Chia mining has the potential to create a shortage of storage, which is a real problem given that certain CPUs, GPUs and even some power supply units are almost always depleted. But if we consider that the proverbial glass is half full, Chia mining could also cause SSD makers to make a greater effort to get the drives to last longer.
In fact, much more: the new Sabrent SSD Plotripper and Plotripper Pro are the latest example of this, with endurance ratings that baffle most consumer models.
These are not yet available, but it looks like Sabrent will launch at least three models, with a resistance ranging from 10,000 written terabytes (TBW) to 54,000 TBW.
As the company is quick to point out, the higher-end model is designed to last 18 times longer than a typical SSD that takes advantage of triple-level cell (TLC) NAND flash memory chips.
In some cases, this is a conservative estimate. For example, the 2 TB model of the WD SN850, one of the the best SSDs for gaming, it has 1,200 TBW. Compared to this unit, Sabrent’s 2TB Plotripper Pro is 45 times more durable.
Smaller capacities have lower resistance rates as they fill up faster (memory cells run out after repeated write operations), and Chia mining can shatter a typical 512GB SSD in just six weeks. However, a standard 2 TB SSD can only last 160 days.
This makes SSD manufacturers focus on drive resistance. TeamGroup had already been doing this with its T-Create Expert SSDs for creators, which offer a resistance level of up to 12,000 TBW. More recently, TeamGroup opted to launch its T-Create Expert SSDs as ideal for the “new cryptographic fashion,” and now Sabrent is doing the same with its Plotripper and Plotripper Pro lines.
It would not surprise me that other record manufacturers followed suit. The bigger question is whether high-strength SSDs will become the norm if and when Chia mining loses its luster? I hope.
Maybe we'll find out soon enough. Chia launched four weeks ago with a starting price of just under $ 1,600, and quickly lost half of its value on the same day. It then rose to nearly $ 1,700 a couple of weeks later before falling again (it’s as volatile as other popular cryptocurrencies) and has so far stood at about $ 700.
What about performance? Sabrent has not yet provided any speed rating or pricing or availability information (only that these units will be "soon"). Still, resistance doesn’t necessarily have to come at the expense of quick reading and writing. T-Create drives have the capacity to deliver up to 3,400 MB / s of sequential reads and 3,000 MB / s of sequential writes, very good numbers for a PCIe 3.0 drive.
Here we hope that the miners of Chia are not the only ones to benefit from the recent focus on SSD resistance.