, the card would last nearly 30 years with the usage you propose. chances are something else will happen to or fail in the card (other electronic failure, static, breakage, going through the laundry, lost, etc), or the device its used in, before the flash memory itself dies.

    LVL 10

    Author Comment

    yes, I do plan to use these SD Cards for more than 3 or 4 years as I cannot afford to update them at a faster rate.

    do you guys think the SD card, presuming a low quality Contact strip(the funny metal thing that comes in contact with the reader) and a medium ammount of read/write cycles would last 4, 5 year?
    LVL 87

    Assisted Solution

    If you handle them with care, they should. But as has been mentioned earlier, unexpected things can happen like with any gadget.

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