The useful life of solid-states drives (and how to improve their endurance) is a topic that pops up occasionally. Now, you could speculate on SSD life spans until the cows are out of write cycles, or you could embark on a real-world test, something one outlet has done and at 500TB in, things are getting interesting.
Started back in August of last year, Tech Report's SSD endurance test recently hit the 500TB mark. In a nutshell, the test subjects five drives — a Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB, Intel 335 Series 240GB, Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB, Samsung 840 Series 250GB and a Samsung 840 Pro 256GB — to a constant stream or writing tasks using Anvil's Storage Utilities. The objective is to see how long it takes for the drives to fail.
Of those drives, only the Samsung 840 Series has seen significant wear, which occurred 100TB in, though if you check out the reallocated sector graph, this wear has continued in a linear fashion.
Before you get your SATA cables in a twist, the drive's spare flash, put aside specifically to compensate for the 840's less hardy triple-level cell memory, has compensated completely for the wear and as such, has not lost any capacity.
On top of this, as the Tech Report's Geoff Gasior explains, all the drives have been subjected to the equivalent of 140GB of writes a day, a level of use the average user would struggle to hit, so despite the 840 Series' apparent fragility, in the grand scheme of things, it's not really an issue.
The SSD Endurance Experiment: 500TB update [The Tech Report]