Is it worth buying a used SSD and HDD: risks, testing methods
Almost every computer forum has several threads with questions: “Is it possible to buy a used SSD / HDD of such and such a brand.” User opinions differ. Some people think that if the drive is good (quiet, fast, from a trusted manufacturer), you can take it without hesitation. Others argue that used drives are unprofitable due to their high wear and tear. Like: “It’s better to add or buy an SSD with a smaller volume for the same money.” As always, buying used parts comes with risks. What are they and is there any point in putting up with them? We also recommend several programs for testing SSD and HDD.
What are the dangers associated with this?
Risks do exist, they are usually justified by the cost of goods, but is this really a balanced deal? Here’s what you sign up for when you buy SSDs and HDDs:
- Shorter lifespan… It is logical that the SSD has already worked part of its life. This is not important, but how long he can still work. You can use the SMART parameters to determine the predicted durability. They need to be counted and brought into readable form. There is a lot of valuable data here, but it is stored in RAW or Hex and will have to be translated. An easier option is to use CrystalDiskInfo. In the window above, different numbers will be indicated (the number of power-on cycles, hours worked, the presence of all kinds of errors) and the state of the SSD as a percentage. For example, I have 92%, that is, the disk will still work. It makes no sense to buy less than 90%, but much depends on other parameters, perhaps there were rewriting errors, reassignment, etc. Suspicious values will be highlighted by the program. To check the HDD, you should use Victoria. There, many parameters are obvious.
- No guarantee… Quite a few drives are produced with defects and it is very good that there is a warranty program. Yes, most likely all the manufacturer’s defects would have already been revealed during the operation, but some of them surface even after 1-2 years. For example, not very reliable individual components may be installed. In the case of used equipment, it will be much more difficult to use the guarantee (even if it exists): checks are lost, some companies tie the purchase to the customer’s card and only he can apply for repairs.
- Mining… This is a fairly new risk, as it is associated with the launch of the popular Chia cryptocurrency. More precisely, temporarily popular, on which they pinned their hopes. There, mining (mining of crypt) is carried out by HDD and SSD resources. Thus, the drives very quickly use up their resource, being constantly under load. The SSD even has an indicator – the number of rewriting cycles. The closer their actual number is to the one declared by the manufacturer, the higher the risk of failure of the drive. Chia did not live up to expectations and now miners are actively selling SSDs. It is definitely better not to buy such devices, 1 year of their operation equals 5 or even more in the hands of an ordinary user.
Arguments in favor of buying used drives
If the lack of a guarantee does not bother you, the SSD / HDD will have good performance and did not participate in mining, can you take one? Yes, you can take a good disc without any special fears. The risks are still higher than when buying in a store, but they are not that high. Let’s just say it’s a sensible purchase with a moderate level of risk and good value.
Why buying off-hand makes sense:
- The main argument in favor of buying drives from hand is price… They cost 30-50% less, that is, for the same money as a new one, you can buy 2 or one at once, but with a larger volume.
- Great resource of work… Modern SSD drives can last up to 10 years in the hands of a user who handles them with care. If it has worked for 1-2 years without much workload, it has already dropped in price by half, but it will work for another 5+ years. Not a bad balance of risks and benefits.
- Full testing capability… Modern SSDs keep detailed statistics on the condition of the component. You can immediately see what happened to him now and how much he worked. HDD can also be tested and see the number of bad sectors, etc.
How to check SSD and HDD before buying?
The key condition on the basis of which you need to make a purchase decision is the test results. Without them, you will simply play the lottery: lucky / unlucky.
Good programs for testing SSD:
- CrystalDiskInfo Is a universal utility. Provides detailed information in a readable format. In addition to the exact numbers (the number of starts, temperature, read and write cycles), the current state of the drive is indicated as a percentage. If more than 90% and all indicators are normal, you can take it.
- Samsung Magician – proprietary program showing reliable information. Plus, with its help, you can update the firmware and make adjustments to the work.
- Other proprietary utilities: WD SSD Dashboard, Kingston SSD Manager, Toshiba SSD Utility, ADATA SSD Toolbox, Crucial storage executive, SanDisk SSD Dashboard…
In fact, there are only 2 ways: universal and proprietary programs. Ideally, you need to check in several, more accurate data often in applications from the manufacturer.
Programs for diagnosing the state of the HDD:
- Victoria – the most popular program, allows you to view SMART (including on SSD), find out about the presence of errors, see the number of bad sectors. The advantage of the program is that it knows how to work with damaged blocks, it can try to cure them or exclude them from work.
- Maxtor Powermax, DFT, Quantum Data Protection System and others. They all work on the same principle, test the disk for errors and show a report based on them. Some work better with certain drives and worse with others.
There are also a number of utilities from manufacturers: Western Digital Data Lifeguard, Seagate Disk Diagnostic, Samsung SHDIAG. They show information relatively accurately and help in controversial situations.
So is it worth buying a used SSD and HDD?
Yes, but only if you have a good understanding of the condition of the disk. If the SSD does not have too long operating time, the number of power-on cycles, a normal operating temperature, a low percentage of wear and a good price, you can take it. The cost justifies the small risk that everyone faces, even those who bought new drives. It’s just that these dangers are compensated for by the guarantee, and here you take them upon yourself.