Does the useful life of the MacBook M1 SSD are at risk?

Fermín Díaz
6 min read
Does the useful life of the MacBook M1 SSD are at risk? – Apple Universe
Disk SSD MacBook M1

There have been presenting many concerns regarding the excessive use of the MacBook M1 SSD. The concern consists of itself there is a risk in the life of the MacBook, as this component (SSD) comes welded on the plate and if it fails would involve the replacement of the plate, which is practically equivalent to the cost of A MacBook completely new.

Then, as expected, this is something that rests to anyone who has one of these MacBook and even many users are beginning to have doubts regarding whether to buy it or not.

Therefore, it is important to understand how the system works so that this problem occurs, what is the effect it causes and if this really endangers the useful life of the machine.

How does the system work so that the MacBooks are at risk?

For several years the laptops have started including SSD meaning Solid State Disk as a main storage device. This causes systems to be much faster and more efficient, compared to the previous eras where we had magnetic discs.

So if for years there are the SSDs and also Apple has had SSD welded for a long time, what is the difference now? The basic difference lies in the handling of SWAP memory in such laptops with incorporated M1 processor.

Does the useful life of the MacBook M1 SSD are at risk? – Apple Universe
M1 processor

The Swap memory consists of a space that the operating system decides to use when the RAM memory has been filled and has data you could need again. Then, instead of eliminating and recreating the data, which is very expensive at performance level, choose to use SSD storage because it is already fast enough to temporarily save this information out of RAM memory, but still quickly accessible.

Therefore, when we fill the RAM memory we use the SSD disk as an additional memory, and this is known as SWAP memory. In fact, this concept of SWAP memory is not at all new, since it has always existed in operating systems. We see them in Windows, Linux, Unix, macOS, and it's not really something purely new.

Now, the difference here lies in that these systems with M1 processor write in SWAP memory much more than normal. In fact, they do it without even having the full RAM. We had said that when the RAM is filled, the normal is that the swap use the disc. For what has been seen, these systems use SWAP memory even long before RAM is filled, and they do so very smart. Remember that the M1 processor has another additional processor of Machine Learning, then the understanding of the data and the understanding of use is in truth superior.

If you are writing in the SSD much more than common, Could this affect your useful lifetime?

Is the useful life of the MacBook M1 at risk?

To answer this, it is necessary to know as the useful life of an SSD disc is measured. Like any device, this disc has an average lifespan that is given by the manufacturer each model and each version of these discs of any component has a guarantee or lifetime that the manufacturer guarantees that this would serve.

In the case of SSD memory, this useful life is measured in a unit known by acronym TBW which means Terrabytes Written or Terrabytes written. When the system reads a data from the disc, this does not affect. But every time we write on the disk and change the logical state of the component that stores the data, as is the case of swap memory, we increased the TBW number and whenever it increases less. Therefore, time and useful life decreases.

Does the useful life of the MacBook M1 SSD are at risk? – Apple Universe
Is the useful life of the MacBook M1 at risk?

In such a way, that each model of each brand has a defined TBW and depends a lot on the quality of the components. Then, usually the most expensive discs are manufactured with better components and therefore have a greater capacity of TWB.

What we know is that apple uses SSD discs from the Toshiba brand in its TLC Land version, and as it is Apple actually does not exist anywhere the exact specifications of These discs. Therefore, can not be known exactly how much is the TBW of the discs used by Apple. But you might think of Apple on your systems, and we believe that Apple uses high medium quality discs.

These discs are present in Apple machines for several years. If you have a portable of 2018, where they already came with soldiers, these machines already came with discs Toshiba of this quality and in three or four years of useful life timeWe have never heard massively problems with these discs.

But to make a numerical comparison, and we really have the feeling of how much the TBW of these discs could be, we could compare it with a similar disc of the Samsung brand that has similar and oriented characteristics, such as The Samsung 970 EVO. It is about the basic version and not a pro version, and it is the version that Samsung uses for the non-professional public.

Then, this album that we consider is similar to that of the brand Samsung, offers as a guarantee of these discs 5 years or 150 TBW, that is, 150 Terrabytes written. Therefore, we add for a moment that the discs they use are similar to these, in 5 years (1825 days) on average we should use 0.08 teras. This number comes out of dividing 150 TBW / 1825 days and these 0.08 teras is equivalent to 80 GB. So the TBW of these discs is 80 GB per day, every day for 5 years.

If we do it that way, in 5 years we would reach the Terrabytes written from the warranty at the same time. It is very important to understand this manufacturer's warranty, since does not imply that upon arrival the 5 years or the 150 TBW the disc automatically fails. It is simply the time of life that the manufacturer determines to guarantee the operation.

In case there are massive problems, that would be backed by a guarantee. But categorically Any equipment that passes its guaranteeful life can continue to operate for an additional indefinite time. Maybe there are those who think that 5 years is very little, because there are users who have their MacBook since 2011-2012 and most people expect these systems to last 10-15 years and really that It's what they last.

But if we took them 10 years old, that would mean that we would have to write 40 GB every day for 10 years to write all the terabytes written at the limit of the guarantee of these discs.

Problems with the useful life?