Leaving unpowered SSDs in a warm room can kill your data fast


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If you’ve got an unused computer with solid state storage inside, you might want to back up its data before too long.

A new research presentation shows that solid state drives can lose data over time if they aren’t powered on, especially in warmer environments. A powered-off drive in 104 degrees Fahrenheit may start seeing data loss after a couple of weeks.

The information comes from Seagate’s Alvin Cox, who as part of a presentation to the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC). Though the presentation isa couple months old, it was recently picked up by ZDNet, Slashdot and other sites.

Cox’s presentation shows basic performance requirements for both consumer and enterprise SSDs. It notes that consumer SSDs, when powered-off in 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celcius), should retain data for about a year. Bumping up the temperature by 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celcius) reduces the time of data retention by half. Store your SSD in 131 degree heat, and it might start losing data after a couple of days.

ssd temp data retention


We’re in the process of digging into this more, but a comment on Slashdot notes that these figures are merely what JEDEC requires. It’s entirely possible that a good SSD will fare better, even in warm weather.

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