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A few days ago I learned that my internal SSD is failing. I have a a MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015) running Big Sur, and my hard drive is an APPLE SSD SM0256G. I got the laptop in 2017 and the original hard drive failed in 2019. I got the drive replaced late 2019 and now this one is failing. I understand that SSDs can die at any time and it's inevitable, but considering both drives died in under 3 years I kind of feel like it's something I'm doing/did.

Here are a few things I suspect.

  • I use the music creation software Logic Pro X, sometimes several hours per day when I'm working on a project. With both drives I'd constantly get notifs (from the program) saying "Disk Too Slow" or "System Overload - The audio engine was unable to process all required data in time". I would close out these repeated notifications and keep working past it because I wasn't sure what else to do. One of the suggestions was to increase I/O buffer size so I did, to the maximum setting -- but when I tweak that setting I'm not really sure what that means or what it does.
  • I always have tons of tabs open on Chrome. It's always the program using up the most memory and CPU.
  • I have "hardware acceleration" turned on for Chrome.
  • I think my RAM usage dips into my swap file around the clock, especially with the Chrome usage. I'm not exactly sure what that means but I heard that can wear out an SSD.

Here are screenshots of my S.M.A.R.T. data and also info about RAM and swap usage.

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I'm uneducated and confused about all of this so I have no idea if the numbers I'm looking at are normal or abnormal for an SSD I've had for 2.5~ years. I'm trying to figure out if it's more likely something I'm doing or if it's natural. If it's something I'm doing, I want to take the best care of my next one as possible.

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    You have 8 GB of memory but Chrome alone requires 13.4 GB, so your system will do a lot of swapping (the warnings you get in LogicX Pro indicate something similar). Might be worth investing in more RAM to reduce disk access by swap.
    – nohillside
    Mar 5 at 21:41
  • If that's 1.1 Petabytes to the disk, then yes, that's an awful lot of Writes. My 2018 Mini has only written 37 TB. I'd have a look at the Disk tab of Activity Monitor, and see what's writing. TBH, Logic shouldn't really do that much writing: it's mostly referencing existing audio files. Chrome is a well known resource hog.
    – benwiggy
    Mar 5 at 21:43

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It seems you are using your computer quite a lot and to the limits of its capabilities. This is not a bad thing - essentially it just means that you're getting a lot of value out of your purchase.

Regarding your 4 points of "suspect". Using "hardware acceleration" in Chrome does not have anything to do with your SSD. The remaining three points each mean that you're probably using the disk frequently in your work - for example you probably have lots of swapping.

Using your disk is not a bad thing in itself. That is afterall what the disk is there for.

Looking at your SMART values, it seems you have effectively overwritten the full disk almost 4.200 times. That's a lot - so you cannot really blame the disk for warning that it is near the end of its life time. SSDs are a wear part and you will use them up while using your computer.

Is it something you're doing? - Yes. Is it natural? Also yes.

You could stop using your computer so much - the disk would essentially last longer that way. Does it make sense to stop using your computer in order to stop wearing out the disk - not really.

The only realistic thing you could do with your current hardware is to ensure that you're only running the programs you actually need at any time. I.e. close down Chrome while spending your time in Logic Pro. It might help slightly. Is it practical? - not really.

Replacing the hardware is more practical - but of course comes at a cost. If you could upgrade the RAM, it would probably be helpful if you had 16 GB or more RAM instead of the 8 GB you have. But you cannot.

Instead you should consider buying a larger capacity SSD when you replace the current one. Even though you do not actually use the space on the SSD for storing files, the SSD will itself automatically use that extra space for wear-levelling. If you use the disk in the exact same manner, a 512 GB disk will in theory last twice as long as a 256 GB disk.

A replacement 240 GB drive from OWC costs $69 currently. If you go for the 480 GB version, the prie is $99.

I would consider $69 every 3 years a relatively inexpensive wear part!

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